Launching Point

Bernadette mcfadden stout ac president new portrait 700x467 dsonmagsum22

Photo by Dan Loh.

by Alumni Council President Bernadette McFadden Stout '07 

Each year, members of the Alumni Council review nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Awards and choose the recipients. The selection process is a humbling affair that pulls into focus the incredible and wide-ranging accomplishments of our fellow alumni.

I had the honor of presenting these awards to five distinguished alumni at Alumni Weekend. The recipients spoke about how Dickinson was a launching point for their professional successes and how the community of Dickinsonians has continued to provide them with a sense of meaning and belonging throughout their careers.

Outstanding Young Alumni

After leaving Dickinson to serve in Teach for America, Fabiola Cineas ’12 transitioned to her career as a journalist and now works as a reporter at She covers race and policy, exploring systemic injustice in America. Her path is not surprising to those who know her. As Professor of English Wendy Moffat shared with me, “As a student, Fabiola went straight for the hard stuff, writing a thesis on how structures of duality make ‘the real’ ambiguous. She’s still confronting the hard questions and the most vexing cultural evidence, still writing to deadline, listening to many voices and still honing precisely what she means to convey.”

As a student, J.D. Dolan ’07 served as ROTC battalion commander, graduated magna cum laude and earned top honors as a National Distinguished Military Graduate and top 2% officer in the nation. Since then, he has served four combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, the last three as a member of the nation’s heralded Joint Special Operations Command. He has earned a Bronze Star for valor, and his unit earned both the Presidential Unit Citation and the Valorous Unit Award. Since transitioning back to civilian life, J.D. has continued dedicating himself to service. Last year he led a major ground-support operation during the collapse of Afghanistan in 2021, and in recent months he has facilitated cross-border humanitarian support during the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Professional Achievement Awards

Paul Kanev ’75 is one of only two pediatric neurosurgeons tandem-trained in pediatrics. Through this cross-training he is better equipped to serve his patients and their families. He has worked at hospitals across the country, led research projects, addressed national conferences and published dozens of book chapters and journal articles. He has mentored and trained generations of surgeons. He is an amazing doctor, surgeon and scientist, but is foremost a good person who takes time to comfort families and children during some of their hardest days.

Kirsten Nixa Sabia ’92 is the vice president of integrated communications at the PGA TOUR, where she oversees the tour’s storytelling content machine. She is an advocate and model for all Dickinsonians, especially her fellow Delta Nus. Kirsten shows up ready to work–for her job, for her loved ones and for all of the members of her community. According to Barb Bailey ’73, “Kirsten is the perfect ambassador for Delta Nu values: friendship, diversity, inclusion, justice, personal integrity, fairness and the courage to stand up for what is right.” She shares those values widely outside of the workplace, serving on the Donna Foundation board to advance breast cancer research, on the Delta Nu Advisory Board and as a Dickinson volunteer for 30 years.

Walter E. Beach Distinguished Alumni Award for Service

Roberta Zmuda Greenspan ’77 served Dickinson with her whole heart before passing away last year. Roberta spent more than 40 years volunteering for Dickinson, including as a class agent, reunion chair, Alumni Council member, member of the Dickinson Fund Advisory Council and chair of the Washington, D.C., Regional Council. Dickinson is a better college because of Roberta.

Read more from the summer 2022 issue of Dickinson Magazine.


Published August 15, 2022