MTHS Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Last Updated: 4/9/2019 4:45 PM

Preetha Basaviah, MD

Preetha Basaviah, MD, is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford University where she serves as Assistant Dean of Preclerkship Education, Director of the Practice of Medicine Course (two-year doctoring course) for Stanford medical students, and Educator for CARE (Compassion, Advocacy, Respect, Advocacy), and as an inpatient and outpatient attending physician.  At Stanford since 2006, she has completed certification and faculty development through the Stanford Faculty Development Center in Professionalism and Teaching, Faculty Fellows Program, and through the American Academy on Communication is Healthcare.  She received the 2011 SGIM National and Regional Award for Scholarship in Medical Education, 20017 General Internal medicine Division Teaching Award, the 2009 Kaiser Award for excellence in preclinical teaching, the 2010 Larry Mathers Award for exceptional medical student teaching and mentoring, the 2010 California Region Clinician Educator of the Year Award, and the 2011 SGIM National Award for Medical Education Scholarship.

She previously worked at UCSF from 2000-2005, where she served as an academic hospitalist, general internist, member of the Academy of Medical Educators, Teaching Scholar working with Dean David Irby, and Co-Director of the Foundations of Patient Card Course at UCSF Medical School. She received a BA and MD from Brown University. She completed a Primary Care Internal Medicine residency at Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard University, and she then served as Primary Care Chief Resident for the Beth Israel Hospital residency training program at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, located in West Roxbury, MA. After completing residency, Dr. Basaviah pursued a fellowship in medical education at the Harvard Institute for Education and Research as well as a faculty position as Associate Firm Chief and hospitalist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard University. While at Harvard, she received the Lowell B. McGee Teaching Award and the Katherine Swan Ginsburg Award for humanism in medicine.   Dr. Basaviah has been active directing doctoring courses and developing clinical skills curricula for medical students to introduce them to hospital and outpatient clinical setting culture and experiences. In addition, she teaches and mentors residents in both outpatient and inpatient settings. She has written articles and book chapters in these areas of medical education (hospital medicine, bedside medicine, cultural competency, update in hospital medicine, cardiac auscultation curricula, feedback, information literacy, discharge process, and communicating professionalism). AAMC, WGEA (Co-Director of 2011 WGEA, regional officer 2013-current), ACP, SGIM, SHM (Director of 2005 national meeting), ACLGIM, and APDIM are venues in which she has presented workshops, plenary sessions, and panels regionally and nationally. She has actively participated in the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) and Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) at regional and national levels by chairing and co-chairing committees involving national meetings, clinical vignettes, medical education, and clinical updates. She served as SHM Annual Meeting Chair in 2005, Pre-Course Chair in 2004, CA Regional SGIM President in 2004-2005, and WGEA Co-Director in 2011. She was recently inducted into the Association of Chairs and Leaders in General Internal Medicine (ACLGIM) and served as Annual Meeting Co-Chair and Leadership Summit Co-Chair in 2011-2012. Finally, she has served on the board of Brown Medical School for the past 4 years. She enjoys dancing (Indian classical, folk, ballet, and jazz), tennis, hula-hooping, traveling, and most of all, spending time with her family and friends. She and husband Venky Ganesan, a venture capitalist in Palo Alto, are the lucky parents of three girls.

Sayantani DasGupta

Sayantani DasGupta is a physician, writer and health humanities scholar. Originally trained in pediatrics and public health, she is now on faculty in the graduate program in Narrative Medicine, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, all at Columbia University. She is also the co-chair of the Columbia Seminar in Narrative, Health and Social Justice, and a faculty fellow of the Columbia Center for the Study of Social Difference. She teaches courses on Illness and Disability Narratives; Narrative , Health and Social Justice; Racial Justice and Speculative Fiction; and Diasporic Fictions and Narrative Medicine. In the past, she has also taught the Health Advocacy and fiction writing programs at Sarah Lawrence College.

Sayantani is the author or co-editor of four books: The Demon Slayers and Other Stories: Bengali Folktales (Interlink, 1995), Her Own Medicine: A Woman’s Journey from Student to Doctor (Ballantine, 1997), Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies (Kent State University Press, 2007) and Globalization and Transnational Surrogacy in India: Outsourcing Life (Lexington Books, 2014). Her creative and academic work is widely published and anthologized in publications including JAMA, The Hastings Center Report, Ms. Magazine, Creative Nonfiction, Feminist Studies, Academic Medicine, Teaching and Learning in Medicine, Literature and Medicine, and Literary Mam. Sayantani often writes online in spaces such as Salon, The Weeklings, The Feminist Wire, Racialicious, Adios, Barbie, and Sociological Images. She gives talks nationally on stories, race, gender, medicine and justice and has presented at TEDxSLC, The #140character conference, The Business Innovation Factory Story Summit, and many other conferences and occasions. More can be found about her work at

Sayantani first moved to Montville in 1983, in the eighth grade. During her four years at Montville High School, she was involved in the literary magazine, forensics team, chorus, and drama club – where she was lucky to learn and grow under the mentorship of Janice Kucher-Patenaude, and other wonderful teachers. Some of her fondest memories of Montville are being involved in the fall plays, spring musicals, and attending speech and debate tournaments with her team. It was in Montville that Sayantani first recognized her love of both science and the arts, and she has spent all of her career at the intersection of health and stories. She attended Brown University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1992 with an A.B. in Health and Society, honors, and the M.H. Hicks Award for Community Health. She subsequently studied at Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine and Public Health, graduating with an M.D. and Masters of Public Health in Population Dynamics in 1998. Her residency training was at the Social Pediatrics Residency Program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Hospital and she did a fellowship in Urban Community Health through the Division of General Pediatrics at Columbia University. Sayantani lives by the beautiful Hudson River in Palisades, NY with her husband Boris, her son Kirin and her daughter Sunaya.

Julianne Kowalski

Julianne attended MTHS from 2003-2007. As a high school student she earned 11 varsity letters while playing field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. Senior year she was elected as a captain to all three teams and received all-conference honors in each sport. Julianne was proud to play in county, conference, as well as state all-star games that year. She earned the school’s first 1,000-point milestone for the MTHS girls’ basketball program. While at Montville, Julianne was also active in student council as well as in the local church’s youth ministry. She graduated 7th in her class and was accepted early decision to Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Part of Julianne’s decision to attend Colby stemmed from the fact that she could be a part of the women’s basketball and lacrosse teams. She played one year of lacrosse, and helped the team to their second consecutive conference championship as well as a repeat trip to the NCAA tournament. Basketball was her true love, though, and she made an early impact, getting to start as a forward in games her freshman season and earning all-state rookie honors that year. Julianne was a junior and senior captain of the team, leading them to the most successful seasons in school history. With a regular season record of 24-3, her junior year squad earned the right to host the NCAA Division III tournament. Under her senior leadership, and second 1,000 point endeavor, the team returned to the national tournament with her last game as a close loss to nearby William Paterson University. Julianne was a first-team all-conference selection as well as the recipient of Colby’s Marjorie Bither Award for athletic and academic excellence.

While at Colby, basketball was not Julianne’s only activity. She entered her freshman year as a Presidential Scholar, meaning that she was in the top 10% of incoming first-years. Her academic drive led her to pursue two majors: Biochemistry and Religious Studies, both of which she completed with honors. In the lab, Julianne spent many hours performing experiments with marine bacteria, work which later translated into research positions in the laboratories at Hackensack University Medical Center as well as world-renown Memorial Sloan Kettering. At Colby, she enjoyed her time spent with her teammates, friends, and fellow classmates and never ceased her actions within the church. Julianne was an active officer in the school’s Newman Council, leading charity work in the community and catholic ministry on campus. Her senior year at Colby, she applied early decision to Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (then UMDNJ) and was admitted as the only early decision candidate of her class.

As New Brunswick was much closer to home than Waterville, Julianne decided to reunite with her high school coach and helped coach a club lacrosse squad. She was head coach f the senior division and mentored young girls who were looking to continue their play into college. During the next few years of medical school she enjoyed being involved in the Rutgers community and played on many intramural teams such as flag football, volleyball and basketball. She tutored Rutgers athletes in their science classes, as it was not long ago that she, herself, was balancing the demands of an academic schedule while competing. Julianne was also a proud recipient of the Kosloski scholarship, a New Jersey award presented to those who in graduate school embody their Polish heritage through determination and dedication to advancing their careers.

James Schmitt

James Schmitt graduated from Montville Township High School in 1977, where he participated in the football and wrestling teams. After high school he completed a 4 year apprenticeship as a sheet metal journeyman.

James is from a long line of family members who have been involved in community service. His family has served the Montville Township District 3 Pine Brook Fire Department for over 100 years. His great grandfather Joseph P. O’Dowd was the first chief of the department and a founding member when it was established in 1913.

At the age of 16 James joined the Pine Brook Volunteer Fire Department as a junior member and became a senior member two years later in 1976. James served on the Board of Fire Commissioners from 1997 to 2002, Assistant Chief from 2002 to 2013, and now Chief from 2014 until the present. This August marks 40 years of continuous service. His son Brian is the 5thgeneration serving in the department and currently a senior member.

James resides in the Pine Brook section of Montville Township with his family, all of whom graduated from Montville High School – his wife Patrice in 1977, his daughter Kathryn in 2002, and son Brian in 2006.

Jennifer Juneau (Scannelli)

Jennifer’s love for poetry began at age six. Influenced by the wealth of book sin her childhood home, she began reading poetry which she considered “mini stories.”

At Montville High School, her love for literature continued and she began writing her own poems, one of which appeared in the high school magazine, Tapestry, her freshman year. Jennifer attended Northeastern University in Boston where she majored in psychology. But her electives held the key to her future. It was when her English professor read Alan Ginsberg’s “Howl” and Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy” to the class, that she knew what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.

After graduating Northeastern University with a B.A. in psychology, Jennifer moved to New York City and took on temporary jobs to allow herself the flexibility to pursue her dream. She perfected her craft under the tutelage of the poet Rachel Wetzsteon.

Several years later, her husband Philip’s job took them and their then 18-month-old son, Dylan, to Switzerland. Her passion to write grew more intense, which proved to be a challenge in a small village in a foreign country without literary outlets or social media.

She dedicated every free moment to writing. Dozens of poetry submissions were sent to various magazines. Her first poem, “Mirror Image” was published in the Seattle Review in 2002, which reflected the trepidations of living in a foreign country and her search for identity. Publications came more rapidly, and soon her work was appearing in magazines such as the Cincinnati Review, Cimarron Review, the American Poetry Jounral, Passages North and Verse Daily.

Jennifer learned to speak German fluently. She attended the graduate program for English literature and linguistics at the University of Zurich. But the highly demanding schedule left her little time to write, and after two years, she decided to write full time. She continued to audit graduate seminars and accrued a clear cut understanding and love for postmodern literature, theory and criticism. Traveling Europe had inspired Jennifer greatly. Her love for writing expanded to short stories. One of her first pieces appeared in the acclaimed Evergreen Review. The magazine is noted for publishing writers Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller and Vladimir Nabokov. Since then, her short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for Fiction, The Million Writers Award and a Sundress Best of the Net Award.

In 2008, Jennifer fell in love with world football. She followed the career of Spanish Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, and wrote a literary essay regarding the language the press uses to place value ona sports player. The piece was accepted at 90:00 Minutes Soccer Magazine in Los Angeles and came with an offer: to cover professional world football matches in Switzerland, namely the Champions League and Europa League, for their magazine. Her editor arranged for her first press pass to cover the Europa League match Spartak Moscow vs FC Basil. She went on to cover the best club teams in the world including Manchester United, Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC in the Champions League. Her opinion articles appear in the Bleacher Report, Tribal Football. Soccer Lens and have been syndicated to Yard Barker (Fox News Sports) and other sports magazines. Jennifer had just completed her first novel, “UberChef USA.” A satire on reality TV. Six excerpts from her book are published in various literary magazines. “UberChef USA” focuses on the sensationalism seen on television today in an entertainment dominated nation.

She and her family will be moving back to the New York area in June 2016, after 18 years abroad, where Jennifer will continue to write.

Stephen Scheinthal

Stephen Scheinthal’s love of learning began at Woodmont Elementary School. He is very grateful for all of the incredible teachers from the district who inspired him and who helped shape his career.

Stephen left Montville for college in Boston at Brandeis University in 1983. At Brandeis he created a neuroscience major and developed his passion for geriatrics both through course work and while working as a research assistant. Returning to New Jersey, Stephen attended the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ, now Rowan University) School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford. He completed his psychiatry residency and geriatric residency fellowship both at UMDNJ. IN 1997 following graduation from fellowship, Stephen joined the faculty at UMDNJ’s New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging (NJISA) to pursue an academic medical career path. Serving as the Associate Director of NJSIA from 2005-2014, as well as serving as the residency director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Program from 1999-2015, he quickly became a much sought after teacher and mentor, developing a statewide and national reputation in Geriatric Psychiatry.

Widely published in medical journals as well as the author of several book chapters, Stephen has authored over 40 works. He had been invited to present on geriatric topics across the US and Great Britain. Stephen has appeared in television and radio. In 2003 he was privileged to have been awarded one of the first federal Geriatric Academic Career Awards from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in geriatric psychiatry. An accomplished researcher, in 2012 Stephen was awarded one of the largest grants from the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to study behavioral issues in nursing homes in New Jersey.

Since 2008, he has served as the Chair of the State of New Jersey’s Medical Clinical Review Board. In 2013m Governor Christie appointed him as the Co-Chair of the State of New Jersey’s Alzheimer’s Disease Study Commission. Nationally, Stephen has chaired the physician board certification process administered through the American Osteopathic Association. In 2014 he became a full Professor of Psychiatry and was selected Chair of the Rowan University Department of Psychiatry, which is the largest department of psychiatry in the State of New Jersey, providing mental health services in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties. Most recently Stephen was elected President of the American College of Osteopathic Neurologists and Psychiatrists. No matter where he is speaking, on which committee her is serving or what class he is teaching at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Stephen is always proud of his roots in Montville, NJ. Perhaps Stephen’s greatest accomplishment and claim to fame is being the proud father of his triplet sons: Gabi, Eitan, and Ari. He lives with his wife Michelle and their children in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Sharon Cohn Wu

Sharon Cohn Wu currently serves as Senior Vice President of Justice System Transportation for International Justice Mission, where she has held numerous positions since joining in 201. IJM is a global organization that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems. In her current role, Sharon’s primary responsibility is to lead IJM;s work to prevent abuse from being committed against vulnerable people by strengthening public justice systems and community factors that will deter potential perpetrators.

Sharon’s work focuses upon developing IJM’s strategy to transport public justice systems so that they can sustainable and effectively protect the poor from violence. In her previous role as IJM’s Senior Vice President of Justice Operations, Sharon was responsible for directing operations in Africa, Latin America, South Asia and Southeast Asia, developing intervention strategies and advocating with local and national authorities. She has provided interviews for The New York Times Magazine, Forbes, Fox News, NBC Dateline, and BBC World. She has testified before a Senate subcommittee on the domestic impact of international trafficking and before a House Subcommittee on sex trafficking in South Asia. Her direct efforts have resulted in the release of children in the Philippines, Thailand, India, Cote D’Ivoire and Cambodia, and the teams she has led have brought rescue to thousands of children, women and men around the world.

In high school Sharon developed a love for debate, advocacy and history. She was pleased to represent the school an multiple State and National competitions. Sharon is deeply grateful to Elise Hsieh An, who provoked in her a great love for vigorous informed debate. She is also grateful to Alan Lucibello from whom she learned the value to the study of history and critical thinking. Sharon received a B.A. with Honors from University of Virginia and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, cum laude. Following graduation, Sharon served as a judicial clerk for Hon. Richard Williams, Eastern District of Virginia. Until October 2001, she was an associate with Arnold and Porter in Washington, D.C., representing private and governmental entities in litigation and international trade matters.

Patricia Vytell

Pat’s career in Montville started in 1972 as a student teacher. A year later she started as a teacher and spent the rest of her career in district until her retirement in 2013.

During her career at Montville, she coached many sports, including field hockey, basketball, softball and track, although her true passion was coaching field hockey. In the 24 years she coached field hockey, her teams won twelve conference titles, seven Morris County Championships, six State Section championships, and three Group 3 State Championships. In 1981, the team was voted #1 in the state by the Star Ledger. Pat was twice names Morris County Coach of the Year and her teams received recognition as Morris County Team of the Year several times.

Her professional career afforded her great opportunities to promote women’s athletics. She was one of the founders of the Morris County Girls Basketball Tournament, with the first tournament being played at Montville High School.

She was member of the three woman committee that fought for equal opportunities for women in sports in 1973 through 1975. This fight became necessary due to lack of Title IX enforcement in Morris County. After implementation of this, equal time in facilities was provided, equitable funding was made available, and county tournaments for women’s sports were established. In addition, she was a founding member of the North Jersey Field Hockey Association.

In 1996 Pat received perhaps her greatest honor, being inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. This induction is only made possible by a vote of your peers.

Each team that she coached, worked and played hard making all the time she put in worthwhile and fulfilling. She thoroughly enjoyed coaching the athletes at Montville High School and enjoyed hearing about their lives after their high school career. Several of the women athletes that she coached played on the collegiate level, with one being names the top collegiate player in the country. It is especially gratifying to see so many of her former players either coaching or their daughters participating in sports.

It is with a tremendous amount of pride that her former players still remember the winning tradition they enjoyed at Montville High School. She is extremely grateful to have been a part of that successful tradition.

At present, she is enjoying her retirement, spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren. Her leisure time is spent hiking and traveling in the western states.

Donald VanAntwerp

Mr. Van began his teaching career in Montville in the fall of 1968. He briefly taught instrumental music in several Montville elementary schools including Etta Konner, Towaco, Montville, Woodmont and Cedar Hill Schools before being drafted into military service. Upon his return, he resumed his teaching career at Central School (Robert R. Lazar Middle School).

After several years at Central School he moved to the high school in 1974. He continued at the high school for the next eight years as both Band Director , March Band Director and Acting Music Supervisor. While continuing to assist at the high school for a few additional years, Mr. Van completed the remainder of his teaching career at Valley View and Hilldale Schools.

He received both his B.A. in Music Education and his M.A. in Music Education from Montclair State College.

Mr. Van’s time at the high school saw an expansion of the marching band program to include participation in their first marching band competition and, with the help of the administration and the Montville Music Boosters Association, establishment of the first Montville High School Marching Band Competition in 1977. The marching band continued to grow in size and prestige participating in many parades and competitions including the 1981 Hostage Parade in New York City, several St. Patrick’s Day Parades in New York City and Washington, D.C. and performances at Giants Stadium and West Point. During this same time the concern band program sent many students to NJ Region I Band.

Mr. Van is indebted to the high school administration, fellow staff members, district music staff, and the Montville Music Boosters Association for their constant help and support of the music program. He is especially touched by the many students who continue to stay in contact and send notes and pictures of their own children participating in music activities. He is also very proud of the many students who have gone on in the field on music as either music educators or performers. Mr. Van retired in 2004 and considers himself very fortunate to have spent his entire 36 year career teaching music in Montville Township.