Where are they now

Some Updates on the Scholarship Winners:

NICK HOMA (2006)

NickHomaAfter receiving the Justin Sheftel Memorial Scholarship in 2006, Nick graduated from Parkland High School and applied his award toward tuition at the University of Pittsburgh.  Nick played baseball against Justin and has fond memories of those games. During his time in Pittsburgh, Nick spent two and a half years working in the biological research lab of Dr.Andrew VanDemark on a project that involved the search for potential anti-Tuberculosis drug targets.  For his efforts, he was awarded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Fellowship three times during his enrollment.  In April 2010 Nick graduated with cum laude honors from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in Microbiology.  He also achieved a minor in both Chemistry and Latin Language as well as a certificate in the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine.  In the fall of 2010, Nick began graduate school at Duke University in Durham, NorthCarolina.  He was recently the lead author on an article published in a scientific journal for his work on Epstein – Barr virus. Nick has achieved his PhD in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology from Duke University.

From Nick: “I was thrilled to be able to use his scholarship towards beginning my career in science. I believe that it is a fantastic way to help talented and motivated students start their adult lives and careers with their best foot forward. Based on the accomplishments all of the other recipients to date, it is obvious that the scholarship is serving its purpose brilliantly.”


Kim Shemanski
Kim Shemanski

After graduating from Parkland High School, Kim attended University of Maryland, and received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology from the University of Maryland in May 2010, she continued working on a Master of Science in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown. In 2012 she moved to Washington, D.C. to start medical school at Georgetown.  She also helped coordinate Georgetown’s student -run free clinic for the homeless and uninsured in the Southeast, Washington D.C. She is graduated in May and has moved to sunny California and is a General Surgery intern at USC in Los Angeles.

From Kimberly: “Maryland is a huge school, and I think that it could have been very easy to get lost among the crowd. During a period when everything around me was new, the Justin Sheftel Scholarship reminded me of home and of the fundamental values that were instilled there. Honoring the memory of such a commendable young man was (and still is) something to strive for daily. Additionally, playing in the tournament every year has fueled lasting friendships. It has been a truly special experience for me.”


Justin Sheftel Pic Bridget graduated from University of Delaware in June 2011 with a Bachelors of Science in Accounting and Finance.  After graduation she moved to Manayunk, Pa to begin her career as an auditor for PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Currently she is a CPA and works in financial reporting for Atlas Energy. She has attended a number of tournaments, and because of Justin’s legacy, is committed to live each day to the fullest.

In her free time  Bridget  continues to be actively involved in intramural sports and helps to organize charity events through work.

From Bridget: “I will always be thankful and humbled as a recipient of the Justin Sheftel Memorial Scholarship. This was more than just a scholarship to me. In addition to helping me pay for college, it became a commitment to continue the legacy of Justin: to live each day to the fullest, to help others, to be a spirited athlete both on and off the field, to maintain my integrity, and especially to be true to myself. I received the scholarship 7 years ago, but vividly remember both the sensation of endorsement and the challenge to be a role model. His legacy will be with me throughout the rest of my life.”


Bobby Trophy Bobby graduated valedictorian with a BS in biochemistry at Muhlenberg College. While at Muhlenberg, he ran cross country and track and field during all four years, and was a three time academic All-American.

Bobby pursued a medicine degree and graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 2015. He is now living in Denver and completing his residency in General Surgery at the University of Colorado Hospital.

From Bobby: “Looking back, the Sheftel Scholarship was an excellent reminder for me to follow my passions in academics and also in athletics.”




Emily Stankoski
Emily Stankolski

After graduating from Parkland High School, Emily was accepted at the University of Pittsburgh, she graduated in 2012 with a degree in Neuroscience and a minor in chemistry. She graduated from the physician assistant program at South University in Savannah in March. She is hoping to work in either neurology or emergency medicine.

Emily is now working as a Physician Assistant in Spine and Orthopedic Surgery at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.

From Emily: “I feel extremely honored and grateful to have been a recipient of the Justin Sheftel Memorial Scholarship. Throughout my undergraduate career and now in my graduate education, I continue to be inspired by Justin’s memory. I strive to emulate the same values that Justin embodied in his life, which have touched so many people. This scholarship has provided me with lifelong motivation to live up to my highest potential, and to serve as a role model to those around me.”

KALE SWEENEY(2008)Kale graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health Studies with a minor

Kale Sweeney
Kale Sweeney

in Psychology from Johns Hopkins.  He decided to continue his education by obtaining a Master’s degree at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School Public Health for an additional year.  Defensive starter all 4 years on the Johns Hopkins football team.  Kale worked in health policy and compliance for Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in Baltimore.Kale is currently working as a consultant for HighPoint Global in Baltimore, MD.

Kale has been an active participant in the tournament as captain of Team America. He values each time everyone reunites to compete, have fun, and reflect on Justin’s life.  His team has taken home the trophy two years in a row.

From Kale: It amazes me that I graduated high school six years ago, and I am fortunate to say that I’ve had a lifetime of experiences in those six years. As a Justin Sheftel Memorial Scholarship winner I have been extremely honored to get to know the Sheftel family and become involved in the Justin Sheftel Tournament for several years now. It is an event that brings together family and friends that may not see each other on a regular basis because of the various life endeavors everyone has chosen to follow. The tournament has been a huge success and keeps getting bigger and better each year as smiling faces and enthusiastic spirits reunite on a special weekend to remember Justin. The connection that links everyone in attendance is Justin, and the impression he made on everyone he knew and everyone that knew him. I always reiterate that I never personally knew Justin but it is very easy to see the values and drive that he embodied each time everyone meets to play softball, share stories, laugh, and reflect on Justin’s life on these special weekends. I would like to thank the Sheftel family again for everything that they have done and continue to do, not only for high school kids that are looking to further their education like I once was, but for continuing to unite friends, families, and communities while remembering their son, Justin.


Nick Gisolfi
Nick Gisolfi

Nick received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Health Studies and Psychology while attending the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences. He graduated from Johns Hopkins with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and Computer Engineering.  He is currently working towards a PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University with a focus on data mining and machine learning.

“As a Justin Sheftel Memorial Scholarship winner I always reiterate that I never personally knew Justin but it is very easy to see the values and drive that he embodied each time everyone meets to play softball, share stories, laugh, and reflect on Justin’s life on these special weekends. The Sheftel family continues to unite friends, families, and communities while remembering their son, Justin”.


Michaeleena graduated from Temple University in May 2013 with a bachelors Michaleena Cosgrovedegree in Criminal Justice. She spent the next year interning for the Philadelphia Federal Detention Center. She currently lives in San Diego working for TSA. Still an active avid runner. Michaeleena is taking classes and pursuing an education certificate, she plans on becoming an Elementary School teacher.

She is truly inspired by the Justin Sheftel foundation and how it has helped so many individuals succeed.



David StraussDavid graduated with a B.S. degree at Bucknell University, in Cell Biology/Biochemistry. He is currently attending medical school at Temple University.

From Justin’s story he learned to work hard, persevere and ‘hang loose’, all of which have helped him to get to where he is now.

From David Strauss: “Looking back on the influences of my community at Parkland, as well as opportunities that the Sheftel foundation presents, Justin’s memory and characteristics we’re more than a positive influence for my college experience, and I plan to utilize these ideals in furthering both my education and athletic career. From Justin’s story, I internalized the necessity to work hard, ability to persevere, and concept of ‘hanging loose’ – and I believe all of these facades have helped me get to where I am now. Hard work is the foundation for success in any of life’s endeavors. In these endeavors, there are bound to be hiccups and road blocks. Perseverance is the fusion of hard work and ingenuity to traverse these problems to stay on the path to your goals. Lastly, a cool and fun loving demeanor facilitates making friendships along this path, and seeing the value in your efforts. The stories I have heard of Justin, as well as the values I have seen in the other Sheftel scholarship winners, display these just characteristics. In his academic, athletic, and personal endeavors, Justin displayed determination, perseverance, and the humorous and cool demeanor to not only be successful, but influence all those around him. I owe Justin a thanks for prompting my own introspection with regards to these characteristics while along my own path.”

Financially, I am genuinely honored to have received this award, as I know it has opened an opportunity for myself with the rising cost of a secondary education. More-so than the financial aspect, Justin’s memory has given me the most in the sense of shaping my mindset and attitude necessary to achieve my goals, but also likewise positively influence those who I interact with.”


Melissa graduated from Penn State University with a Master’s in Accounting and aIMG_2226 minor in the Legal Environment of Business. She is working as an Audit Associate at KPMG in Pittsburgh.
While at school she was actively involved with the Student Pink Zone Organization, which raises money to fight breast cancer. She Mel danced 2014 in THON, a 46-hour dance marathon to help pediatric cancer patients and their families.

From Mel: “Throughout my time in college I have often been reminded of the values that Justin emulated. My Boston Red Sox cap from the first tournament I attended sits proudly in my room at school and reminds me that success requires hard work, to do what you love, and always do what you can to help and inspire those around you.   I know that Justin and the entire Sheftel family will continue to inspire me as I graduate and begin my career.”



Ben Breiner2016Ben attended Lehigh University, studying Supply Chain Management. In 2014 he studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain. He graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in Supply Chain Management in the Spring of 2015. Ben just took a new position with with Chobani in NY, working in the Sales and Operations Planning.

Looking back on the scholarship he still feels honored and humbled to be a recipient. He feels having his name tied to an award in Justin’s memory is truly an honor, and has positively affected his college career. Each time he visits the tournament he throughly enjoys the atmosphere and is constantly impressed by the growth of the event from year to year. Receiving the scholarships has positively affected my college career. I greatly appreciate this scholarship and the tournament which remembers Justin each year.


biopicSydney attended Temple University, studying Architecture. In 2015 she was accepted into the design track within the architecture department.

In the fall of her Senior year at Tyler School of Art, she studied abroad in Rome for 3 months.

“I was surrounded by teachers and a landscape of history and architectural splendor. During my time there I studied and produced work for a local architect/ and was challenged to explore new depths of design and architecture. Upon returning I only had one semester left until graduation. two months before graduation I accepted a job offer with a Custom/ Specialty metal fabricator, M. Cohen and Sons a custom and speciality metal fabricator designing high end retail store fronts.  I have had the privilege to work on such projects as Zaha Hadid’s W. 257 28th St High Line residence, the World Trade Center, and numerous High-end retail storefronts.”

From Sydney:  “When I received the scholarship I had just committed to playing on the Varsity Field Hockey team at Temple. I spent my first two years with the team working hard to transform into a key player for my teammates. I began to earn more playing time, got a few starts, and even scored a goal! Last spring I was officially accepted into the design track within the Architecture department. My studio classes and team practice/ games became a direct time conflict. For a while I tried to split my time but came to the realization that I had to choose between the two. I struggled with the decision but ultimately chose to part from the team. It is almost been a year since I made that change and have not looked back, I have so much more time to put into my projects and acquired a position of leadership in Temple’s chapter of The American Institute of Architectural Students. We are designing and building a ramp and deck for a family in Upper Darby with a handicapped daughter who is confined to a wheelchair. I have stayed active with field hockey in playing when I get the chance and coaching middle and high school students. I am also training to run a half-marathon later this year.

I am not sure that I can accurately convey my level of gratitude for being granted this scholarship, it is two fold though. The scholarship itself has helped me and my family finance my continuing education this is a blessing that is truly unparalleled. Perhaps even more than that when I accepted this scholarship I felt a connection to Justin that I have carried with me. The prompt for the scholarship application essay asked us to consider “‘WWJD’ What Would Justin Do?” Justin set a great example both on the field and in the classroom providing me with a role model. His legacy has guided me through me many of the difficulties I have faced since graduating high school. ”

The award helped her to finance this continuing education, and has been a blessing to her and her family. She carries a reminder with the bracelet from the tournament.


Ryan graduated from Penn State, with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a minor in Energy Engineering.  He is currently working for Dewberry Consultants as a Civil Engineer.

Ryan Rizzetto
Ryan Rizzetto

While at Penn State he was very involved in THON 2016 as a Supply Logistics captain. Ryan is grateful that the scholarships pushes him to excel in his academic, professional, and social life. He is Captain of Angela’s Angels, in honor of a dear family friend who died recently.

Justin’s scholarship has simply been nothing but motivation for me throughout my college career.  his memory along with his hardworking personality, is something that has been instilled in him mind since receiving the scholarship. He is forever grateful that the scholarship puss him to excel in his academic, professional and social life.  He is Captain of Angela’s Angels, in honor of a dear family friend who died recently.


Updated Picture-LizLizzy graduated from West Chester University studying Finance and International business, she is currently working at Vanguard in the Flagship Services Division.  In January of 2015 she volunteered abroad in Cusco, Peru where she taught English for two weeks to young girls aspiring to work in the tourism industry.

In 2014 she  studied abroad in Rome, Italy and continues her love for soccer by playing on the West Chester Women’s Club Soccer Team. Lizzy is involved with a sorority Alpha Delta Pi, she served as Finance VP.

Being the recipient of this award represents a commitment I have made to emulate Justin and uphold the values and morals he held important in his own life. While she never had the honor of knowing Justin, the admirable characteristics had are so apparent by the impact he has left on others.  She will continue to strive to live my life leaving that same positive impact on people as Justin did, whether they are my close friends or simply people I encounter in my every day life. Lizzy is thankful to Sheftel family, friends, and community for blessing her with scholarships three years ago. It continues to inspire her to live a life like Justin’s; one full of had work and dedication, which ultimately led him to be the well rounded and well respected individual that everyone knew him to be.

Paul Tajiri
Paul Tajiri


Paul is currently a senior at Messiah College majoring in Electrical & Computer. He plans to apply to graduate programs for neural engineering.

Some activities that he is involved in are Koinonia Campus Ministry and The Collaboratory Applied Research. Through the Justin Sheftel Memorial and the individual and spirit behind it, he was reinforced with the essential values and principles that embody his character. Paul is truly thankful for the impact the Justin Sheftel Memorial has had upon his  life, and the impact that it will continue to have upon others. The Memorial and the individuals who help coordinate and direct it continue to be true blessings to all of those involved, and he is once again thankful for all their hard work.


Callie Krajcir
Callie Krajcir

Callie attending West Chester, in her senior year, majoring in nutrition, and playing volleyball for West Chester, trying to balance both. She is applying for dietetic/nutritionist internship after she graduates.

After being chosen for the scholarships she realized how lucky she was to be a part of an event that can bring tougher a whole community.  It also inspired her to study hard and to enjoy college.  She has been our special ‘go to’ person for the Mocktail, working with Keith Groller keeping everything organized! Callie looks forward to seeing the Sheftel family, her fellow scholarship winners and friends at the tournament this year.


2014 Recipients 


Paige is currently keeping very active at York College of Pennsylvania. She is in her

Paige Muth
Paige Muth

second year nursing  and has been on Deans List. She is the secretary of her school’s Relay for Life chapter and the philanthropy chairwoman of Phi Mu Fraternity. Paige remains very devoted to helping others. Paige is still active by playing soccer intramurals.

“I think of Justin often, especially when I see my Red Sox cap hanging in my room. I can’t thank the Sheftels enough for this gracious gift and being able to help keep Justin’s memory alive. Helping out at the Justin Sheftel Memorial Softball Tournament was truly an eye opening experience to see the community gather to celebrate the life of Justin. I was never a big baseball fan but after hearing that Justin loved the Red Sox, they became my favorite team. Every time I see a game or someone mentions them, I think back on Justin. It is a complete honor to carry on Justin’s name. I would like to thank the Sheftels for helping me further my education. I will continue to help others by pursuing my nursing degree at York College of Pennsylvania.”


Jimmy Hahn
Jimmy Hahn

Jimmy is in his third year at Muhlenberg College, majoring in mathematics, and also studying secondary education. Jimmy’s goal is to become a middle school or high school math teacher. he substitutes when he has time for Northampton School District.  Jimmy has been our newest addition to the Tournament, he is the Captain for Rebels Reunited.

He continues to  play basketball  although not at the college but by playing in adult leagues, coaching, and refereeing. Jimmy was a wonderful addition to the tournament 2015 and, we are thrilled to  have him be part of the tournament. “When my name was called as a recipient, I cannot express the feeling and sense of pride that overcame me. That feeling has stayed with me since then, and will certainly continue the rest of my life. The qualities that Justin possessed, to everyone and everywhere, are truly admirable and I hope I could even come close to having those as well. As an athlete, I esteem his character on the field, but his character off the field is even more revered by me. His selflessness, caring, and kindness (among countless other attributes) towards his family, friends, and community all contribute to his unparalleled legacy. I noticed the impact he had on everyone who knew him at the softball tournament, where his family, friends, and community members still celebrate him. This award is such a prestigious honor, and I am overcome with pride to represent such a tremendous human being. I would like to thank the Sheftel family, and I hope every person tries to reflect Justin’s character.”

2015 Recipients 

Caitlin Carlson

Caitlin Carlson
Caitlin Carlson

Caitlin is a sophomore studying Elementary Education at James Madison University and plans to pursue a career as a gifted teacher in the future.

Caitlin is involved with several organizations on campus, ” I do think of your family and the scholarship foundation through my work with JMU SafeRides. I’m still so exceptionally thankful for all the Justin Sheftel Memorial Fund has done for me and honored to be a part of Justin’s legacy.”

To be the recipient of the Justin Sheftel Memorial Scholarship was one of the greatest honors I have ever received. Over the course of my senior year, I filled out more scholarship applications than I can count, and the overall process had become somewhat habitual. But, this particular one meant more to me than any other because of the characteristics it valued. I will forever be grateful for the monetary scholarship awarded to me, but being a part of such an outstanding legacy is where the honor truly lies. Every athlete is taught to be things like selfless and optimistic, but it is rare that one practices those values as adamantly as Justin did. Hearing stories about him from his family and friends at the softball tournament in June, was even further proof of Justin’s inspirational character. To have even be considered for this award was an honor in and of itself, but to be chosen as a recipient, among such incredible past recipients. is an even greater blessing. I would like to thank the Sheftel family, their friends, the Scholarship Foundation, and the various members of the community who chose me as the recipient, and who continue to make this award possible for Parkland students. As I keep moving forward in life, I hope to represent Justin’s legacy and the Justin Sheftel Memorial Scholarship Foundation in the best and most positive way that I can.

Jesus Alvarado

Jesus Alvarado

Jesus is pursuing a pre-medical higher education in Temple University’s HonorsProgram. Jesus volunteered last summer in Peru, to work with the families in underprivileged areas.

“My desire to portray characteristics of the type of person Justin was has allowed me to have an impact in the College of Science and Technology at Temple, as well as the community itself. I’m extremely grateful and humbled to be a recipient of the Justin Sheftel Memorial Scholarship.”

“The scholarship provided by the Justin Sheftel Memorial Fund has significantly helped me pursue a pre-medical higher education in Temple University’s Honors Program. The memorial fund, community, and Sheftel family that creates this opportunity for

students and members of the community to gain awareness about driving under the influence, does a truly phenomenal job. Still, I wish I could’ve met the reason behind the all of this. Those who had the chance to meet Justin and have him as a part of their lives are very fortunate because it’s undeniable that there was something very special about him. There are a few number of people that transmit a special aura of ambition, benevolence, and diligence altogether. From what I was able to gather through my research about the former Parkland student, he possessed that special Aura. From stories told by his former teachers (still at PHS), to relatives and members of the Memorial Fund; it’s very clear that he is held dear to many lives and has certainly had an impact on mine.”

“The ambition, benevolence, and diligence that Justin possessed formulate the personality of a true athlete. As Justin was recognized for his love for baseball and his continuous effort, his ideal athletic personality traits are truly admirable. I’ve treated basketball in a similar way. Though I’ve never been handed anything in the sport I’ve always worked hard to perform well and help my teams as much as I could. After moving to the Parkland school district my Sophomore year I couldn’t fit High School basketball into my schedule anymore but that didn’t stop me from continuing to play the sport that I love. I immediately began playing recreational basketball in the district and developed a strong bond with my team. However on and off of the court, I’ve realized that the three characteristics of ambition, benevolence, and diligence lead to success in any path. I’m extremely grateful and humbled to be a recipient of the Justin Sheftel Memorial Scholarship.”

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