Chalon Neighbort News
Fall 2013
A Newsletter for Mount St. Mary's College Neighbors
Community Awareness Programs

Educating Our Students, Faculty and Staff

Educating our students, faculty and staffThe Mount will begin its Fall 2013 semester on Monday, Aug. 26. As we have done in past year, security patrols have been increased in the neighborhood and at the exit to the College during the first two weeks of class, to remind our students, faculty and staff of the importance of safe and respectful driving in the neighborhood. Additionally, the camera at the entrance/exit to the campus is being monitored and tickets are being issued to those who do not turn right or who fail to make a complete stop when exiting. Security will also be present at the intersection of Saltair and Bundy on an intermittent schedule.

Student Affairs is working with the students on the following: A letter will be sent to all commuters and resident students about safe and courteous driving in the neighborhood; an incentive campaign for carpooling, designed to reduce traffic in the neighborhood; and students who have been observed driving rudely or in an unsafe manner in the neighborhood referred to Student Affairs for conduct hearings.

Neighbors Invited to attend Women's Leadership Conference Sept. 7

Dr. Kathy MagliatoTrailblazers in the fields of medicine and sports, Dr. Kathy Magliato and Bonnie St. John will deliver bookend talks at the September 7 Women’s Leadership Conference at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles.

Mount St. Mary’s Women’s Leadership Conference takes place at a pivotal time, with women holding fewer political and business positions of leadership in Los Angeles. Mount St. Mary’s latest Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™ reveals L.A. trends extend statewide. Statewide, just 9 percent of California’s mayors are female. Only 3 percent of the state’s CEOs are women, and California females comprise just 11 percent of corporate boards.

Dr. Magliato, one of the few female cardiothoracic heart surgeons in the United States, is the director of women’s cardiac services at Saint John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica, Calif. St. John, the first African American to win Olympic medals in ski racing during the 1984 Paralympics, went on to become a White House economic adviser, media personality, business owner and a prolific author.

Some of the conference’s other speakers include Araceli Campos, president of the Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women; Kimberly Freeman, director of community relations for the Southern California Gas Company; Rachel Hollis, founder of the popular lifestyle blog and the L.A.-based event-planning firm Chic Events; Gwen Miller, executive vice president and manager of City National Bank’s private client services; and Helen Iris Torres, executive director of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality.

With a theme of “The Power in You,” Mount St. Mary’s Women’s Leadership Conference aims to change those types of statistics. Speakers will explore topics such as: how to turn passion into profit, strategies for work-life balance and leadership lessons learned by some of L.A.’s leading women. Participants will have the chance to connect with successful women leaders from a wide range of professions.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Debbie Ream at 213.477.2505, or e-mail

For more information, please visit

College News

Mount Alum is director of White House initiative

Two years ago, President Barack Obama established a new education goal for the United States: to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. Since then, the U.S. Department of Education has stated that improving educational opportunities for Hispanics is central to achieving the president’s goal.

So who is tasked with the mission of expanding those higher-ed opportunities for Hispanics? Mount St. Mary’s College alumna Alejandra Ceja ’96 — the newly appointed director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

“Alejandra is a trusted advisor and leader in the Hispanic community,” says U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “As the director of this important Initiative, Alejandra will continue her exceptional work of pursuing academic excellence and opportunities for Hispanics across the country.”

Ceja graduated in 1996 from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She was deeply involved in the College’s Women’s Leadership Program, and traces her success in the nation’s capital back to what she learned as a student at the Mount.

“It was really a nurturing environment with your fellow students, with women leaders teaching you, the Sisters at the College,” Ceja says. “The service opportunities I had really helped me develop and strengthen my leadership skills.”

The Huntington Park, Calif., native says Mount St. Mary’s is also responsible for getting her to Washington, D.C. in the first place. The College’s Women’s Leadership Program helped direct Ceja to a seminar with the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) in D.C., and eventually to an internship with the National Women’s Political Caucus.

Since then, she has served in the White House Office of Management and Budget and as chief of staff for Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, among other positions.

In her new role, Ceja will be responsible for an Initiative that is tasked with expanding academic excellence and improving educational opportunities for Hispanics, and making recommendations to President Obama and Secretary Duncan.

New Program Designed for Working Nurses

NursingWorking nurses have a new way to advance their nursing careers at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles. The Mount’s RN to BSN Completion Program, which launched in 2013, enables registered nurses to obtain an advanced Bachelor of Science in Nursing in three semesters.

“It’s getting harder for two-year nursing graduates to get jobs now,” says Dr. Jim Kennett, assistant director of the Mount’s Associate Nursing Program and one of the faculty members who helped develop the RN to BSN program. “This non-traditional completion program is a response to the trend of healthcare companies looking more for BSN nurses.”

Developed over the past two years, Mount St. Mary’s RN to BSN Completion Program was specifically designed to meet the needs of working nurses. Two tracks are offered to accommodate nurses who work normal Monday-Friday business hours, as well as nurses working 12-hour shifts.

Two application periods in the spring and fall offer additional flexibility, with classes offered on Fridays, weekday evenings and/or weekends through the Mount’s Weekend College. Additional online hybrid courses are in development. Advisers help each student craft a course plan that best fits their academic needs.

“Each student’s plan is highly individualized, based on the right mix of liberal arts and nursing coursework,” Kennett says. “Completing this degree will give graduates greater opportunities to serve their communities in bigger, better ways than they could as two-year graduates.”

The first RN to BSN Completion Program cohort began in January 2013, and its students are set to graduate by the end of the year. This first class has been instrumental in helping the Mount to further develop and refine the program. “These students are extremely interested in both professional development and personal growth,” Kennett says. “And they’ve helped us make sure we set this program up well for the professional nurse.”

Minimum requirements include an RN license and a 2.8 overall GPA. For full information on the program, and to apply, working nurses, current students and transfer students can visit:

The RN to BSN Completion Program is the latest in the history of innovative nursing programs at Mount St. Mary’s College. In 1952, the Mount created the first Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in the state of California. Since then, the College has added Associate of Arts, Master of Science and Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees.

All of the College’s nursing programs are taught based on the Roy Adaptation Model of professional nursing care that is widely used around the world, and focuses on understanding the cultural, emotional and physical issues facing each patient, and providing them with sensitive, respectful care. The Roy Adaptation Model was developed by Sister Callista Roy, CSJ, ’63, a Mount St. Mary’s College alum and former chair of the Mount’s nursing program.

Joan Didion's "Year of Magical Thinking" Debuts at Mount St. Mary's College

On Dec. 30, 2003, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joan Didion lost her husband to a heart attack. At the same time, Didion’s daughter was fighting a string of illnesses that would ultimately claim her life as well.

Didion called her ensuing year of grief, “The Year of Magical Thinking,” writing both a memoir and a stage adaptation by the same name. This September, the California Stage production of “The Year of Magical Thinking” makes its Los Angeles stage debut at Mount St. Mary’s College.

“The Year of Magical Thinking” will be presented at the College’s Doheny Campus for two weekends only, Sept. 20-22 and Sept. 27-29. Tickets are available by calling 213.477.2868 or by ordering online at

The one-person play stars Janis Stevens, a Drama Desk Award nominee, as the California-born Didion, struggling to persevere in the midst of crushing grief. Didion’s script has been described as poetic in its bluntness, its seeming detachment and its unavoidable truth.

Still, as director Ray Tatar notes: “Although the main focus of this play is on Didion’s struggle with grief, it does not mean there aren’t any laughs. Her experience includes odd flashes of humor and insight.”

Stevens’ performance in the role over the past year has won praise from critics across the United States. The Times Argus in Montpellier, Vt., wrote: “Stevens employs a charged intensity as she moves among the hallmarks of grief: shock, fury, tears, denial, a temporary insanity."

“The Year of Magical Thinking” premieres at Mount St. Mary’s College on Sept. 20. Show times are Sept. 20-21 and 27-28 at 8 p.m. Matinees are available Sept. 22 and 29 at 2 p.m. and a special student screening will take place Thursday, Sept. 26, at 4 p.m.

General admission tickets are $20. Students and military tickets are available for $15. Parking is free on the College’s Doheny Campus. To purchase tickets, call 213.477.2868 or visit

Mount St. Mary's College Mission

Mount St. Mary's College offers a dynamic learning experience in the liberal arts and sciences to a diverse student body. As a Catholic college primarily for women, we are dedicated to providing a superior education enhanced by an emphasis on building leadership skills and fostering a spirit to serve others. Our measure of success is graduates who are committed to using their knowledge and skills to better themselves, their environments, and the world.