With experience in family, divorce, prenuptial, post-nuptial, and paternity law, Phyllis Federico has thrived as a founding partner of Schmidt & Federico, P.C., since 1994. Her responsibilities include handling high-conflict disputes with an emphasis on business valuation and custody litigation, and ensuring clients get the most effective solutions and advice possible. Over the years, Ms. Federico has garnered a reputation for being strong, compassionate, and fearless. She loves being able to use her voice to fight for those without one.
One of Ms. Federico’s greatest professional achievements was starting a pilot program, Child Focus Facilitation, in the Middlesex probate and family court. She considers her involvement with the program to be the most rewarding thing she does as a lawyer, because she is providing services to people who otherwise couldn’t afford them. It is very important to her that middle and lower income families have access to high-caliber legal support. Some of her other highlights include co-editing the “Massachusetts Divorce Law Practice Manual,” co-authoring the “Massachusetts Family Law Source Book,” authoring numerous articles on family law, and lecturing at Boston College Law School and Suffolk University Law School.
Working toward her goal of giving people the ability to live their lives to the fullest, Sonia Patricia Swallow joined the Women in Politics Canadian Conservative Party as the regional director in 2016. Her background in visionary team leadership, group integration, and motivational speaking has really come in handy as she navigates the political landscape. The organization was founded to support women aspiring to hold public office.
Another way Ms. Swallow supported her goal was through her company, Apollo Driver Training, Ltd. She saw firsthand the pain that could be caused by unsafe drivers, so she made driver education her mission from 1996 to 2012. One of the things that set her apart from other schools of this nature was her willingness to work with people who had lost their licenses due to medical conditions or impaired driving. She loved seeing the return of faith and the joy these people felt when they got their new licenses; so many doors were opened in lives where it seemed impossible.
Backed by a keen sense of justice, Mary Libby Payne set out to become a voice for the voiceless. She became a lawyer in 1955, and quickly worked her way up the chain. Over the years, she held positions like secretary with Guaranty Title Co., partner with Bickerstaff & Bickerstaff, associate of Henley, Jones, & Henley, Jackson, solo practitioner, executive director of the Mississippi Judiciary Commission, chief of drafting and research for the Mississippi House of Representatives, and assistant attorney general in the State Attorney General Office. Judge Payne broke into academia in 1975, when she became the founding dean and associate professor in the School of Law at Mississippi College. She decided that she liked using her experience to help the younger generations, and, in 1978, she was promoted to professor of the school. Judge Payne remained in that role until 1994, and served as the scholar in residence and professor emerita from 2003 to 2012. She briefly left academia to become a judge for the Mississippi Court of Appeals between 1995 and 2001.
Judge Payne initially became involved in her profession because of her father, a lawyer and legislator. He always used to take the family when he had dinner with foreign dignitaries, and she loved the conversation. With the help of Dr. Floor, a traveling dispenser of the gospel, and her faith in God, she decided to follow in her father’s footsteps. She completed coursework at the Mississippi University for Women between 1950 and 1952, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and an LLB from the University of Mississippi in 1954 and 1955, respectively. She was admitted to practice in the state of Mississippi in 1955, and became a fellow of the American Bar Association.
Growing up with a mother employed at United States Environmental Protection Agency, Maura J. Donohue was introduced to the sciences at a young age. She decided to pursue her interest, first at Elms College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in biology in 1995, and then at American University, where she earned a PhD in chemistry in 2002. Dr. Donohue found she really enjoys the transition of digging into details and making them practical, usable, and insightful. She joined the United States Environmental Protection Agency as a research chemist in 2003, and continues in that role to this day. Some of her responsibilities include developing methods for Legionella detection and microbacteria detection in drinking water and helping out the microbiologists.
To keep in touch with her peers, Dr. Donohue joined prominent professional organizations like the American Chemical Society and the American Public Health Association. She also presents her work at events like the upcoming Water Microbiology 2018 Conference at RTP in North Carolina. In recognition of her efforts, she was honored with the Stay Award and the Bronze Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Library Science | Education
Known as “The Book Doctor,” Mary Joan Kelly Nix has dedicated her life to bringing books to life for other people. Her goal is to help every child she meets become a lifelong learner, and to teach them how to think, research, and be creative. She prepared for her endeavors by earning an EdD, a Master of Education, and a Bachelor of Science from Louisiana State University in 1980, 1973, and 1970, respectively. She then became a certified English teacher, social studies teacher, city materials media center director, and school librarian.
Now, Dr. Kelly Nix is living out her dream as a librarian in the Dufrocq Elementary School Library and in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. She previously garnered experience as a librarian at Holy Family School, the principal at St. Isidore Middle School, a teacher in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, a writer and producer for The Video Company, an instructor of a conversation class at Louisiana State University, and a freelance writer, storyteller, and pre- and post-video producer. Additionally, she has developed instructional materials, sponsored yearbooks and literary magazines, and performed skits for people as “The Book Doctor.” One of the highlights of her career was when a little girl she had been working with hugged her and thanked her. The moment stuck with Dr. Kelly Nix because the child had autism, and she found being able to bridge the gap between that child and her world to be phenomenal and moving. Dr. Kelly Nix was also thrilled when a student gave her the “Book Doctor” moniker. She has used the designation ever since.
Research | Science
After decades of experience as a research scientist, Thelma Dunnebacke Dixon considers herself lucky to still be having fun in the role. She loves witnessing change and development, particularly in cells, and has really found her niche at the Viral and Rickettsial Disease Laboratory of the California Department of Health Care Services. She has worked for the institution since 1976, and previously held the title in the Virus Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, between 1954 and 1976.
One of the highlights of Dr. Dunnebacke's journey was having a species of free living amoeba named Naegleria Dunnebackei in her honor. She was also proud to be a grantee of the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Dunnebacke attributes her success to her husband, Jonathan S. Dixon, and to her children, James Dunnebacke, Lindsay Ann, and Frederick Charles, as well as to all the people willing to talk to her and encourage her along the way. Her achievements were featured in various editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in the West, and Who’s Who of American Women. She hopes to be remembered for her honesty.
With a background in social work, psychology, and health care, Connie Goodman-Milone has become a valued member of the medical writing community. She started as a freelance writer in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1987, and moved to New York City in 1989. She now lends her knowledge to freelance pieces in Miami, Fla., and to “The Bereavement Poetry Project,” which she has co-authored since 2016. Some of her other recent publications include “Healthy Stories,” “Vitas Vital Signs,” “The Grief Observer,” and “Today’s Caregiver.” She was a contributing writer for the Miami Herald from 2002 to 2017, and in 2017, she served as the director of community relations for the South Florida Writers Association.
Ms. Goodman-Milone prepared for her endeavors by earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from The George Washington University in 1985 and a Master of Social Work from Barry University in 1999. She also garnered experience as a social work intern in the Miami Veterans Healthcare System through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. To connect with her peers, Ms. Goodman-Milone joined prominent organizations like the National Writers Union, the Florida State Poets Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Association for Poetry Therapy.
Education | Science
Fueled by a curiosity for the world around her, Diana Jeanne Cosand has found biology to be the perfect career. She loves that it grants her the opportunity to better understand the nature she grew up admiring, and to support causes dedicated to its conservation. One of her first positions in the field was ranger naturalist at Yosemite National Park. Ms. Cosand’s experience in that role was a real turning point because it sparked her desire to teach environmental biology. She proceeded to obtain roles as adjunct faculty in biology at Cerritos College, Irvine Valley College, Fullerton College, and Santa Ana College. In 2000, Ms. Cosand became an assistant professor of biology at Chaffey College, and in 2002, she became an associate professor of biology at the school. She remains in that role to this day.
To prepare for her endeavors, Ms. Cosand earned a Master of Arts in biology and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from California State University in 1991 and 1987, respectively. She credits her growth in the field to her professors, who guided and mentored her. She also notes that her time on an educational cruise in Alaska to see the site of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 was an impactful learning moment, as it brought her face-to-face with a real environmental disaster.
Law | Consulting | Finance
Positive, hardworking and honest, Eva Jo Sparks has become a trusted member of the forensic consulting community. Her expertise lies in white collar crimes like financial and health care fraud, predatory lending, and mortgage crime, and led her to create her company, Oklahoma Expert Witness. There, she is responsible for forensic accounting and investigations, detecting embezzlement, reconstructing financial records and books, preparing cases for court, creating trial exhibits, and testifying in federal and state courts.
The most gratifying aspect of Ms. Sparks’ job, however, is assisting pro se litigants who have been wrongfully cheated and have no means to assist themselves. One of her most notable cases involved an attorney altering her expert report regarding Medicare fraud. She worked endlessly to get documents to prove her point, and ultimately spent a year and a half on the pro bono project before she succeeded in getting her client out of prison. Even better, her client’s sentence was vacated and he didn’t have to pay the restitution.
Education | Home Economics
Renowned for her expertise in education, home economics and health care, Allamay Anderson has been thriving as a professional development consultant in New York City since 1978. She started her career as a school food service dietitian for the New York City Board of Education from 1968 to 1988, and in 1988, she transitioned to become a home and career skills teacher at Louis Armstrong Middle School. A year later, Ms. Anderson joined the staff of Manhattan High School as a special education teacher, where she stayed for six years before becoming as AIDS resource coordinator. Ms. Anderson also garnered experience as a partner of Masiba Building Corp., owner of AEA Development Service, and executive board member of the School Education Alumni Association at Fordham University. From 2014 to 2018, she lent her services as an elementary school math and literary tutor at Kalamazoo Public Schools.
When Ms. Anderson isn’t working, she enjoys being active in her community. She is currently a leadership member of the Western Michigan University Life Long Learning Academy Center for Gerontology, where she has been since 2011. Prior to that, she was an assistant presiding partner of the Dynamic Investors Club from 1996 to 2007, and a member of the Long Island 28 Episcopal Cursillo in 1991, as well as a general vestry member and a vestry member of youth ministries for the Grace Episcopal Church from 1982 to 1985 and from 1996 to 1999, respectively. In 1983, Ms. Anderson was a member of the Kwanza Advisory Committee Urban Coalition in Puerto Rico, and from 1980 to 1983, she was an officer of the New York City Community Development Agency. She was also involved with the League for Better Community Life in the ‘70s.