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UB remembers professor killed in Thruway crash

Posted at 7:01 PM, Jun 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-09 19:01:21-04

The University at Buffalo community is reeling after a beloved nursing professor was killed in a multiple car collision Thursday on the NYS Thruway.

45-year-old Dr. Ellen Volpe lived in Rochester and was a mother of two young boys. She worked as a researcher and professor in the UB School of Nursing since 2013.

"When I think about Ellen a couple of things come to mind. One is her warmth. Another is her big smile," Marsha Lewis, Dean of the Nursing School, said. Lewis said she can still picture Volpe's smile when she would stop by her office.

Volpe's mentor on her tenure track was Associate Dean Yu Ping Cheng. Cheng remembers a brilliant scientist and good friend.

"She was a wonderful and caring individual," Cheng said. "She was delightful and very supportive."

Colleagues said Volpe had a knack for bringing people together. She was passionate about the nursing school and her research.

Volpe was researching how to support vulnerable adolescents who, as victims of physical abuse, are at high risk of developing PTSD.

"I think Ellen was many things but certainly in the school of nursing we knew her as a researcher and a teacher," Lewis said. "I think it's important to realize how vital and valuable her research was."

Volpe was married to Johnny McIntyre who founded Camp DayDreams, a nonprofit organization that merged with Boys & Girls Clubs of Rochester a few years ago.

The Volpe and McIntyre families have provided the following statement regarding Ellen's death:

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved Ellen. She was an incredible wife, mother, daughter and sister. We will miss her energy, compassion, intelligence, humor and grace; she brought lightness and love to all the lives she touched. She was an important scholar, leading research on the intersections of trauma, substance use disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder in urban youth, partnering with the Center for Youth.  As an Assistant Professor at SUNY Buffalo, she was an inspiration to her students and fellow faculty. She was actively engaged in the Rochester community, spending countless hours mentoring young people through Camp DayDreams and the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester."