Carlow University Names Five Alumni Carlow Laureates

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Contact: Sean McFarland
Public Relations & Communications Manager
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Carlow’s Most Prestigious Alumni Honor to be Presented in Virtual Ceremony on May 26

PITTSBURGH, Pa – Carlow University has named five alumni Carlow Laureates, the university’s most prestigious recognition of alumni achievement. A ceremony honoring these high levels of achievement will take place virtually on May 26. Members of the media are welcome to attend and can register at

“One of the historic strengths of Carlow University is its ability to transform and develop students into high-achieving, compassionate, ethical leaders in their respective fields,” said Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD, president, Carlow University. “The honor that best recognizes these outstanding individuals is the Carlow Laureate award, the most prestigious award that can be bestowed on our alumni.”

Carlow Laureates are alumni whose work, thought and action demonstrate the highest standards of professional accomplishment and leadership, whether it is in their chosen discipline, in academics or through community service. Recipients of this award are lasting tributes to their own professional excellence, the transformational education they received at Carlow and the dynamic environment that helped to fuel their ambitions and their desire to make a difference in the best ways they can.

Carlow has named five distinguished alumni, one posthumous, as its 2021 Carlow Laureates. The Laureates are:

Kathleen (Bollen) Gaberson, PhD, RN, CNOR, CNE, ANEF – Class of 1970 is principal and nursing education consultant at OWK Consulting. Dr. Gaberson’s area of expertise is academic nursing education and her clinical area of expertise is perioperative nursing. She has more than 35 years of experience in nursing education as a faculty member and administrator in baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral programs. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Carlow, a Master of Nursing Education (MNEd) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. She is certified in perioperative nursing and nursing education, was selected as an inaugural Fellow of the Academy of Nursing Education (ANEF) and has authored or co-authored 11 books and more than 100 referred articles and publications.

Captain Madelyn Reyes, DNP, MA, MPA, RN – Class of 2016 is the acting division director and division deputy for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Health Workforce, Division of Health Careers and Financial Support. Captain Reyes has more than 21 years of professional experience in public health administrative nursing, where she has been a transformational leader in managing and implementing innovative, cutting-edge initiatives and programs. Her knowledge, experience and training has enabled Captain Reyes to proficiently and effectively respond to public health needs. She received her BSN from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, a Master of Public Health Administration from Troy State University, a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies – African Studies from the U.S. Naval War College and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Carlow University.

Nancy (Picciano) Zimmerman, PhD, MS, MLS – Class of 1973 has a distinguished 42-year professional career in librarianship and academia that includes prestigious awards in teaching, research and service. She has received acknowledgement by her peers of her leadership and expertise in professional association elections. After graduating with honors from Carlow earning a Bachelor of Arts in English Education, Dr. Zimmerman earned a Master of Library Science from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Pittsburgh. At GSLIS, she was awarded the August Alpers Award for scholarship and service and was elected to Beta Phi Mu, the International Library Science Honor Society. She earned a second Master of Science in Computer Education and Cognitive Systems from the University of North Texas and a doctorate in library and information studies from Texas Woman’s University.

2020-21 Carlow Young Laureate:
Chanessa Schuler, BA
– Class of 2012 is the director of programs for SLB Radio Productions, Inc., producers of the award winning, “Saturday Light Brigade” (SLB). SLB uses radio and audio to amplify voices of youth, and members of other communities whose stories are often marginalized, to educate, empower and build community. As Director of Programs, Ms. Schuler leads high-profile media projects with schools, foundations and media organizations. She serves as principal liaison for all SLB activities conducted at Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) locations in programs that include After School Academy, Summer Dreamers Academy and Youth Media Advocacy Project. She led Girl Talk, a career-based oral history program that connects generations of Hill District girls and women through conversation.

Carlow University also recognizes a special alumna for her distinguished service through the Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to Carlow University (Posthumous):

Barbara L. Gilles, BA – Class of 2010 was the executive assistant to the President, having served the Office of the President with distinction for more than 30 years. While executing her duties in this role, she enrolled as a part-time adult student, earning a bachelor’s degree in communication from Carlow University. Prior to her service at Carlow, Barbara served in the administrative offices of the Pittsburgh Mercy Hospital Foundation. For Barbara, Carlow University was her great love; she served the University like it was a ministry, and she made the Carlow Community her family. This award is given in gratitude for Barbara’s dedicated and excellent service to her Alma Mater whose values she embraced and embodied, with gratitude for her outstanding support and uncompromising service to all and with respect for her profound humility in never seeking recognition for her many accomplishments and contributions. For those who knew and worked with Barbara, or studied alongside her in class, all would agree that her influence and loyalty to Carlow’s mission was palpable and still reverberates across decades and many thankful hearts.


About Carlow University
Carlow is a private, co-educational, Catholic university located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Eds, Meds, and Tech” district. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1929, Carlow’s curricula and partnerships reflect its strong commitment to social justice; ethical, forward-thinking and responsible leadership; and service to the community that has a meaningful impact. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in two colleges: the College of Health and Wellness and the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Health and Wellness includes the departments of Nursing, Respiratory Care, Healthcare Data Analytics, Health Management, and graduate degrees in Speech-Language Pathology and the Physician Assistant programs. Graduate programs in Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy will soon be added.

Carlow University also believes in the education and growth of students both inside and outside the classroom, where they can join student government, clubs and academic honorary societies where they can develop skills in judgment, leadership, analysis, decision-making and communication. For student-athletes, Carlow’s 14 athletic teams are known as the Celtics, a reflection of the university’s Irish heritage and roots.

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