Page 1



LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR...................................1 MEET THE PROFESSOR................................................ 2 STUDENT RESEARCH.................................................... 3 STUDENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS................................ 4 STUDENT LEADERS........................................................ 6 STUDY ABROAD................................................................ 7 GRADUATION AWARDS................................................ 8 ALUMNAE/I SPOTLIGHT............................................... 9 ADVICE FROM HONORS STUDENTS..................... 11 MEET THE EDITORS.......................................................12




LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR “Like stones rolling down hills, good ideas reach their objectives despite all obstacles and barriers. It may be possible to speed or hinder them, but impossible to stop them.”

-José Martí

Associate Professor Villagómez with Honors student Sarah Grace Oquendo at the Student Research and Service Symposium.

Last year was filled with so many joyful and triumphant moments. However, in the Spring, Dr. Heather Alumbaugh, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Honors Program, announced she was leaving the College. Dr. A, as she was lovingly called by her students, knew very well they would be devastated upon hearing of her departure. She was not wrong. As expected of Honors students, they rallied together and planned a wonderful farewell party. After a few months as the new director, I can honestly understand why Dr. Alumbaugh was wholeheartedly dedicated to the Honors Program. The Honors Program is the perfect home for genuine ‘thinkers’ and ‘givers.’ The Honors Program is geared towards students who are always asking questions and looking for ways to help others. From the moment the freshmen arrive on campus, they are challenged to grow as scholars and global citizens. Honors students are encouraged to explore in depth issues in literature, politics, history, science, and ethics. In small seminars designed specifically for the Honors Program, two experts in their field engage students in debates and discussion to strengthen their analytical and critical thinking skills. The Honors Program culminates with an independent work of scholarship led by a faculty mentor in their major or minor. Last year’s students, in all disciplines, shined in scholarship. They were presenters at the Student Research and Service Symposium, the U.N. Internship Colloquium, at national conferences, the MetroCard Series: NY to Cartagena Roundtable, and at the Humanities Undergraduate Symposium. Honors thesis topics were wide-ranging, from Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, to a business plan for a lifestyle blog, to Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal, which was our first thesis written in Spanish. At the Honors Program reception, many students were recognized for their academic achievements and were recipients of medals. Finally, one student was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and spent six weeks in Peru. We currently have two Honors students abroad. Students also participate in extracurricular activities and community service. They belong to such clubs as SAMAHAN, the CMSV Players, the History Club, and Filiment. A great number of students have also held leadership roles with athletic teams and with the Student Government Association. Students value mentoring—they’ve been FYE Peer Leaders, Orientation Leaders, and Trio Peer Leaders. It is worth noting that A Moment of Magic, a student group that was co-founded by an Honors student, has been named a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Honors Program hosted international students in a service activity; organized and moderated the first thesis workshop, which consisted of faculty and alumnae/i; and participated in the Out of the Darkness Walk, raising awareness about suicide. In closing, I am filled with excitement and joy for the year ahead. I can only imagine what our Honors Program students will accomplish this year! These great thinkers and givers are just unstoppable. Sincerely, Dr. Rosita E. Villagómez



DR. JAMES J. FABRIZIO Degrees: B.S. | Manhattan College Ph.D. | Saint John’s University Postdoctoral Training | University of Pennsylvania

“We can teach science in the classroom, but the only way to learn science is to do it!” -Dr. Fabrizio

Dr. Fabrizio has always had a passion for biology and research in the laboratory. After his postdoctoral fellowship in 2002, Dr. Fabrizio became a professor at the Mount. Here, his passion for Drosophila genetics and spermatogenesis flourished. He has been a full-time biology professor at the Mount for fifteen years. He was born and raised in the Bronx and feels right at home at CMSV. A proud father of twins, he finds his hands full quite often and has learned to expect the unexpected. However, Dr. Fabrizio puts aside time to watch his favorite movies, play guitar, listen to heavy metal and rock music, and hike with his wife. Although Dr. Fabrizio has never taught an Honors course, he has had the pleasure of mentoring them in his research studies. Students chosen to participate in research at his laboratory must have two very specific qualities: they must understand the material and enjoy being in the laboratory. The four students that participated in Dr. Fabrizio’s research over the summer of 2016 were all Honors students. Dr. Fabrizio did not chose Honors students specifically, but he was pleased with his choice because of the effort and determination that the students demonstrated.

Stephanie Rodway, Gabriela Mendoza, Dr. Fabrizio, Marielle Villalobos, and Elisa Ferrera gather in the research laboratory.




Marielle Villalobos: “The most enjoyable part of doing research was working alongside my fellow Honors students, Steph, Gaby, and Elisa, and learning from Dr. Fabrizio. Over the course of six weeks, we expanded our knowledge in the field of genetics and became proficient in lab techniques that we never would have learned without this experience. This research project has opened my eyes to new careers in scientific fields other than medicine, and has taught me how to be patient, determined, disciplined, and most importantly, how to listen and work with others.”

Stephanie Rodway: “Our objective as students was to gain more insight into how Drosophila melanogaster (the common fruit fly) genetics really work. This summer, we were working on figuring out why some fruit flies were sterile and how the genes of the mutant flies differed from those of the wild type. In the beginning, I really did not know what I was going to be doing—I didn’t even fully understand the genetics behind what we were studying. After the first week, I felt completely confident in my abilities. I thought that research was going to be complicated—long hours in silence and no fun. However, this summer proved me completely wrong, as I had the time of my life researching something I am passionate about with some amazing peers. I would not trade this past summer for anything.”





Society, 2016 • Explore Your Opportunities Conference Workshop Assistant, 2016

Major: Biology Honor Society Induction(s): • Biology Honor Society, Tri- Beta, 2016 Leadership: • Science Club Co-President, 2015-2016 Gabriela Mendoza conducting • First Year Experience Peer research in the science lab. Leader, 2016 • Trio Peer Leader, 2015 • Freshman Seminar Peer Leader, 2015 Scholarships: • National Science Foundation S-STEM Scholarship, 2013-2016 Research Projects: • “Factors Affecting the Longevity of the Sisters of Charity”, 2015 Professional Service: • Organized Undergraduate Day for Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting, 2016 • Received grant from the American Chemical

Volunteer Experience: • The American Chemical Society, 2016 • Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting, 2016

CHRISTIAN MACAHILIG Major/Minors: History | Concentration in Education Minors in Fine Arts and Philippine Studies Honor Society Induction(s): • History National Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta-Nu Epsilon Chapter, 2016 Leadership: •V  ice Chair of District III of the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue, 2015-2016 • President of the History and Political Science Club, 2016

Christian Macahilig representing District III as Vice Chair of the Executive Board.


NICOLE QUARANTO Major: English | Dual Concentration in Elementary and Special Education Honor Society Induction(s): • Catholic Schools Honor Society, Delta Epsilon Sigma, 2016 Leadership: • Editor in Chief, the Mount Times, 2014-2016 • Treasurer of the Honors Club, 2015-2016 • CMSV Tour Guide, 2015 Nicole Quaranto discusses the English Department with a prospective student and her family at Open House.

Scholarships: • Seton Service and Leadership Program Scholarship Recipient, 2014-Present Volunteer: • Sunday Night Mass and Community Night Coordinator, 2015






Major: Nursing

Major/Minor(s): Visual Arts and Experimental Media | Minor in Women’s Studies and Spanish

Leadership: • Captain of Women’s Cross Country, 2016 • Resident Assistant, 2016

Awards: •T  RiO Emerging Leader Award, 2015

Awards: • Skyline Athlete of the Week, 2016 • All Sportsmanship Award for XC, 2016

President of Honors Club, Mary Heaney (left), and Lauramae Cocchi (right), after a race in Van Cortland Park.

Scholarships: • Merit Scholarship, 2015-2016

Extracurricular Involvement: • Women’s Basketball, 2015-2016 • Women’s Cross Country, 2015-2016 • Honors Club, 2015-2016 • Nursing Student Association, 2015-2016 • Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, 2015-2016

Leadership: • TRiO Support Services Ambassador, 2016 • TRiO Support Services Mentor, 2016 • TRiO Support Services Summer Peer Leader, 2016

Katherine Perez receives the the TRiO Emerging Leader Award, 2015.

Extracurricular Involvement: • Co-Host of “No Filter,” 2015-2016 • Vice President of Through the Lens Photography Club



Goalkeeper for the Men’s Soccer Team.


Right side hitter for the Women’s Volleyball Team.


STUDENT LEADERS By Katherine Perez

Meet some of our students who have taken the lead on and off campus.


Our Honors student Kylee McGrane, cofounder of the non-profit organization A Moment of Magic, devotes her time to visiting pediatric hospitals dressed up as Elsa from the movie Frozen. The organization is made up of passionate student volunteers who dress up as some of Disney’s most famous characters. The group’s mission is to “restore the magic of believing, at a time when a child needs to ‘just be a kid’ and to remind them to be brave, strong, and fearless.” Thanks to this organization, students have been able to spread hope to children in need in over 10 states, while also working to establish volunteer chapters at other colleges and universities. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Instagram: @momentofmagicfoundation

Ashley Canastra (front row), Dance Captain of the Filiment dance team.


Katherine Perez co-hosts the on-campus radio show, “No Filter,” with co-host Nicole Thomas, and special guests Sabrina Bramwell and Dominique Ellis.

Nicole Quaranto, Mikaela Blanchard, Mary Heaney, and Gabby Loccisano represent the Honors Club during ‘Phin Fest.


STUDY ABROAD By Katherine Perez


Amanda Arteaga, a Psychology and Spanish major with a dual concentration in Elementary and Special Education, recently got the opportunity to study abroad in Cusco, Peru. She spent six weeks immersing herself in Peruvian society after being one of the recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which grants undergraduate students up to $5,000 in aid to study abroad.


While I was genuinely excited to be given this opportunity, I must admit that I was also terrified. I worried about the obvious language barrier, and I feared that I would not enjoy my time spent abroad. After receiving much support from my study abroad advisor, I embarked on my journey, and I can honestly say that it was the best decision I have ever made. In addition to learning more about Latin American culture and language, I learned a great deal about myself. Studying abroad has allowed me to discover who I am as an individual, and it has changed my entire outlook on the world. I hope to continue to travel in the future and to continue to develop a sense of cultural awareness.


GRADUATION AWARDS As always in the Honors Program, there were a number of major student accomplishments this year.

AWARDS Nicole-Ashley Lusabia Carumba: The Susanne Breckel, R.S.M. Memorial Award (Communication) Kimberly Gomez: The Business and Economics Medal Alexa Kimberley Harris: The Mathematics Medal Gabrielle Julia Loccisano: The Marjorie Walsh, S.C. Memorial Award (English) Diana Lulgjuraj: 1. The Cardinal Cooke Memorial Award, presented for academic excellence to the student who graduates with the highest GPA 2. The Sister Doris Smith Award, presented to the student who graduates with the highest GPA in the Core Curriculum 3. The Kathleen P. Knowles Award (Nursing) Karl Patrick Schmitt: The Dr. Mary C. Stuart Award (History)

HONOR SOCIETIES Kappa Gamma Pi: • Alexa Kimberley Harris • Hala Innabi • Gabrielle Julia Loccisano • Erika Jean Pichardo • Bryan Michael Ruiz • Karl Patrick Schmitt Delta Epsilon Sigma:

Seniors at Farewell Party.

• Kimberly Gomez • Alexa Kimberley Harris • Hala Innabi • Carly Michelle Jenkinson • Gabrielle Julia Loccisano • Diana Lulgjuraj • Karl Patrick Schmitt • Diane Souvenir

Graduation with Dr. Alumbaugh.





“It’s pretty awesome to know I’m working for a global French company since it has always been my dream...and the makeup doesn’t hurt either.” How did the Honors Program prepare you for your current success?

KIMBERLY GOMEZ ’16 Degree: B.A. in Business | Minors in French and International Studies Current Job: Purchasing Trainee, L’Oréal USA

Kimberly works for one of the top beauty companies in the world, L’Oréal USA. In less than a year after graduation, she a was offered a position on the Indirect Purchasing team as a Purchasing Trainee at the company. Kim’s job includes assisting the division with internal control procedures, analyzing spend data, serving as indirect support for stakeholders, and supporting and helping maintain the company’s renowned sustainability initiative, Sharing Beauty with All. She currently is also considering a dual Masters of Business Administration and Degree of Juris Doctor at the University of Connecticut or Yale.

It taught me to push myself harder than everyone else because it will all be worth it in the end. During my time at the Mount, I had to balance working three jobs, maintaining a high GPA, participating in student organizations, and working on my Honors thesis. I learned amazing time management skills, never stopped pushing myself academically, and engaged my intellectual curiosity—because of that, I am now able to use these awesome skills in my workplace and life.

As a graduate from the Honors Program, what advice would you give current students in the Program, as well as prospective students? Make the most out of these amazing four years! I was able to do so much in four years and looking back, it was the most amazing years of my life thus far. I was able to study abroad and live in Italy for almost a year, I made an entire business plan on my lifestyle blog that I can now use post-graduation, I made lasting friendships, I learned how to push myself, and graduated at the top of my entire major. It may seem daunting—you may have to stay up all night finishing up a paper and you may have to do more homework than other students—but in the end, you’ll be walking across that stage proudly wearing your Honors sash, having accomplished much more than the average student.



ASHLEY CANASTRA Degree: B.A. in Biology Current Job: Physical Therapy Aide and Front Desk Staff, Sportscare Physical Therapy Graduate Studies: Applying for a Doctor of Physical Therapy Awards: • Sr. Francis Dolores Covella Writing Award, 2013 Honor Society Induction(s): • Cum Laude, 2016 • Biology Honor Society, Tri-Beta, 2015 Scholarships: • Corazon C. Aquino Scholarship, 2012-2016 Leadership: • Filiment Executive Director, 2013-2014 & 2015-2016 • Filiment Dance Team Captain, 2014-2015 • ARC Peer Tutor, 2013-2016 • FYE Science Major Peer Leader, 2013 • Dolphin Dolls Dance Captain, 2013 • Tri-Beta Secretary, 2016

KARL SCHMITT Degree: B.A. in History | Minor in Political Science Graduate Studies: Graduate Student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice Awards: • Mount Saint Vincent Wrestling, MVP, 2016 • The History Department Medal, 2016 • The Chuck Mancuso Dedication Award, 2016 • Scholar Athlete of the Year, 2015 Honor Society Induction(s): • History Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta • Catholic Honor Society, Delta Phi Epsilon • Catholic College Graduate Honor Society, Kappa Gamma Pi • National Athletic Honor Society, Chi Alpha Sigma Leadership: • Captain of the Wrestling Team, 2012-2016 Presentations: • Speaker at the Humanities Undergraduate Research Symposium, 2016

Campus Involvement: • Dolphin Dolls Dance Team, 2012-2013 • Flava Dance Team, 2013 • Filiment Dance Team, 2012-16 Volunteer Experience: • CAA Physical Therapy for Kids, Inc. 2012-16 • Recovery Physical Therapy, P.C., 2014-2015 • Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue Inc., 2014




“ ” “ ” “ ” Take chances. Study abroad and learn about a new culture. Work harder than everyone else. Intern. Get a job. Volunteer. Join or start your own club. Make your four years at the Mount memorable. Make your resume shine. And most of all—don’t forget to have fun!

-Kimberly Gomez ’15

As an Honors student, always challenge yourself and allow yourself to step outside of your comfort zone. It may require courage and dedication, but there is nothing more rewarding than accomplishing something that you never thought you could do. -Katherine Perez ’19

The Mount offers so much to its students, so engage in all that you can. Whether it’s visiting a professor during office hours, going to the ARC or the Oxley Career Education Program center, joining a club or sports team, or going to campus events, take advantage of all of it! -Diana Lulgjuraj ’15



Katherine Perez is a sophomore with a major in Visual Arts and Experimental Media and minor in Women’s Studies and Spanish. She has been working with the Honors Program since her freshmen year, being one of the few editors of the first newsletter in the Spring of 2016. She hopes to continue working as an editor on the upcoming newsletters, improving the aesthetic and content of the newsletter with each edition. Katherine also loves to vlog, take photos, and travel during her free time.

Alyssa Pipitone is a freshman with a major in Psychology with an Occupational Therapy track. She graduated from Mater Dei Prep in Middletown, New Jersey, and is excited to embark on a new journey at the Mount. Alyssa is excited to work on the newsletter and also enjoys reading, writing, watching horror movies, and taking adventures into New York City!



CMSV Honors Newsletter Fall 2017  

College of Mount Saint Vincent Honors Program newsletter - learn about the high-achieving and motivated students and their distinctive acade...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you