What’s it like to be a Peer Career Assistant?

November 11th, 2016 by msweeney

The Peer Career Assistant position is a new role in the Center for Career Development office this year. PCA’s work closely with the counselors in the career center to help cover drop-in hours, edit student resumes and cover letters, co-present Career Center workshops, and assist the office with promotional campaigns and special events.

Below, a few of the PCA’s reveal what they love about the role:

John Swartzwelder, ’19: “We are committed to educating our peers about the value of a liberal arts experience and a vocation towards a lifetime of professional achievement. Engaging with active and responsible students in a stimulating environment is challenging, yet meaningful too.”

Francy Mata, ’19: “I really enjoy being able to meet new students during drop-ins. This role has really given me the opportunity to enjoy the satisfaction of helping a fellow students while being able to befriend them as well.”

Aleyra Lamarche, ’18: “What I like the most about being a PCA is learning about all the opportunities the office has to offer. There are programs that help students who are exploring different careers. There are also awesome resources that help us connect to alumni. I’ve learned so much more about my own career interest through working at the CCD office.”

Cassie Naimie, ’17: “I love using social media apps to connect with the student body! As a Marketing PCA, I create different social media campaigns to spotlight the Career Center’s mission by promoting the endless possibilities of a liberal arts education, and the many opportunities granted to us by our strong Holy Cross’ alumni base.”

Sunday Drop-In Hours

November 2nd, 2016 by msweeney

 

fullsizerenderfullsizerender-1

We all know how busy the week can get. Between exams, papers, and presentations, it might be impossible to make it to drop in hours at the Career Center during the week. That’s why we’re introducing…. Sunday Drop-In Hours! Sunday’s 7-9pm in Hogan you can find a Peer Career Assistant ready to help with all your career-related questions. Bring your resumes, cover letters, or general questions and we will be happy to help you out. See you there!

My Alumni Job Shadowing Experience

November 2nd, 2016 by msweeney

Name: Alisha Collazo
Class Year: 2018
Major: Mathematics

Shadowing Visit Site: Boston Insurance Brokerage

Layout 1

1. Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?
As soon as we arrived, our host was extremely welcoming and ready to teach us all he knew about the industry. After explaining in detail what the career of an insurance broker consists of, he introduced us to every administrator at the firm. Just like Mr. Driscoll, the administrators also gave us advice on how to be successful in the insurance industry and further information on their day-by-day responsibilities. Our alumni host not only instructed us on what we would be doing if we followed his career path, but also on other careers and roles within the industry making sure to focus on any roles that were of interest to us. After our visit, I gained a better understanding of the various roles within the insurance industry and started to realize the path I would like to focus on. I was also able to see what I can start doing now at Holy Cross to prepare me for a possible career in insurance.

2. How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?
Primarily, my alumni host helped me network which I greatly appreciated during the stressful time of searching for internships. Not only did he give me his personal contact information, but he also emailed actuaries at other firms asking them to guide me through the process of entering this field and give me any advice they have.

3. What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?
In terms of my specific interests, he informed us how Microsoft excel is vital to the career and something we should start getting familiar with during our time at Holy Cross. He also stated how using the alumni network is a vital part of finding the career that best suits our interests. Asking past alumni for advice, information on their careers, and staying in touch with those in our field is a great start on our career search.

4. Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?
You need to experience first-hand what it takes to enter the career you are interested in. I thought I knew almost everything on what a career in insurance would consist of, I read online articles, used databases, and even went to information sessions. However, the shadowing program was more beneficial than everything else put together. Mr. Driscoll gave us information that I had never read online and would have never thought of had I not spoken with him.

CASA – a home away from home

October 5th, 2016 by msweeney

By Patricia Nwobodo

Although I’m a thousand miles away from home, I’m never more than a couple steps away from home. Literally.

As a Caribbean or African student living in a foreign country, there are bound to be times when you feel homesick, whether it is simply missing your traditional food or just from missing the comfort of being in a familiar environment with people who are just like you.

Being from Nigeria and attending boarding school in Massachusetts, I’ve been away from home for a long time; so trust me when I say that just like you, I understood the struggle of just wanting to be home once in awhile – that is until I came to Holy Cross. I remember the first time I visited Holy Cross. I walked into the Hogan Ballroom and right in the middle were a couple of girls next to a table with a large sign that read Caribbean African Student Alliance (CASA). They yelled enthusiastically, while waving their hands and motioning for my brother and I to come over and visit their table – and we did just that.

CASA is holding our fourth annual Head-To-Toe Expo, âCaribbean Meets Africa.â This event is about educating the Holy Cross Community about the beauty and strengths of the African and Caribbean culture through art, clothing, and food. Please come and enjoy the celebrated event on campus. Sponsored by C.A.S.A. (Caribbean African Student Assemblage)

A few months later, I found myself in that very ballroom again, writing down my name on a sheet of paper that read CASA; I was now officially a member of the Caribbean African Student Alliance. Little did I know that such a small gesture would make all the difference for my time here at Holy Cross.

The Caribbean African Student Alliance, also known as CASA, is Holy Cross’s student organization targeting Caribbean and African students at the college. Other students not from the Caribbean or Africa are also welcome to join, as some existing members in the club are neither Caribbean or African. CASA provides many exciting ways for members to get involved, such as our campus-wide fashion shows!  From strutting down the runway displaying the wonderful prints and colors of African and Caribbean attires, to working behind the scenes of the shows, there are many ways to get involved. And as a bonus for being a member, you can attend these fun-filled events for free!

 

Another event which I love that makes me feel like I’m back in Nigeria again is CASA’s culture night. During this, many Holy Cross students, whether they are from Worcester or halfway across the country, get a taste of what Caribbean and African culture is really like. A wide range of African and Caribbean food, music, dance, and prose are presented and performed and by the end of the night, students, as well as teachers, leave this event feeling more enlightened and enriched about our culture.

CASA is holding our fourth annual Head-To-Toe Expo, âCaribbean Meets Africa.â This event is about educating the Holy Cross Community about the beauty and strengths of the African and Caribbean culture through art, clothing, and food. Please come and enjoy the celebrated event on campus. Sponsored by C.A.S.A. (Caribbean African Student Assemblage)

Along with these wonderful ceremonies, the tight knit community CASA has been able to form aside from these events allows me to always feel close to home. My home and my culture make up my identity and are things that define me as a person.  I carry them with me everywhere I go. As I continue to embark on my Holy Cross journey and get to know more about other Holy Cross students and their cultures, I want them to be able to know more about me and my culture as well. Now I no longer have to merely just tell people who I am. Through CASA’s array of events, I can now also show people the real me and let them live in my world too.

 

As cliché as it sounds, in a small, secluded college a thousand miles away from home, I was able to truly find my home away from home.

Career Fair Follow-up

September 28th, 2016 by msweeney

By Emily Bowman ’17

 

From left, General Electric employees and College of the Holy Cross alumni, Whitney Fremeau '11, Richard DiMatteo '12 and Angela Chaisson '15 all talk to current College of the Holy Cross students during a job fair held on 9/24/14.

So you’ve attended the Career Fair, stocked up on business cards and handed out more resumes than you can keep track of. Success!  But now what?  One of the most crucial steps of any networking experience is the follow-up.  Letting people know that you valued their conversation and were truly interested in what they had to offer will go a long way.  Don’t forget, these recruiters talked to hundreds of students… you have to make yourself stand out!

In the email, you should thank the recruiter for taking the time to speak with you.  You should then mention one or two specific details of your conversation that really stuck with you.  This will demonstrate that you were engaged in the conversation and have spent time thinking about the discussion since then.  It’s also another opportunity for you to make a connection to the company – use the conversation as a way to prove your potential asset to the company.

If you felt that your dialogue with the recruiter was a helpful and productive one, you might want to ask the him/her a question to keep the conversation rolling.  Specific questions about the company or about the recruiter’s role are great.  It’s also more than appropriate to ask for any advice they might have for you at this stage in the job search process.  Recruiters understand the ins and outs of the networking process better than anyone else, so capitalize on this chance to pick their brains!

Overall, networking is about making connections on any level.  Keep your emails professional and friendly… but never be afraid to add a touch of personality too! The purpose of following up is to keep the conversations going, network further, and show recruiters that you would be a catch at any company!

If you have any questions about networking or want help crafting your follow-up emails, feel free to stop by the Center for Career Development (Hogan 203) during drop-in hours Monday-Friday, 1-4pm.

Co-Curricular Extravaganza: A Guide to Navigating a Room Filled with Over 100 Clubs

September 14th, 2016 by msweeney

By John Swartzwelder ‘19

Potential Class of 2020 students visit the Admissions open house on April, 17, 2016.
My first memory of the Co-Curricular Extravaganza was somewhat of a blur- and here’s why. The room was noticeably hotter than outside, more hectic than NYC during rush hour and louder than ten million girls screaming Justin Beiber’s name. Just about every club on campus is tightly packed into the Hogan Ballroom and overly enthusiastic RSO’s do just about anything to grab your attention to hear their club’s sales pitch. But do not be discouraged from going- if I survived and was able to meet with some clubs then you can too! Below, I’ve provided some advice to help you navigate the Co-Curricular Extravaganza and make the most of your experience there.

  • Grab a list of clubs present. If you skim through the packet quickly, you can save yourself a lot of time walking around. You can find the list just outside the ballroom.
  • Walk around and take everything in. Maybe walk around again. And again. You may just find something that catches the eye the second time around.
  • Do not be afraid to talk to the club director or general member at the table. You can ask them general to specific questions, which may give you a better idea about the club.
  • Put your name down on the email list! If you change your mind later, you can always take your name off. It is best to receive emails from clubs regarding informational sessions and general member meetings.
  • As a reward for being interested in their club, most tables provide freebies. Take them!
  • Do not feel pressured to join anything, especially if you already feel too overwhelmed. I express this piece of advice especially towards first-year students. Life at Holy Cross is hectic enough- your class dean recommends joining no more than two clubs and stresses the importance of academics first.
  • Just have fun! Holy Cross truly prides itself on creating and fostering “community” ideals, which starts with students getting involved with various clubs and organizations. Hopefully by the time you finish browsing, you will have found a co-curricular, or two, that truly interests you.

And on a final note, if you do join a club…Congratulations! Becoming a member of any campus organization is a full commitment but also extremely rewarding. My last piece of advice is to stop by the Center for Career Development to start or approve your resume, which will showcase all your accomplishments and highlight your on-campus involvement. Hours are M-F 1-4 pm and Wednesday 10am-12pm.

#CrusaderIntern: Oxfam America

August 9th, 2016 by msweeney

by Emily Peplowski ’17, Hunger Banquet Research and Concert Outreach InternE.Peplowski Oxfam America

This summer, I have been working closely with Oxfam America’s Community Engagement team on two of their biggest advocacy projects, Hunger Banquets and Concerts. My personal responsibility this summer has been to organize Oxfam volunteers from across the country for the U.S. leg of Coldplay’s “A Head Full of Dreams Tour.” By the end of my internship, I will have received over 500 volunteer applications, and coordinated 220 volunteers for 22 different shows, in 19 different cities as part of Oxfam’s global Stand as One Campaign.

The best part of my job is that I get to engage with the grass-roots foundation of a much larger, global effort. The incredible volunteers at these shows are essential in reaching the Stand As One campaign’s goal of 500,000 “signatures of solidarity” to support those globally who have been forced to flee their homes. This list of signatures will be presented to world leaders at the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants in the fall, is led by the international organization Oxfam, is backed by Chris Martin and Coldplay, and represents such a global and current issue. Despite the massiveness of this effort and the high profile people involved, the success of the campaign is largely dependent on the volunteers that I have been coordinating all summer. It goes without saying that getting to work closely with- and see- the Coldplay tour has been a pretty cool part of my internship too!

I think what has surprised me most is how complicated and challenging volunteer coordination really is. There are many moving parts in each city, for each show, on every team, and with every individual volunteer. Sitting at my computer in Boston, it is difficult to keep track of all of these moving parts to ensure that Coldplay will have ten Oxfam volunteers at each of their shows to promote the campaign. With the 22 shows happening all across the United States in only 45 days, it is a fast-paced work environment with daily deadlines and not much room for error. Volunteer coordination is a fun position to have, and I love to work with so many different people for a great organization, but it really keeps me on my toes and tests my ability to adapt and problem solve!

Please and Thank You Notes

August 2nd, 2016 by msweeney

by Megan Chester, Assistant Director, Center for Career DevelopmentMeganChester Nov2012

Summer is not quite over but September is only a few short weeks away. As you prepare to wrap up your internship, keep in mind that leaving on a good note is just as important as the first impression you made back in June. You may want to return to this internship next summer or pursue a job with this employer. I know next summer and graduation are probably not on your mind right now, but a thoughtful thank you note will really pay off in the long run when you are ready to start searching for your next summer internship or full-time job.

Handwritten Thank You Notes
The conclusion of an internship is an instance where a handwritten note to your immediate supervisor and anyone else you worked closely with will really stand out. Be specific and personal in your note. Thank each person for something particular such as providing supervision and advice, helping you with a project, or taking the time to grab lunch together. Mentioning the little things reflects your maturity and sincerity. A thank you note will show your supervisor and co-workers that you took the internship seriously and really got something out of it. An actual handwritten card is also a tangible memory of you; it’s something to tack on a bulletin board and keep you top-of-mind in the months to come.

Thank You Email
Interactions with neighboring departments, clients, and other interns ebb and flow throughout the summer. A personalized thank you email to these peripheral contacts will help you stand out as a professional and create an avenue for future networking. An email is a perfect way to express gratitude for working with them, even if it was distant relationship or a onetime interaction, and reflect your greater understanding of their role and your industry knowledge. A thank you email will also help you build more of your own contacts in the industry and will result in warmer outreach when you are networking for your next internship or full-time role.

#CrusaderIntern: Yale School of Medicine Child Study Center

July 26th, 2016 by msweeney

by Margot Reed ’18, Research InternMargot Reed--Holy Cross Summer Internship 2016

This summer, I feel fortunate to work as a research intern in a child psychiatry lab at the Yale School of Medicine Child Study Center. I am currently researching Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in school children. I am researching how ADHD impacts a child’s behavior in a school setting. With the assistance of Yale Medical Residents, we are also studying possible therapies for school refusal and tracking mindfulness. Along with my mentor Dr. Michael Bloch, Assistant Professor in the Child Study Center, I also meet with children and their families to explore and possibly diagnose Tourette syndrome, Trichotillomania, OCD, ADHD, and other anxiety disorders. I then document these clinic visits summarizing the patient’s history as well as any diagnoses for submission to my mentor and his medical team for review.

I look most forward to case study days when I am able to meet with the patients and their families. During my first case interactions, I merely observed and took copious notes to help with the post interview documentation. However, I now have been asked to fully participate: I have the ability to ask questions of the patient and their family in order to help discover behaviors that might help diagnose a patient’s disorder. Through my participation, I feel that I am helping the patient by making it easier for them to understand their sometimes confusing behavior and the anxiety that it may cause, which will hopefully put them and their loved ones at ease.

I am fortunate enough to be working for a doctor who trusts his lab with responsibility. When I initially started, I did not think that I would be offered so many opportunities for face-to-face patient exposure and the responsibility to complete research on the most intriguing behavioral topics. Dr. Bloch continuously challenges us. He believes that we are capable of tasks that I hadn’t even imagined when I began my internship! I am humbled to be working not only for him, but with him.

#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!