Press Release

Award for Service in Education Goes to Saint Mary's College Freshman


Gwen O’Brien
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary’s College
Notre Dame, Ind.
(574) 284-4579

April 20, 2009 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—The Office for Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE) at Saint Mary's College is pleased to announce that Alma Bravo ’12 of South Bend will receive one of the College’s seven unique service and volunteer awards. The awards recognize students who give their time and talent to serve the greater South Bend community.

Bravo, whose intended major is nursing, will receive one of five new annual awards named for Sisters of the Holy Cross. The Congregation founded the Catholic, all-women’s college in 1844. Bravo will be honored with the Sister Maria Concepta McDermott Award for Service in Education. Sister McDermott (1913 - 1990) was an outspoken voice for the rights of the poor. This dynamic, determined sister was known for her work in multi-cultural education and with troubled youths.  In the early 1970s she established a school for wards of the court on the Saint Mary’s campus. She also instituted an interdisciplinary approach to teachers’ education at the College. In addition, she also taught in Uganda, Brazil and China.

Bravo is a first year student who has already made an impression on those around her. As a Citizen Scholar she receives financial aid assistance for hours she works in the community. Bravo jumped into her work at Warren Primary Center in South Bend as a teacher’s aide in two English-as-a-New-Language (ENL) classrooms. Traveling to Warren four days a week, Bravo connected easily with the children and quickly became a critical asset in the classroom. One of Warren’s teachers who nominated her for the award wrote, “Alma arrives each morning with her radiant smile and says, ‘What can I do for you today?’ She works with small groups, assists with learning centers and is working with an individual student who gets no support at home. She is helping that child practice sight words and gain reading fluency. In fact, after he is with Bravo during the morning, he joins the group with confidence and better behavior.” In her short time at Saint Mary’s, Bravo has already had a significant impact in the service field and has demonstrated the depth of her commitment to working with those with the greatest need.

Bravo and the other award winners will be recognized at a dinner at the College on Wednesday, April 29.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. The College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary's College ranks among the nation's top liberal arts colleges in U.S. News & World Report's 2009 annual survey. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.