Five Pitt employees named to Pittsburgh magazine’s 40 under 40 list

Pittsburgh magazine’s annual 40 under 40 list has recognized five people who work at Pitt. The magazine said that this year’s class members were singled out for how they responded to the pandemic. They “represent the many ways people came together, found new opportunities to make a difference and unearthed creativity they may not have otherwise.”

Those with University ties are:

Monique Smith, 33: Faculty affairs manager in the provost’s Office of Faculty Diversity & Development. She came to Pitt at the beginning of 2021 to help diversify the University’s faculty and provide professional development for the current faculty.

Maya Ragavan, 35: Assistant professor of pediatrics at Pitt and a pediatrician at UPMC Children’s Hospital. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ragavan was a leader with the Pittsburgh Community Vaccine Collaborative, which partnered with local organizations to make sure that marginalized voices weren’t being left out of the process of researching and obtaining the vaccine.

Shenay Jeffrey, 32: Assistant director, Office of PittServes. she is a mentor and advocate for students and played an integral role in the creation of the school’s first Civic Action Week last year. She also helped found Black Youth Connection, a mentoring program that connects Black undergraduates to local Hill District youth as part of her work at Pitt,

Utibe Essien, 36: Assistant professor of medicine. He also works as a health disparities researcher in the VA Pittsburgh Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion and published one of the first articles reporting racial disparities in COVID-19 deaths after the pandemic started.

Taylor Abel, 37: Assistant professor of neurological surgery and surgical director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program. Abel has developed an epilepsy program that includes a multi-disciplinary clinic for children being evaluated for and recovering from epilepsy surgery. One of his current research projects is investigating social, demographic and geographic barriers to high-level epilepsy care in Western Pennsylvania.