When Maria attended the June 2018 groundbreaking of Sacred Heart’s new School Center, she was not only an interested alumna. As director of marketing and associate principal for BVH Integrated Services, the firm responsible for providing the engineering design on the project she is thrilled to be connected with such an important milestone for the school.
With a deep desire to help provide opportunities so others can live their best lives, and with the support of her company, Maria mentors young women along their career paths in her male-dominated industry, and serves as president of the ACE Mentor Program which tackles worker shortages in the architecture, construction, and engineering industries by connecting professional mentors and high school students. The ACE Mentor Program was named by the Hartford Business Journal as the 2018 non-profit of the year. Maria is also an industry advisory board member of the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology at Hartford Public High School.
Maria describes herself as a “proud and devoted hockey mom” to her son and, with a daughter now in college, she was a Girl Scout leader for many years. With Tracy Salemme Church ’79 heading the effort, Maria has been invited by President Sr. Sheila O’Neill, ASCJ, Ph.D., ’71 to participate in developing Sacred Heart’s new alumnae mentorship program.
"My passion for giving back is rooted in my childhood. My parents are active parishioners at Saint Bernadette Church. They served on the school board, and church board, chaired the Saint Bernadette carnival committee for more than 20 years, and still volunteer each night of the carnival. In addition to graduating from Sacred Heart, I attended preschool and kindergarten at Saint Michael’s School, and first through eighth grade at Saint Bernadette School. Catholic schools not only provided me with an exceptional education and life-long friends, but also encouraged me to live life as an advocate for those less fortunate. My Catholic education—coupled with my family’s devotion to giving back—empowered me to become a champion for those needing a helping hand.
I am deeply committed to ACE because I have witnessed the results. The program serves approximately 150 students from thirty schools across Connecticut each year. With eighty mentors from forty firms and organizations, students are exposed to careers in the architectural, construction, and engineering industries through weekly or biweekly sessions, hands-on workshops, and construction site visits. Since its inception in 1998, ACE CT has awarded $520,000 in scholarships to students pursuing careers in architecture, construction, engineering management, or related fields.
I truly believe that the opportunities given to me at the Academy—the ability to be a leader, to be an advocate, to find purpose in life—have helped me to grow in Christ and appreciate the beauty that surrounds around me each day. Whether through small acts of kindness, which I try to do each day (letting someone get ahead of me in line at the grocery store!) or more complex acts of giving (my work with the ACE Mentor Program), my soul is filled with love for others and a deep desire to provide opportunities so others can live more fulfilled lives."