Biography: I was born in the Bronx and lived there with my parents until I was 8 years old when we moved to a home in Pelham Manor. I was an only child and was very close to my parents. My father was a physician and worked extremely hard both in his office and making house calls at all hours of the day and night to attend to his patients. My mother was a homemaker but was also an accomplished seamstress. I was fortunate that she made most of my clothes. I attended The Ursuline School in New Rochelle and when I finished high school I went to the College of New Rochelle . I was a day student for 3 years and lived on campus in my senior year. I majored in mathematics and took elective courses in Italian and education. I sang in the Glee Club and even performed once at Carnegie Hall. After graduation I studied for my Master's degree in mathematics at Fordham University. Selecting Fordham was a most fortunate decision for it was there that I met my husband, Ken.
Three years later, we were married at my parish church in Pelham Manor, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I worked as a programmer at IBM until the birth of our first child, Kevin. Four years later we had a daughter, Kathleen. We have lived in Rye Brook for 42 years. Our children attended our local public elementary school where I was very active in our PTA. When Kathleen started kindergarten, I took a position as an adjunct in the Computer Science Department at Iona College. When Kathleen was in school all day, I began to teach full time. I was somewhat surprised to find how much I enjoyed teaching at Iona -- I had always planned to return to the business world. And so, in order to continue as a college teacher, I went back to school after 20 years and received my Ph.D. from Columbia University. I have been at Iona since 1979 and have taught a variety of courses both in our undergraduate program and in our graduate program in educational technology. I have served as the department's internship coordinator for over 25 years and have worked on many committees in our department and in the college. I have come to view Iona as a "home away from home" and have made many good friends among the faculty, staff, administration, and students.
Family: All four of my grandparents were born in Italy and so perhaps it is because of my Italian heritage that my family is the central focus of my life. My principal motivation in selecting college teaching as a career was because it allowed me the flexibility to be at home with my family so much of the time. As my children were growing up, there were very few occasions when I could not be at home or at a school function for them. My husband also worked for IBM in Westchester for most of his 39 years with the company, so we were both able to actively participate in our children's lives. My husband and I are very proud that both Kevin and Kathleen have grown up to be responsible and caring adults -- both in their professional and, most especially, in their personal lives. They both went to Catholic high schools: Kevin to Iona Prep and Kathleen to Holy Child. Kevin attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN and Kathleen followed him four years later. Education has always been important in our family and so Kevin went on to receive an MBA at NYU and Kathleen received her law degree at Fordham University. But it was Notre Dame that was destined to be an integral part of our lives. In 2000, Kevin married Megan Kearney, whose father and brother were both Notre Dame graduates. And a year later, in 2001, Kathleen married Curtis Plaza, whom she had met at Notre Dame.
As I just said, Ken and I are very proud of our 2 children. However, there are really no adjectives to describe how we feel about our 4 grandchildren. Kathleen and Curtis gave us our first grandchild, Courtney, born in 2003. She is very articulate; although a little shy when first meeting strangers, she quickly warms up and loves to talk. As a young child, Courtney loved to draw and we have an entire drawer at home filled with Courtney's artistic productions. As she grew up, writing became her main passion. A recent display at her local library featured many of the illustrated books Courtney has written. She is currently working on her first novel!
Our next grandchildren came in 2005 within the very same minute. Yes -- twins! Kevin and Megan are the proud parents of Bonnie and Kevin. Every child is a miracle but two babies at once takes your breath away. There was never any doubt as to which one was the girl and which one was the boy. Despite the fact that Bonnie is very agile and well-coordinated, she is every inch a little girl -- swirling around to show off her dress or puckering up her lips for lip gloss. She is becoming a very fine ballerina. Kevin, on the other hand, is as strong as an ox. At the age of 2, he picked up a brick door stopper, threw it against a wall and make a sizable dent. It is no surprise that one of his current interests is in karate. Kevin loves cars and trucks but is also very protective of his "little" sister -- After all, he is about 45 seconds older than Bonnie!
In 2006, Courtney became a big sister when our youngest grandchild, Ryan, was born. As a baby, he was the most mellow of all the children -- In fact, sometimes we would forget he was around! Courtney was such an attentive big sister that Ryan found no need to walk until he was about 19 months old. Once he became mobile, he wasted no time in making his desires known. Ryan loves animals and is the recognized family expert on land, sea and air creatures, extinct and otherwise. As a young child, he enjoyed sitting at the piano while his uncle Kevin entertained him with special requests. Now Ryan is taking piano lessons and is very proud of the many pieces he has learned.
If you mouseoever the pictures of the children as babies, you can see more recent pictures of them.
Interests: When I am not at Iona (or not babysitting), there are many other activities that occupy my time. I like to swim (although I am not very good at it) and walk for exercise. I enjoy reading -- mostly mysteries and sometime historical fiction. My husband and I love to visit museums and attend concerts, operas and Broadway plays in New York City. We have had a subscription to Lincoln Center for many years. When I have the time, I like to knit -- I find it very relaxing and enjoy making baby sweaters for new arrivals in my family and among my close friends.
However, cooking and baking are a real passion. I love to be in the kitchen and prepare old family recipes and try new ones -- whether it is just for me and my husband or for company. As a child, I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandmother who taught me how to make many traditional Italian dishes, such as homemade macaroni and cheesecake. I am particularly interested in making healthy dishes that look appetizing and taste good. I always buy fresh ingredients whenever I can and enjoy shopping at our local farms in the summer. That doesn't mean that I never make desserts! Sweets are a real treat -- in moderation, of course. For many years, I have established the custom of bring a batch of homemade chocolate cookies to each of my classes on the last day of the semester. Many students have asked me for the recipe for my Chocolate Pixies which I have always made available.