Teammates For Life
Vianna McGugan, President, has a heart for impoverished children and a strong belief in the transformative power of sports to build self-esteem and teamwork. She was inducted into the State of Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 and facilitated a team for a Habitat outreach project in Newfoundland. She has a Connecticut Coaching Certification and was named 1993 Coach of the Year, and inducted into the Stonington Hall of Fame in 2005. She received state recognition when she led the Women’s Stonington basketball team to two all-state championships, and from the State of Connecticut General Assembly for her ability to design and implement successful programs.
An English and Spanish-speaking world traveler holding an International Tourism Certification, she founded Green Monkey Educational Tours to coordinate educational curriculum for university students from the USA, Europe, and Canada to complete internship requirements in various disciplines such as pre-med, dentistry, and pre-veterinarian studies.
She is a retired scientist from Pfizer Global Research and Development and has previously done laboratory field studies and Toxicology Pathology Drug Safety testing for Monsanto. She has bachelor and master’s degrees in biology and attends periodic advanced courses and training at University of Connecticut, Yale, and Brown University.
Lisa Mellow, Vice President, has been a Physical Therapist for over 30 years, having graduated from University of Connecticut with a bachelor degree in physical therapy in 1984. She is licensed in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and worked in both states and Florida as either Director of Physical Therapy with all the management responsibilities that goes along with that billet, or a hands-on physical therapist. She also participated in mentoring programs for Goodwill Industries and St. Mary’s Bay View Academy.
Currently she is a physical therapist for the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Connecticut, and the only clinical physical therapist member appointed to a 13-member team charged with reducing avoidable hospitalization in home care.
She is active in continuing education, and has completed a number of courses in program design for specific injuries, evaluation of injuries, and rehabilitation.
Paulla Solar, Secretary, attended Fitch High School in Groton, CT during the Pre-Title IX era when opportunities to play basketball were extremely limited. After graduation in 1969, she attended Southern Connecticut State College. She began teaching physical education and coaching girls’ basketball at Stonington High School. At that time, her only basketball experience was the 6-player game.
Paulla was determined to thoroughly learn the game and to pass that knowledge on to her players. She attended clinics and seminars, received input from her father and brother, and eventually developed her own style and coaching philosophy. Her teams compiled a 123-36 record during this first phase of her career. Her fondest basketball memory occurred in 1980, when Stonington was undefeated and won the “M” State Title in overtime. Her team also recorded a 65-game regular season winning streak.
Solar returned to coaching at Stonington in 2001 after taking time to raise a family. Her team won the league championship that year. Stonington was Class M Runners-up in 2004 and in 2005, won the State Class “M” title with a 24-2 record. She was named New London Day “Coach of the Year” after that season.
Debra McGugan, Treasurer, was born to volunteer. She has over 100 volunteer hours per year for various local charities since 2005, and won the Distinguished Service Award from the Washington Trust Company, and the President’s Volunteer Service Award every year since 2008.
When Debra is not volunteering, she is doing bookkeeping for private clients as well as staff auditor for Washington Trust Company. She moonlights as a caterer, has been an administrative assistant in a medical center, and operations clerk in a bank.
Debra is perfect for treasurer. Not only is she qualified by occupation, but is also trained in QuickBooks accounting, and has completed financial management courses in over 30 subjects including banking, economics, Electronic Funds Transfer Act, ecommerce, financial accounting, ethics, and analyzing financial statements. She is also the board treasurer for the Colonial Theatre School, Inc.
Jill Long, Board Member, is an incredible woman. Mother of five (2 adopted), she still finds time to volunteer. She is a board member of Kelsey Harrington Foundation which provides education, medical, and advocacy services for individuals with special needs.
As a paraprofessional in the Waterford School District, she educates children with special needs, and is the director of The Unified Fun Club, an afterschool program that provides games, crafts, cooking and singing opportunities for children in the special education program. She coaches the Unified Basketball team and her students play other teams with children who have special needs. These activities promote leadership, comradery, and acceptance of differences. Her children are following in her footsteps: the oldest getting her master’s degree in Special Education and is a graduate assistant basketball coach; her oldest son studying business and playing Division 1 Basketball and Baseball; another son studies theater in college.
Jill spent seven years as a histopathology technician at Pfizer, Inc. before joining the Waterford School District five years ago. Jill and her husband live in Waterford, Connecticut with their 8- and 10-year old adopted children.
Haley Pryski, Board Member, is a Pathology Research Associate at Pfizer, Inc. where she performs all manner of laboratory studies and collects necropsy and histology data for analysis from rodents, canines, and nonhuman primates. This work goes hand in hand with her bachelor degree in animal science from University of Connecticut in 2013.
Before college, Hayley worked at a therapeutic riding center assisting physically and mentally handicapped children and adults learn to groom and care for their horses. During college she worked in the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnosis Laboratory and Bolton Veterinary Hospital and volunteered as a veterinary technical assistance. After graduation, she performed podiatry procedures at Connecticut Podiatry and Foot Surgery before joining Pfizer, Inc.
Hayley is already a world traveler, having interned with Wildlife Vets in Mpumalanga, South Africa and Kruger National Park, Mozambique. Not many women her age can say they have vaccinated buffalo and elephants, done chest compressions on a giraffe in cardiac arrest (with success!), and restrained a crocodile with a paralytic.
Her accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. She received the W. E. Upjohn Award for antibody research, and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals of Eastern Connecticut. She is also NREMT/EMT-B certified.
Cindy Driscoll, Board Member, is a 1985 graduate of University of Vermont. For the past 13 years, Cindy has owned The Meandering Path, a landscaping business which provides design and gardening services to properties in the New Hampshire seacoast. Prior to that she was Program Director for the YMCA for nine years.
Cindy is a member of Women’s Connecticut Basketball Hall of Fame. She led Westbrook High School to two CIAC Class S Championship Titles - Class S 4 Time All State - Scored 2,097 points in her High School Career - National High School Girls Basketball All-America, 1981- Sports Illustrated Faces in the Crowd, April 6, 1981 Issue - Westbrook High School Uniform Number 10 retired - Named New Haven Tap-Off Club Outstanding High School Women's Basketball Player for four years - University of Vermont 4 year Basketball Scholarship - Inducted into CT Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as High School Player, 1989 - Inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, 2006
Roy Humphrys, Board Member, is a native Miskito Indian, born on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. He is a U. S. permanent resident but sometimes goes back to Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. He is multi-lingual and speaks Spanish, Italian, English, Miskito, and other indigenous dialects.
Roy has been International Tourism Certified for 17 years and coordinates educational tours for visiting university professors and students from the USA and Europe who are completing internships in pre-med, veterinary, dentistry, and biological sciences.
Specializing in Reptology and Herpetology, Roy has worked with researchers as a caretaker, husbandman, and data entry technician while studying snake species of South America.
Nikita Terry, Board Member, is from New London, CT and graduated Science and Technology Magnet High School of SE CT in 2015. She played basketball for the New London High School's Girl's Basketball Varsity team and Softball team. She loves helping other people any way she can and had over 2000 hours of community service in high school.
Nikita now attends Connecticut College and is double majoring in Psychology and Africana Studies with a minor in Philosophy. She traveled to Accra, Ghana in the spring of 2017 with her Intro to Africana Studies course and visited Ashesi University.
Karen Walters, Board Member, currently serves as a Senior Principal Scientist at Pfizer Global Research and Development, Groton Laboratories. Karen joined Pfizer in 2000 in the Department of Pharmacokinetics and Drug Metabolism and transitioned to Drug Safety in 2006 and relocated to CT in August 2007 upon closure of the Ann Arbor facilities.
Karen graduated St. Mary College (Leavenworth, KS) in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science majoring in biology, chemistry and math, earned a Master of Science (Research) in physical chemistry from St. Louis University in 1984, and a PhD in pharmaceutical science/pharmacokinetics from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1991. After completing her doctoral studies, Karen joined Schering-Plough Research Institute (Kenilworth, NJ) in the Department of Drug Metabolism & Pharmacokinetics as for seven years prior to accepting a position as a Group Leader in Pharmacokinetics with Searle Pharmaceuticals (Monsanto) (St. Louis, MO) in 1998. During her tenure at Schering-Plough, ever the eager student, Karen earned an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University (Madison, NJ). Once again with a perpetual quest for learning and growth, Karen has recently begun working toward earning a Master’s in Public Health through the University of Massachusetts – Amherst and will complete the Global Health Certificate in May 2018.
Karen greatly values community service at any level and strives to give of herself and her talents. Karen states “I lead within my community and share my faith not only by the way I strive to live (lead by example) but also by sharing my talents through teaching within my parish and taking many other active roles in my Church community. I believe things change (for the better) because someone dares to try harder or to think differently. I honor God by giving back to others, by being a point of His light. I strive to live in such a way that those that know me may know God in some small and humble way.”
Bern Macca, Board Member, has been passionate about sports and coaching her entire life. Bern played three sports at Stonington High School, where President Vianna McGugan was her basketball coach. She went on to play basketball and lacrosse at Connecticut College and scored 1,000 points during her basketball career.
After college, Bern went on to coach various sports at 5 different colleges and universities. Bern is a big believer in the power of sport to help kids grow and develop. Bern’s teams always had plenty of opportunities to learn the value of service. Over the course of her coaching career, her teams participated in Habitat for Humanity, Childhood Cancer Fundraising, Play for the Cure, and Coaches vs Cancer, just to name a few.
Most recently, Bern served as the Athletic Director at The Williams School for five years. Macca volunteers her time as the President of the Waterford Recreational Basketball organization and is looking forward to having more time to coach her own three young children: Jennie, Maddie, and Luke.