Welcome Alumni & Friends!

At Maria College, we couldn't be prouder of the ways our alumni are making a difference in the lives of others and their communities. We celebrate your achievements and look forward to your involvement in the life of Maria.

Alumni E-Newsletter

The monthly Maria alumni newsletter is intended to be a quick and convenient news channel to keep you updated on your fellow alumni and campus activities. Click on the links below to catch up on an e-newsletter you might have missed.

October 2016 September 2016  August 2016
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Alumni Spotlight

Our Alumni Spotlight features interviews with alumni who have distinguished themselves through their careers, service to others or simply a unique story. Be sure to return to this page often to read about them.

October 2016: William G. Knab, '86


With a degree in Chemistry and an A.A.S. in Nursing, Bill's career has taken many twists and turns, including 35 years in the chemical industry, part-time nursing, and tutoring/teaching chemistry on the side, primarily to nursing students. He is now retired and continues to tutor and teach chemistry, and also serves as a consultant to the chemical industry.

1. What led you to Maria College?

Actually, it was largely due to divine accident! I had moved to Albany for a chemistry job from Buffalo, N.Y., where I lived and worked. I was already halfway through nursing school, and I hated dropping nursing after I had put in many years of study. After several months in Albany, I started looking for a nursing school, and at Maria I found a program very similar to the one I had been attending in Buffalo. After visiting the school and interviewing, I knew this was the place for me. I transferred and graduated three semesters later. I consider myself very lucky to have found Maria. 

2. What do you remember most vividly about your time at Maria?

I remember the faculty I admired and emulated the most — Mary Jo LaPosta RN and Esther McEvoy RN to name a few — although there were many, many others, especially the clinical instructors. Central to all of them was a desire to help students to succeed. The students came first and were the reason the school existed. It was a demanding program, but having the help and support of faculty and program heads was key to my success. 

3. Did you have a favorite teacher/professor?

Esther McEvoy. Her door was always open. Although I was in the evening/weekend program, she was very visible — walking around, mingling with the students and not just camping out in her office. 

4. How did Maria prepare you for your next step?

My answer here is not what you might expect. Just before I graduated from Maria, my dad was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. As the disease progressed and my trips to Buffalo became more frequent, I was able to do private duty nursing for him. The situation was hopeless, but I was not helpless. I was able to be there to take care and comfort him. Years later, it came to me that God trained me for the sole purpose of being able to take care of my dad. Three years after his passing, I was transferred to New Jersey for my chemical job and I was unable to continue to practice nursing due to circumstances beyond my control. My nursing career was short at six years, but it was all worth it. 

5. Tell us about your career path.

I have a B.S. in Chemistry, and was teaching high school and/or working in industry while attending night/weekend nursing school. When I graduated from Maria, I worked my chemistry job during the week and did nursing on Friday or Saturday evenings, one shift a week. I would go from business, chemistry, money and production to issues of life, death, God and family on the nursing floor. It gave me a sound perspective about what is important in life and, I believe, also made me more effective in the business world.

6. What would you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?

I started nursing school in 1976 in Buffalo, while working/teaching full time. Two schools, two cities, a year off, setbacks — and 10 years later I finally graduated. The fact that I refused to give up is my greatest accomplishment. 

7. What piece of advice would you give to current Maria students?

If nursing is your passion, keep studying! Never give up! There is a helping hand at the end of your own arm! Seek out help if you need it, and sooner rather than later. Don’t get behind! Find a mentor or mentors.

September 2016: Carole Tario Montepare, '71

Vice President, Sales and Account Management MVP Health Care

Carole Montepare has more than 30 years of progressively responsible experience in healthcare management. Prior to joining MVP Health Care, she served as Senior Vice President of Sales at CDPHP. During her career, she has held leadership roles with Group Health Incorporated (GHI), Kaiser Permanente and Community Health Plan (CHP).  She currently leads a team of more than 100 members in sales and account management. 

What led you to Maria College?

When I graduated from Catholic Central High School, Troy, NY, my mother wanted me to go to work but I wanted to get a college education.  I was aware of Maria and it fit my needs. It also helped that I had two very good friends who enrolled with me (who have remained lifelong friends). 

What do you remember most vividly about your time at Maria College?

I remember it being intimate and friendly, like a family and at the time, it was women only. In fact, I thought I’d like to attend a coed school so I left Maria after my first year to attend HVCC but three weeks later I was back at Maria.  I missed my friends and small class sizes.  I remember walking in the door on my first day back and one of the Sisters saw me and said “you want to come back here, don’t you?”  That’s how friendly and intimate Maria was – the teachers and administrators knew you.   

How did Maria prepare you for your next step? 

Internships were key.  The first one I had was with a doctor in Troy but was mostly clerical which I didn’t enjoy.  Then I went to work for a pediatrician where I was performing clinical procedures like giving shots and taking blood pressure. I loved it and wanted to go into nursing but I had to go to work.  From that experience, I learned what I didn’t want. 

What would you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?

Coaching and mentoring staff and then watching them grow and move up the ranks in the industry. Three members of my team who started as sales reps with me in previous companies are now management level at MVP. I also developed a training program – the first of its kind – and traveled around the country training sales teams. Finally as a mother of two boys growing up with me in this industry it helped me understand the importance of work life balance. They are now grown men and are making the same or better work life balance decision with their families.   

What piece of advice would you give to our 2016 Maria graduates?

Find your passion and go for it. Nobody else is going to do it for you. You have to do it for yourself. Believe in yourself. Figure out a way to stand apart from the crowd. Be persistent. Take the time for more personal touches – phone calls instead of emails.  I would also say that finding a mentor is important. John Baackes (former CEO of CHP) was and still is my mentor and a major influence on my career. He opened doors and provided many opportunities for me, including my first job in healthcare management. He believed in me and helped me to believe in myself.

August 2016: Renee Walrath, '88

Founder and President, Walrath Recruiting Inc.

What led you to Maria College?

Having been raised Catholic, I was ideally seeking a Catholic college with a strong sense of community. Additionally, I was looking for a college close to home that would allow me to study Early Childhood Education.  Maria was the perfect choice for me. And when I decided that I no longer wanted to continue my path in Education, I was able to enroll in the Business program without an issue.

What do you remember most vividly about your time at Maria College?

To this day, I still think about the luncheon my business class attended, which was keynoted by local news anchor Chris Kapostasy (who now goes by the last name Jansing and is currently the NBC News White House Correspondent). I was able to apply a lot of what I learned in that class to the success of my business today.

How did Maria prepare you for your next step? 

Maria gave me an excellent foundation and it is where I was able to discover my interest in business management. It motivated me to keep moving closer to my dreams and helped to make my transition into Siena College’s Accounting program seamless.

What would you consider your greatest accomplishment?

I have two. First, and foremost, my children and having the ability to watch them grow into the successful young men that they are today. Second would be the prosperity of my business. Both of these I am extremely proud of.

What piece of advice would you give to current Maria students?

Take advantage of the small class sizes and hands-on learning opportunities that Maria offers. Additionally, make sure you take the opportunity to get to know your professors and advisers well, as they may help influence your future success.

May 2016: James Matthew Carrol, MS, OTG, '13

Occupational Therapist at Capital Living Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre

What led you to Maria College?

I found out about Maria College from some co-workers who had gotten their degrees from Maria. I was immediately attracted to the program once I got to meet some of the teachers and students during my interview.

What do you remember most vividly about your time at Maria College?

The most vivid memory I have of my time at Maria College is being in class with Scott and Lisa as professors. They both always did such a great job presenting information in interesting and new ways, and always made sure we had a solid understanding of the material before moving on to a new subject. I also remember that it takes exactly 9 minutes to get to Dunkin Donuts down the street and back on a break, but that is a whole different lesson.

How did Maria prepare you for your next step?

Maria College gave me a great start to my professional career in Occupational Therapy, and I am grateful for that every day. The amazing dedication of all the professors and staff gave me the necessary foundation to begin and continue my education, as well as my career. I began my career as an OTA at a local rehabilitation hospital, where I found a great number of practical applications for the vast knowledge base I gained at Maria. As I continued on with my educational career and completed my OT degree at Utica College, I continued to tie in experiences and lessons learned at Maria. Now as I continue my career in sub-acute rehabilitation and skilled nursing, I will continue to incorporate the foundational skills I learned from Maria, as well as new skills and knowledge I gained at Utica College. 

What would you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?

I consider my greatest professional accomplishment to this point to be graduating from a Master’s level program at this stage in my life. Many people tell me that they are amazed that I completed so much educationally at such a young age (23 years old at the time).  I would also consider passing my COTA exam to be a great accomplishment, and as a new OT graduate, I again find myself preparing for a NBCOT exam.

While I am still at the beginning of my professional career, I look forward to many more great accomplishments in the future.

What piece of advice would you give to our 2016 Maria graduates?

My greatest piece of advice for all new graduates is to follow your dreams, never give up, and fight for what you want to accomplish. Always be ready to accept new challenges and remember that even though your college career may be coming to a close, or for some it’s just the beginning, always be dedicated to lifelong learning. Always strive to be the best that you can be, and don’t accept anything less.

April 2016: Linda Kindlon, '04

Owner, Bake For You, Albany, NY

In 2009, Linda Kindlon, a graduate of Maria’s Bereavement program and a self-taught baker, opened her bakery in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on State Street in Albany, NY.  By 2013, she had tripled her sales and outgrown the space. Bake For You is now located on Delaware Avenue.

What led you to Maria College?

I liked how small Maria College was and it reminded me of my high school where I was taught by the Sisters of Mercy.

What do you remember most vividly about your time at Maria College?

Maria felt like home.  Everyone was friendly, helpful and welcoming.

Did you have a favorite teacher/professor?

I have two.  Anne Devlin and Sister Jean Roche.  They both made me think, and enjoy learning.  I always left them eager to return.

How did Maria prepare you for your next step?

Maria helped with my confidence, challenged me to be my best and supported me along the way. 

Tell us about your career path.

I had a lot of interest in bereavement studies and intended to follow that path but my dream was to be a baker and the confidence I gained from Maria helped me realize that dream and now I own a bakery!  And it bring me joy that my children are such a big part of the business.

What piece of advice would you give to current Maria students?

My advice is to get your education, follow your dreams and embrace the guidance that the Maria College family offers.

March 2016: Sharon Buchbinder, RN, Ph.D., '81


Professor and Program Coordinator MSN Health Management, Stevenson University, MD

Tell us what led you to Maria College.

I was working in healthcare as an Allied Health Technician supervising the IV Therapy Team at Albany Medical Center. I had a BA and MA in Psychology with almost as many credits in Biology and I loved working in healthcare, but I knew if I wanted to advance my career, I needed to become a nurse.  At the time, there was no concept of allowing people to bring in credits toward a BSN. I went to the area colleges that offered a BS in Nursing and I was told I would have to “quit your job and go back to school full time.” Since I earned half of the household income and we had a mortgage that was simply not an option!  Maria College welcomed me, accepted many of my credits and asked me to teach anatomy and physiology. I was thrilled!

What do you remember most vividly about your time at Maria College?

The incredible kindness of the sisters and faculty.  I’m Jewish, so I was surprised and delighted by how welcomed I felt.

Did you have a favorite teacher/professor?

Father Nick!! I took Comparative Religion with him. Subsequently, my husband and I spent many fine dinners together talking about religion, spirituality, and life. A fabulous educator and person.

How did Maria prepare you for your next steps?

Maria gave me the confidence to leave my clinical position and move to a research position.  I knew I could make a change in how nurses were treated and I did with the research I worked on for the State of New York. If you look at my bio, you will see, I’ve always worked and gone to school. Maria gave me the confidence to keep doing that and do it well.

What would you consided your greatest professional accomplishment?

My internationally best-selling textbook, Introduction to Health Care Management (with Nancy H. Shanks) now in press for the third edition.  I was told by a number of nay-sayers that it would never get published, but thanks to my stubborn persistence and my husband’s excellent advice, I found the best home for it with Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Tell us about any hobbies or interests.

After working in health care delivery for years, that itch to write (some call it an obsession) kept beckoning me to "come on back" to writing fiction. Thanks to the kindness of family, friends, critique partners, and beta readers, I’m published in many different genres including romance, suspense and textbooks! When not attempting to make students, colleagues, and babies laugh, I can be found herding cats, walking my dogs, fishing, cooking, dining, and laughing with family and friends, or writing. Please click here to let me know if you would like to know more about my "alter ego".

What piece of advice would you give current Maria students?

Use your faculty as resources, the same advice I give to my students now. They are there to help you, otherwise, they wouldn’t be teachers. Enjoy your time there. It is very special.