Go Further: Graduate programs at the Mount

A graduate student at CommencementThe reasons for pursuing a graduate education are often very different than the decision to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Here at the Mount, our graduate students pursue master’s degrees for a variety of reasons: career development and advancement, connections and networking with professionals, and more. But they often end up choosing the Mount to obtain that degree for the same reason: the opportunity for an exceptional, leading education that allows them to go further. 

Further your knowledge

The Mount offers three graduate programs – Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science in Nursing (MS in Nursing), and Master of Science in Education (MSEd), with numerous opportunities for concentrations and specializations, including MBA Health Care Management, MS in Nursing for Adult-Gerontology, and MSEd in Literacy.

All of these programs allow graduate students to further their interest in a new or familiar field. For Fernando Ahumada MBA ’03, pursuing a master’s degree allowed him to develop his interest in business, which he has now been able to apply to his career in the not-for-profit sector. Ahumada spent two years commuting to the Mount after work from Danbury, CT. He says the effort was worth it.

“It will help you organize those ideas into different categories. Classes in Business Law and Business Ethics — things that can open your eyes to what the standard is in higher education. It can definitely organize your thoughts and bring you to a different level,” he said.

Blake Keenan, a 2018 Mount alumnus and current graduate student, also appreciates the unique classroom experience that he has found in the college’s master’s degree program. “The classes are problem and discussion based,” he explained, noting that the program is not just a continuation of his undergraduate experience. “It’s geared towards management, class discussions, and has a heavy current events focus.”

Further your career

Many Mount graduate students decide to pursue graduate studies to change or advance in their careers. Having a master’s degree often allows them to make the leap from junior employees to managers and administrators, and we prepare our students to take on these new responsibilities through practice and exposure to real life scenarios.

Mount graduate Kristi Finnigan at oakland valley campgroundFor Kristi Finnigan MBA ’15, if it weren’t for the Mount’s Business program, her dream of owning Oakland Valley Campground in Cuddebackville, NY might never have come true. While pursuing her MBA at the Mount to augment her work of aiding those with disabilities, Finnigan and her husband came up with the idea of buying a campground. However, she struggled with creating a business plan.

She decided to let the dream go, until her capstone class project at the Mount was to create a business plan. She worked closely with Mount professors Moira Tolan and Peter Gregory to refine her strategy, and about a year later, she purchased Oakland Valley Campground using what she learned.

Tolan and Gregory “helped me so tremendously, really fine-tuning everything and letting me pick their brains,” she said. “With their help, I was able to make our plan come true.”

Similarly, Christian Plaza ’14 MBA ’18 MS in Nursing ’18 is using his three Mount degrees as the co-founder and clinical and business director of Cross Valley Health and Medicine. Plaza, who earned two master’s degrees simultaneously at the college, explained that his graduate education allows him to look at his career and business from a variety of angles. 

“The Mount has given me more tools I can use to give us an advantage,” he said. “The MBA component helps me with different ways to strategize and connect with niche populations. On top of that, having the family nurse practitioner component enhances the way we provide care and the practice itself.”

Education graduate students celebrate Commencement

Further your connections

One of the best things about a Mount education is dedicated faculty, many of whom have worked or are still working in the discipline they teach.

That matters for Mount students, because they get to benefit not only from the expertise of the faculty, but also the wisdom of the faculty’s industry connections. Many such guest speakers come to the Mount to give presentations and share real-world applications for their learning.

Mount graduate Business students learn from guest lecturer.Through presentations and in class visits, Mount graduate students have recently benefitted from the expertise of Robin Kleban, vice president for Client Services at George P. Johnson Expertise Marketing; Debra Zambito ’98, CEO of Elant, Inc.; Gary Zmrhal, SVP and CFO of HealthQuest; Karen May, vice president of finance for Bayer Health Care North America; and Louis Pastina, retired executive vice president of operations, NYSE/Euronext and founder of Global Markets Advisory Group, among others.

Robin Kleban (above), vice president for Client Services at George P. Johnson Experience Marketing, presents to a class of Mount graduate students.

Connections like these help Mount graduate students thrive after commencement. Nicole Havrilla ’14 MSEd ’16 attributes her job as an elementary literacy/reading teacher in the Washingtonville Central School District to the Mount’s graduate program internship opportunity that hired students as permanent building substitutes for the Washingtonville School District while obtaining their degree.

“After a few rounds of interviews, I was hired as a permanent building substitute at Little Britain Elementary School in Washingtonville, NY,” she explained. “This allowed me to work 4 out of the 5 days in the elementary school while taking grad classes at night…After working in the district as a permanent building substitute, I was hired as a special education leave replacement the following year. Then, I was hired by the same district as a full time Elementary Reading Teacher. The partnership between the Mount and Washingtonville exposed me to this amazing district.”

Health care panel at the Mount

The Mount recently held "Staying Competitive in the Health Care Sector" on the business of health care management in the Hudson Vlaley.

Further your community

One of the fundamental aspects of graduate level coursework at the Mount is taking classroom knowledge into the real world. For many Mount graduate students, this also allows them the opportunity to make a difference in their field and the community.

Mount graduate students mentor children at ArmoryFor example, each year, graduate Education students work one-on-one with students at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center for 16 weeks to create written and illustrated stories as part of their summer coursework. The program provides an opportunity not only for mentoring between the Mount’s teacher candidates and local Newburgh youth, but also the chance to create a positive impression of literacy for the underserved children.

Additionally, Mount Business graduate students will often work with local organizations and charities to provide business plans and strategy to further reinforce the skills they learned in the classroom. Laci Johnson, a Business graduate student, recently had the opportunity to present her original business plan for the “Lost Legends Museum” at the Mid-Hudson Regional Business Plan Competition held at Marist College. 

“I learned a lot of important skills to be a successful entrepreneur, and it has connected me to all the right people to really move forward with this,” she noted. “It was great being surrounded by others who feel passionate about starting a business and supporting the upstate New York area.”

Nursing graduates often positively impact the local community through their research capstone projects. For example, graduate student Naomi Biviano recently created a program that that identified barriers (such as lack of knowledge, language miscommunication, etc.) that would prevent patients from adhering to their medication plan. With weekly follow-up phone calls to clarify medication schedules, Biviano’s method cleared up misconceptions and empowered patients to participate in their own care. Other projects have included Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) training at area health care facilities, stress reduction breathing techniques for undergraduate students suffering from anxiety, and developing musical education training to help nurses remember the steps to prevent pressure ulcers. 

Further your success

Graduate Nursing students celebrate graduation

Alumni of the Mount’s graduate programs go on to improve both their careers and their communities.

Margaret Deyo Allers ’03 MS in Nursing ’07, vice president of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital/Montefior Health System, credits her Mount experiences for enhancing her career at St. Luke’s.

“I believe my success in obtaining this position could not have been accomplished without the support and growth opportunities afforded me through MSMC’s BSN and MSN programs,” she explained at a recent Nursing Symposium for alumni and the community, “and for that I am both grateful and honored that my educational aspirations pointed me towards MSMC.”

Mount graduate Torrance Harvey became Newburgh's mayor in 2018.Torrance Harvey MSEd ’03 recently became the mayor of Newburgh and is now affecting change in the very community where he completed his degree. “I’d be remiss not to mention that Mount Saint Mary College believed in me and my potential. I shall always remember the opportunities and academic preparation for service to others I received at the college. Fortified with an excellent education, the Mount graduates CAN make a significant difference!”

Other graduate students have gone on to be named directors, senior managers, vice presidents, and chief financial officers of their companies and earned distinctions like New York State Teacher of the Year, Skyline Conference Coach of the Year, Hudson Valley’s Top Nurse, and New York State Nurse Practitioner Student of the Year.

Go further

Do you want to go further with your education? Contact us at or 845-569-3225 to get started on your graduate journey at the Mount today.

Mount graduate student Laura Lomolino