Hartford HealthCare pumpkin-carving brings the community together

Quinnipiac students and doctors from the Connecticut Orthopaedic Institute participated in a head-to-head pumpkin-carving challenge on the Mount Carmel Campus’ Quad.

Hartford HealthCare sponsored and organized this second annual event to connect surgeons from the local area with medical students, as well as those from other majors who registered. Each surgeon-student team was provided with tools and stencils.

“Hartford HealthCare is a huge partner with Quinnipiac and we really believe and value the university and students,” said Lori Ferraro, marketing and communications manager of the Connecticut Orthopaedic Institute. “We are all about equity and community. So, bringing our orthopedic surgeons to be here with the students and interact with them, it’s just what we do. I’m very proud of our surgeons because they go out in the community.”

Creativity and friendships flourished as the teams put forth their best artistic skills during the 45-minute carving competition. Dozens of Bobcats cheered them on while the judges observed. Many employees from the Connecticut Orthopaedic Institute came to campus in support of the seasonal celebration.

The Connecticut Orthopaedic Institute is located in the MidState Medical Center and St. Vincent’s Medical Center. All the doctors who participated in the competition are part of private practices that perform surgeries at both locations, bringing together many medical professionals from across the state.

Vice President of the institute and Quinnipiac alumnus Andrew Turczak ’07, MHS ’09, MBA ‘18, stressed the importance of building connections.

“Part of the health and wellness initiative between Hartford HealthCare and Quinnipiac is to create awareness and bring the students and healthcare system together,” said Turczak.

The three categories that the teams competed in were most creative, spookiest and fan favorite, where fans could vote on the pumpkin they believed came out on top.

The judges representing the doctors included Karen Goyette, executive vice president and chief transformation officer of Hartford HealthCare, and Eric Smullen, vice president of the Hartford HealthCare community network. Judges from Quinnipiac were Professor Dawn Colomb-Lippa, physician assistant and full-time instructor of biology and adjunct professor of physician assistant studies, and Tony Reyes, chief of Quinnipiac’s public safety.

Ultimately, the judges awarded Carlee Schultz ‘27 most creative for her Quinnipiac-themed pumpkin and Joseph Caltabiano ’27 spookiest for his intricate, illuminated tree design. The fan-favorite happened to be 2022 winner Dr. Nicola Corbett and her teammate, Heather Pezreh ‘27, for their expressive pumpkins.

“Events like this help to meet new people, especially within the hospitals,” said Catalbiano. “I met a lot of surgeons today and saw a couple of people from my class. So, I got to know people and get myself out there."

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