On February 9, 2024, Mercy University honored 10 exemplary alumni for their accomplishments at its Alumni of Distinction Awards. The annual event, which helps raise funds for student scholarships, celebrates alumni from Mercy and the College of New Rochelle (CNR), a legacy Mercy committed to preserve after CNR closed in 2019, for their contributions to the community and to the school.
“We are proud to honor some of the brightest stars that Mercy and CNR has produced – alumni who are making a meaningful impact in their fields and serving as shining examples of inspiration for others,” said Susan L. Parish, Ph.D., M.S.W., president of Mercy University. “We strive to nurture minds, ignite passions, and embolden our students to become agents of positive change, and it is so inspiring to witness that mission bearing fruit in the magnificent accomplishments of these individuals.”
Mercy University Alumni of Distinction Awards honorees and Class of 2024 inductees into the Alumni Hall of Fame are David Arias ’16; Michael Barber ’12; Marion Kendall ’15; Karen Koziol, M.S. ’07; DaMia Harris Madden, M.S. ’07, M.B.A. ’22; and Luis Rodriguez, M.S. ’08. The 2024 CNR Alumni of Distinction Awards honorees and Class of 2024 inductees into the Alumni Hall of Fame are Elissa Carmona, SNR ’05; Rosalie Crabbe, SAS ’72; Michael Radosta, SN ’05 and Margaret Reese Williamson, SAS ’75.
The Alumni of Distinction Awards event helped fund the Mercy University Endowed Alumni Legacy Scholarship Fund as well as the CNR Legacy Scholarship Fund. The Mercy University Endowed Alumni Legacy Scholarship Fund— which was created by the Mercy University Alumni Advisory Council to support the children of Mercy University alumni — is the only fund specifically designated to provide educational support to second-generation Mercy students. The CNR Legacy Scholarship Fund provides support for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Mercy University who are the first in their family to attend college.
Read more about the honorees below.
2024 Alumni of Distinction Honorees
David Arias ’16
David Arias is a 2016 graduate from the Veterinary Tech program at Mercy University. While a student, he was raising his daughter, working full-time and studying for his classes. A first-generation student from Colombian immigrant parents, Arias credits Mercy’s program for preparing him for Veterinary School. While at Mercy, he had the opportunity to travel to Belize twice on medical missions, which helped him get a greater and deeper understanding of how animals fit into their natural environments. He was also able to practice his clinical skills while serving the local community.
After graduating from Mercy, he attended the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts, West Indies. and completed his clinical rotations at the University of Florida.
Arias is now the co-owner of International Animal Clinic in Queens, New York, where he grew up and currently lives. He is committed to giving back to the community and neighborhood where he grew up and is supporting future generations of Licensed Veterinary technicians by helping them find internships and jobs, provide mentoring to those in need and to help share what he has learned.
Michael Barber ’12
Mercy University Media Studies 2012 graduate, Michael Barber, kickstarted his career with an internship at MTV after volunteering at a CBS/Fox company. His journey led him through roles at WABC-TV, BET, AOL, Huffington Post, and Left Field Pictures. By 2017, he was producing for Lifetime's Date Night Live, freelancing for VH1, and later helming top shows for the History Channel.
In 2020, he produced Double Shot At Love for MTV and in 2021, co-produced a documentary with rapper Nasir Jones which is now Emmy nominated. In 2022, Barber story produced for VH1 and MTV, becoming a digital story producer for VH1’s Miss Adventures of Cyn and Jonathan.
Currently, he's a story producer on WE-TV's Breaking the Ice. With over 30 TV credits, Barber envisions starting a production company with his fiancée, Laura, whom he met at Mercy University, focusing on stories about mental health issues in urban communities.
Marion Kendall ’15
Marion Kendall, a trailblazer in social work and a champion for human trafficking survivors, graduated from Mercy University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. Kendall’s passion for helping others led her to pursue a master's degree in social work from Yeshiva University in 2017.
Throughout her impressive career, Kendall has held various significant positions, showcasing her abilities as an effective advocate and leader in the field. She started as the Corporate Director of Social Work for Centers Healthcare, where she made a notable impact on the lives of countless individuals. She then served as the Director of Clinical Operations for Help USA, further solidifying her reputation as a compassionate and empathetic leader.
Kendall’s commitment to making a difference extended even beyond her previous roles. She went on to become the Chief Executive Officer for LifeWay Network, an organization dedicated to providing support and shelter to survivors of human trafficking. Under her guidance, LifeWay Network flourished, offering vital resources and empowering survivors to reclaim their lives and thrive once again. However, Kendall’s work did not stop there. She is now the President and CEO of ThriveUS Network, an organization deeply committed to empowering survivors of human trafficking.
Karen Koziol, M.S. ’07
Karen Koziol is a distinguished nursing professional with a rich and diverse background spanning various facets of healthcare and education. Graduating with distinction from Mercy in 2007 with a Master of Science in Nursing Education, Koziol’s career is marked by an unwavering commitment to excellence.
Koziol’s teaching experience spans ADN, BSN, and MSN levels, where she excels in simulation development and implementation, faculty training, and fostering simulation-based learning. Her dedication to improving healthcare practice through simulation aligns with her passion for creating a supportive and safe learning environment for students. As an International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) fellow, Koziol brings a wealth of simulation expertise. She played a pivotal role in designing three simulation labs for Mercy, contributing significantly to educational infrastructure.
Koziol’s commitment to education extends globally, evident in her collaborative efforts with the Travancore Foundation in Kerala, India, where she contributed to establishing a simulation lab focusing on innovative geriatric care practices.
DaMia Harris Madden, M.S. ’07, M.B.A. ’22
Dr. DaMia Harris-Madden has spent more than two decades working at the intersections of government, education, business, and the non-profit sectors. Currently, she provides visionary and executive leadership within the Westchester County Youth Bureau, a division of the Westchester County Executive’s Office. Immediately upon taking a key position within the County Executive’s cabinet in 2018, she rebuilt a floundering youth department, increased the number of grassroots organizations funded in communities of high need, and reorganized the way in which non-profit organizations competed for funding. Dr. Madden utilizes her business acumen and experience to manage a multi- million-dollar annual budget and deploys financial and technical resources to hundreds of community-based programs and agencies.
Her background in the workforce development space has lent to the development of training curriculums and the successful procurement of workforce development grants which enable at-risk youth and adults opportunities to develop employability and self-sufficiency skills. Recently, she partnered with Mercy University and its STEP Program to sponsor the first Youth Med-Tech Conference where more than 300 youth, healthcare professionals, scientists, and STEM leaders were in attendance.
Dr. Madden holds a BA in English and African American Studies from the SUNY University of Albany, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Mercy University, a Master of Science in Human Resource Management (MS HRM) from Mercy University, and a Doctorate in Education and Executive Leadership (Ed.D) from St. John Fisher University.
Luis Rodriguez, M.S. ’08
Dr. Luis Rodríguez began his administrative career in the public health sector, serving in various leadership capacities culminating as Vice Dean for Municipal Hospital Affiliations, and Assistant Professor of Community and Preventive Medicine, for New York Medical College. His leadership experience encompasses ambulatory care settings, as well as acute care and chronic care teaching hospitals. He has also served on the adjunct faculty of Fordham University and Southern Connecticut State University, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
In the realm of public education, Dr. Rodriguez served as Director of Special Education Instruction, and Achievement Coach, for the NYCDOE. Working with teachers, school leaders and parents he facilitated the implementation of comprehensive special education reform. In his previous role as Assistant Superintendent for Special Education and Pupil Support Services for the Yonkers Public School District, Dr. Rodriguez’s vision also encompassed public education reform in this school system, wherein currently, he serves as Interim Superintendent of Schools.
A recipient of a NYC DOE Teaching Fellowship, Dr. Rodriguez’s academic credentials also include a M.S. Urban Education degree from Mercy College, a M.P.H. degree from Columbia University, and a J.D. degree from Fordham University School of Law. Certified by NYSED as a School Building and School District Leader, other certifications include American Health Lawyers Association (Health Care Mediator) and U.S. Department of Defense (Race Relations Education Specialist for the US Navy).
Elissa Carmona CNR SNR ’05
Elissa Carmona is a NYC-based singer/songwriter, Air Force veteran, and winner of the 2023 SU-CASA, Arts Fund, Community Arts, and New Work awards. Trained at NYC’s famed Music & Art High School, she holds a BA in social science and MSW degree in nonprofit management and is a member of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures.
A soul singer with roots in New Orleans and Puerto Rico, Elissa now performs throughout the U.S. to promote awareness for causes like sickle cell disease, gun violence, and disaster relief. In 2016, she founded Morrisania Band Project, an award-winning musical collective that adds vibrancy to NYC through music, community engagement, and social initiatives.
In 2023, Elissa headlined throughout NYC at festivals like the DOT Summer Streets, and Bronx and Queens Night Markets, and toured with her band in New Orleans last year. She now performs tributes to legendary singers Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan through commissions from Bronx Council on the Arts, and was the 2023 artist-in-residence at William Hodson Senior Center, widely recognized as the first senior center in the U.S. This past summer, she joined Morrisania Band Project for the 2023 Evolution of Soul, a series of live concerts throughout NYC.
Rosalie Crabbe CNR SAS ’72
Rosalie Duffy Crabbe graduated from the College of New Rochelle (CNR) in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in European History and Teacher Certification for K–12.
A longing to see all the places she had read about in her history courses, and her desire to meet the people and learn the culture of other lands, led her to a career in aviation. During her forty-seven years with United Airlines, she contributed significantly to forever changing the way people travel. She developed and implemented the Electronic Ticket Product for the airports, while also representing United at industry-level meetings. Her successful committee work resulted in her serving as Chair of the Airlines for America (A4A) Passenger Council and Co-chair for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Passenger Services Conference.
Out of her numerous accomplishments, her proudest work was advocating for Individuals with Disabilities. Through collaboration with government agencies, manufacturers of mobility products, airports, and most of all those with disabilities, policy changes have been made to facilitate equal rights and more independent travel for those with disabilities. In her efforts to build an accessible culture, she has helped author an International Accessibility Manual for best practices in air travel, provided steering guidance on travel issues, and presented in international forums. She was presented with the Open Doors Organization Annual Award in 2021 for her work on Accessibility.
Michael Radosta CNR SN ’05
Michael Radosta, MA, MS, BSN, BS, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, is Vice President of Behavioral Health Nursing & Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer - Behavioral Health. In this role, he provides leadership and oversight for the Departments of Nursing and Patient Care Services ensuring standardization and integration across the service line spanning 5 locations and over 500 inpatient beds. Mr. Radosta has assumed positions of increasing responsibility since joining NYP in 2005, most recently serving as Chief Nursing and Quality Officer at Gracie Square Hospital. He successfully led Gracie Square’s revitalization and alignment with NewYork-Presbyterian.
Mr. Radosta holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Fordham University, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The College of New Rochelle. Additionally, he earned a Master of Arts in General Applied Psychology from Iona College, and a Master of Science in Health Care Management from New York University’s Wagner program. Mr. Radosta is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as an Advanced Nurse Executive, and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is a graduate of The Academy GE Fellows Program for Nurse Executives.
Mr. Radosta is a Board of Trustees member for the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, and in 2024 will become a Board of Trustee member for Planetree International.
Margaret Reese Williamson CNR SAS ’75
Over the past 45 years, Margie has worked in various teaching and administrative capacities in the Archdiocese of Hartford at Notre Dame Academy of Waterbury, Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford and St. Mary’s School in Simsbury.
Margie earned her BA and MA in French from the College of New Rochelle and The Catholic University of America respectively, and her Sixth Year Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Connecticut.
During her 29 years at Northwest Catholic, Margie served on building and renovation committees that celebrated the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the school’s founding. These improvements included the addition of the Breen Center for the Arts, the Stosuy Gymnasium and the Fr. Colton Atrium as well as renovations of all classrooms, the Gelormino Library, the Johnson Gymnasium and the Rice Auditorium. In addition, the school added athletic field space, improved existing athletic facilities and replaced the bleachers at Neil J. Brewer Field. Upon arriving at St. Mary’s School, she participated on the planning and building committee for a $4 million construction project known at the Parish Connection or Magowan Center.