Mount Saint Dominic Academy


MSDA Grad Awarded Prestigious National Honor

MSDA Graduate Honored

Essex Fells Resident awarded designation of National AP Scholar from the College Board

August 30, 2018 (Caldwell, NJ) – Alessandra (Ally) DiFilippo, a resident of Essex Fells and 2018 graduate of Mount St. Dominic Academy in Caldwell, was recently awarded the designation of National AP Scholar from the College Board. A not-for-profit membership organization made up of over 6,000 of the world’s educational institutions, the College Board is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. The National AP Scholar award is granted to students in the United States who earn an average score of at least 4 on every AP (Advanced Placement) Exam taken, and, scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. During her four years at the Mount, Miss DiFilippo took 9 AP classes including AP Biology, AP Statistics, AP Physics AB and BC.

In addition to this prestigious national honor, at the time of her graduation from Mount St. Dominic Academy, Miss DiFilippo was also a commended student in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program and a member of both the National Honor Society and the National French Honor Society. Her success with the Mount’s rigorous curriculum and significant achievements in AP courses earned her 34 advanced placement credits, which means Miss DiFilippo will begin her college career at the University of Maine this September as a sophomore, enabling her to focus her coursework on classes she is most interested in.

Young Alumna Brings Virtual Reality to the Mount

A declared computer engineering major with dual minors in robotics and computer science, Miss DiFilippo has spent her summer as an intern on the technology team at Mount St. Dominic, working closely with Mrs. Elizabeth Rogacki, AP Physics teacher and director of technology. The focus of her internship has been the testing and implementation of a virtual reality system, and determining how to best integrate the use of augmented reality across the school’s curriculum. According to Miss DiFilippo, the introduction of this new technology at the Mount isn’t just about STEM (curriculum focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

“No class operates in a vacuum,” said Miss DiFilippo. “Adding the complementary element of virtual reality to coursework at the Mount will enable teachers to create borderless classrooms that encourage exploration of subjects beyond what the traditional textbooks and lectures can offer.”

Miss DiFilippo noted that the new virtual reality platform represents a symbiotic relationship between technology and creativity. Another technology that represents multiple facets of exploration is robotics, which is Miss DiFillipo’s true passion as she learned studying the subject her senior year at the Mount – building robots and creating the software to run them.

A Seat at the Front

If it weren’t for the knowledge and encouragement she received at the Mount, Miss DiFillipo doesn’t think she would have had the opportunity or the courage to pursue her studies and career in computer engineering and technology. She recognizes the tech industry is still dominated by men, evidenced by the fact that the University of Maine currently has three freshmen women in her major —something she sees that as an opportunity, not a roadblock.

“At my freshman orientation, all of the engineering students gathered in a lecture hall, and one other young woman I met started to take a seat near the back of the room, when I stopped her and said ‘hey, let’s sit together in the front,” Miss DiFilippo remarked. “Once the two of us sat in the front row, other girls came to join us.”

Miss DiFilippo noted that women in tech are not to be underestimated. She embraces the notion that she and the other young women in pursuit of tech careers will become valuable assets to corporations that are truly looking for the smartest, brightest and most creative minds. And with the ink barely dry on her high school diploma, she’s already working to encourage more young women to consider careers in the sciences and technology. By working with the Mount faculty to integrate elements of STEM across disciplines, Miss DiFilippo is helping make these concepts and ideas more accessible to a broader group of students with the hope of encouraging more of them to take a seat at the front as well.

Article printed in “The Progress” – August 30, 2018.

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