Annette M. McDermott, dean of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, joined Mount Holyoke in 2012 as a College chaplain and advisor to the Catholic community. Her life interest has been in engaging her mind and spirit at the intersection of religion and civil society. She earned a B.A. in political science/international relations from Fordham University and an M.A. in public policy from Trinity College in Hartford. She is currently completing her doctoral studies in political science at Boston College, where her dissertation topic is focused on the competing mediating roles of Catholic sisters in the American public square since Vatican II.
Prior to becoming a Sister of Saint Joseph (SSJ) in Springfield, Massachusetts, Sr. McDermott worked in public affairs at Mass Mutual. Since becoming an SSJ, she has served predominantly as cabinet secretary of social concerns for the Diocese of Springfield, creating an Office of AIDS/HIV Ministry and a Child Protection and Youth Protection program. She has also been working with Catholic Charities to expand its Immigration and Refugee Services and develop low-income housing in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Sr. McDermott is an avid photographer and rows/sculls with Mount Holyoke’s community rowing program. She looks forward to helping the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life create more time and space for substantive multicultural and multifaith engagement for students, staff, and faculty. She considers a vibrant, healthy community a key to living a meaningful life and she looks forward to sharing this value with the broader Mount Holyoke community.