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

Educating Our Students, Faculty and Staff

The Mount will begin its Spring 2012 semester on Monday, Jan. 7. 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 will be 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 Ready to Run

Our Chalon neighbors are invited to attend the Ready to Run program, a nonpartisan campaign training program designed to assist women in running for political office. While the 113th Congress has a record number of women, women as a whole are still underrepresented in political office. The program will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Mount St. Mary's College Chalon Campus, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The keynote speaker for the Feb. 9 event will be The Honorable Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles District Attorney, the first woman to ever hold that office. Two tracks are available. The first is Ready to Run, for those interested in running for office; and the second is Almost Ready to Run, for those who are interested in learning more about becoming involved in public service.

For more information, please visit


Brentwood Neighbor Shares Her Experience with Mount St. Mary's Students

By Teri Redman Kahn
The Dog Governess, an Unintended Good Deed

Several years ago my husband and I retired from our respective professions and, like most newly retired couples, wanted to travel the world. But the problem was that we had three dogs. Boarding dogs is very expensive and would significantly add to the cost of our travels, so I had to find another way to deal with the dogs.

I came up with the idea of finding a college student who would want to live on the Westside and trade room and board for caring for our dogs. It was a fairly straightforward idea. As we live in Mandeville Canyon in Brentwood, Calif., the obvious choice was a student from Mount St. Mary’s College. We have empty bedrooms and too many dog chores; that was our side of the swap. The student would benefit by staying near school at no cost during the week and avoiding the arduous commute on Sunset Boulevard every night. So I posted the position with the Commuter Services office at MSMC and waited for a call.

At first, no one called. Then one girl called and spoke in a tiny little soft voice. She said her name was Vashti and asked if she could come up to meet us to apply for the job. She came over with her entire family. They were wonderful people. Warm and supportive, they wanted Vashti to complete college and go on to medical school. We hired Vashti on the spot and wondered why no one else had called. It turned out that someone in Commuter Services knew how much Vashti loved dogs and so kept the position off the posting board. For us it was a match made in heaven.

Vashti lived in our daughter’s bedroom for four years. When she graduated, she turned us over to her friend, Vivian. And then from Vivian to Veronica. Yes, we do call them the “Three Vs.”
We have kept in touch with our three graduates. During the summer, we had the Three V’s over for dinner and we chatted about the experience of living in our house. For example, one of the dogs smells really bad. Another one urinates inside the house on a fairly regular basis. We enjoyed sharing these funny stories over a glass of wine.

And then the girls started to open up about their own feelings and the deeper issues in their lives. They spoke of the struggle to succeed at a rigorous college program and still maintain all their family obligations. None of this has to do with money or privilege. It is just the structure of their lives. Each one said that if they had not lived in our home, they would not have graduated from MSMC. The commute was simply too horrible and their hours at school too long. But, more than that, we served as role models of a way of life that was achievable through hard work and determination.

Sharing our home with these students has been wonderful for us, and it is a real hand up to a young woman.


College News

Mount Releases Second Annual Report on the Status of Women on March 21

Mount St. Mary's College will present its Second Annual Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California on March 21, 2013.

The Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California seeks to contribute to the understanding of the status of women and girls in California and to inspire action to address continuing inequalities. It is the hope of both our president and the College that the information in the Report will spark debate and lead to changes with respect to these important issues.

Confirmed speakers and panelists include for the March 21, 2013 event include:

Geena Davis, Actor, Chair, California Commission on the Status of Women
Kathy Magliato, MD, MBA, FACS, a cardiothoracic surgeon and Director of
Women's Cardiac Services at Saint John's Medical Center in Santa Monica
Janice Bryant Howroyd, Founder and CEO of ACT•1 Personnel Services
Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, President, Berkhemer Clayton, Inc.
Ann Marie Valerio, President, Executive Leadership Strategies, LLC
Elise Buick, CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Kay Buck, CEO, Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST)

The day will include two panel discussions: the first concerning employment and financial concerns for women and girls, and the second focused on women's health concerns, including heart disease, mental health, and wellness issues. The Report event is an opportunity to reach out to like-minded citizens who are motivated to focus on the pressing issues facing women and girls today. More importantly, it is the hope of MSMC and the day's speakers to address the remaining barriers that hinder women and girls, with the goal of helping all women and girls to achieve their full potential.

For more information, contact 213.477.2962.

New Resources for Veterans Offered at MSMC

David Rodriguez and Nancy Mares spent part of Election Day, Nov. 6, enjoying fried chicken and some friendly banter on the grounds of Mount St. Mary’s Doheny Campus. The two Army veterans were among about 35 military-connected students, faculty and staff who enjoyed a meal during the evening’s “All-American Barbecue” prepared to honor the Mount’s veterans.

Rodriguez spent six years in the U.S. Army as a petroleum supply specialist and did two tours of duty in Iraq. Mares served eight years as a U.S. Army surgical technician, spending part of her time at a base in Germany.

Now, Rodriguez and Mares are each enrolled in Mount St. Mary’s Associate Degree in Nursing program. “I had friends who went here and recommended the program,” Mares says. “I work at a [Veterans Affairs] Hospital, serving vets and that’s what I want to keep doing as a nurse.”

“I have a job as a clerk right now, but this is something I wanted to do,” Rodriguez says. “And I can do it because the College has a good evening program. I don’t have to quit my job. I can still work while I get my degree.”

For veterans like Rodriguez and Mares, transition back to the academic world has been eased with the help of a new reintegration process at Mount St. Mary’s.

Back in 2003, nursing professor Madeleine Bruning had a promising pediatrics student who was deployed to Afghanistan. Bruning told him he could always come back and resume his studies when he was able.

Five years later, in 2008, the student contacted Bruning and asked if he could still return. “We told him ‘of course,’” Bruning says. “But it was a learning experience for us. Though we had administrative support, we realized we had no system in terms of reintegrating him in the program.”

They had to determine how much knowledge the student had retained, where he needed to begin his studies, and if he had the emotional readiness to re-enter the nursing program. "He had to make sure he was ready to be in hospitals again and in clinical areas such as emergency rooms and trauma units,” Bruning says. “Those are big triggers for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress.”

Bruning’s student succeeded in making the transition, graduated and began working as a nurse. With the help and encouragement of other veterans in the Mount community, Bruning decided to take what she had learned and create a new support system of resources for future veterans coming to the College.

She took courses in Military Social Work at the University of Southern California. With assistance from Jane Lingua, vice president of Student Affairs at Mount St. Mary's, Bruning received full backing from the College's leadership team to implement a veterans’ support system that would be based on learning individual needs - not a one-size-fits-all approach.

On Veterans Day 2012, the College launched another round of support for its military-related students, faculty and staff: a new repository of veterans’ resources on Mount St. Mary’s website:

The site contains information from partner organizations, community resources and reintegration advice, as well as contact info and veterans services offered at the Mount for current and prospective students.

“There’s still much more to come,” Bruning says. “We’re identifying mentors for veterans arriving as new students. And one of our own undergraduate students, an Air Force veteran named Megan Rodriguez, is starting an on-campus club for military-connected students.

“We’ve got a lot of wonderful staff and faculty helping us with our efforts to better assist the veterans within our Mount family. And our support will keep growing with each new lesson we learn.”


Mount St. Mary's College Students Achieve at Moot Court Competition

Some of the best courtroom speakers in the West come from Mount St. Mary’s College, so say the judges in the Western Regionals of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association.

Giovanna Victorino ’13 and Claudia Garcia ’14 each took home “best oral advocate” awards as two of the competition’s best speakers. Victorino also landed a spot in the overall top 10, finishing No. 8 in the 68-person field that included two-person teams from 10 colleges and universities such as Brigham Young University, the University of Idaho and Fresno State. Garcia earned a spot in the top 20, at No. 16 overall.

“I was incredibly excited and surprised because it was unexpected and the competition was absolutely nerve-wracking,” Victorino said. “But I credit my success to teammates who helped every step of the way, to friends who provided me with encouragement and advice, as well as to Dr. Helen Boutrous who was an excellent professor and guide.”

Mount St. Mary’s sent a trio of two-person teams to the regionals hosted earlier this month at California State University Long Beach. Victorino’s co-counsel was Emily Carrera ’13; Garcia partnered with Kathleen O’Hollaren ’13. And the third Athenian team of Nilab Nawabi ’13 and Viridiana Aceves ’15 also advanced to the final day of competition.

Nawabi was able to present her arguments despite suffering a knee injury in a fall the morning the competition began. After a visit to a nearby emergency room, Nawabi returned and competed in a wheelchair.

“I could not be more proud of this year’s Moot Court team,” said Boutrous, chair of the Mount’s History & Political Science department and Moot Court adviser. “They worked incredibly hard, competed with honor and supported each other throughout the season. They are talented and tenacious, generous and gracious. It was my honor to serve as their coach.”

The season-ending Western Regionals offered the Mount’s students a final opportunity to argue before judges in a simulated appellate court setting. All participants had to memorize 10 Supreme Court cases, and were required to argue both sides of their argument during the competition.

“I gained a lot of self-empowerment and self-awareness, and experience that really pertains to any aspect in life,” Victorino said. “But what meant the most to me was the bonding and the friendships that came out of being on a small team. It was such an honor to have had the opportunity to participate in Moot Court, and it is an experience that I will never forget.”

Mount Hosts Institute for Women Leaders from Latin America

Mount St. Mary’s College President Ann McElaney-Johnson, in partnership with Scripps College President Lori Bettison-Varga, announces a forum for Latin American women to share ideas for social change, economic empowerment and increased political influence.

In March 2013, MSMC will join Scripps in co-hosting the Institute for Women’s Leadership in Latin America as part of the colleges' involvement in the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) founded in 2011 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The two women's colleges, along with Mills College, make up the West Coast contingent of the WPSP. Barnard College, Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College and Wellesley College also are working to engage and inspire future generations of women leaders in the U.S. and around the world.

The WPSP envisions a world in which political and civic leadership is at least 50 percent female by 2050. The Project will identify and educate the next generation of women committed to public service, create an infrastructure of support and mentoring, and remove barriers preventing more women from entering public service and government leadership -- goals in solid alignment with MSMC's priorities.

"The overall Project and our upcoming Institute for Women's Leadership in Latin America fit in beautifully with the Mount’s commitment to education, leadership and service in a women-centered environment,” McElaney-Johnson said. “Public service is a powerful way for women to transform their communities and the world.”

"Women drive positive political and social change in our increasingly inter-connected societies," said Bettison-Varga. "This Institute comes at a dynamic time around the globe and in Latin American countries."

This intensive, nine-day Institute at MSMC and Scripps primarily seeks to engage early- and mid-career women from Latin America. The Institute will combine presentations, small group workshops and informal discussions centered on the advancement of women in both government and non-government organizations serving the public sector. A total of 30 women from 15 countries will be in attendance at the Institute.

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.