Alumnae Spotlight

Our Alumnae are living out the 5 Goals of a Sacred Heart Education In Action:

Faith. Intellect. Social Action. Community. Growth.
Madeline Fontana '21

Madeline Fontana ’21 is the first Coast Guard Academy attendee in 20 years. She is in her second year (3rd Class) as an Electrical Engineering major and rower at the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA). She is one of six females in her year pursuing an EE degree which is the same curriculum and caliber as the MIT EE program. This past summer, she spent time on USCGC Midgett (National Security Cutter) out of Hawaii and gained exposure to various Coast Guard capabilities and missions such as Aviation (HC-130 aircraft and MH-65 Dolphin Helos), Search and Rescue, and the overall functionality of the Coast Guard. In addition, she competed at the Head of the Charles, the largest collegiate regatta in the United States. Congratulations to Madeline!

Alex Gangitano ‘10

Alex Gangitano ‘10 graduated from Villanova in 2014 and now works as a journalist at The Hill. She reports on lobbying, campaign financing, and the intersection of business and politics with a recent focus on trade policy and the 2020 presidential campaign. She also appears as a pundit on television and radio. 

In her free time, Alex serves as co-chair of the Enzler Society with fellow alumna, Margaret Crilley ‘10. The Enzler Society is the young professionals’ arm of Catholic Charities DC, which supports the Youth Transitional Program, a transitional shelter for college-aged men. Alex also founded the Kerri Holbrook Foundation in honor of her college friend who passed away from pancreatic cancer. The foundation offers grants to young people with cancer in order to fund their education, health care, or life passion.

Villanova University

Mariel Rico ’09

Mariel is a mechanical engineer for NanoRacks, an aerospace company that operates the only commercial laboratory in space. Her official title - Payload Integration Engineer - means that she helps folks on earth (high schools, universities, research labs, etc.) send their experiments  (payloads) into space.

More technically speaking, she acts as the customer interface for payload integration for Blue Origin New Shepard (the space vehicle) and leads an engineering team in the development and integration of payload hardware; provides human factors design input to payload developers, and; develops and reviews crew hardware interfaces, flight crew procedures, and payload requirements.

Sending experiments into space allows researchers to witness how biologicals (or other material) act in microgravity (think “floating” in space). For instance, one might send cancer cell samples into space, see how they react in microgravity, preserve them, and, after the suborbital spaceflight, compare them to a sample on the ground.

Her most recent task is acting as the project lead for NanoRacks Feather Frame, which will allow flight for up to twelve experiments at once.

At Stone Ridge, Mariel took many science and math classes with supportive teachers who were happy to help her with her studies during class and even during lunch. She recognizes that her time at Stone Ridge gave her invaluable lessons that are helping her today - especially on how to stay organized and to prioritize what matters in life. “Stone Ridge taught me the capacity to remain organized, to understand what is going on, and to enumerate what is a priority and what can be put aside for a later date.”

Her advice to students? “Be persistent! You can’t expect to understand something the moment it is taught. It’s okay to seek help beyond yourself.”

She also encourages students to concentrate on what she and other scientists call “soft” skills – namely, communications and writing. In college everyone was required to take an introductory English or writing course no matter one’s major. “I was the only engineer in my freshman English class and I always had the best papers in class. Writing is very helpful because you have to communicate to everyone else so that they fully understand your work. If no one understands your work then the work means nothing.”

As to the future of her field, she is excited to see an increase in the accessibility to space that has come with commercialization. As she said, “Aerospace used to be just NASA. That is no longer the case.” With talented engineers like Mariel leading the way, every day people’s access to space is getting closer and closer every day.

George Washington University, Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering 2013

Dylan Williams ’12

Working in the world of investment banking, Dylan serves as the product controller in the finance department of Credit Suisse. As a member of the Equity Derivatives-Prime Services team, she monitors and controls the bank’s sales and trading activities through profit and loss and balance sheet reporting and analysis.

After Stone Ridge, Dylan attended Elon University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Finance in 2016. Dylan acknowledges that pursuing a career in a male-dominated field was challenging. But, as she explains, she was thrilled to take on the challenge. “Being one of a few female students in my finance courses was a contrast to my all-girls education at Stone Ridge. As a ‘lifer’ I was accustomed to being a part of a small community of driven young women. However, I found pursuing a career in a male-dominated field to be an exciting challenge. I, too, was interested in the variety of career paths the industry provided, from financial analysis to financial advising and management.”

In addition, the financial services industry provides Dylan with a greater global perspective. “On a daily basis, my role allows me to connect with individuals both domestically and internationally and in both developed and emerging markets,” she explains. She hopes to one day visit the bank’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

Dylan admits to continuing to embody the Goals of the Sacred Heart. In particular, Goal V. “‘Personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom’” has played an integral role in my personal and professional development,” she states. “Working in the financial services industry provides for a high-pressure and time-sensitive environment as well as teamwork and collaboration, which has presented a variety of work styles and personalities – an adjustment I had to adapt to. Goal V has guided me through tackling these obstacles.”

In addition to her daily tasks, Dylan takes advantage of the company’s programs designed for employee development. In her first year at the bank, she took supplemental courses and attended workshops for professional development. “I credit my commitment to personal growth to the Sacred Heart education I received and the values I learned at Stone Ridge.”

As to her future, Dylan is interested in pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration, Information Technology, or Computer Science to further examine the intersection of technology with finance and the role it will play in our economy in the future. “My Stone Ridge education provided me with the confidence to pursue an industry that constantly puts me to the test. I confront my challenges with faith in my abilities. I am grateful for the intellectual values instilled in me from a young age. And I strive to be socially aware in order to adjust to new work environments while also building a strong and supportive community with my peers.”

For Stone Ridge students and alums considering careers in finance, Dylan recommends completing an internship in the industry (Dylan interned at Credit Suisse in the summer prior to her senior year at Elon). “My experience helped me confirm my interests, applied my college coursework to real-world situations, and provided me with great networking opportunities with mentors and senior management.”

Dylan lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and has recently joined the Junior League of Raleigh. She looks forward to meeting other professional women in the area and embodying Goal IV – building of community as a Christian value – as she performs service work in her new community.

Elon University, Bachelor of Science in Finance 2016

Jacqueline Albarran '67

Jacqueline Albarran was born in Havana, Cuba and moved to Washington DC, where she attended Stone Ridge from Grade 4-12. She studied French in Lausanne, Switzerland, attended five years of Architectural school in Bogata, Colombia, followed by one year of post graduate school in London, England. She returned to the US, met husband, and moved to Palm Beach. Jackie has practiced Architecture in the United States, Colombia, El Salvador, Spain and Switzerland. As Principal of SKA Architect + Planner, she has been mostly dedicated to new residences, renovations and historic restorations of single family homes in Florida, specifically in Palm Beach, Jupiter, and Hobe Sound.

Jackie has served four terms on the Landmarks Preservation Commission of the Town of Palm Beach as a regular member and is currently serving as the non-resident expert. She has been published in several national and local publications such as Architectural Digest, Florida Design, Palm Beach Life, and Conde Nast House and Garden. In both 2009 and 2014 she received The Schuler Award given by the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach for excellence in design of new residences in town.

Ecole Lemania
Universidad de los Andes
University College, University of London

Corinne Cannon '96

In 2010, Corinne is the founder of DC Diaper Bank. The DC Diaper Bank works to provide an adequate and reliable supply of diapers to babies, toddlers and their families in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. It is modeled after successful diaper banks around the country, providing diapers to social service organizations that are already helping families in need through comprehensive programs and services.

Trinity University
The London School of Economics and Political Science

Mary Bonney '05

Mary is an actress. She has performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, acted in national television spots, become a production coordinator for various independent television shows and movies, is a tour guide at Universal Studios, writes music reviews for the LA Music Blog, and performs improv and stand-up comedy throughout LA.
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The College of William & Mary

Renee Green Tate '08

Renee Green Tate ’08, Founder and CEO of Savvy Sloth Strategies, Proud Blue Team member.

Renee, a seasoned marketing professional with over a decade of experience, recognized the importance of empowering individuals, organizations, and entrepreneurs to thrive without compromising their mental health and self-worth.

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Katie Suarez

Katie is currently pursuing a joint MBA-MPA at the Wharton School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She recently returned from a year long Global Health Corps Fellowship in Rwanda where she worked with Partners in Health to strengthen maternal health services.

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Aryana Keshavarz ‘10

Aryana is an equity associate at Metalmark Capital Partners, a private equity firm in New York City that uses investors’ money to purchase companies, improve their business (for many years), and then sell for profit.

Aryana graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, earning a BS in Economics from the Wharton School and a BA in International Studies from the College of Arts and Sciences. She began her professional career as an investment banking analyst in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group at Deutsche Bank. One of what she considers the most exciting projects she worked on while there, was AB InBev’s acquisition of SABMiller, which created the largest beer company in the world.

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Beverley Wheeler ’72

Dr. Beverley Wheeler is the Director of DC Hunger Solutions. In that role, she is responsible for the city's leading anti-hunger organization. She works to create a hunger-free community and improve the nutrition, health, economic security and well-being of low income residents of DC.

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Gabriella Simundson '11

Gabriella studied civil engineering and premodern history in college, and played on the club tennis team, leading the women's team for three years. She is a engineer at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger. Her work focuses on the historic preservation of buildings in and around Washington, DC.

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Tessa Sollway '04

Tessa is a communications specialist for St. Elizabeth School, a nonpublic special education school in Baltimore City. Photography is a huge part of Tessa’s day-to-day job .She enjoys being a part of an organization with a big heart and a big dream - and helping to make that dream a reality through photography paired with new forms of media marketing.

Tessa is also the sole proprietor of her own photography business (

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Tiffany Barnes '89

Tiffany is the director of the Junior Division at The Ailey School, the official school of The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She oversees the administrative and artistic operations of three dance programs for over one thousand children.

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Luna Samman ’97

Luna is a senior associate in the Washington, DC office of Arent Fox LLP. Luna advises and helps her clients manage their global brands. Her practice focuses on all legal aspects of marketing, including reviewing and clearing branding and advertising, negotiating license agreements, and protecting and enforcing her client’s brands around the world. Luna’s work is driven by her passion for advocacy and interest in different cultures and legal systems. The international nature of her practice gives her the opportunity to learn from and work with lawyers from various countries. Outside of work, Luna focuses on time with her husband and one-year old son, cooking, and practicing yoga.

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Megan Keehan ’12

After graduating from the California Institute of Technology in 2016 with a degree in computer science, Megan Keehan now holds a software engineer position at Microsoft, in Seattle, WA, working on the data pipeline that collects and analyzes crash information on Microsoft products. Specifically, she works on the intelligent algorithms that determine when developers need to collect additional data for fixing crashes.
From creativity to improving people’s lives, Megan finds software engineering extremely fulfilling. Recently, Megan used her creative juices to work on a tool that helps smooth out randomized data using pattern recognition. “I had a lot of fun with this because the work is very creative. Seeing it light up was extremely satisfying and there’s no feeling better, or scarier, than having your code go live to hundreds of millions of people.”

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Maria Shriver ’73

Maria is a Peabody and Emmy-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and an NBC News Special Anchor. Maria’s work is driven by her belief that all of us have the ability to be what she calls Architects of Change — people who see a problem in their own life or the community around them, then step out of their comfort zone and do what it takes to create the solution. Her website,, features life stories and life lessons from Architects of Change aimed at inspiring people to use their own ideas, influence and initiative to go out and make an impact on our world.

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Margot Ingoldsby Schulman ’69

Margot's love for creating vibrant images has only increased after 20 years in the photography business. She has travelled the world capturing photos of great originality and perspective. Whether photographing America's Secretary of State or her 2-year-old neighbor, Margot translates emotions into exciting, meaningful images. She captures the feeling of the moment--whether it be passion, love or empathy--and allows you to feel it.

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Diana Gribbon Motz ’61

Diana is a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In 1994, President Clinton nominated Motz to a newly created seat on the Fourth Circuit. She was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, becoming the first woman from Maryland ever to sit on the Fourth Circuit.

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Mary Ellen Ruff '90

Mary Ellen Ruff ‘90 is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Registered and Board Certified Art Therapist. She holds a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Studio Art from Saint Louis University and a Master of Science in Art Therapy from Eastern Virginia Medical School.
Since 1996, Mary Ellen has worked in a variety of settings with a special interest in adolescents and adults dealing with substance abuse. She began teaching in the Graduate Art Therapy Program at George Washington University in 2007 and works with clients using art materials to “illicit unconscious material in a more accessible manner.” She explains, “We have a lot of control over what we say and how we say things, but using art materials allows us to get past our defenses and access core issues more efficiently.”

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Amy O'Neill Richard '83

Amy serves as a Senior Adviser to the Director in the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (the “TIP” office). Amy is an original member of the office and was instrumental in developing its foundational goals and policies, and in drafting and overseeing the report in human trafficking, the most comprehensive anti-trafficking assessment issued by any government.

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Julie Verratti ’97

Out of college, Julie worked on numerous political campaigns across the country. She than decided to pursue a law degree with a focus on business and tax law, and joined the U.S. Small Business Administration as a Presidential Management Fellow. Julie worked on issues across the SBA including entrepreneurship education, economic development, White House initiatives, veterans’ programs, and women’s business ownership. She also spent some time as a staffer for the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. Her latest adventure is as the co-founder and owner of Denizens Brewing Company in Silver Spring, MD. In opening this venture, Julie joins a small group of women in the Craft Beer industry. She credits her time at Stone Ridge for giving her the confidence and tenacity to be a female leader in a male dominated industry.

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Cokie Roberts ’60

Cokie is a journalist and author. She is a news commentator on contract to National Public Radio as well as a regular roundtable analyst for the current This Week With George Stephanopoulos. Roberts also works as a political commentator for ABC News, serving as an on-air analyst for the network.

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Bebe Albornoz ’10

Bebe is currently working as a Litigation Legal Assistant at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in Washington, DC. Her work there entails researching cases, editing briefs, and assisting with the collection, production, and analysis of materials for various stages of litigation (from discovery to trial). Bebe will be starting law school at Cornell University Law School this fall, with aspirations to practice either criminal law or return to a corporate firm, specializing in complex securities litigation and regulatory affairs.

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We would love for you to share your story! Contact Michael Anne Cullen '95, Director of Alumnae Relations.