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Speakers Announced for 9/11 Impact on Children Forum at SVC Oct. 6

Public Relations
Posted: Wednesday Aug 31, 2011
Twelve expert speakers will be featured at the 9/11 Forum: Impact on Young Children for parents, educators, student-teachers, community workers and others interested in the welfare of children to be held at the Fred. M. Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, October 6.

This special event is sponsored by Saint Vincent College, The Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media, the National Park Service, the Friends of Flight 93, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Excela Health.

Featured speakers include Gordon Felt, president of Families of Flight 93; Jeff Reinbold, site manager of the Flight 93 National Memorial; Dr. Roberta Schomburg, associate dean of education at Carlow University; Steve Woods, retired child grief specialist, The Highmark Caring Place; Hedda Sharapan, director of early childhood initiatives, The Fred Rogers Company; and Dr. Mary Margaret Kerr, professor and department chair, University of Pittsburgh School of Education; Adam Shaffer, park ranger, Flight 93 National Memorial; Andrea Lurier, program manager, Highmark Caring Place; and Karen Miller, a second grade teacher in the Shanksville-Stonycreek School District.

Remarks will also be offered by Lladel Lichty of the Friends of Flight 93; Br. Norman Hipps, O.S.B., president of Saint Vincent College; and Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, chancellor of Saint Vincent College.

Mr. Felt is president of the Families of Flight 93, a not-for-profit charitable corporation dedicated to the creation of a permanent memorial to the 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93. He also serves as a member of the Flight 93 National Memorial Federal Advisory Commission and on the Flight 93 National Memorial executive committee. Outside the scope of his involvement with the Flight 93 National Memorial, Mr. Felt is a special educator serving as Executive Director of Camp Northwood Inc. and The Northwood Center. For the past 30 years he has been involved in the development of socially therapeutic programming for high functioning autistic and learning-challenged children. He received degrees in education and special education from Ohio Wesleyan University and The Bank Street College of Education. His eldest brother, Edward, was a passenger on United Flight 93.

Dr. Kerr is professor and chair of administrative and policy studies at the STAR-Center Outreach at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh and professor of psychology in education and child psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Kerr has responded to more than 1000 school-related crises, including the TWA 800 and USAir 427 crashes. She designed the Pittsburgh Schools crisis response team model, one of the first in the country and has consulted with many schools on crisis responding and school safety. Dr. Kerr served as an expert panelist for the U.S. Government report, A Guide for Intermediate and Long-term Mental Health Services after School-Related Violent Events and authored School Crisis Prevention and Intervention, a textbook by Prentice-Hall.

Ms. Sharapan has been associated with Fred Rogers and his small non-profit company since 1966. Over the years she worked closely with Fred Rogers on his books for children and adults, while also speaking at conferences, and creating professional development materials for early childhood. A number of her writings and presentations centered around helping children deal with death and tragic events in the news, topics that Fred Rogers handled sensitively and thoughtfully – from his special for parents when Robert Kennedy was assassinated to his PSAs about the Persian Gulf War and September 11. As part of the Fred Rogers' Company mission to develop materials that carry on his legacy, she continues to work on ways to translate his approach for parents and professionals in many venues, including consulting with the Friends of Flight 93 on their booklets for children and parents.

For 20 years, Mr. Reinbold has led planning and partnership projects at national park sites around the country. His work has included building diverse constituencies to support parks, developing new methods for working with local governments and gateway communities, and exploring ways to make national parks relevant to new audiences. He came to the Flight 93 National Memorial in early-2003 and oversaw the international design competition and long-range planning for the Memorial. The competition marked the first time an entire national park of this scale was designed through a competition. Mr. Reinbold lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and two young sons.

Mr. Shaffer has been involved with the Flight 93 National Memorial since 2005 and joined the staff as the first field ranger in 2006. Prior to his service at Flight 93, Shaffer worked for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and volunteered with Currents of the Juniata (non-profit), and Gettysburg National Military Park. Aside from working at the memorial, he serves as Lieutenant for the Somerset Volunteer Fire Department and in 2001, assisted with the recovery and investigation of Flight 93 as a member of the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department. He expects to complete his graduate degree this Fall. Shaffer is married and the father of a toddler.

Dr. Schomburg earned a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education and Spanish at Macalester College, a master of education in early childhood education at Salem State College and a Ph.D. in child development at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a member of the National Association for Early Childhood Teacher Education and its board of directors, Pennsylvania Early Learning Advisory Council, Pennsylvania State Board of Private Academic Schools, Pittsburgh Children’s Museum and its board of directors, Community College of Allegheny County Advisory Board for Education, and the Advisory Board for Child and Youth Studies. A frequent presenter at regional, state and national conferences, she is the author of numerous publications on early childhood professional development.

Mr. Woods has spent the past 50 years working with children and their families in various settings including public education, religious, community mental health, child day care, family literacy and grief support groups. His lifelong career interest and graduate thesis work has been helping children cope with death and grief. Before retirement he was the family services coordinator for Highmark Caring Place, a center for grieving children and their families. Steve currently volunteers at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Dr. Lurier has been the program manager of Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents, and Their Families, in Pittsburgh since 1998. She has presented on a range of topics related to children’s grief and support group models to support grieving children and families. Her dissertation focused on understanding the experiences of inner-city families who experienced traumatic deaths. She brings 20 years of experience in child assessment, research, and clinical interventions for children and families and is ADEC certified.

Ms. Miller has been employed for 32 years as an elementary teacher. She has taught first, second, third and fourth grades with more than 25 years of that experience being in second grade. Her community outreach with children at the Shanksville United Methodist Church includes directing a monthly children’s bell choir, conducting a weekly music ministry with an after school program, and writing/performing a monthly children’s puppet show. She is a single parent of a seven-year-old daughter.

Br. Norman is the 17th president of Saint Vincent College. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from Saint Vincent College in 1966 and did graduate studies in Theology at Saint Vincent Seminary from 1966 to 1969. He earned a Master of Arts Degree in Mathematics in 1972 and a Ph.D. in Mathematics in 1976, both from Northwestern University. He has been involved in a number of community outreach programs including the Small Business Development Center, Drug and Alcohol Prevention Projects, and BRIDGES, a college-school-business partnership to improve mathematics and science education.

Archabbot Douglas is the eleventh Archabbot of Saint Vincent Archabbey and Chancellor of Saint Vincent College and Seminary, and the Major Superior of the Benedictines at the Priory and Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Georgia, and the Benedictine Priories in Brazil and Taiwan. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Saint Vincent College, a master of divinity from Saint Vincent Seminary and a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Tennessee. Prior to his election as Archabbot, Archabbot Douglas served for five years as Secretary for Education of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. At Saint Vincent College he served as chair of the department of psychology and associate academic dean. He was also a member of the staff in the behavioral science department at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. The Archabbot also served as a psychological consultant to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood for a number of years.

Because of increased discussion of the tragedy in conjunction with the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the opening of the first phase of the Flight 93 National Memorial, the mission of the forum is to focus on the needs and questions of children ages 5 to 9.

Cost to attend the Forum is $20 which includes continental breakfast and luncheon. The deadline for registration is Monday, September 26 but early registration is advised due to limited seating. Register online at http://www.stvincent.edu/events/september-11-symposium-online-registration or direct registration inquiries to the Event and Conference Services Office at Saint Vincent College, 724 805-2177. An overview of the event and program agenda can be accessed at http://www.fredrogerscenter.org/resources/september-11-forum/.

The forum is being coordinated by a committee headed by Mrs. Ginny Barnett of Latrobe, a member of the Friends of Flight 93.