#CrusaderIntern: Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)

July 19th, 2016 by msweeney
Q.Nguyen MIRA

With Senator Ed Markey after a round table discussion on DACA/DAPA immigration policies on June 24, 2016.

by Quynh Nguyen ’17

Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) is a political organization that focuses on helping immigrants obtain legal status in the United States. We host citizenship clinics to help people fill out the naturalization application, host rallies and events to advocate for positive immigration policies, and lobby with local government officials to “pressure” policymakers. I am one of two communications interns this summer. The communications department is composed of the two interns and our director, so as such a small group we take on a lot more work than the other interns here from other departments.

On a day-to-day basis, I assist the Director with organizing and updating our member/volunteer database, researching CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, entering data for donations/registrations/etc, among other things. Before event days, I make E-poster announcements using an online platform and create draft emails to be sent out. Additionally, I make phone calls to our members, volunteers and news stations to invite them to the event. On event days, I am the designated photographer and social media publisher. I snap photos and update our Twitter account on a real-time basis. The days following an event, I call attendees to thank them for their effort and support and I update our social media accounts with photos.

What surprises me the most at MIRA is how hectic things are! I had always seen on TV that a political/governmental office is crazy with people running amuck with a mountainous stack of documents in one hand and a coffee mug in the other, but who knew that it’s really like this in real life! This hustling and bustling atmosphere really motivates me to adapt quickly and be part of the team. This is why I love my job with MIRA and appreciate the exposure I receive. I aspire to work for the United Nations one day to aid and promote minority issues so the experience at MIRA is giving me the opportunity to jumpstart my career. I am able to meet many important politicians while on the job so I am hopeful that I will be able to create an extensive network this way. MIRA is allowing me to become a young professional for a great cause and I can’t imagine a better internship!

#CrusaderIntern: Congratulations! You’re Halfway There

July 13th, 2016 by msweeney

PamAhearn_May2010_5x7Lgby Pam Ahearn, Senior Associate Director, Center for Career Development

Welcome to the halfway point of your internship. You’ve settled into the office, figured out where the bathrooms are, how to access your email, and what some of the office acronyms mean. You’ve also stopped getting lost on your way to fill up your water bottle. Now is a great time to check-in on the progress of your summer so far and assess if you are meeting your goals for the internship.

Take some time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished thus far:

  • Is there still unfinished business to attend to or skills that you want to hone?
  • Are there additional people you want to network with at the organization?
  • Have you identified additional goals for yourself? If so, write them down and try to strategize how you will achieve them.

Don’t forget to complete you Midpoint Evaluation in Crusader Connections!

Hopefully you are enjoying the experience and have just the right amount of work every day. I often hear from intern supervisors that the work they assign to their Holy Cross intern is done so efficiently that they need to find more work for the intern to do. (Well done, HC!)

If you find yourself in this situation and you need more work, think about the following:

  • Have you noticed a particular gap in a process at the organization?
  • Can you think of a project that would ease someone’s work load significantly?
  • Is there a need for organizing files (hard copy or electronic)?
  • Is there any research you could do that would move a project along?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then take the initiative and go about solving these problems. Everyone loves a go-getter! Be sure to ask your boss first before tackling a new project or asking other colleagues if they need help. Once you get the go-ahead, run with it!

Finally, have you discovered through this internship that this just isn’t the right industry or career path for you? Consider yourself lucky to have figured this out during a 10 week commitment versus a month or two into a full time job! Still, continue to do your best work and remain positive. A good attitude goes a long way and you’ll rely on your supervisor to give you a good reference in the future.

If you have some down time, think about how you might apply your talents and skills to a different career. We have a whole host of resources on our website that can assist you. You can also schedule a call with a Career Counselor to help you get started. We’re happy to chat over your lunch break!

Let us know if you are hitting other road blocks this summer. We are here to help you make the most of your summer!!!! We look forward to reading all of those Midpoint Evaluations!

#CrusaderIntern: Environment North Carolina

July 5th, 2016 by msweeney

by Abigail Benjamin ’18

This summer I am interning with Environment North Carolina. I work at their office in Raleigh, a city I was previously unfamiliar with, despite being a North Carolina resident. I work with four other interns, all of whom attend various East Coast colleges and universities. My daily routine is nonexistent; every day holds something different. While my overall week generally looks the same – Mondays spent in the office, Tuesdays spent phonebanking until 7PM, Wednesdays spent petitioning at the farmers’ market, Thursdays spent at the field office, and Fridays spent wrapping up the week’s work and planning for the next week – each day has a different schedule, which could change with a minute’s notice.

A.Benjamin bee_rally

Save the Bees Rally & Press Conference

I have a wide range of duties, but my favorites are the ones that involve the most responsibility. Our first real project was to assist a partner organization, Toxic Free NC, with their Save the Bees Rally and Press Conference. The project involved 500 petition signatures, hours of phonebanking, and a day of poster-making. It wasn’t anything difficult, but the experience prepared us for the rest of the summer. Currently, the other interns and I are planning four campaign events, at least two of which will involve a press conference. Having no previous event planning experience, this has proved challenging but fun. Basically, planning an event for Environment North Carolina involves contacting local governments, farmers, coalition partners, media, and businesses and lots of phonebanking, emails, and confirmation calls.

The other interns and I mostly work in groups while meeting individual goals, but I have been given two personal initiatives so far. The first is to assist with the release of our state report on pollution caused by Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, specifically Smithfield Foods’ hog operations in North Carolina. I am working with our state director and a Sierra Club employee to release this report and hold a Telepresser media brief. My second initiative is to train canvassers on how to write letter-to-the-editors and edit their letters each week.

I write a lot of letter-to-the-editors, usually at least one per week per active campaign. As an intern group, we have published at least one letter a week. My first letter was published in the Charlotte Observer, where they ran the letter alongside my most professional selfie. In hindsight, I should have attended the Career Fair when they were taking pictures for LinkedIn profiles.

The most exciting part of this internship so far has been when we go to the NC General Assembly. The first time, we delivered seismic blasting fact-sheets to legislators and asked them to sign on to a letter drafted by Representative Harrison addressed to Secretary Jewel, urging the Department of the Interior to deny all applications for seismic blasting permits on the Atlantic coast. I was able to speak to a number of legislators, including my own representative, Larry Pittman.

The second time I went to the General Assembly was when we tried to watch a vote on a particularly troubling bill that was disguised as environmentally friendly but would actually delay the cleanup of Duke Energy’s coal ash sites. The bill had already passed the Senate but still had the potential to be stopped by the House. I say we tried to watch the vote because we were not successful – the vote was pushed so far back in the day that we could not stay. Unfortunately, the bill ended up passing 82-32, much to the dismay of the Southern Environmental Law Center, Appalachian Voices, and Environment North Carolina.

Currently, I am looking forward to the Beach Days of Action that two other interns and I are planning. These Days of Action will take place on three different North Carolina beaches and will attempt to educate the public on the dangers of seismic blasting as well as create a platform for local advocates and citizens to voice their concerns about seismic blasting through signing petitions and tweeting photo petitions to President Obama. We will be hosting press conferences at two of the beaches, featuring remarks from coalition partners and – fingers-crossed – a Duke University researcher and the mayor of Kure Beach.

#CrusaderIntern: Networking Tips For Summer Interns

June 29th, 2016 by msweeney

by Julie Draczynski ’99, Associate Director, Center for Career DevelopmentJulie Photo

As you know, networking is a key part of an effective internship search. So, you might be thinking, “I’ve got the internship, now I can relax.” Think again!! What better place to expand your network and build relationships with key contacts than your place of employment for the summer? A summer internship gives you unique access to many professionals in an industry or company that interests you. Here are a few networking tips to make the most of your summer internship:

  1. Be friendly. Smile a lot and ask questions. It’s easy to meet people and build relationships among your team and across the organization if you’re approachable.
  2. Seek out people to network with. Get a copy of the organization chart. Find people that are in a role that you would like to learn more about. Talk to your supervisor about the best way to reach out and meet those people. Usually, it is as simple as sending an email to ask if they would be willing to meet for coffee or lunch.
  3. Go to company sponsored events. Getting yourself out of the office to mingle with co-workers at company sponsored social events can be an effective way to build relationships with people across the organization.
  4. Show interest in other people’s work. Learn more about the work others at the organization are doing and how it impacts your team, division and the company. People love to talk about themselves. Showing genuine interest in the work that they are doing can go a long way.
  5. Once you are settled into your role, talk about your future plans and ask for advice. Seek out people at the organization that are doing the type of work you aspire to do. Ask for an informational interview or to meet for coffee or lunch. Share your interests and ask for advice on how to position yourself as a strong candidate in the future.
  6. Nurture your relationships. Effective networking is an ongoing process that involves building and cultivating relationships. Keep in touch with the contacts you make at the company. Meet for coffee or simply smile and say hello when you’re passing their desk or office. Send a note at the end of the internship to thank them for taking the time to talk with you. Connect with them on LinkedIn and keep in touch throughout the year once you’re back on campus.

Summer internships provide a great opportunity to build your network of key contacts. Don’t let that opportunity pass you by! Get out there, smile and grab a coffee with a co-worker!

Written by Julie Draczynski
Associate Director, Center for Career Development

#CrusaderIntern: The Goldilocks rule of email etiquette

June 21st, 2016 by msweeney

MauraHume2_Aug2011_6x9Lgby Maura Sweeney ’07, Associate Director, Center for Career Development

The way you compose emails says a lot about you. Don’t believe me?


i write email as if im txting a friend… i dont use punctuation correct grammar or spell check… and i look really immature and unprofessional…


Hey Boss,
I use correct punctuaton, but I don’t bother to spell-chick and tend to write in run-on sentenses, which drives everyone I work with crazy but I seem like I’m to busy and important to notice, so I just keep doing it anyway because everyone I work with should already know how grate I am and that the rules dont apply to me.



Hi Boss,

I hope you’re having a great day.   I take the time to compose my email to you using well-thought-out sentences and clear ideas.  I don’t waste your time with either irrelevant or confusing information, but instead I provide just enough context so that you understand why I’m emailing you and can respond easily, if needed.  I come across as a competent professional that everyone wants to work with, even if I have only been on the job for a week or two.

Thank you,


Are you convinced yet? The way that you compose an email matters.  Just like with Goldilocks, it shouldn’t be too long and it shouldn’t be too short. It should be just right– long enough to get your point across, but short enough that someone who’s busy can read it quickly and give you an answer.  You should use proper grammar, correct punctuation and spell-check.

Don’t fall into the trap of firing off emails without taking an extra second to proof-read and use the spell-check button (You simply click a button!  It doesn’t even take thought… or physical strength!) It’s easy to come off as rude, unknowledgeable and unprofessional over email.  If you’re having a hard time getting your point across in email, then pick up the phone or stop by your colleague’s desk and ask in person.  Do you need to email a client or someone you can’t actually talk to?  Ask a friend in the office to give your email a read.  A fresh set of eyes might be able to nix a sentence that’s irrelevant and derailing your point.

As an intern, you may not have a lot of industry experience yet, but as a Holy Cross student, you do have good writing skills.  Show them off by writing proper emails.  Your coworkers will be appreciative!  And you will be, too, when you leave your internship with positive recommendations (and maybe even a job offer!).

#CrusaderIntern: Starting off on the right foot

June 13th, 2016 by msweeney

Melisa Jaquez 2016by Melisa Jaquez ’06, Assistant Director, Center for Career Development

So you are excited and ready to begin your internship this summer. You have your professional attire ironed and ready to go. You have mapped out your commute to and from your internship site and have made a list of individuals you want to connect with. As you start your internship, below are a few things to keep in mind to help you get started on the right foot:


Many of you researched information about your employer during the interview process. Your research should not stop there. Track your employer for recent news and know the clients as well as employees you’ll be working closely with.

Learn the employer dress code and hours of operation. While many internships require professional attire make sure to find out the dress code before your first day or at the latest during your first week.

Be on time…always. Find out before you start what time you need to arrive on your first day and what your schedule will be for the summer. Remember employers will notice if you are often the first to arrive and the last to leave.


More often than not internships consist of tasks and experiences you were not expecting. Your responsibilities will not only be limited to those in the job description when you first applied. It will consist of big projects but also small tasks like taking notes or picking up lunch for a company meeting. Be open-minded when new tasks are assigned, especially those that you were not expecting. Employers will respect your flexibility and openness.


Keep a notebook strictly for your internship. Fill it with questions you might have before your first day. This notebook will help you stay organized if you consistently use it to take notes and keep a running tasks list. You will want to make sure to write down deadlines, meeting dates and reminders. Internships are busy so it’s possible to forget something if you don’t write it down.

The notebook will also serve as a reminder of everything you did that summer. You might reference it when updating your resume or down the road when you are interviewing for other internships or jobs.


Did you know you already started networking at your company? You have already connected with individuals who work there through the interview process. But this is only the beginning. Most internships will allow opportunities for you to connect with employees in other departments or areas. Create a list of individuals you would like to connect with during your time there. Stay tuned for a future blog post on networking that will provide more information on this topic.


The Center for Career Development is open all summer. If you have any questions before or during your internship do not hesitate to reach us at 508-793-3880 or at careers@holycross.edu.


Alumni Job Shadowing: Brittany Scott ‘18

May 10th, 2016 by rimaal17

Name: Brittany ScottBrittany Scott3

Class Year: 2018

Major: Accounting

Shadowing Visit Site: Ernst & Young- New York, New York

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

My visit was an incredible experience that I will never forget and an opportunity that I am grateful I had. Patrick Quay, my host, was both accommodating and helpful throughout the entire day. He kept in contact with me in the weeks prior to my visit and created an agenda for the day that would expose me to the culture of EY, including many other friendly employees I had the chance to meet. I listened in on calls, learned the framework of EY’s four main segments of operation, and consulted with employees from the Tax, Advisory Services, and Auditing services. Immersing myself in the office for a full day and attending lunch with a handful of employees made me feel as if I had clicked fast-forward to 2018 and was an employee myself. The office life at EY allowed me to feel so welcomed after just a few short hours. From this experience I gained insight as to what a typical business day looks like for CPAs and other professional individuals; furthermore, I gained confidence in myself and my thoughts as to what I want to do with my career. Lastly, I gained multiple crucial connections whom I can contact if I ever need a reference or opinion in relation to the accounting field.

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

My visit to New York City truly opened my eyes to the world I hope to work in upon graduation from Holy Cross in 2018. My plans to work in the public accounting field were confirmed by my visit. As I was on my way back to Grand Central I wished I could either turn back to the office or at least return the next day. Passing by hundreds upon hundreds of other professional workers sporting long black trench coats instilled such a passion and excitement in me, which I hope to be surrounded by after college and throughout my adult life.

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

Advice Patrick Quay shared with me was to not be afraid to ask questions or hold back at all. I must admit that going into my visit I was mildly nervous- I did not know what to expect or how comfortable I would be in this new setting. However, once I realized how comfortable I was in the office, I did not let any nerves hinder my questions for Patrick and other employees I met with. These adults were fountains of information for an aspiring CPA like myself, so it would have been foolish not to take advantage of the opportunity I had. I left my visit with pages of notes that helped me when applying to leadership programs this winter.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

I would recommend this program to other students for multiple reasons. First, it is always beneficial to know a fellow Crusader, especially one who works in a field you hold interest in. Second, it is the perfect chance to switch from college-student to adult employee for a day (or at least pretend) and get a sense of the real world. Lastly, it is a short and sweet commitment offered in many cities that almost everyone has time for. Had I passed on the opportunity, I would not be as confident and eager for my future as I am now.

Alumni Job Shadowing: Nerelly Checo’18

May 5th, 2016 by rimaal17

Name: Nerelly Checonerelly

Class Year: 2018

Major: Sociology

Shadowing Visit Site:  Weight Watchers

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

During my visit, I was able to connect with various employees from the Weight Watchers company. My host wanted me to be able to explore the different opportunities that exist within the Marketing field. She scheduled multiple meetings with people who do different things (all related to Marketing) to give me a stronger idea of what aspect of Marketing I would want to pursue. Because of this, my experience became so valuable. I was able to realize that I am mostly interested in Consumer Insights. In addition, having the one-on-one experience during my meetings allowed me to have the chance to ask what kind of things I should do during college and afterwards to make me more marketable to future employers.

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

This experience completely changed my future career plans. Initially I wanted to be a psychologist, but after declaring a Sociology major, I was really confused as to what I wanted to do with it in the future. As I developed an interest in Marketing, my confusion got worse because there were so many things involved with Marketing that I was not sure which field I was most interested in. However, participating in the shadowing program has given me a clear focus on what I would like to pursue in the future.

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

One of the most helpful pieces of advice my alumni host shared with me was to always have a technology background. Because Holy Cross is a liberal arts school, a focus on technology is never emphasized here. This is especially true for me because I am a Sociology major and most of my work is centered around readings and not so much on technology. However, my host was able to show me, through meetings with people who do different jobs, how technology was incorporated into each of their jobs. I thought this was extremely helpful because I probably would have never thought about technology if I was not able to see the importance of its role in any career.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

It is very common for students to come into college either not having any idea of what they want to do in life or having a very set plan for their future. However, things are always easier said than done. Therefore, being in an actual workplace and sharing the work experience with someone is much different than simply having an idea of what you think a job will be. That being said, having the opportunity to shadow someone before declaring a major is so beneficial because it allows you to recognize whether that is truly a path you want to take in the future. Even after declaring a major, it is just as beneficial because it gives confirmation on whether you made the right decision or not.

Alumni Job Shadowing: Allison Hoffman’16

May 5th, 2016 by rimaal17

Name: Allison HoffmanColleen Naber

Class Year: 2016

Major: Political Science

Shadowing Visit Site:  Colliers International – Boston, MA

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

After getting matched up with an alumni from the Class of 2010, I was able to schedule an entire day in at the office just a few days before Christmas. Despite the crazy holiday season, my alumni tailored his day around me and made it clear that he wanted me to have an engaging shadowing experience. We started the morning off grabbing coffee and sat down for about an hour as he shared insight on his own career path after graduating from the Hill and tips on how he leveraged his Holy Cross education in networking/the job hunt. For the rest of the morning, my alumni walked me through some of his team’s recent offering materials, pitch books, and case studies, making sure that he answered any question I had along the way. Being able to comb through real work and get his feedback while doing so was an awesome learning experience in and of itself. Not only was my alumni then nice enough to set up afternoon meetings for me with five other members of the office, he walked me down the street to his fellow Holy Cross roommates’ office for a meeting as well! I was able to conclude my shadowing day by sitting down with my alum’s boss and head of the team; he ended up getting a call while we were talking and he had me sit in on live negotiations!

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

I’ve known that I want to work in the commercial real estate industry upon graduation, but given that there are so many different avenues within the business, I was a bit overwhelmed trying to navigate the various options. Having my alum be part of the Capital Markets team, I was able to get first-hand feedback on what he deals with, and see that play out in action when I sat in on a phone call. My alumni set me up with members from Leasing and Acquisitions teams as well, so I was able to talk to people from other sides of Brokerage and get a fuller picture of all the moving parts in a full-service firm like Colliers. Having met people who work from all different sides of the table, I was able to use this experience to hone in on my interests and expand my network– a huge step in breaking into the business given that CRE is all network-based!

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

My alumni shared advice and honest insight with me throughout the course of the entire day, but the most important thing to remember is that it’s not a one-sided conversation– you have to come prepared, engaged, and ready to ask questions! You will only get out what you put into it. That being said, I came into the shadowing day with my typical go-to questions to get conversation started but our conversation naturally flowed from there. My alumni complimented me for taking some notes as we chatted and how I brought up some current projects/industry news happenings– he said given the number of students who reach out to meet with him, very few actually come prepared and look legitimately interested. Even if it’s a quick 5 minute coffee conversation, be ready to show yourself off– show them you are actually interested in what they do and have something to offer. The worst thing you can do is make them feel like they’ve wasted their time!

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

While we are current students of Holy Cross and constantly hear from people all of the time how great the alumni base is, I don’t think students fully realize how truly special this network is. The Holy Cross alumni who I’ve met with through my networking will bend over backwards for any kid who reaches out– I didn’t really buy this until it happened to me! The alumni who participate in this program are signing up because they WANT to host YOU. It really comes down to who you know nowadays so you will reap the benefits the more you put yourself out there– you will come to find that the more you network, the easier it becomes. If you’re an underclassman still trying to figure things out, definitely use the AJSP as a stepping stone to get things going and as an opportunity to explore what you think you like or don’t like. As for upperclassmen, AJSP is an easy piece of conversation you can drop in an interview or a meeting– it demonstrates interest and how you took the time to get out beyond just the classroom and actually get some experience under your belt. I’ve referenced my shadowing day in networking I’ve done since; someone knew one of the people I had met with during my shadow which opened up our conversation even more!

Alumni Job Shadowing: Colleen Naber’18

April 29th, 2016 by rimaal17

Name: Colleen Naber

Class Year: 2018

Major: Political Science

Shadowing Visit Site:  Natixis Asset Management (Tracy Fagan Duffy ‘84)

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

During my visit, I met with my alum as well as other notable HC alumni at Natixis. When I arrived, I first had an informational interview with my alumnus. She asked me to tell her about myself and what I’d hoped to gain from my visit. I then had the opportunity to meet with the CFO, who was also a Holy Cross graduate. I also had the chance to meet with the in-house counsel as I had expressed an interest in going to law school eventually. Lastly, I got to attend the Women’s Leadership Conference. I was very grateful for the opportunity as I was able to solidify my interest in finance. I also got the opportunity to network with experienced financial professionals who gave me meaningful career advice and provided me with important insights into the world of Asset Management.    

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

I am interested in the field of finance, so this experience connected to my future career goals, because I was able to see the typical day in a job in the financial sector. Furthermore, it allowed me to see the types of people I would want to work with. These people were passionate and cared about one another. They laughed when in meetings, but were serious when they wanted to me. They made me feel welcome and a part of the company even when I was just a shadow.

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

The best advice I received was to always be willing to do the grunt work. She said that while working her way up the ranks she was always the first person to offer to do the photocopying or grab her boss a coffee. This made her appear indispensable and willing to do anything for her job, which she explained is what she looks for during the hiring process now.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

The Alumni Job Shadowing Program  exposes students to a variety of career choices, so in just one day you can narrow down your career interests. Furthermore, it allows for the opportunity to network, so when applying for jobs and internships you already have exposure to the company and a friendly face to advocate on your behalf (assuming you made a good impression on your alumni)!