What’s New? Komen Tissue Bank Happenings

In 2014, the KTB was fortunate to receive support for an Indianapolis tissue collection event from the Women’s Philanthropy initiative at the IU Foundation. The program, directed by IU’s First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie (pictured here between KTB COO Jill Henry, and KTB Executive Director Anna Maria Storniolo, M.D.), has partnered with our Komen Tissue Bank team once again to host 2 events for IU alumni highlighting breast cancer research at Indiana University. Coinciding with our tissue collections, the first was in New York in November 2017, and the second in Phoenix in March 2018. At each event, Dr. Storniolo shared the Komen Tissue Bank story and the power of normal tissue in the fight against breast cancer. For more information about Women’s Philanthropy at IU, please click here. We love sharing with new friends how every woman can be a part of research!


So…have you ever heard of the Super Service Challenge? It is a national competition that gives away millions of dollars to nonprofits across the country through videos of service. Volunteers are asked to create videos with a team serving their favorite non-profit to generate funding, awareness and opportunity to win cash through our quarterly and annual grand prize competition! So guess what? At our November 3rd event, a team of our volunteers led by Erleine Spicknell and Latrice Baxter made a video about the KTB! Now we need your help to generate interest in our video and in the KTB. What can you do? Watch. Vote. Share. Encourage. Watch the video. Vote for the video. Share the link for the video on ALL of your social media platforms. Encourage others to do what you did. Watch. Vote. Share. Encourage. Help the KTB generate funding through this Super Service Challenge so we can keep doing what we do to find new treatments and prevent breast cancer. Thank you.


This summer, the KTB welcomed Alison Hughes to the position of Data Specialist and Program Assistant. Then at the end of October, Sam Rysdyk joined the team. We are so happy to have these phenomenal additions to our work family. Let’s hear from them:

“Hello friends. I am thrilled to be a part of the team and to work alongside some of the most dedicated and caring individuals I have ever met. Let me tell you a little about myself. I am what you might call a late bloomer. I finished college in 2015, got married for the first (and do I need to add only?) time to my best friend in February 2016, and adopted my first dog, Dart in December 2016. Before that I was a free spirited single gal traveling, working and trying to make the world a better place, one person at a time. Now I am still all those things, but there is a sense of peace and settling down after you get married and get a dog. No kids for me but I enjoy spending time with my three nephews that range from 10-2 years old.

I am so happy to be out of the corporate world and in the world of research and academia. For the first 18 years of my employment years, I was in a fast paced, stressful working environment. As I got older (and less patient!), I realized I wanted and needed something different. I focused on finding something new to do with myself and took the plunge to start at Indiana University in the Spring of 2017 as an administration assistant for a pediatric research group. It was a night and day difference. Things move much slower at the university versus corporate America. That took some getting used to but it was a great place to land and I really felt like my time there was valuable.

Through my friend and neighbor, an opportunity to be the Data Specialist and Program Assistant at the Komen Tissue Bank became my next career move in the summer of 2018. For someone who had previously been at the same company for 18 years, two different jobs within a year and a few months of each other was a lot of change, but change is good. I am really looking forward to learning everything I can here at the Komen Tissue Bank. From the full time employees to the interns and volunteers, everyone has been so welcoming and helpful. I think I have found a place where I can really grow my talents, feel useful, and help others all at the same time.”

One of Alison’s initiatives at the KTB is to increase the responses to the yearly information update from our donors. Through her phone calls, you might have already heard her voice! Her first event will be November 3rd and she is ready to absorb and learn as much as possible on that exciting day.


“Hi everyone. I am new to Indianapolis from Nashville, TN. However, I’m actually from Michigan…all over Michigan! I was born and raised in the Grand Rapids area, went to college in Detroit, went to more school in East Lansing, and lived in Traverse City and Ann Arbor for good measure.

After getting married in 2016, my wife and I wanted to try living “somewhere else” before getting too settled down. We threw a dart at the map, so to speak, and it landed on Nashville, where we spent 2017-2018. Both literally and metaphorically, Michigan was just a little too cold, and Nashville proved to be a little too hot. Indianapolis is feeling like a Goldilocks zone so far and we’re happy to be here.

I like to joke that I am a “retired” lawyer, but it’s sort of true. Like a lot of people who are good at school but not sure what to do, I wound up at law school after graduating college in 2009 (the recession also helped make that decision for me). I really enjoyed learning about law, but I never quite developed a fire-in-the-belly for practicing law. Coincidently, during law school I developed a hobby of teaching myself basic web development. I passed the Michigan Bar Exam in 2012; however, I found better job prospects in Web/Software Development. Facing a bit of a crossroads between pursuing law or programming, I decided to go with programming. I believe that has proved to be the right decision.

I’m very happy to be joining IUPUI, generally, and the Komen Tissue Bank, specifically. At IUPUI, it is great to be on campus surrounded by smart and talented students, staff, and faculty. And at the KTB, it will be a real privilege to do my small part in work that has a chance of significantly improving the world — not everyone can say that! The role of Informatics Programmer speaks to my current skills as well as skills I am hopeful to acquire. I look forward to initially taking on the programmer duties, and then getting into informatics/data-analysis as I get settled in.”

It took us a long time to find Sam, who will be busy wading through quite a backlog of work for some time to come. Both he and Alison are embracing the challenges of their new jobs and are excited to bring their unique perspective to the KTB.