A family affair: ’Berg honors young alumni siblings

Oct 18, 2012

Award WinnersDr. Jennifer Seminario, ’03, and her attorney/judge brother, Frank, ’05, were wholeheartedly honored to receive HU’s 2012 Young Alumni Achievement Awards on Oct. 12. Something else runs in the family: Jennifer and Frank’s mutual appreciation for their faculty mentors, the role these mentors played in their career success and the foundation both received at Heidelberg.

“All I ever wanted to do was be a doctor, and my professors truly influenced me along the way,” Jennifer said. “I still remember so many things Dr. (Susan) Carty taught me, including the difference between poison ivy and poison oak,” she joked. She also credited retired biology professor Dr. Bob Murray for helping make her Heidelberg experience meaningful and special, and preparing her for medical school.

The opportunity to work one on one with faculty members is a skill she has transferred to working directly with patients, training her to treat each as an individual. “I really felt my classes at Heidelberg prepared me for medical school, and my professors affirmed for me that I could do anything.” Currently, Jennifer is on staff at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, working on a gastroenterology fellowship. She completed her internal medicine residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“I’m only just starting, but I’m getting close,” Jennifer said. “I have so much I want to accomplish in my life in medicine. I will do my best to make this institution proud.”

For Frank, political science professors Dr. John Bing and Dr. Marc O’Reilly, along with retired professors Rita Barga and Dr. Skip Oliver, made a strong and positive impact that carried him through law school and to his current position as an administrative judge for New York State’s Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. He served as assistant district attorney for Jefferson County, N.Y., making a name for himself by gaining thousands of convictions in drug trials. He successfully prosecuted two high-visibility cases involving Watertown, N.Y.’s largest marijuana and cocaine arrest and the largest heroin-smuggling operation in the history of the Cape Vincent Correctional Facility.

Though still early in his career, Frank has maintained his connection with Bing and the guidance he continues to receive. “You can’t quantify what an asset he is to Heidelberg inside and outside the classroom,” Frank said. “He is the type of professor you can develop a relationship with, and that’s so different from going to law school.”

Their mentoring relationship “is a testament to the type of person he is and the type of institution Heidelberg is,” he said.

Jennifer added: “I hope the students going here today understand how special a place this is.”