Mount Saint Mary College honors grads

October 07, 2011

Newburgh, NY -

Honored Grads

Left to right: Jennifer Smalley ’87 of Newburgh, Alumni Association Board member Lynne Ejercito ’77 of Newburgh, Fr. Kevin E. Mackin, OFM, president of Mount Saint Mary College, and Michelle Bond ’99 of Baltimore, MD (Dawn Ravella ’89 is not pictured.)

Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY recently honored several alumnae for their commitment to the college and the community.

The President’s Award for Outstanding Service to the College was presented to Newburgh resident Jennifer Smalley ’87, a special education teacher with the Wappingers Central School District and an adjunct professor at the Mount.

The Distinguished Alumni Award went to Dawn Ravella ’89 of New York City, director of mission and outreach for the Reformed Church in Bronxville, N.Y.; and Michelle Bond ’99 of Baltimore, Md., technical training agreement/content development manager for AmeriCorps VISTA Outreach Initiatives, and project manager for Campaign Consultation, Inc., an advocacy network.

Jennifer Smalley ’87

Jennifer Smalley embodies the spirit of community service for which the Mount is well known. More than 50 percent of Mount students are active in service. The college was named to the national President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Smalley serves as a cooperating teacher in the Wappingers schools for Mount Saint Mary College student teacher candidates. With a reputation for excellence in preparing future educators, the Mount boasts the 2010 New York State Teacher of the Year, Debra Calvino ’81.

Smalley, who teaches undergraduate and graduate education courses at the Mount, has served as a volunteer with the education department during the NCATE accreditation and as a testing proctor, as well as during the Mount’s spring concerts. She participated in the Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk and on the alumni golf committee.

Delivering the benediction at the Mount’s 2009 commencement, Smalley authored a reflection on the late Dr. Lucy DiPaola, professor and chair of education, which was published in the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities Faces of Education Column.

Said Smalley, “My Mount degree (psychology) has propelled me into a lifetime of opportunity. Significant learning was nurtured, along with extraordinary friendships of mind and spirit. A framework of service, developed through my Mount experience, continues to flourish.”

Dawn Ravella ’89

“It was in sociology and psychology classes (at the Mount) that I began to understand poverty, its impact on people,” said Dawn Ravella. “I was encouraged to become engaged in community service. The meaningful experiences in community service brought out the best in me and I was motivated to work for change. The lessons I learned at the Mount began a deep spiritual journey for me and changed the path of my life.”

Working tirelessly, Ravella established two homeless shelters: the Lester Waldman and St. James, both in New York City, co-founded the East Side Congregations for Housing Justice to mobilize people of faith to dialogue with elected officials, established partnerships between churches in New York City and Zimbabwe, created the Public Policy Education Network at St. Edward the Confessor Roman Catholic Church, in Syosset, NY, and initiated the Coming Home Prison Ministry, a reentry program.

As director of outreach ministries at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, Ravella instituted a housing ministry which was chosen as a national model for Presbyterian churches.

She created an international ministry, leading mission teams to Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Africa, providing leadership and education in funding economic development projects.

She also had a private practice in psychotherapy.

Ravella oversees on-going projects with Habitat for Humanity and for Midnight Runs, where volunteers provide food, blankets and companionship to the homeless in Manhattan.

A doctoral candidate at New York Theological Seminary, Ravella holds a bachelor of arts in social sciences from the Mount with her master’s in social work from Fordham University.

Mount Saint Mary College recently arranged a joint degree program with Fordham where students can earn a BA degree in human services from the Mount and an MSW from Fordham.

Michelle Bond ’99

Michelle Bond began her career in South Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer training women in business development and grant writing, developing HIV curriculum, and as a mentor to youth groups and athletes trying to become leaders post-apartheid.

Returning to the Hudson Valley, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh.

As a result of her passion for service and commitment to social justice, Bond was invited to participate in the Shriver Peaceworker Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, which gave her the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree in intercultural communication and devise and conduct research and evaluation initiatives. She also participated in the Baltimore City Mayoral Fellowship, a highly selective program within city government.

As project manager for Campaign Consultation, she establishes and implements support structures for the social change consultancy focused on community development, fundraising, corporate citizenship, diversity, issue advocacy, media and marketing, public policy and organizational development.

With a public relations degree from the Mount, Bond noted that her “coursework relevant to current events, case studies and practical application of communication arts curriculum has allowed me to create content and embrace a methodology of organization, process, follow-through and presentation both in written and verbal form.”

More than her degree, though, “the idea of community is what sold me on Mount Saint Mary College. I knew it was a place that would allow its students to find their niche, and share experiences we all could learn from.”