Home » Blog » Alumni News

Category: Alumni News

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Caldwell University Recognizing Alumni Professional Excellence at Veritas Awards

Caldwell, N.J., March 8, 2017 – Caldwell University will recognize alumni professional excellence at the annual Veritas awards on Friday March 31.

The award is the highest honor the college bestows on its alumnae/alumni for their professional excellence in diverse fields.  The reception is at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. at Essex Fells Country Club.

Sister M. de Montfort Kinchellagh, O.P. ’68 will receive the Excellence in Social Justice Advocacy award, Elaine Bauer Zabriskie ’73 will receive the Excellence in Quality Technology award, and Carlos Pomares ’93 will receive the Excellence in Cultural Activism award.

Sister M. de Montfort Kinchellagh, O.P. ’68

Sister M. de Montfort Kinchellagh, O.P. ’68 will receive the Excellence in Social Justice Advocacy award.

Sister de Monfort is a tireless advocate on behalf of issues of peace and justice.  She has held several positions including councilor of ministry for the Leadership Council of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell and justice promoter for the Sisters.  She was pivotal in establishing the Commission on Global Issues for the Sisters and served as it’s chairperson for over 15 years. Sister de Monfort had a career in education holding a number of positions including teacher, principal, supervisor of schools, and assistant superintendent.

Sister holds a B.A. in English/Elementary Education from Caldwell College and New Jersey Teacher of Elementary Education N-8 and New Jersey Principal certifications. She has an M.A. in Supervision\Administration from Seton Hall University.

Elaine Bauer Zabriskie ’73

Elaine Bauer Zabriskie ’73 will receive the Excellence in Quality Technology award.

Elaine Bauer Zabriskie ’73 has excelled in the field of telecommunications with employment at companies such as AT&T and Verizon. Among her many accomplishments is the design and implementation of a supplier report card program that identified thresholds of performance for customer requirements as well as the management of corrective actions. The program was awarded a U.S. Business Process Patent in November 2012 after a ten-year review process. She is a published author of several professional white papers on supplier performance and on a recognition program for telecommunications suppliers. Zabriskie holds a bachelor of arts in history and social studies from Caldwell College and a master’s of political science and an MBA in management from Montclair University. She is a lifetime certified purchasing manager and a certified software quality engineer.

Carlos Pomares ’93

Carlos Pomares ’93 will receive the Excellence in Cultural Activism award.

Carlos M. Pomares ‘93 is executive director of the Cuban Artists Fund, a non- profit dedicated to supporting artists of Cuban ancestry.   He has overseen a variety of collaborative educational projects between the Cuban Artists Fund and organizations such as the Times Square Alliance, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.  As councilman at-large in Bloomfield, New Jersey, he has successfully spearheaded historic restoration projects, public art installations, and environmental preservation efforts.

Pomares holds a B.A. in History from Caldwell College and received a certificate in Communications.  He also holds an M.A. in Museum Professions from Seton Hall University.

Tickets are $95.00.   RSVP by March 15. For further information, contact Alumni Director Meghan Moran at 973-618-3411 or mmoran@Caldwell.edu

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Alumnus performs with young adult honor’s choir at Carnegie Hall

Alumnus Nick Bushey performed with the young adult honor’s choir at Carnegie Hall.

Caldwell, N.J., Feb. 23, 2017 – Caldwell University Music Department alumnus Nick Bushey was selected to perform at the Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 5.  He was chosen from a competitive group of international and national applicants to be a part of the Young Adult Honor’s Choir conducted by Jeffery Redding.

Participants had to apply and send in audition recordings in October. Bushey, of Wayne, N.J.  was thrilled to meet and perform alongside the other choir members, who he said, “shared their unique stories about where they came from and why they loved to sing”.

The musicians received their music in advance of the performance and were expected to report three days prior with all selections memorized. The performance included works ranging from Haydn (“Awake the Harp” from  Creation) to Kim Andre Arneson’s “Even When He is Silent” and “Flight Song.”

After a few days of rehearsals together, all 80 of the choir members were eager to perform on the prestigious stage. “The excitement was contagious. We all fed off of each other’s energy,” Bushey said. “It was truly a life changing experience”.

The Honors Ensemble is open to select college-aged and young adult vocalists. The musicians had the opportunity to rehearse with Redding, an accomplished conductor and former music faculty member at West Virginia University.

Bushey is grateful to all his music professors, his voice teacher Dr. Greenwald, and his family and friends. He is pursuing a career in music education and hopes to motivate and inspire students through music.

Dr. Greenwald said she is proud of Bushey for being accepted into such a prestigious ensemble and was thrilled to see and hear him perform on the stage of Carnegie Hall.

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Caldwell Men’s Basketball Alum Matthew Stuart Inducted into CACC Hall of Fame on Super Saturday

CALDWELL, N.J.- Caldwell University men’s basketball standout Matthew Stuart ’94 was officially inducted into the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame in a special ceremony during Saturday’s basketball doubleheader as part of “Super Saturday” festivities. Stuart is the first Caldwell representative in the newly created CACC Hall of Fame and is the first CACC men’s basketball player inducted into the conference hall of fame.

Caldwell Athletics welcomed over 100 former student-athletes and their families back to campus this past Saturday. In addition, each athletic team and several departments on campus contributed a basket of items that were part of the silent auction with the proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The event was a success as Caldwell Athletics raised over $1,000 from the auction items. Make-A-Wish is the official charitable organization of the NCAA.

“We are so proud of Matt and what he has meant to our institution,” said Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics Mark A. Corino, “He was a main reason for the early success of the men’s basketball program and we were pleased to have him and his family back to campus to celebrate his induction into the CACC Hall of Fame. The CACC has a long history of outstanding student-athletes and his induction as the first men’s basketball inductee into the hall of fame is an indication of what he has meant to the school and how people recognize his outstanding achievements on the court.”

Between the men’s and women’s contests, Caldwell University President Dr. Nancy Blattner welcomed Stuart and his family to campus and spoke of how exciting it was to have such a large group of alumni present to celebrate a great day for the university. CACC Commissioner Dan Mara followed and read off Stuart’s amazing accomplishments during his playing career. He also stated that great Caldwell men’s basketball players — both current and future — will always be judged by the incredible exploits of Stuart, who starred for the Cougars in the early 90s.

Mara officially inducted Stuart into the conference hall of fame, as he presented him with a framed portrait featuring photos of Stuart from his playing days. Finally, Stuart spoke to the crowd, thanking his former head coach Mark A. Corino, who not only coaches the men’s program, but is also Caldwell’s Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics. Stuart added how special it was to help build the program and the friendships he made. Stuart asked his family to join him at center court to take part in the ceremony, and they did with photos being taken afterwards.

When Stuart came to Caldwell from Haddon Heights, N.J., in the fall of 1989, the men’s basketball program was beginning its third season of existence. By the time he finished his career in 1994, Stuart had twice earned All-American honors, led the Cougars to their first CACC Tournament championship and helped the team qualify for its first national tournament.

A 6-foot-11 center, Stuart was named the CACC Player of the Year in both 1993 and 1994 while earning NAIA All-American Second Team honors as a junior and First Team as a senior. He did this following a serious knee injury that forced him to miss all but five games during the 1990-91 season. In 110 career games for the Cougars, Stuart scored a school-record 1,888 points. He is second all-time in blocks with 156 and fifth in rebounds with 843 in his career.

To watch the video from the event, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0tnKUH4ErM

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Alum and student featured in “Internship program draws next generation of workers”

Students Shyam Sharma (L) and Joseph DiCarlo (R) have been interns at Tilcon New York, Inc., a supplier of quality stone and asphalt products. They are pictured here with Anne Poltorak ’78, Tilcon Human Resources Manager and member of the Caldwell University Business Advisory Council.

Students Shyam Sharma (L) and Joseph DiCarlo (R) have been interns at Tilcon New York, Inc., a supplier of quality stone and asphalt products. They are pictured here with Anne Poltorak ’78, Tilcon Human Resources Manager and member of the Caldwell University Business Advisory Council.

Caldwell alumna Anne Poltorak ’78, human resources manager at Tilcon, and Caldwell business administration major Shyam Sharma are featured in a Pit & Quarry story on the growth of Tilcon New York’s internship program and the opportunities it provides for the younger workforce.

Tilcon New York , Inc. is a supplier of quality stone and asphalt products

Pit & Quarry magazine serves the aggregates mining industry.

Click here for full article

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Night of Cougar Pride inducts three new hall of famers and first-ever team

rp_primary_hof_2016_story_pic_recap

CALDWELL, N.J.- Caldwell University Athletics, in conjunction with Cougar Pride, hosted “A Night of Cougar Pride” on Friday, October 21 at Cedar Hill Country Club in Livingston, N.J. Caldwell Athletics welcomed three new hall of famer members, bringing the number in the hall of fame to 40. In addition, the first-ever team was also inducted as part of the ceremony.

The newest members of the Caldwell Athletics Hall of Fame include Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics and Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mark A. Corino, men’s soccer standout Uke Dauti ’07 and women’s basketball star Gwendolyn Gunn ’00. In addition to the three inductees, Coach Corino’s first national tournament team in 1992-93 was recognized as the first-ever team to receive hall of fame honors.

The Caldwell University Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 2010 to honor student-athletes, coaches and contributors who have played significant roles in the success of the intercollegiate athletic programs at Caldwell University. With this year’s class, there are now 40 members in the Hall of Fame and they plaques are in the Welcome Center located on the first floor of the George R. Newman Center.

To watch the video from the event, click here.

image_handler

(left to right): Andrew Fraser, Inductee Uke Dauti

image_handler-1

(left to right): Nicole Campbell Russo, Inductee Gwendolyn Gunn

image_handler-2

1992-93 Men’s Basketball Team (left to right): Assistant Coach John Michael Santuli, Father Bob Stagg, Assistant Coach Glenn Carroll, Head Coach Mark A. Corino, Derek Bailey, Ed Elam, Matt Stuart, Brian Gaccione, Damian Kennedy, Evan Swansey

image_handler-3

(left to right): Inductee Mark A. Corino, Sister Michele Rodgers, Dean Johnson

Alumni News, News

Friends of Caldwell to hold Tricky Tray on June 16th

The Friends of Caldwell University are sponsoring “A Festival of Flowers : The Prelude to Summer” Tricky Tray to be held on June 16, 2016 at The Hanover Manor in East Hanover, New Jersey. The $50.00 ticket includes pre-dinner snacks (6:00-7:00 PM), dinner (salad, pasta, entree, dessert, coffee, tea, soda), and a sheet of Tier 1 tickets. Doors open at 6:00 PM. The drawing begins at 8:00 PM. A cash bar is available. Tables accommodate up to 10 people. This is a reservations only tricky tray. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

There are four levels of prizes. Value packs will be available. We intend to have a number of prizes equitable to the number of attendees.

The purpose of this event is to support the mission of Caldwell University, student scholarships, and activities/community services sponsored by the University. With our students in mind and the rising cost of tuition, we ask that you join us to make this event enjoyable for our attendees and beneficial to our students.

For information and reservations, please contact:

Jane Bestys (973) 226-2885
Marguerite Kenney (973) 618-3490
Joseph Prestifilippo (973) 226-7510

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Alumna Uses Design Talents to Prepare Church for Bishop’s Ordination

Alumna Meg Poltorak Keyes used her talents to prepare for the ordination and installation of Bishop James F. Checchio as the fifth bishop in the Diocese of Metuchen.

For more than 30 years Poltorak Keyes has been designing liturgical environments. Shortly after graduating from Caldwell as the first person to receive the bachelor’s in fine arts, she heard a request for parishioners to donate their “time, talent, and treasure.” Knowing her time and finances were limited, she realized she could use her talents. “I raised by hand to help with the flowers,” she says. As an interior designer she has done quite a bit of church renovation and restoration. She is a member of the Art and Environment Committee through the Office of Divine Worship for the Archdiocese of Newark. She also sits on the Liturgical Commission for the Diocese of Metuchen.

She credits her former art professor, artist Sister Gerardine Mueller, O.P. for her inspiration. “I would not being doing half as much if it were not for her example.”

The below Diocese of Metuch Catholic Spirit article, “Designer recreates Vatican Gardens to honor bishop’s time in Rome”, highlights Poltorak Keyes work.

Designer recreates Vatican Gardens to honor bishop’s time in Rome

By Tracy Liston
Correspondent

SOUTH PLAINFIELD — Design consultant Meg Poltorak Keyes was hard at work with her small team preparing the Church of the Sacred Heart two nights before the ordination and installation of Bishop James F. Checchio.

May12TheCatholicSpirit“It is very exciting to be a part of this, and it all happened rather quickly,” said Poltorak Keyes. “This is a huge honor to be selected to design the liturgical environments. I am doing this as much for Bishop Paul [G. Bootkoski] as I am for Bishop James,” she said, noting that she has worked with Bishop Bootkoski since the beginning of his 14 years in the diocese. For the celebration of Evening Prayer, held the night before Bishop Checchio’s ordination, Poltorak Keyes said she chose a white decorating theme to adorn the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi in Metuchen “to which was the Memorial of Saint Athanasius, who was a bishop and doctor of the Church.”

However, for the installation and ordination, which fell on the feast of St. Philip and St. James, who were apostles and martyrs, the liturgical color is red, and Poltorak Keyes said she did not want to focus on that particular color.

Instead she chose “to use the architectural elements of the church to reflect and capitalize on the colors that were already here.” Hence her color scheme of butterscotch, pale yellows, and persimmon came to life and accentuated the buff, sand, beige, bronze and oak tones so prominent at Sacred Heart.

“There will be many international visitors here for the ordination and the people will also bring their own colors to the ceremony,” she added.

flowersTo honor the nearly 13 years Bishop Checchio spent in Rome at the Pontifical North American College, Poltorak Keyes decided to research the Vatican Gardens and learn what flowers and shrubs grow there. “A lot of thought went into this,” she said. “I wanted to recreate what would be typical at the Vatican Gardens.”

The Stephanotis, Oleander, Jasmine and Confederate Jasmine that Poltorak Keyes special ordered were all carefully placed in pots by design team members, Anne Poltorak, her sister, and Pru Cadena.

After the festivities, the flowers were delivered to the new bishop “so he can plant them at either his private residence or around the Cathedral to remind him of Rome.”

A designer of liturgical environments for more than 30 years, Poltorak Keyes does regular work for St. Joseph Parish, North Plainfield, where she is a member, and Mount Saint Mary Chapel, Watchung. She also worships at St. Charles Borromeo Church, Montgomery Township.

A member of the diocesan Liturgical Commission, she also specializes in church renovation and restoration. Designer recreates Vatican Gardens to honor bishop’s time in Rome In the background above are some of the creations Meg Poltorak Keyes designed for the Mass of Ordination and Installation of Bishop James F. Checchio at the Church of the Sacred Heart, South Plainfield. At left is one of the arrangements assembled by Poltorak Keyes and design team members Anne Poltorak, her sister, and Pru Cadena. Poltorak Keyes has been designing liturgical environments for more than 30 years.

– Mike Ehrmann photos

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Caldwell Alumni Veritas Award Dinner Features Connection with Soldier in Kuwait

DSC05472
DSC05520
DSC05543
DSC05546
DSC05606
DSC05699
DSC05635
DSC05519
DSC05514

Caldwell, N.J., April 7, 2016 – Thanks to the modern technology of Skype, Caldwell University connected overseas with United States Army Colonel. Christopher Doneski ‘ 90 to recognize him with the Veritas Award for Excellence in Military Service.

The Veritas Award is the highest honor Caldwell bestows on graduates for professional excellence.

Colonel Doneski’s mother, Mary Louise Donnelly Doneski ’56, received the Veritas Award for Excellence in Leadership and Service and Eileen Curtis ’68 received the Veritas Award for Excellence in Cultural Programming. Family members and friends of the honorees, along with the Caldwell University community, gathered for a celebratory dinner on April 1 at Essex Fells Country Club.

Colonel Doneski’s brother, Colonel Terrence Doneski (USAF, retired) introduced his brother and his mother before they received their awards.

Colonel Christopher recalled his days at Caldwell, the people who made a difference in his life, and how he learned to be both a good follower and a leader during his college career. “Caldwell (university) will always feel like home,” he said. Mrs. Doneski and Colonel Doneski both remembered fondly their aunt, Sister Marita Donnelly, a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell, an inspirational woman, who had an impact on their lives.

Colonel Doneski has 25 years experience in the United States Army and has made a name for himself as a leader, expert observer, coach, and mentor. Currently he is part of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), which is responsible for running counter ISIL operations in Iraq and Syria. In 2015, he was selected to serve as the director of the Armored Warfighting Forum, which was established to enhance the professional and leadership development of the Army’s maneuver warfare community.

Mary Lou Donnelly Doneski ’56 has been a trailblazer for women in the military., She was the first woman to be commissioned as a Naval officer directly from a college or university in New Jersey. As a lieutenant, Mrs. Doneski was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. After that, she continued to serve her country as a military spouse, supporting her husband’s career in the Army. She raised five children through nine family moves and her husband’s two deployments to Vietnam and Korea. She mentored the spouses of junior officers.

Eileen Curtis ’68 was introduced by her husband Marshall Curtis who pointed out that Eileen has won just about every award for her broadcasting work including a Peabody.
She was previous music director at WGMS Radio in Washington D.C. where she enjoyed a career producing cultural documentaries that gained her the Peabody Award and a Silver Medal for the Arts from the Government of Austria. Among the many highlights of her career, she collaborated with pyrotechnic experts to create the music for the fireworks on the Washington Mall that accompanied the return of the Iranian hostages, for which she was thanked by President Ronald Reagan.

Music education student Nicholas Bushey appreciated meeting Curtis. “She took the time to talk to me about where I am in my career and she told stories about her experiences. She was very encouraging to me and her passion for everything that she does was inspiring.”

Sophomore Dennis Brady said it was an honor to be invited to the dinner and be in the presence of successful alums. “I thought it was great to connect with alumni and explain to them my experiences of Caldwell University today.”

Senior Shyam Sharma said the honorees are an inspiration to students. “It was amazing to see how, as an institution, we’ve grown so much over the years, yet the values and foundation of the university remain consistent with our beginnings.”

Marshall Curtis announced the establishment of a Caldwell University scholarship fund in honor of Eileen.

The Doneski family announced the establishment of The Mary Louise Donnelly Doneski Scholarship, which will be awarded annually to a student interested in military or other public service.

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Veritas Awards to be held April 1 to honor professional alumni excellence

Veritas Logo

Caldwell University will honor alumni professional excellence at its 31st annual Veritas Awards Friday, April 1 at the Essex Fells Country Club in Essex Fells, N.J.

The honorees are: Eileen Curtis ’68 for Excellence in Cultural Programming,
Mary Lou Donnelly Doneski ’56 for Excellence in Leadership and Service, and Colonel Christopher Doneski ’90 for Excellence in Military Service . The Veritas Award is the highest honor the university bestows on its alumni.

Curtis, of Falls Church, Virginia, has served as president of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce since 1994. She has been recognized as Woman of the Year by the Herndon Business and Professional Women and as Chamber Executive of the Year by the Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

In her former career, as music director at WGMS Radio, Curtis produced cultural documentaries that gained her a Peabody Award and a Silver Medal for the Arts from the Government of Austria. Among the many highlights of her career, she collaborated with pyrotechnic experts to create the music for the fireworks on the Washington Mall that accompanied the return of the Iranian hostages, for which she was thanked by President Ronald Reagan. Curtis is also a published author. She holds a B.A. in Music from Caldwell College, an M.A.in Musicology from the Catholic University of America, and a certificate from the Mozarteum,

Mary Louise Donnelly Doneski, of Bethesda, Maryland, has been a trailblazer for women in the military. She followed in the footsteps of her mother, who worked in a munitions plant during  World War II, and an aunt who served in the U.S. Coast Guard, Doneski was the first woman to be commissioned as a Naval officer directly from a college or university in New Jersey. As a lieutenant, Doneski was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. After that, she continued to serve her country as a military spouse, supporting her husband’s career in the Army. She raised five children through nine family moves and her husband’s two deployments to Vietnam and Korea. She mentored the spouses of junior officers. She served on the campaign staff for President Kennedy and worked to turn out the military vote while stationed in West Germany. She is a shining example of leadership, selfless service, scholarship, and motherhood, which has inspired all of her family to a life of service and left an indelible impression on all those who have been touched by her many acts of kindness and charity.

Her commitment to lifelong education and service has inspired all of her children including her son Christopher who will also receive a Veritas award. For over 40 years, she has served in leadership positions in the Woman’s Club of Bethesda, which is active in supporting local shelters and scholarships for students She holds a B.A. in Social Studies from Caldwell College for Women and has a master’s degree.

United States Army Colonel Christopher Doneski has over 25 years experience in the United States Army and has made a name for himself as a leader, expert observer, coach, and mentor.

Currently stationed in Kuwait, Doneski is part of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), which is responsible for running counter ISIL operations in Iraq and Syria. In 2015, he was selected to serve as the director of the Armored Warfighting Forum, which was established to enhance the professional and leadership development of the Army’s maneuver warfare community.

He has worked as the deputy and then acting chief of staff for III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas. He served as the Commander of First Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the Opposing Force, as the senior brigade combat trainer at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, where he was responsible for preparing brigades for combat in Afghanistan, was deputy brigade trainer at the Joint Multinational Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany and brigade chief of operations in Afghanistan for the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, known as the Sky Soldiers .

He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Caldwell College, an M.B.A. from University of Maryland, and a Master’s of Strategic Studies from U.S. Army War College.

The evening begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $95 and can be obtained by going to www.caldwell.edu/alumni/veritas or calling 973-618-3352.

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Caldwell University Alumna Making Careers Possible for Veterans

Daniela-Petrilli

Daniela Petrilli ’02 has started a nonprofit organization Operation MCP (Making Careers Possible) to assist veterans and service members.

 

An alarming statistic keeps running through Daniela Petrilli’s mind. “There are nearly 50,000 homeless veterans on any given night in the United States,” she says. To her, the situation is a travesty that must end. “One of the many ways we can combat veterans’ homelessness is by helping them become employed.”

Petrilli ’02 recently founded the nonprofit Operation MCP (Making Careers Possible), which assists veterans and service members with résumé writing and interview preparation to help them transition from the military to the civilian workforce. “If I can help even one veteran after he or she fought for our country and for our freedoms, it will be so rewarding.” Operation MCP would like to help veterans find their ideal careers.

Petrilli, who works in human resources for the government during the day, decided to use her educational background and professional experience to start the nonprofit.

“Vets often need assistance translating their military work experience into layman terms when applying for jobs in the government or private sector,” she explains. “He or she could have managed a $50 million defense contract, or commanded an infantry battalion, but needs the resources to know how to explain it to a non-military employer.”

Helping veterans is an issue that hits close to home. Petrilli founded Operation MCP in honor of her father, the late Michael Carlo Petrilli, who served in Vietnam as sergeant in the United States Army. In the 1970s there were few resources to help veterans return to civilian life. Her father suffered from depression, anxiety and night terrors and self-medicated with alcohol, which caused his untimely death at 62. Growing up with an “emotionally unavailable father was certainly not easy.  It was hard for him to be affectionate with my sister and me because he was angry most of the time,” she writes in a blog on her website. “My mom always worried about leaving my sister and me alone with him for fear he would drink instead of looking after us.”

Petrilli points out that it was not until 1980 that the American Psychiatric Association added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III).  She was angry with her father for a long time, but with the help of wonderful mental health professionals “was finally able to accept that his PTSD and alcoholism was not something he asked for, but a direct result of serving in war,” she writes.

She grew up in Springfield, New Jersey, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication arts with minors in marketing and psychology from Caldwell, then worked in publishing, television and public relations and received her Master of Arts degree in communication studies and leadership from Kean University. In 2008, she became certified in human resources studies by Cornell University. She remembers fondly her days at Caldwell. “I was the first person in my family to go to college. All of my professors were wonderful.  I was involved in numerous activities. I was a cheerleader, member of the Marketing Association and the Student Government Association, and now I work for the government in human resources.” Her education in marketing, business and psychology is helping her today. “Studying marketing and business has helped me build my non-profit. Through minoring in psychology, I learned how to work with all types of people.  I’ve also learned that using emotional intelligence to assist veterans in need is vital,” she says.

Operation MCP is planning events. The group is holding its launch party in Washington, D.C. in November and is looking forward to laying Christmas wreaths in early December at Arlington National Cemetery, something she and her friends have been doing for the last few years.

Petrilli is putting together her board of trustees and looking for volunteers with experience to work with the veterans or to help with outreach, marketing, or obtaining donors and sponsorships. “Washington, D.C., is a great base for the organization since there are so many veterans here,” she says.  “It’s so important to give back. Veterans causes are near and dear to my heart.”