Mount Saint Dominic Academy


IN THE NEWS: East Hanover resident featured at Capstone

East Hanover resident featured at Mount St. Dominic Academy event

May 11, 2018

EAST HANOVER TWP. – Mount St. Dominic Academy (MSDA) senior and East Hanover resident Alexandria Grasso partnered with an Ultra Records professional. The pairing provided an immersive academic and professional experience for Ms. Grasso’s MSDA Capstone Project. The Capstone Symposium and Reception event were held on Tuesday, May 1.

MSDA in Caldwell held its first ever Capstone Symposium. This was the culmination of a year-long research project. It featured the work of 13 Mount seniors including East Hanover resident Alexandria Grasso. Her project was titled, “A Study of the Political and Economic Factors that Influence Emigration.”

As part of the program, Grasso was paired with Mount graduate Bernadette Cruz. Ms. Cruz is an advisor with Ultra Records (Sony). She also has early career experience as part of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations.

Academic and professional experience provides inspiration, discovery, and confidence in the future

On what inspired her topic, Grasso said, “I was motivated to begin this investigation my junior year. Majoring in business/international relations and minoring in Spanish seemed like a good path for me. So, I sat with MSDA Curriculum Coordinator Ms. Muoio to brainstorm. I decided immigration would be the hub of my research. For this project, I wanted to do something related to business to figure out whether or not a business major was truly for me. Consequently, through Capstone, I can affirmatively state I feel confident about my future.”

“After taking Senior Capstone, I am much more confident in my writing abilities. I am also more comfortable with the research process as a whole,” Grasso continued. “Most of all, I believe this course has helped me to grow because I uncovered new passions and practiced skills that prepared me for college. The Capstone course teaches much more than simply the information you unveil as you are researching. It is a self-journey through which peers collaborate. As a result, horizons are widened beyond what a student thought was possible at the beginning of the year.”

Expanding learning opportunities

The Senior Capstone in Directed Research was introduced for the 2017-18 school year. It was created by MSDA Curriculum Coordinators Marissa Muoio (MSDA Class of 2008) and Kristen Zosche. The course must be applied for in a student’s junior year. Capstone allows seniors to deeply explore an academic topic, problem, issue or idea of interest to them, possibly tied to a future major or career path. In addition, the student then designs, plans, and implements a yearlong investigation to address a research question. Finally, the course culminates with an academic paper and panel presentation. The Capstone experience presents students with the opportunity to make connections across disciplines, bridge theory with practice, and promotes the development of higher-order thinking.

Pairing MSDA students with alumnae mentors immeasurably expand learning opportunities. It also provides enhanced social interaction on a more adult-level. This is critical to future success in higher education and other professional arenas.

For the inaugural program year, 14 MSDA alumnae mentors enthusiastically took on the role of mentor. They each worked closely with the 14 Mount seniors. Located all over the country, the MSDA mentors represent many professions and deliver expertise in several sectors. These include applied behavioral analysis, astronomy, entrepreneurship, education, finance, healthcare and medicine, government and military affairs, justice and public policy, social work, and professional sports.

MSDA Capstone program gives alumnae a meaningful way to give back to the school and provide invaluable insight and support to a graduating senior.

More information

For more information about the MSDA Capstone in Directed Research program, contact Marissa Muoio at or Kate Sullivan, director of Alumnae Relations, at, or visit

East Hanover resident Alexandria Grasso and her project titled, “A Study of the Political and Economic Factors that Influence Emigration,” were at the Mount St. Dominic Academy in Caldwell held first ever Capstone Symposium on May 1.

Read more about the Capstone Project, the Symposium, and mentor field trip. Click here to read the Hanover Eagle article.

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