Respiratory Care faculty, student earn state and national accolades


Karissa Kuneli

Youngstown State University’s Respiratory Care program has been making headlines nationally and across the state, with one student and two faculty members winning significant accolades.

YSU senior Karissa Kuneli was awarded two prestigious scholarships, one from the American Respiratory Care Foundation and a second from the Ohio Society for Respiratory Care. Kelly L. Colwell, a part-time faculty member in Respiratory Care, won a national Postgraduate Education Recognition Award from the ARCF; and Mary Yacovone, associate professor, Health Professions, was named Ohio’s Respiratory Care Education Practitioner of the Year by the OSRC.

“It’s obvious that the ‘culture of excellence’ is a longstanding tradition in the Respiratory Care program,” said Joseph Mistovich, chair of YSU’s Department of Health Professions. “It’s a theme that is passed along from class to class, from faculty to students, and throughout both undergraduate and graduate programs.”

Kuneli, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Care, was the sole recipient from a slate of candidates nationwide chosen for the William W. Burgin, Jr., MD and Robert M. Lawrence MD Education Recognition Award presented by the ACRF and the National Board for Respiratory Care. The honor includes a cash award, a certificate of recognition, airfare, one night's lodging, and registration for the American Association for Respiratory Care Congress 2015 in Tampa, where she will be recognized.

Kuneli was also awarded the OSRC’s statewide Charles Robinson Memorial Scholarship, which is the society’s highest monetary award.


Kelly Colwell

Colwell graduated from YSU with a Master of Respiratory Care degree and is now pursuing a Doctorate of Education/Education Leadership, also at YSU. Besides teaching at YSU, he is employed by Akron Children Hospital, Mahoning Valley, where he coordinates the neonatal/pediatric pulmonary diagnostic, patient and family education and research clinic.

He has been selected to receive the ARCF’s William F. Miller, MD Postgraduate Education Recognition Award, presented annually to a respiratory therapist with at least a baccalaureate degree and a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA. Colwell was the sole recipient of this prestigious national award and will also be honored at the AARC Congress.


Mary Yacovone

Yacovone, a graduate of YSU’s Respiratory Care program, joined YSU’s faculty in 2008 and serves as program director of the BS in Respiratory Care, BS in Respiratory Care Completion and Master of Respiratory Care programs. Prior to joining the faculty she was employed as a respiratory therapist for Eastern Ohio Pulmonary Consultants Inc.

The Respiratory Care Education Practitioner of the Year Award she earned is presented annually to an Ohio therapist who exemplifies leadership, clinical expertise, team building, professionalism and community involvement in the field of respiratory care.