“Women Speak To Women” At Benedictine Academy Career Day

ELIZABETH—Benedictine Academy (BA), the all-female Catholic college prep high school in Elizabeth, held its annual Career Day on March 20 for all of its students in grades 9-12. The theme of the event was, “Women Speaking to Women: What Does It Mean to be a 21st Century Woman?” The event featured 32 guest presenters representing many exciting professions. Half of the guests were graduates of Benedictine Academy.

The event was sponsored by the Benedictine Academy Alumnae Association. It began with a breakfast for all presenters, followed by a Welcome and Introduction for students and the invited guests. New this year, a keynote address was given by Benedictine Academy alumna Wincey Terry-Bryant, class of 1983. Students then broke out into groups according to their career interests, attending panel discussions and seminars with presenters who spoke about their respective professions. Students were surveyed about their career interests in advance. Seven career clusters were represented: “Arts andCommunications”; “Business Management, Administration and Finance”; “Education and Training”; “Health Sciences”; “Human Services”; “Law, Pubic Safety and Law Enforcement”; and “Science, Technology and Mathematics”.

Terry-Bryant’s keynote address captivated the students as she spoke about “What Does It Mean to be a 21st Century Woman?” “Women are awesome, brilliant creatures who can get the job done,” she stated. “We put ourselves on the front line so we can bless somebody else.” As 21st century women who must be prepared to meet the challenge they will face every day, Terry-Bryant advised: “develop yourself, and be prepared to re-invent yourself constantly; if you will put the work in, there will be opportunities”.

“Obstacles are irrelevant,” Terry-Bryant continued. “Start with your goal, and work backwards…assess the need you see in the world and then marry the two so you can apply the need,” noting that is how she developed her business, Winceyco, LLC. Through the arts education division of her company, Terry-Bryant, a professional recording artist who has worked in music and film, has used music to educate audiences about serious social and academic issues in schools and churches throughout New York and New Jersey for 25 years. “Follow the ‘GPS’”, she stated, “God will direct your path. Seek him constantly asking, ‘how can I bless these people today? If necessary, re-calculate- you will still get to your destination.”

Seniors at the Academy participated in two seminars designed specifically for them: “Jobs/Skills/Advancement” / “Rules of the Game/Hurdles Still Facing Women/Perspectives on Careers”, and, “Interviews and More”. Every member of the senior class was fortunate enough to be able to listen to advice on preparing resumes, and many were able to participate in mock interviews with two of the business professionals present at the Career Day event.

In addition to Wincey Terry-Bryant, guest presenters at Benedictine Academy’s 2013 Career Day included: Dr. Julie Butler- founder and owner of 145th Street Animal Hospital in NYC; Dr. Sheila L. Butler– an Occupational Medicine physician at the E. Orange Campus of the Veterans Administration NJ Healthcare System; Leigh Anderson Cooke, R.D. – Clinical Dietician at Jersey Shore University Medical Center; Lydia Patrick-DeLuca (BA Alumna) – an Advanced Practice Nurse at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, E. Orange campus, at the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC); Dr. Marlene Eldridge – a consulting psychologist for Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Newark; Lt. Melissa Fernandez- a member of the Union County Sheriff’s Crime Scene Unit; Dr. Nadine Fydryszewski (BA Alumna) – a certified Medical Laboratory Scientist for more than 30 years who is an Associate Professor at the UMDNJ School of Health Related Professions, and, Director of the Doctorate and MS in “Clinical Laboratory Science” program there;

Elizabeth Garcia – chemical engineer, and, retired Public Affairs Manager for Exxon Corporation and Infineum USA after nearly 20 years; Sharon Gilbert (BA Alumna)- recently retired as Assistant Director of the Office of Career Services for New Jersey Institute of Technology; Toni Staton Harris (BA Alumna)- founder of Epiphany Publishing House, LLC and author of several novels; Dr. Nancy Holder, an Internal Medicine resident at Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth; Kathleen James (BA Alumna)- recently retired as Assistant Regional Director, Division of Risk Management Supervision of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) in Washington, D.C.; Dawn Kellerman – Human Resources Manager at Francis Parker Memorial Home in Piscataway; Maureen Reilly Marston (BA Alumna) –retired after more than 20 years in Market Research and Global Product Management at Colgate Palmolive; Dr. Regina Mills- pediatrician and Adolescent Medicine Specialist, most recently Chief of Adolescent Medicine and Medical Director of School-Based Health Program at the Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, NY; Vonda Wright Morton (BA Alumna) – currently a Child Study Team member serving in the public schools of Newark, NJ; Patricia Morreale – Chair and faculty member in the Department of Computer Science and Technology at Kean University; Dr. Mary Jane Myslinski (BA Alumna)- Associate Professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ in the Doctoral Program of Physical Therapy, and, a physical therapist for over 33 years;

Paulette Pitt, Esq.- criminal defense Attorney for over 25 years, practicing in federal, state, and municipal courts throughout NJ, with her own practice located in Woodbridge; Rosemary Porpora (BA Alumna) – recently retired as a teacher of high school English after a 29-year teaching career; Barbara Rowen- former Global Director of Global Market Research & Analytics at Merck & Co./Schering Laboratories in Kenilworth; Gabriella Rebelo (BA Alumna)- attended the Rutgers Business School in New Brunswick and is now Assistant Manager for Kohl’s Department Stores in S. Plainfield; Carmen Rooney (BA Alumna)- 40 years’ experience as teacher, coach, resource teacher and Vice-Principal in the Elizabeth school system; now a part-time Resource Teacher at Our Lady Of Guadalupe Academy in Elizabeth; Peggy Schott – owner of Peggy Schott Interiors in Westfield; Alysia Souder – Executive Director of the Institute of Music for Children in Elizabeth, with nearly 20 years of experience in arts education;

Karen Swartz- insurance agent and financial planner at Northeast Planning Corp/Guardian Life in Cranford; Lauren Torio- Human Resource Manager with American Express; Ivis Vasquez- a supervisor in a Family service unit at the Administration for Children’s Services in NYC for over 16 years; Mary Jane Walsh, (BA Alumna)- Director of Business Development, Public Relations, marketing and advertising for “Travel 15” in Roseland, NJ, with experience in media, journalism, and broadcasting; Hon. Gwendolyn Williams (BA Alumna)- an attorney with the Essex County Prosecutors Office, Newark, currently supervising the Juvenile Trial, Drug Court and Community Justice Units; and, Maureen Williams (BA Alumna)- a Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator at Bayonne Medical Center.


Presenters gathered during a break in the action on Career Day: “Women Speaking to Women”, held at Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth on March 20, 2013. Standing, clockwise from left to right- Elizabeth Garcia; Dr. Mary Jane Myslinski; Gwendolyn Williams, Esq.; Rosemary Porpora; Sharon Gilbert; Paulette Pitt, Esq.; Dawn Kellerman; Karen Swartz; Alysia Souder; Dr. Nancy Holder; Dr. Marlene Eldridge; Leigh Cooke, R.D.; Vonda Morton; Toni Harris Staton; Carmen Rooney and Peggy Schott. Seated, clockwise from left to right- Kathleen James; Dr. Nadine Fydryszewski; Maureen Williams (partially hidden); Mary Jane Walsh; Lauren Torio; Ivis Vasquez; Dr. Julie Butler; Dr. Regina Mills; Maureen Marston; Barbara Rowen; Wincey Terry-Bryant; Lt. Melissa Fernandez and Gabriela Rebelo. Absent from photo: Dr. Patricia Morreale, Dr. Sheila Butler, and Lydia Patrick-DeLuca. (Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)


Benedictine Academy Alumna Wincey Terry-Bryant (at podium) captured the attention of students and fellow presenters during her keynote speech made during Career Day 2013. The event, held March 20 at the all-female Catholic college prep high school, drew 32 professional women representing many exciting careers. Terry-Bryant told the students “women are awesome, brilliant creatures who can get the job done. We put ourselves on the front line so we can bless somebody else.” As 21st century women who must be prepared to meet the challenge they will face every day, she advised: “develop yourself, and be prepared to re-invent yourself constantly; if you will put the work in, there will be opportunities”.(Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)


Students who are on their way to college next fall were participants in mock job interviews. Benedictine Academy student Anglin Thevarajah (left) is interviewed by guest presenters Gabriela Rebelo (center) and Dawn Kellerman (right) during the senior seminar. Rebelo is in management at Kohl’s Department stores and Kellerman is a Human Resources manager at Francis Parker Memorial Home in Piscataway.(Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)


Pictured are Barbara Rowen, left,retired as Global Director of Global Market Research & Analytics at Merck & Co./Schering Laboratories in Kenilworth, and former Mayor of Hillside, and, Maureen Marston (right) who spent twenty-one years with Colgate Palmolive in Market Research and Global Product Management . Marston makes a point with students about “Rules of the Game/Hurdles Still Facing Women/Perspectives on Careers”, while Rowen awaits her turn to discuss “Jobs, Skills and Advancement” for women in careers.(Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)


Benedictine Academy Juniors Osato Omokaro (left) and Kiana Wilson-Carter focus intently on the wisdom shared by their Career Day presenters.(Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)


Members of the Health Sciences panel at Benedictine Academy’s Career Day spoke about an array of topics during Career Day held at the school on March 20. (L-R)- Dr. Julie Butler, a veterinarian; Dr. Sheila Butler, an occupational health MD at the VA Hospital in East Orange; Lydia Patrick-DeLuca, an advanced practice nurse at the VA Hospital; and Dr. Regina Mills, a pediatric adolescent medicine specialist from Long Island shared their wisdom and experiences with the students.(Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)

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