Penguin Women on the Move 2023

March represents Women’s History Month and the Department of Women and Gender Studies and the Office of Alumni Engagement at Youngstown State University are recognizing some of our fabulous female graduates.

YSU is celebrating the accomplishments of three alumnae who were selected to be featured in our seventh annual display entitled, Penguin Women on the Move. As the narratives will show, these women have gone above and beyond with their personal, professional, academic and/or philanthropic endeavors. We are pleased to highlight these alumnae for truly being “Y and Proud.”

Dr. Lena Esmail

Dr. Lena Esmail, APRN, DNP is the CEO and owner of QUICKmed Urgent Cares specialty clinics, the leading urgent care brand in the Mahoning Valley and the fastest growing private urgent care in NE Ohio, with over 20 locations .  She has pioneered equity in care to the underserved through placing clinics in areas of need, namely school-based health clinics, which were recognized by both the governor’s office of Ohio and the Ohio department of education as innovation in care to children.  

Dr. Esmail completed her bachelor’s in nursing and bachelor’s in biology at Youngstown State University and her masters of science in nursing with a specialty of family nurse practitioner at Ursuline College. She completed her post master’s in nursing with a specialty in critical care at Youngstown State University and her Doctorate in Nursing Practice at Kent State University.  

Lena has a passion for basketball and offers her spare time as a volunteer assistant varsity girls basketball coach for Liberty High School, where is alumni. She devotes her extra time encouraging young women to excel in sports and in life. 

Donna Mehalco

Donna Mehalco graduated from Youngstown State University with an Associate Degree right after high school. She worked for a local doctor while raising her family. She then went on to start her career at ComDoc, Inc. where she had worked for over 25 years. She held the role of Branch Administrator, Staffing Coordinator, Branch Operations Manager, ComDoc Copy Center Manager, on the campus of YSU and currently as a Xerox trainer.  

While working full-time at ComDoc, she was able to return to YSU, taking night classes to obtain her Bachelor Degree, a dream she had since receiving her Associate Degree many years prior. Donna has also taken on a leadership role within her church, serving as President of Council for the last several years, leading the members through the pandemic as well as the process of calling a new pastor.  

She is a member of Pete’s Pride participating in the postcard campaign and through her book club at a local library she was able to organize book donations to nursing homes in need.  

She has passed on her love of YSU to her three children, all of whom are YSU graduates. 

Dr. Lauren Rudzinskas

Dr. Lauren Rudzinskas has a dynamic career as an accomplished trombonist and pedagogue performing as a chamber musician, soloist, freelancer, clinician, and presenter. Rudzinskas currently serves as the Senior Lecturer of Trombone at the University of Akron. She is a founding member of Calypsus Brass, an innovative ensemble praised for its commitment to performing new works, giving masterclasses, and creating high-level professional recordings for underrepresented composers. Praised for her sound and technique, Rudzinskas has been a featured solo artist with a variety of ensembles as well as an active recitalist. As an accomplished arts administrator, Lauren serves as the General Manager of the International Women’s Brass Conference. Dr. Rudzinskas earned a doctorate of musical arts in Trombone Performance and Literature with a minor in Pedagogy and an Advanced Certificate in College Teaching at the Eastman School of Music where she also earned a Performer’s Certificate and was nominated for the prestigious Artist’s Diploma. An advocate for diversity and inclusion initiatives, Rudzinskas serves on the advisory board for the Chromatic Brass Collective and is President of the Board for the Future in Music Program. 

Previous Honorees:
Penguin Women on the Move 2022
Penguin Women on the Move 2021
Penguin Women on the Move 2020
Penguin Women on the Move 2019
Penguin Women on the Move 2018
Penguin Women on the Move 2017