Mount St. Mary's University Honors Program

Late Summer Edition

Mount St. Mary's University

Welcome and welcome back!

Dear Honors Students and Friends,

Welcome to the opening of the Fall 2021 semester! We have a lot to look forward to, and a lot to be thankful for. As we enter this year with faith, hope, and love, I am reminded of Edith Wharton's adage "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." To be sure, the quality of light that we share with one another is an essential component to flourishing.

With this in mind, to the newly graduated Honors Class of 2021, we continue to beam with pride and joy in what you accomplished last year. Your Honors presentations at SPARC, a testament to your achievements, remains with us on the Mount website. See also the MSMU flickr page, where among the many photos that document our shared Mount experience you will find fun images of our Senior Honors Celebration and beautiful images of your 2021 Commencement ceremonies. For more fun memories, you can find photographs of our Senior Honors Celebration here.

"To our returning students, welcome back, and warm greetings to the incoming Honors Class of 2025! We look forward to watching all of you thrive in your experiences at the Mount."

To our returning students, welcome back, and warm greetings to the incoming Honors Class of 2025! We look forward to watching all of you thrive in your experiences at the Mount. Be sure to take note of a few of our events listed below and watch out for emails from me and our Honors Graduate Assistant Joseph Oleskey, C'21. We are here to support you in any way we can. Please, always feel free to reach out! Our contact information is below.

We know that this year poses some unique challenges in addition to the ones that are typical to the college experience. The advice below comes from our current Honors sophomores who wrote reflections on their experiences last year with the intent of helping incoming first-year students adjust. Everyone, however, take note – a lot of the advice applies to all students!

Wishing you the very best this academic year,

Dr. Sarah K. Scott
Director, University Honors Program
Professor, Department of English 

Mr. Joseph Oleskey
Graduate Assistant, University Honors Program
Graduate Student, School of Business
Honors Class of 2021, Mathematics & Psychology Major

Veronica Balick

Sage Advice from Honors Program Students

Make Friends and Practice Self-care

"One thing I would definitely recommend is to make friends. I am a shy person, and if you are too, the task may seem a little daunting. My advice is to become friends with one person, whether that be your roommate or someone in your classes. Once you get to know that person, you will most likely slowly meet their friends, and then you will have a good group of people to spend time with. Don't isolate yourself."

"Seek out friends who will inspire and motive you during your toughest times in college."

"In the beginning of fall semester, get to know everyone in your hall. This may sound intimidating, but it is a great way to make friends and hang out."

"Make sure you communicate with your roommate and get to know your RAs."

"Remember to take time for yourself and give yourself a break when you need it."

"Take care of your health! Take naps, go for a walk, eat, and drink water. School can have you so occupied that you can forget to take care of yourself. Your health and well-being are essential to success."

"The more positive your outlook is, the easier it will be to get through things."

"There are going to be weeks where you have so much to do that you feel overwhelmed. It happens to everyone. Find things that help you destress and don't be afraid to reach out."

Engage in Your Classes

"Connect with your professors."

"Don't be afraid to speak up in class if you need clarification on something. The professors are all very nice and willing to help. Office hours and problem sessions are good tools to use."

"You're not going to say something stupid or ask a stupid question. The professors will take what you say and elaborate on it, and your classmates will add things on and it will end in a great discussion. Speaking my thoughts in class always ended up being great and helped me really grasp the material."

"Don't approach college like you did high school. I know it may seem tempting to put in the minimum amount of work, but in order to succeed in college you have to go above and beyond."

"Coming to the Mount with a positive mindset will help you keep up with your assignments in all your courses. You will be able to be successful throughout your four years."

Get Involved

"I believe it is very important to involve yourself with as many things as possible at the Mount. It is a great way to meet new people and to feel at home here."

"Staying busy was crucial for my success over this year and there is no better way to stay busy than to get involved."

Save the Date!

Invitations will be sent via email; RSVP required.

11 September

Honors Welcome Brunch
A gathering of Honors students and parents over a light brunch. Meet one another and celebrate our new and returning Honors students.

21 October

Fall Honors Dinner Discussion with President Trainor
In a small group setting, share a catered meal with President Trainor and engage in a scholarly discussion on an academic topic of the moment led by a seasoned professor.


Honors Program in the News

Nathaniel Bald

Nathaniel Bald, C'21

Nathaniel Bald, C'21, Wins First Fulbright English Teaching Award to Madagascar

Three days after graduating magna cum laude, Nathaniel Bald, C'21, was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) award to Madagascar, the program's brand-new location. Bald majored in economics, French and German and is the first Mountie to ever win an ETA grant to highly competitive Sub-Saharan Africa.

"I am filled with excitement, nervousness and gratitude," said the Honors student and Mount Fellow. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I'm just so grateful that the Fulbright selection committee believes that I will be a good fit for this new program."  

The Fulbright Program, established 75 years ago, is the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world—and 2021 marks the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program.  

Bald celebrated his own personal and academic milestones throughout his time at the Mount. He received the Reverend John B. Holley Memorial Prize that recognizes a student of the senior class who has earned distinction in service to the Church and community. He also completed a Semester of Service with Associate Professor of Sociology Layton Field, Ph.D., where Bald researched poverty and how universities like the Mount can use their unique talent to serve local and global communities. 

"Nathaniel is a student of humanity. As such, he thrives in situations that place him in unfamiliar circumstances where he can explore the human condition through fellowship and solidarity,"

"Nathaniel is a student of humanity. As such, he thrives in situations that place him in unfamiliar circumstances where he can explore the human condition through fellowship and solidarity," said Field. "Nathaniel's academic accomplishments places him among the elite. Yet, I am mostly inspired by his level of maturity and selfless service to every person he encounters."

Bald says that during his Semester of Service he began to recognize his talents and how to best use them. He continued to grow by seeking out criticism, working on patience and becoming adaptable. He focused on nurturing personal relationships. Bald says his work with Field shaped how he viewed his economic research and helped him understand how to use it to serve others and make the world a better place


Olivia Prevost

Olivia Prevost, C'22

Serving Homeless People
Gave Olivia Prevost Hope

This summer, Olivia Prevost, C'22, completed a three-week volunteer program to minister to individuals experiencing homelessness in Michigan City, Indiana, through Christ in the City   a national volunteer project designed to grow college students into Catholic missionaries through four pillars of formation: spiritual, intellectual, human and apostolic. Prevost, an Honors student and a Mount Fellow, was awarded funds from the Office of Competitive Fellowships to pay for her room, board and transportation costs associated with this service work.

A philosophy major, who also minors in theology, music and English, Prevost is currently working on her Honors project with Department of Philosophy advisors Joshua Hochschild, Ph.D., and Mike Miller, Ph.D. She is the 2021 recipient of the Gadamer Liberal Arts Scholarship for dedication to lifelong learning and critical investigation in and outside of the classroom; the 2021 Margaret E. and William P. Moyles Memorial Award for demonstrated excellence in pre-law studies; and the 2021 Della Ratta Award for exhibiting the highest standards of liberal learning through breadth and depth of study in the liberal arts and sciences, her exceptional abilities of critical and creative thinking and fine moral character.

"In my conversation with Olivia the other day, I was struck by a few things: growth in courage, growth in desire for community and growth in desire for prayer."

"In my conversation with Olivia the other day, I was struck by a few things: growth in courage, growth in desire for community and growth in desire for prayer," said Brendan Johnson, S'21, assistant director of campus ministry and social justice. "She said she's really eager to bring back to the Mount what she learned to help build our community here."


Olivia Prevost

Dr. Trudy Conway

Dr. Gertrude D. "Trudy" Conway

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13

Dr. Gertrude D. "Trudy" Conway, retired professor of philosophy (1979-2015) and first director of the Honors Program, passed away recently after an extended illness.  A memorial Mass was held in IC Chapel on Saturday, August 28 at 10 a.m. Her leadership by example will be remembered and admired for years to come.

Dr. Trudy Conway

"When I took over as Honors director, Trudy brought me some materials from her days as director and sat me down to talk about the history of the program. In the early days, Honors was very different—much, much smaller, and more intimate. Trudy told me about how she would host events at her beautiful 200-year-old Pennsylvania farmhouse, inviting all the Honors students over for a meal! To have gone through the program in those days must have been a very special experience. Trudy had a clear vision for what Honors could and should be at the Mount. She had a way of making everything she touched somehow special." 

Thane Naberhaus, Ph.D., chair, Department of Philosophy, Honors Program director, 2013-2015

"When I was considering stepping into the role of Honors director, I visited Trudy, as I often did when considering new opportunities as a pre-tenured faculty member. My background and training differed substantially from Trudy's, but our love of students connected us.  When we met that day, she began by asking "why would you want to become Honors director?"  She said this despite our love for students and the Honors Program.  She was concerned that as a pre-tenured faculty member and a new mom that my research and teaching would suffer with the weight of responsibility and time that the position required.  She did this because she was an outstanding mentor to me, to philosophy undergrads, and to Honors students.  The University Honors Program exists because of Trudy's compassion, dedication, and drive to push students to reach beyond themselves.  Her Honors Program was a much smaller and intimate version compared to what exists today, but the goal was the same, to help students think outside of the norm and push themselves to explore, learn and grow.  This is what Trudy did for her students, colleagues and friends.  She helped us all to become better versions of ourselves."

Jennifer Staiger, Ph.D. associate provost, MSMU Frederick Campus, Honors Program director, 2009-2011 & 2015-2018


History of
Honors Program Directors



Dr. Trudy Conway


Dr. Sue Goliber


Dr. John Donovan


Dr. Karl Einolf


Dr. Jen Staiger


Dr. Carolyn Eick


Dr. Thane Naberhaus


Dr. Jen Staiger


Dr. Sarah Scott


Congratulations Graduates



Faculty Mentor

Baer, Julia G.


Dr. Eric Sakowski

Bald, Nathaniel F.


Dr. John Larrivee

Bieraugel, Katherine S.


Dr. Mike Barry

Burke, Kate A.


Dr. Patrick Lombardi

Cabral, Elizabeth A.


Dr. Christina Yoder

Canete, Laurence M.

Computer Science

Dr. Brian Heinold

Carter, Thomas G.


Dr. Layton Field

Castillo, Jocelyn


Prof. John V. Sherwin, CPA, JD

Cook, Taylor N. (junior)

Political Science

Dr. Allison Berland

Cranga, Gabriela K.

Elementary Education

Dr. Carolyn Cook

Czekner, Kerri M.


Dr. Isaac Mills

DeMoura, Gloria M.


Dr. Paige Hochschild

Dinunzio, Nicholas J.

English & Philosophy

Dr. Jack Dudley

Donohue, Rachel E.

Fine Arts and Communication

Dr. Elizabeth Holtry

Elser, Maria G.

English Ed

Dr. Dave Wehner

Golway, Hannah M.

Criminal Justice

Prof. Joseph J. Vince

Gray, Lauren N.


Dr. Patrick Lombardi

Hamilton, Mary T.


Dr. Jack Dudley

Hoffman, Henry C.


Mr. Curtis Johnson

Hyland, Adrianna G.

International Studies

Dr. Susanne Samples

Kebreau, Kayla R.


Dr. Angie Kallarackal

Kern, Keli J. (Stewart)

Criminal Justice

Dr. Layton Field

Kingham, Laura W.



McDonald, Matthew J.


Dr. Brian Heinold

Mulligan, Mary A.


Dr. Josh Brown

Oleskey, Joseph A.

Mathematics, Psychology

Dr. Jonathan Slezak

Osei-Asante, Emmanuella


Dr. Patrick Lombardi

Owen, Bradley A.


Dr. Isaac Mills

Passaro, Lizanne M.


Dr. Patrick Lombardi

Pham, Ethan D.


Dr. Patrick Lombardi

Pirozzi, Adria F.B.


Dr. Abby Kula

Plate, Veronica L.


Dr. Luis Vera

Rittie, Elena I.


Dr. Kurt Blaugher

Sarria, Alba V.


Dr. Tom Bligh

Schirra, Ian C

Computer Science

Dr. Scott Weiss

Seay, Sean G.

History, English

Dr. Jack Dudley,
Dr. Elizabeth Strauss

Shuey, Jody I.


Dr. Christina Yoder

Smith, Briana M.


Dr. Angy Kallarackal

Starvaggi, Nicholas C.


Dr. Isaac Mills

Stephan, Sam N.


Dr. John Larrivee

Stumpo, Michael A.

Cyber Security

David King

Wigginton, Cecilia A.


Prof. Larry Hoffman,

Winkeler, Kristina J.

Environmental Science

Dr. Abigail Kula

Wuerz, Emily A.


Dr. Jon Slezak

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Mount St. Mary's University Honors Program