- by Mount Saint Mary College

As their final semester at Mount Saint Mary College comes to an end, School of Business students are preparing for the next chapter of their lives, from joining the workforce to continuing on to graduate school.

Matthew Connoly Accounting MajorMatthew Connoly of Walden, N.Y., an Accounting major on the five-year MBA track, recently accepted a job as a staff accountant at the public accounting firm Judelson, Giordano, and Siegel (JGS), CPA, PC, in Middletown, N.Y. He will begin his new position on Monday, May 18, just days after the end of his final semester at the Mount.

“I'm thankful that I was able to find a job especially given the current COVID-19 situation that we are in,” Connoly said.

He credits the Mount’s Career Center with helping to secure the position. Kathleen O’Keefe, director of the Career Center “did an excellent job of setting me up with an internship at JGS, and she also helped me join the AARP Tax-Aide Program, which gave me tax experience prior to my internship,” he explained.

Connoly is one of dozens of Mount students who have volunteered with Tax-Aide, a tax assistance program offered annually by the AARP Tax-Aide Foundation, the Mid-Hudson CASH Coalition, and the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region. Through the program, the students and other volunteers prepare taxes for low to moderate income area residents.

In addition to Tax-Aide, Connoly was a member of the Mount’s soccer team, the Student Business Association, the Delta Mu Delta Business Honor Society, the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society, and Chi Alpha Sigma National College Athlete Honor Society. He was also awarded the title of Aquinas Scholar, which is bestowed upon Mount juniors and seniors with a minimum grade point average of at least 3.60 who have also received the recommendation from their major’s division.

Connoly is the third person in his family to have graduated from the Mount, the first two being his sisters Sarah and Cindy. Sarah graduated from the Mount’s Biology program in 2016 and went on to earn a doctorate degree in Physical Therapy. Cindy graduated in 2018 from the Mount’s Nursing program. Both are currently frontline healthcare workers.

The time management skills Connoly has learned from his classes and his time as a student-athlete have helped him to succeed both in the classroom and in the professional world. He credits his professors with helping to mold him into the person he is today, including Tracey Niemotko, professor of Accounting; Ivan Rubel, lecturer of Accounting; Neirouz Watad, instructor of Accounting; and Michael Fox, assistant professor of Business Law, MBA coordinator, and Pre-Law advisor.

Graduation doesn’t mean goodbye, he pointed out: Connoly will be returning to the Mount next semester to complete his graduate work.

“Having my MBA will further separate me from the crowd…and provide a better overall understanding of business in general,” noted Connoly.

Joe Galasso Mount Student Government Association (SGA) VP

Graduate education is also the next step for Joe Galasso of Plainview, N.Y., Connoly’s classmate and Mount Student Government Association (SGA) vice president. This fall, Galasso, a Business student, will be going to law school at Hofstra University, New York Law School, or Touro Law Center. He’s grateful to the Mount for helping him to get accepted to all three schools.

“Professor Fox was 100 percent the most important person in me going to law school,” Galasso explained. “Besides being extremely active in the community and a great professor, he was my advisor and helped me get everything in order to go.”

He also thanked Jeffery Kahana, associate professor of History; Fr. Gregoire Fluet, Mount chaplain and director of Campus Ministry; and Barbara Mulligan, director of Student Activities, for their positive impact over Galasso’s undergraduate years at the Mount.

In these times of uncertainty, Galasso is happy to have a clear direction and goals for his future. “I feel prepared,” he said. “I know that I will be preparing for a career in law for the next three years. I’m happy to pursue my dream, especially now during this pandemic.”

Galasso noted that being involved in organizations throughout campus helped him to develop his leadership skills and to create lasting bonds with the community. For example, Galasso and his fellow SGA members mentored the fifth grade class of Bishop Dunn Memorial School. As classes for both institutions moved online, so too did their mentorship meetings.

“SGA has truly made me into a better student and better person,” he said. “All of the community outreach, the events and the work we do to better our campus has helped me become a better person.”

As he prepares for law school, Galasso is excited to begin a new chapter of his life – but he’ll also miss the family atmosphere of the Mount.

The Mount “is much more than just a community and I will miss seeing all these amazing people every day,” he explained. “I wish I had more time, but I will forever be a part of this Mount family.”

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