Mount Saint Mary Academy celebrates the success of its alumnae. We proudly share the following profiles of some of our graduates who exemplify leadership, character and the Mercy Core Values.
If you would like to be interviewed for an Alumnae Profile, please contact Ms. Patricia Walter, Director of Alumnae Relations, at (908) 757-0108, ext. 4535 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jacklyn Damiano '10
Jaclyn Damiano graduated from the Mount, Class of 2010. After graduation she attended Marywood University where she obtained a Bachelors of Arts degree in Art Therapy and her Masters in Creative Arts Therapy in May of 2016 from Pratt Institute. Currently, she is working as the Creative Arts Therapy Coordinator at The Kravis Children's Hospital at Mount Sinai in New York City where she works daily with children and families suffering from terminal illness to better their hospital experience and to support positive coping through the art making experience.
“The Mount was an amazing place that motivated me to pursue my dreams, strive for the best, and remain humble," said Jaclyn. "My teachers gave me the confidence to go forth with faith in life and never give up on the arts. I am forever grateful for the Mount...my second home!”
Adriana Guido-Rios '06
For as long as she can remember, Adriana Guido-Rios ’06 sensed an undeniable call to become a doctor – eager to serve those who needed care and compassion. Mount Saint Mary Academy, she said, was the place that fostered that call and ultimately built the foundation that has made her the successful physician she is today.
“I was looking for a school that would get me where I wanted to go, and that was the Mount,” said Adriana.
“You can get a good education anywhere, but no other place has the spirit that the Mount does. It sets a foundation that helps you grow into the best person you can be. Being a student here instilled so much confidence in me. I knew I could get somewhere because I had that support,” added Adriana.
While she participated in several clubs, Adriana kept herself focused on her dream of a medical career by focusing on honors science, mathematics and engineering studies which prepared her well for her studies at John Hopkins University.
The welcoming and warm atmosphere at the osteopathic branch of UMDNJ (University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey), which is now Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM), has been the most similar to that of the Mount, said Adriana. “I enjoy being with my patients. It doesn’t matter how tired I am. I like learning everything about science and humanism,” she said.
A love for osteopathic medicine was also nurtured at the Mount because the need to treat the whole person spiritually and holistically with more than traditional methods has become paramount to her.
“I can’t imagine my life without serving the community,” she said. “That’s something that I always learned at the Mount. Everyone always went above and beyond and that always made me care even more about my work. They went beyond and I will go beyond to help others too.”
Christina Cerutti '06
Christina is a proud MSMA alumna (Class of 2006), and graduated magna cum laude from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. She received a Bachelor's degree in 2010, a Master's degree in 2011, and was one of two female students in the graduating class of approximately 1,500 to be awarded triple academic honors of Phi Beta Kappa, Scholar of the College, and Alpha Sigma Nu.
Ms. Cerutti earned her Juris Doctor degree in 2014 from William & Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia, and is currently an attorney in the New York office of Baker & McKenzie. As a member of their North America Banking, Finance, & Major Projects Practice Group, Christina advises oil, energy, and nuclear industry mutuals and insurers on complex domestic and international commercial litigation and arbitration. She also advises on matters involving major disasters, environmental contamination, catastrophe related property losses and is a member of both the New York and New Jersey Bar.
“The Mount was truly a special place, and I have such fond memories of my time there. I am convinced that I would not be where I am today without the first-class education that the Mount provided, and for that, I am so grateful," she said. "I learned not only academics, but life lessons about hard work, dedication, and time management. The insights gained from my time at the Mount have shaped my perspectives both in college and law school, and have continued to serve me well as a practicing attorney. I am so fortunate to have attended, and am certain that the current graduating classes have much to offer as they move forward as well. The Mount is a special place, and I won't forget my time there.”
Dr. Marybeth Morgan '83
Dr. Marybeth Morgan attended the Mount from 1979 to 1983. During those four years, she also attended The School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York City. "The Mount allowed me to schedule my classes early in the day my first 3 years and then do an independent study my senior year, attending school 1 day a week," she said. "After graduation, I was continuing my studies at SAB and was getting ready to join the Houston Ballet when an injury ended my dreams of being a professional ballet dancer. The Mount prepared me to handle a drastic change in lifestyle and career direction. I was taking classes at Fordham University Lincoln Center campus and became a full-time student."
When she decided that veterinary medicine was her next career path, she transferred to the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences. "I credit Sister Ignatius ("S. Iggy") with my love for biology," said Dr. Morgan. "Next, I attended the University of Pennyslvania School of Veterinary Medicine from 1991 to 1995. I did a general medicine and surgery internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital (RBVH) from 1995 to 1996. I have been a staff doctor/general practitioner at RBVH ever since. In addition to my duties at RBVH, I participate in spay/neuter clinics at the Monmouth County SCPA. I serve as the veterinarian for the Monmouth County CART (Alert Response Team). I also give First Aid lectures for State Police K9 handlers, and do upwards of a dozen career days each year at local elementary and high schools."
"There is no doubt in my mind that the academic foundation laid at the Mount prepared me to adapt to changes and achieve success," she said.
Lisa Fittipaldi Digirolamo '75
Ms. Lisa M. Fittipaldi Digirolamo, Esq., a 1975 graduate of Mount Saint Mary Academy in Watchung, was named a Disciple of Mercy by Bishop James F. Checchio of the Diocese of Metuchen in November 2016.
MSMA Directress, Sister Lisa D. Gambacorto, RSM, Ed.S., nominated Ms. Fittipaldi for this honor when she was asked to name members of the school community, “who could be honored as ongoing models of a life that witnesses to the Lord’s steadfast love and mercy.”
“Lisa continuously gives countless hours of pro-bono legal aid to non-profit Catholic organizations and to the poor in need of legal counsel,” said Sister Lisa. “She performs this legal work on her own time. She is a Catholic who practices her faith through her actions, which have included ministries such as knitting garments for the Center for Great Expectations and for members of the armed services, including veterans.”
Sister Lisa added, “She has organized multiple drives to collect items for soldiers in order for them to have personal care products and snacks during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lisa has also provided her time and talents as a member of the Bread and Roses Ball committee for the Diocese of Metuchen, and she volunteers as the Vice-Chair of District XIII’s Ethics Committee for the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey.”
At Mount Saint Mary Academy, Ms. Fittipaldi offered her expertise as a volunteer attorney coach for the Academy’s Mock Trial team, and she donated countless hours to the students. Her dedicated service continued through her nine-year term on the Board of Trustees serving as Vice Chair and Chair. She is also a member of the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, where she helps to raise money for people who may be unable to finish their education because of an unexpected financial problem.
“It is a privilege to know Lisa and to recommend her for this award. She is a dedicated, compassionate and benevolent woman who uses her education, her intelligence, her career, and her heart to better the lives of others. She is truly a Disciple of Mercy,” said Sister Lisa.
Sister Lisa also nominated MSMA seniors Julia Hadley of Florham Park and Thea Dekker of Chatham for the award. They will receive their award from Bishop Checchio on Sunday, November 20 during Evening Prayer celebration at St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral in Metuchen while surrounded by family and friends.
The honor comes to close the Vatican’s Jubilee of Mercy as it ends on Sunday, November 20.
In his congratulatory letter, Bishop Checchio thanked the recipients “for making the mercy and compassion of God so visible in the Diocese.”
Ms. Fittipaldi, a Warren resident and a partner at DiFrancesco, Bateman, Kunzman, Davis, Lehrer & Flaum, P.C., said “I am honored to be receive the Disciple of Mercy Award and I am humbled that my contributions to the school are the basis for the award. My life was very much changed and enriched by the time I spent at Mount Saint Mary Academy.”
Ms. Fittipaldi’s daughters are also graduates of Mount Saint Mary Academy. Claire is a member of the Class of 2011 and Amelia graduated in 2013. Both were Cum Laude Society members. Amelia, a senior in the honors program at Boston College, was the salutatorian at Mount Saint Mary Academy. Claire was a Magna Cum Laude graduate of George Washington University with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and a Presidential Scholar and member of the honors program. She attends North Carolina State University where she was awarded a five-year full scholarship to get her doctorate in applied mathematics.
“My daughters, who have grown into self-confident, accomplished women, also had the strong foundation of education at our beloved Mount St Mary and enjoy a life enriched academically, morally and socially by the gift bestowed by the Sisters of Mercy in their sponsorship of this wonderful school,” she shared.