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  Back to Anaheim 2015 Conference Anaheim 2015 Faculty and Staff

Conference Faculty

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Natalie Bellini, BSN, RN, CDE, has had type 1 diabetes since she was a young child. Within a year of finishing nursing school, she started to care for people with diabetes, focusing first on diabetes in pregnancy then pediatrics and insulin requiring adults. She has worked on the medical side of camps for children and teens in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. She has spoken nationally and internationally as an expert in both working with teens and their parents with diabetes as well as infusion set choice, usage and maintenance. Her fundamental goal when developing the teenage curriculum for Children with Diabetes conferences is that each and every teen that attends finds a passion in life and pursues it. She is currently attending university part time in order to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. Natalie works at Novo Nordisk and is mom to Erin.

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Will Cross is a world-class expedition leader and athlete. Raised in England until age 12, Cross has worked continually for more than 35 years to overcome challenges related to living with diabetes. Cross wants to show the millions of people with diabetes that they don't have to be defined by their disease and that those with the condition can manage it successfully. On May 23, 2006, as part of the NovoLog® Peaks and Poles Challenge, Cross became the first American and first person with diabetes to climb the highest peak on each continent and trek to the North and South Poles. Cross has successfully ascended Elbrus, Denali, Aconcagua, Mt. Blanc, the Matterhorn, Grand Teton, Kilimanjaro, Vinson, and Alpamayo and has reached the summit of Mt. Everest. He has also participated in expeditions to Patagonia, Mountains of the Moon, the Sahara Desert, and the Thar Desert of India. Will holds a Bachelor of Arts from Allegheny College, a Master of Science in Education from Duquesne University, and Secondary Principal’s Certification from the University of Pittsburgh, where he specialized in educational programs for troubled teens.

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Edward Damiano, PhD, is Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. His educational training is in the areas of biomedical and mechanical engineering and applied mathematics. His lab is engaged in basic scientific research that uses fluid dynamics, solid mechanics, and intravital microscopy to study blood flow in the microcirculation and to elucidate mechanisms by which the lining of blood vessels can determine vascular health and disease. In addition to this research, he is also committed to creating and integrating technologies to build a bionic endocrine pancreas. His interest in a bionic pancreas is quite personal, and began when his son, David, developed type 1 diabetes before the age of one. His goal is to have the mathematical control algorithms that he developed with one of his postdoctoral fellows, Dr. Firas El-Khatib, hard at work closing the loop for his son and others with diabetes before David goes off to college.

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Korey K. Hood, PhD, is Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University where he directs NIH-funded research projects and provides clinical care aimed at promoting health and quality of life outcomes in youth with diabetes and their families. Dr. Hood actively investigates the human factors associated with the uptake of diabetes technology and works with Dr. Bruce Buckingham on his team's artificial pancreas project. Dr. Hood also serves on national committees for the American Diabetes Association and is on editorial boards for Diabetes Care and the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Dr. Hood is the author of Type 1 Teens: A Guide to Managing Your Life with Diabetes and a recent book entitled Teens With Diabetes: A Clinician's Guide (with authors Michael Harris, PhD and Jill Weissberg-Benchell, PhD, CDE). His research, clinical care, and service are fueled by his personal experience with type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed as a young adult and has spent more than 14 years managing type 1 diabetes. He is passionate about helping children and teens with diabetes, and their families, make diabetes a part of their lives while not letting it run their lives.

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Aaron Kowalski, PhD, was appointed JDRF's first Chief Mission officer in December 2014 and serves as a key link between JDRF and the broad diabetes community. Dr. Kowalski combines his professional experience as a scientist with his personal experience of living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for over 30 years to help guide and champion JDRF's programs focused on creating a world without T1D. Dr. Kowalski is an internationally recognized expert in the area of diabetes technologies and has been a leader of JDRF's Artificial Pancreas Research Project, a multi-million dollar initiative that began in 2005 to accelerate the progress toward automated insulin-delivery systems. He has authored numerous articles on T1D research and was a coauthor of the landmark study in The New England Journal of Medicine that revealed the effectiveness of continuous glucose monitors in T1D management. Dr. Kowalski has traveled and spoken globally about diabetes research progress, and is known for his ability to translate science into easily understandable concepts. Dr. Kowalski has presented at many national and international scientific conferences, including the American Diabetes Association Annual Scientific Sessions, and was the keynote speaker at the 2009 Diabetes Technology Society Meeting. He has been a voice for diabetes research in the popular media, appearing on The Martha Stewart Show, dLife, Fox Business, and NPR, among others. He is often quoted in the print media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and People magazine. Dr. Kowalski is a member of the JDRF PEAK Program's expert panel and often speaks about the importance of exercise and diet in better diabetes control. While living with T1D, he has completed 17 marathons. Online, he often tweets (@aaronjkowalski) about exercise and diabetes and how all people with T1D can live their lives without limits. He earned his doctorate in molecular genetics from Rutgers University.


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Diana M. Naranjo, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. As a trained pediatric and adult psychologist working in behavioral medicine, Dr. Naranjo focuses on the psychosocial needs of patients and families with diabetes. Together with the team, she aims to understand barriers and facilitators to care, what developmental demands are important as adolescent's transition to adulthood, and how to best provide services that engage young adults and their families. Furthermore, as a Latino-American and fluent in Spanish, much of her clinical work focuses on bridging the health-care gap for underserved ethnic minority patients with type 1 diabetes.

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Harold Sanco, CPT, is a former National Aerobic Champion and two time bronze medalist at the National Step Challenge Competition. He has been voted Washington, DC’s “Best Instructor” by Washingtonian Magazine and the Washington Post. With more than 20 years of experience in youth physical education and coaching, he is an internationally acclaimed instructor and trainer who teaches across the United States, Canada and 15 countries for some of the top fitness conferences in the world. His popular “Urban Funk” class has been featured in People, Allure and W magazines. He is AFAA certified and a Master Trainer for Lebert Training Systems. Currently he serves as the Director of Group Fitness for the award-winning Results Gym in Washington, DC and the Director of Fitness for two National Youth groups “Children with Diabetes” and “Workout4Kids.”

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Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, is owner and Clinical Director of Integrated Diabetes Services, a practice located just outside of Philadelphia specializing in intensive insulin therapy and advanced education for children and adults. He and his staff provide consultations throughout the world via phone and the internet. Gary is a Masters-level exercise physiologist. He has been a Certified Diabetes Educator for 19 years, and served as the 2014 Diabetes Educator of the Year. He has had type 1 diabetes for 30 years and makes personal use of insulin pump therapy and CGM. Gary has written dozens of articles for diabetes trade publications and six books, including the popular Think Like A Pancreas - A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes With Insulin. He lectures nationally and internationally for people with diabetes as well as professionals in the healthcare industry. In addition to serving on the faculty of Children With Diabetes and the Board of Directors for JDRF, Gary volunteers for the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Sisters, and Setebaid Diabetes Camps. Gary has been happily married for 25 years and has four wonderful kids. A fitness fanatic, he enjoys playing basketball, running, cycling and cheering on his Philadelphia sports teams.

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Jamie R. Wood, MD is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California. She is the Medical Director of the Comprehensive Childhood Diabetes Center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. She is a pediatric endocrinologist that specializes in the clinical care of youth with type 1 diabetes. Dr. Wood is involved in many clinical research projects that focus on clinical outcomes, emerging therapies, and transition to college and adult endocrinology. In addition, she is the President of the Los Angeles Community Leadership Board of the American Diabetes Association and is a member of the Clinical Advisory Council of the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes. One of her favorite places to be is Camp Conrad Chinnock, a summer camp for youth living with type 1 diabetes. At Children's Hospital Los Angeles she directs support groups, family retreats, College Prep Events, and diabetes education classes. Dr. Wood loves working with and caring for youth and families that live with type 1 diabetes -- her goal is to work as part of the team that manages diabetes so that the child, adolescent, or young adult can do anything they set their mind to.

Teen Faculty

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Alanna Landry RN, CDE, has been working as a pediatric diabetes nurse educator for 17 years at Markham Stouffville Hospital in Ontario, Canada. She has the privilege of working with 450 families with type 1 diabetes. After attending her first CWD FFL conference in 2004 she was hooked on the incredible experience and wants to continue to share this experience with the wonderful people she has met and encourage as many families as possible to attend. Working with the teen program has been something she looks forward to each year.


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Sarah Loebner, age 22, was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 9 1/2 in 2002. She attended her first CWD Friends For Life conference exactly a month later, and has returned every year since. She just graduated from Scripps College with a major in Human Biology and is pursuing a career as a physician's assistant. She spends her free time singing, thinking about dogs, and giving free, unlimited hugs. Sarah is so glad to be a member of the CWD staff that gave her so much support, love, and confidence as a younger CWD participant, and she is so excited to make more Friends For Life at this year's conference!

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Marissa Town, BSN, RN, CDE, graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She has had type 1 diabetes since the age of 2 and has grown up with a passion for helping families living with diabetes. Marissa works in an adult endocrinology clinic with a focus on young adults and optimism. She has always enjoyed working with families with diabetes at CWD conferences, camps and support groups. When she's not spending time with her young son Connor and husband Adam, she's usually playing cards with friends, jogging with her dog Baxter, traveling, or spending time with family.

Tween Faculty

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Kelsey Martin was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 12, and attended her first CWD conference two months later. She's since become an active volunteer and plans any vacation/free time around coming to CWD events. Kelsey remains active with her local JDRF chapter, and was the sole Kansas delegate to the 2007 Children's Congress. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism and business, and works in the public relations industry.


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Melissa Pawlowski was diagnosed with diabetes when she was four. She went to her first CWD Conference in 2003 and has been attending Friends for Life Conferences ever since. Melissa has three siblings, Sarah, Kayla, Matthew. Matthew also has type 1 diabetes. Melissa graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2013 with a degree in Public Relations and Marketing. Currently living in Milwaukee and working as the Marketing & Communications Coordinator at the Woman's Club of Wisconsin.


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Deb Ruppert's connection to diabetes began in the 1990's when her dad was diagnosed with type 2 and her uncle with type 1. Deb has participated as Sports Central staff at Friends for Life for several years, and more recently as Tween and Teen program staff. She states, "I feel so lucky to have found CWD and FFL, and I love being able to share what I learn from families who have diabetes as a part of their lives with my own family."

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Adam Town, BSN, RN, is a Registered Nurse who graduated with a Bachelors of Science in nursing from the University of Cincinnati. He currently works in a hospital where he lives in West Chester, Ohio. Adam is a husband to Marissa, who has had type 1 diabetes since she was two, and father to Connor. He has always enjoyed being a mentor and role model for children and loves to help the families at CWD conferences.

Elementary Faculty

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Sunshine Abel, LPN, is the mother of Sierra and Sailor. She attended her first CWD conference with her family in 2002, after Sailor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 2. Sunshine immediately knew she had found a new family and a new home where kids were experiencing the same thing as Sailor. She then made it her mission to involve her whole family. Sunshine is continuing her education working towards her RN degree. Sunshine has been working as a nurse and leader in the youth programs since 2006.


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Michelle Dao is 20 years old and studies nursing at the University of Cincinnati. She is involved in a nursing leadership group and the National Student Nurses' Association that provides academic support, advising, leadership and professional development and socialization initiatives. Michelle is also involved in undergraduate research through UC's College of Nursing. Michelle helped staff childcare at Friends for Life 2015 and will be working with the elementary kids at this conference.

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Timothy Hitchcock is currently studying Astrophysics at the University of Cincinnati. His older sister Marissa was diagnosed with type 1 in 1989. Tim is a founding father of a fraternity at the University of Cincinnati and is looking forward to using the leadership skills he has learned thus far to work with the elementary kids.

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Lauren Lanning is mom of Monica, 21, dx 8/96 and Sarah, 19. Lauren became involved with CWD shortly after her daughter was diagnosed in 1996. She has been involved in the conferences since the very first gathering in Orlando in 2000, where she volunteered to make name badges. Lauren now coordinates the Elementary Programming for every CWD conference. She serves on the boards of the Diabetes Scholars Foundation and CWD Foundation. Back home in Denver she is an IT consultant.

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Monica Lanning is 21 years old and studies biology at the University of Chicago. She also works as a research assistant focusing on monogenic diabetes at the Kovler Diabetes Center. She loves to get crafty, bake, hike, and travel. Monica has had diabetes for 19 years and has been to every FFL conference (all 15!) as well as many regionals. She calls her CWD friends "family" and is excited for this year’s "family reunion!"


Siblings Staff

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Intissar Ben Halim, MSS, is mom to Maryam, Zakariyya, Abdalla, and Yaseen, and wife to Nabil. She and her family been involved with CWD conferences since 2004. She enjoys meeting other CWD parents and families and sharing stories and challenges, especially now that she has four teens. Intissar loves her work as a clinical social worker at a nonprofit agency in West Chester, Pennsylvania, as well as her work as an associate at Cultivating Wholeness, a private practice in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. She and her family reside in King-of-Prussia.

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Carolyn Billetdeaux has been attending FFL conferences since the age of 13. After growing up through the Teen and College Age programs, she now works as Coordinator of the Sibling Program. She presents diabetes as a family disease and focuses on sharing the sibling side of the experience. Carolyn majored in management and organizational behavior at New York University, and currently works as a Sustainability Consultant in the metro-DC area.

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Zakariyya Elarbi is attending the University of Pittsburgh. After his twin sister Maryam was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, he knew that diabetes would forever play an important role in his life. Zak enjoys spending his free time reading, going to the gym, and hanging out with his friends. Zak is excited that he can finally give back to the CWD community by volunteering at the conferences with his close friends and family.


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As a college and semi-professional athlete, James Stroud focuses on exercise and healthy eating habits as an important part of his daily routine. James has been part of the FFL family ever since his older brother Ben was diagnosed with type 1 over 15 years ago. He can't wait to see old friends and meet new ones at this year's FFL Conference. James recently began working for Dexcom as a sales representative.

Childcare

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Mary Bulgarelli, RN, BSN, CDE, has served as the childcare coordinator since the very first CWD conference. Mary leads a team of certified diabetes educators providing care and fun in a safe environment for kids under age five with and without diabetes. Providing this service alleviates the concerns of many parents of kids with diabetes – allowing them to attend the sessions with peace of mind knowing that their children are cared for by skilled professionals. This supports Mary's belief that education is the key to successful diabetes management. Mary has devoted her career to the world of medicine. As a graduate of Eastern University and Presbyterian School of Nursing, Mary currently works as a pediatric endocrine speciality nurse and has been a CDE over 20 years! This busy mom and devoted professional has been involved with CWD since 2001. You can spot her at the conferences-she's the one with the trail of kids behind her!

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Alex Bush is excited to be staffing her fifth year of CWD conferences! A graduate from Chico State University, she received her Bachelor degree in Psychology and Child Development. Alex is excited to be working in childcare this year.

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Chris Joynes, RN, attended her first Friends for Life conference after her 6 year old daughter Molly was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in March 2005. Chris loves working with children and has been a pediatric emergency department nurse for 11 years. She is excited to be full time staff and to give back to an organization that "provided my family with support, hope, motivation, and smiles once Molly was diagnosed." Chris is also mom to Andrew, Elizabeth, and Benjamin, who have grown up with CWD.

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Pam Loebner is a California public elementary school teacher who has worked in both special education and regular education classrooms for 25 years. Since becoming a CWD mom, Pam has assisted the district nurse with education for families and teachers when newly diagnosed or newly enrolled students arrive. While always working as an advocate for student needs, Pam focuses on ensuring equal access to all school activities for children with diabetes. Pam discovered the CWD website 30 minutes after her daughter's diagnosis in June 2002 when Sarah was 9 1/2. Pam and her family haven't missed a CWD conference since.

CWD Staff

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Jeff Hitchcock is the creator, editor, webmaster and president of Children with Diabetes. After earning a degree in computational mathematics in 1981, Jeff worked in high tech and traveled the world, meeting Brenda, who would become his wife, in Africa. He worked in defense related industries until 1995, when he started a small Internet company and launched Children with Diabetes. He subsequently worked at LEXIS-NEXIS and Pearson plc on Internet initiatives, and now works full time bringing Children with Diabetes to you.

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A finicky connoisseur of hotel meeting space, cappuccino, and kid-friendly cheese and fruit platters, Laura Billetdeaux is CWD's VP of Education and Programs. Since 2000, Laura has organized every single CWD conference, always keeping in mind the true purpose of CWD - education and support of families with type 1, and always keeping in mind why it all works – the efforts of so many dedicated individuals. Laura lives in Manchester, Michigan with husband Neal, who graciously and energetically assists with the conference teen programs. They are parents of Sam and Carolyn who both serve as youth faculty at CWD conferences as time allows.

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Jim Vail was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1986 at age 19 while he was a sophomore at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Jim graduated with a degree in Media Communications and was a producer for CNBC Business news in Washington, D.C., for 9 years all the while wrestling with the unpredictability of short and intermediate acting insulin. After finally going on a pump in October of 2001 and 'getting his life back,' Jim began volunteering at CWD in the teen program where he quickly became one of the Program Coordinators. He's worn, tested or personally used virtually every product represented in the Exhibit Hall. Jim serves as the Director of Development and Communications for CWD.

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Brenda Hitchcock is mom to Marissa (dx'd at 24 months), Kathryn, and Tim. She's worked side by side with her husband Jeff on Children with Diabetes since it began in 1995. Brenda brings a mom's perspective to diabetes care, is editor of the "Ask the Diabetes Team" section of the CWD web site, helps to manage the CWD Forums, and helps out in countless ways at CWD's conferences.

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Scott Kyllo lives in British Columbia, Canada. He has two children, Alyssa (23) and Chad (21). Their path along the diabetes road started in 1996 when his son, Chad, then age 2 was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when they were residing in Bahrain in the Middle East. The World Wide Web had just arrived in Bahrain and it brought to the Kyllo's the safety of the CWD family. Two years later, when life was becoming somewhat comfortable and routine, Alyssa, then age 7, was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Chad was also diagnosed with celiac disease in 2001. The family attended their first Friends For Life conference in 2002. Getting to meet the CWDers in person was like Christmas in July! Scott is a Chief Information Officer by day and an Aircraft Engineer by night maintaining a Piper Cherokee and a Mooney. These skills and his "Macgyver" qualities keep him running at the CWD conferences as our Information Technology and Audio Visual support person. He is a strong advocate of CWD conferences and believes anyone with a connection to diabetes should attend at least one ... although warns that the conferences are much like potato chips ... it's hard to stop at just one!

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Julia Mattingly is mom to 20 year old Hannah and 18 year old Ethan, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10 months and started pumping when he was 3. Julia, Ed, and the kids have been to every Friends for Life conference and most of the regionals as well. Julia coordinates registration at each conference, and you can always find her when you need a smile and a "Hi Y'All!" Julia loves coordinating registration and being able to meet and talk to everyone who walks in the door. Her best CWD memory is from 2000 when she met all of her CWD email moms in Orlando for the first time. She also loves to see the smiles on her children's faces when they re-connect with their CWD friends each summer.

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Kristen Seiz, MS, RD, CLC, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 9. Inspired at a young age by her diabetes, she pursued a career to become a dietitian and studied for her Masters degree at D'Youville College in Buffalo, NY. She lives and works in Buffalo as a Nutritionist at a Catholic Charities WIC Office. Upon attending her first CWD Conference in 2011, she fell in love with the people and relationships she formed and was determined to become a part of it. This is the first year Kristen will be a part of the CWD staff and she is looking forward to working with the kids, seeing old friends and meeting many more!

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Joanne Stroud, MHA, FACHE, is first and foremost a CWD Mom. Her son Ben was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of ten and CWD quickly became their lifeline. She attended her first conference in 2003 and instantly became hooked, telling Laura she'd do anything (within reason of course!) she could to assist CWD. Both Ben and his brother James are now 'giving back' as CWD volunteers. When not hanging with her FFLs, Joanne is an administrator for a home health agency. She and Jim, a CRNA, have one other son, Kyle who lives in Portland, OR with his fiancée Sarah.



Anaheim 2015: Focus on Technology
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Introduction - Registration
Faculty and Staff - Program - Youth Program
Nightscout Faculty - Nightscout Parts List



                 
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Last Updated: Tuesday August 25, 2015 23:18:09
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