October 07, 2011
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.”