Meet Alum Riccardo Camarra ’01, Senior Software Engineer at GSN Games

 

Name: Riccardo Camarra

Class Year: 2001

Title: Senior Software Engineer

Organization: GSN Games

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?

Development of services that provide our players with a persistent and fair online gaming experience.
2. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
I had several jobs during my tenure. Everywhere from food services to professor’s assistant. I was also involved in the push to recognize CS as a minor, working closely with professors on various directed projects once I ran out of actual CS courses to take.
3. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
Math was my major, along with a concentration in computer science. As far as how it affected my career decisions, it was probably more the other way around. I already knew I wanted to get into programming from an early age, so my focus had always been on math and CS.
4. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?
My first entry into professional programming actually came during my tenure at HC, and it was very much due to an “unplanned event”. It was the last day of my freshman year and I was handing off my very last final, which just so happened to be for my CS class. The professor’s door was closed, so I slid the take home assignment underneath. I started heading out, being more than ready to start my summer and decompress. Before I got too far though, my professor opened the door and called me over. He said that a local company was partnering with the college in order to offer a summer programming internship, and that he was asked to recommend some of his students. My professor handed me the info and I thanked him for considering me. Though I contemplated throwing out the info into the trash on my way out (I know, but like I said, I was already looking forward to a summer of vegging out!), I quickly realized that this was the opportunity that I had been waiting for. It was a chance to get some real world experience doing what I love, and I couldn’t pass it up. So I went for it, I got the job, and the rest is history. While the internship wasn’t in the video game industry (it was actually a biotech company), it was instrumental, nonetheless, in my personal growth and development as a professional programmer, and ultimately gave me the experience and the confidence that I needed in order to pursue my dream.
5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?
Besides the obvious technical math and CS skills that I learned throughout my time there, which are, of course, relevant to any job in the tech industry, Holy Cross taught me many interpersonal and collaborative skills that are just as important in order to advance and succeed. In the video game industry in particular, we are constantly collaborating with others from different disciplines, whether it be art, production, QA, marketing, etc. People with varying backgrounds and experience, working out of offices in different parts of the world, each with their own business culture and practices. As a liberal arts college, Holy Cross exposed me to many different areas aside from my focus on math and technology. That exposure was vital in being able to experience a diverse range of people which encouraged me to keep an open mind and view problem solving from many different perspectives. This skill is essential to what we do. We need to be able to communicate with people on a day to day basis that may not necessarily have the same technical background and mindset, but with whom collaboration is crucial when it comes to solving the complex issues that present themselves throughout the development process.

Meet Alum Richard DiMatteo ’12, EVP/Head of Capital Markets at Highland Electric Transportation, Inc.

Name: Richard DiMatteo

Class Year: 2012

Title: EVP, Head of Capital Markets

Organization: Highland Electric Transportation, Inc.

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?

At Highland Electric Transportation (HET), a national provider of EV school bus financing and services, I arrange innovative financing structures for fleet electrification projects on behalf of school districts looking to convert their vehicles to electric.

 

2. What were you involved in when you were on campus?

In additional to course work within the Economics and Environmental Studies programs, I participated in the Student Managed Endowment Fund (SMEF), College Choir and Admissions Office.

 

3. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

As an Economics major, I had interest in how new financing products and business models (specifically in energy) could unlock opportunities and value in traditional markets.

 

4. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

While at HC, I regularly attended events which brought alumni to campus and through that process was introduced to the GE FMP program, my first career move. I was consistently impressed by alumni from GE and decided I wanted the same strong foundation for my own career.

 

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

Critical thinking. My broad spectrum of coursework at HC prepared me well to objectively review big picture issues while simultaneously managing details.

Meet Alumna Ashley Loyke ’11, Cuyahoga County Assistant Public Defender, Felony Division

Name: Ashley Loyke

Class Year: 2011

Title: Cuyahoga County Assistant Public Defender, Felony Division

Organization Name: Cuyahoga County Public Defender

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I provide competent, quality legal representation to indigent individuals charged with felonies in Cuyahoga County, who cannot afford an attorney but still maintain a right to one, as promised by the Constitution and Gideon v. Wainwright

 

2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?  

I always wanted to be a lawyer, although I don’t know why. I was accepted into Ohio State Law, and I was first hired by the Franklin County Public Defender, because I told the interviewers that I had been vomited on as an RA at Holy Cross. I didn’t even really know what public defenders did, and I was hired into the municipal division where I handled DUIs, thefts, assaults, domestic violences, and child endangering cases. It was chaos, but, fortunately, I have yet to be vomited on (I did have a client vomit in court).

The Public Defender’s office is a unique place for an attorney–we all have a certain amount of ruggedness, but also passion for fighting the power, listening to those who ordinary folks would walk past, and giving humanity to individuals that society would prefer to be locked away behind bars without giving them another look. We don’t wear the fanciest suits, and we don’t have the ability to hire the best investigators, or slash and burn in courtrooms, because we have to be in the same courtroom again, tomorrow. We have way too many clients and not enough time. We spend a lot of time in jail visiting clients. We see the dirty, weak, and broken of our society. And we give them a voice. That’s how I knew I was home.

 

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was an RA for two years and also a head RA my senior year albeit a terrible one. I played on the men’s club volleyball team, and ballroom danced. I did SPUD weekly at the Friendly House afterschool program, went on immersion trips, went on and led Manresa retreats, was a Eucharistic Minister, was a member of Alpha Sigma Nu and Eta Sigma Phi honors societies. I also generally made a good amount of trouble.

 

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I was a Classics major with a minor in philosophy. I always loved tangling with difficult texts and esoteric concepts. That would have made me a terrific commercial property lawyer, but I think Professor Cahoone’s voice teaching me Kant’s categorical imperative stuck with me a little too much–we aren’t the sum of our actions, and rightness and wrongness don’t necessarily depend on the outcome of actions, but the fulfillment of duty. Classics trained my brain, and philosophy trained my heart.

 

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

Ethics and a sense of duty. I could have gotten a good education anywhere. But Holy Cross taught me the importance of fighting for the right cause, standing up for your beliefs, and fighting for your convictions in a way that fair and equitable. I would not have had the strong desire to help the poor if I hadn’t taken Father Reiser’s courses and learned the importance of caring for the lowly and downtrodden. Professor Kendy Hess’s ethics class taught me that ethics means more than just doing the right thing, but doing the right thing for the right reasons. And while the courses I took taught me the theories of being a good person in the world, my campus experience solidified it. Being around so many like-minded, socially-conscious individuals cemented the importance of caring for others in my mind and heart.

I also learned the importance of attention to detail and hard work. Classics is nuanced, and if you miss a verb or noun ending, you completely misunderstood the entire passage you’re reading. All of my Classics professors taught me the importance of slowing down, reading carefully, digesting what you’re taking in, and then making a decision about the importance or significance thereof.

 

6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?  

Live with a true, burning heart. Find your passion and throw yourself headlong into it, but don’t take life too seriously. Be a good person. Be kind and gentle with others. Find the activities that make your heart sing. Don’t be afraid to look silly or take a stance that others don’t; we all look silly eventually. Don’t stress about the right career, or the right spouse, or the right house, or the right graduate school. What you choose will be right, because it’s your choice. Above all, if you find something worth fighting for, fight like hell for it.

 

Additional advice for students interested in law:

Indeed, choosing a specialty within the law is incredibly difficult. For this reason, most law schools provide summer internship opportunities and work-study programs which give real-life exposure to different areas of practice. The day-to-day of a public defender looks VERY different from the day-to-day life of, for example, a patent attorney or an estate-planning attorney or an immigration lawyer. In short, there’s no way a 21-year old could possibly know what area of law sparks their interest immediately upon leaving Holy Cross.

That said, the area of law is exciting because it suits well any individual who enjoys reading, writing, talking to others, problem solving, and engaging with difficult concepts. As a classics major, this made my heart sing–Latin and Greek is a set of rules (grammar, syntax, meter, and vocabulary) that apply to different circumstances (Plato, Cicero, Hesiod). It’s exactly like the law. The laws govern, but must be applied to circumstances. You have to do mental gymnastics to make the rules fit your facts. This is also why it’s an adversarial process: two people can come to two different conclusions about how the law applies.

All this is a long-winded way of saying: don’t worry about not knowing exactly what you want to do with your law degree. Take a class in law at Holy Cross to see if you even like engaging with the law, and case studies, and applying case law to different circumstances. if you want to punch a hole in the drywall, don’t torture yourself! But if you find law fascinating, if you enjoy mind puzzles, if you don’t mind listening to people talk about their problems and try to find ways to solve them… you’ll love the law.

Meet Alum Chris Mann ’00, Vice President / Corporate Sponsorships at City Year

Name: Chris Mann

Class Year: 2000

Title: Vice President, Corporate Partnerships

Organization Name: City Year, Inc.

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?

My job is to work with major companies on ways to partner with City Year, putting their resources, people and expertise to use helping students and schools succeed.

 

2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?  

I was very interested in sports marketing and event management as a potential career. Doing an internship with the Special Olympics my junior year really opened me up to the realization that I could have a job where I was focused on those things while also doing good. John Hayes ’91 was working in the development office at Holy Cross and I was lucky to have him become a mentor to me while I was leading the senior class gift effort. After talking a bit about what I was looking for in a career, John thankfully connected me with Cyndi (Carton) O’Brien ’93, leading to my first interview and job at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute & The Jimmy Fund and starting me on my career path at the intersection of companies and causes coming together to drive better business and greater good.

 

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was a member of the track & field team, helped start the Gateways summer orientation program, served as senior class president, and did two Spring Break service trips with Habitat for Humanity among other activities. Each gave me an opportunity to make long-term friendships, build my skills at being part of and leading teams, and managing the busy schedule gave me a great head in adjusting to the workplace.

 

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I was a psychology major with a minor in art history. Neither were directly related to my career path, but in hindsight I do think they both taught lessons about what it means to be human. The liberal arts education and academic rigor at Holy Cross also really helped me to develop into a creative thinker, a clear & concise writer, and hopefully a life-long learner.

 

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

In addition to the critical thinking and writing skills, I think building relationships across so many different groups of people including fellow students, teammates & coaches, professors & administrators, and future students and their parents through all of my activities really helped me. It forced me out of my comfort zone and made me much more comfortable in my own skin. That ability to connect with others has been critical as I have pursued more public and people-oriented jobs in fundraising, marketing and communications.

 

6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?

I would advise students to be patient and kind with themselves. There is so much pressure in today’s world to live up to your own and others expectations. To find the right job, to be successful, to present yourself in a certain way.  Building a career and a life for yourself is something that happens gradually over time, not all at once. I was really fortunate to receive some good advice early on to find work that you are personally passionate about with people who can help you learn and grow. I’ve tried to follow that throughout my career and it has worked out very well for me.

Meet Alumna Meg Ayers ’17, Transaction Manager at CBRE

Name: Meg Ayers

Class Year: 2017

Title: Transaction Manager

Organization Name: CBRE

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail? 

I manage global real estate portfolios for large corporations.

 

2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

It was an industry I was familiar with through family and family friends. I attended real estate panels at HC and leveraged my connections and reached out to Alum in the industry to facilitate conversations about what working in Commercial Real Estate was like. I learned it was a very fast paced business which is what I was looking for. After realizing I thoroughly enjoyed talking with everyone I met I decided to pursue an internship in the industry to decide whether or not it was something I wanted to do for a living.

 

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus? 

I played on the women’s lacrosse team, participated in the pre-business program, and was an active writer for GoHolyCross.com as well as HerCampus.com.

 

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I was a psychology major and participated in the pre-business program. I really enjoyed my classes and professors in the psych department but through my participation in the business program I realized I wanted to take a corporate career path. I think majoring in psych made me realize I wanted to be in an industry that was client facing and relied on constant interaction and problem solving.

 

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?  

I think HC puts a big emphasis on using the alumni network both in school and when you graduate. When I was looking for an internship and determining what type of industry I wanted to pursue it was really the honest conversations with different alumni that helped shape my path. Now being on the other side I continue to seek out and connect with HC grads in my work and love to give advice and feedback to HC students looking to learn more about the industry.

 

6. What advice do you have for students on campus today? 

Talk to people! I had no clue what I wanted to do after school but was able to connect with lots of great people who gave me perspective on different career paths. Be open to different industries to learn what you might like and dislike.

Meet Alumna Caroline Ambrose ’19, Production Assistant at MSNBC

Caroline Ambrose ‘19

Title: Production Assistant, All In with Chris Hayes

Organization Name: MSNBC

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I manage the show’s social media accounts, create clips to publish online, and coordinate the show’s on-air graphics.

 

2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?  

During the summer before my senior year at Holy Cross, I landed an internship at NBC Nightly News through an HC alumna who was a senior digital producer there at the time. I had always been interested in digital media, and I found that I really enjoyed the intersection of social media and journalism. I loved how each day offered a new and exciting opportunity to tell a story. I also loved the collaborative and supportive environment that NBC News fostered.

After my internship, I stayed in contact with HR and some of the people I worked with at NBC News, and I  leveraged those connections to interview for the position that I have now.

 

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?

Writer’s Workshop, Study Abroad, Digital Transgender Archive, Admissions Senior Interviewer/Greeter, Class Gift Committee

 

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

As an English major, I knew I wanted to pursue a career where I could exercise my creativity and fulfill my interest in story-telling. This left me with a lot of options, but it also helped narrow down what I did NOT want to do.

 

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

I think my liberal arts education at Holy Cross encouraged me to approach the unfamiliar with openness. As a Production Assistant, I’ve had to learn a lot of new skills on the job, and I think HC taught me how to be comfortable with tackling those new challenges head on.

 

6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Take advantage of the resources the Career Center has to offer! I had the counselors look over all of my cover letters and resumes, and scheduled plenty of mock interviews with them throughout my time at HC (including when I was abroad).

Meet Alum Nicholas Harper ’18, Business Analyst

Name: Nicholas Harper

Class Year: 2018

Position: Business Analyst

Company: College of the Holy Cross

 

1.  In one sentence, what does your job entail?

As a Business Analyst, I work with the HC Advancement department’s data for a variety of applications, such as analysis and reporting, to improve the efficiency of and generally help support the department.

2. What were you involved in when you were on campus?

During my time on campus, I played with the varsity baseball my freshman year and then club baseball my sophomore, junior and senior years.

3. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I graduated Holy Cross with a double major in mathematics and economics. Economics pushed me towards pursuing a career in the financial services, which I fully intend to do after finishing my fellowship here at HC. Mathematics opened my eyes to the power of statistics and modeling data, which are hugely influential in decision-making. I plan on attending graduate school for computational finance, which is a fairly natural combination of these two fields.

4. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

After meeting with Deb Paquette, she advised me to apply for the role in the Advancement department. Once I met and interviewed with a few people I knew that it was a place that I would have fun working at and would be able to develop a variety of skills at. Those feelings have been vindicated as I am having a great time here at HC and am learning so much that I know will be extremely helpful once I go to graduate school and in jobs after that.

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

The most important skill my Holy Cross education imparted on me is to be a sponge for information. Most of what I do in my work and what I hope to do in the future I learned on the job, so being able to pick up new topics, software, etc. for the particular job I am doing has been extremely helpful. While at Holy Cross I also learned to be confident in sharing my opinions or insights, something that I think a lot of people are afraid to do but which is necessary to be productive in any working environment. Being able to speak up and share my ideas, even if they are wrong, was critical for me in developing the confidence to present and stand behind my work.

Meet #CrusaderIntern Meghan Donahue ’21

Name: Meghan G. Donahue

Class Year: 2021

Position & Company: Yale School of Medicine Alzheimer’s Disease Research Unit (Intern, Research Assistant)

1. Tell us about where you interned over the summer and the kind of work you are doing.

This summer, I interned at the Yale School of Medicine Alzheimer’s Disease Research Unit where I was trained to function as a full time Research Assistant, and support the functioning of multiple Alzheimer’s clinical drug trials. I had the opportunity to interact with patients presenting a wide array of cognitive abilities on a daily basis as I took their vital signs, performed EKGs, drew their blood, and administered some cognitive testing. I became adept at retrieving the major medical history of potential trial participants, and collaborated with a panel of medical professionals as they assessed these factors and other clinical measures leading to a diagnosis.

2. Give us an example of how you have applied your academic learnings to your internship

As a psychology major with a health professions career track, I frequently integrated my academic learning into my day to day responsibilities.  One specific example of how I applied my classroom learning to my internship focused on the techniques necessary to process blood labs that were drawn in the office .  The challenge of balancing a centrifuge and pipetting contents from a vile utilized skills that I have practiced during my Chem and Bio lab periods.  Having had this academic experience, I felt calm and confident when handling these blood samples, and competently transferred the contents from my very first assignment onward.

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?

Something that surprised me about being an intern was how easy it was to grasp new workplace concepts, and apply what I have been learning in the Holy Cross classroom to real life applications. While many students find the meticulous detail of courses to be an annoyance at times, questioning if they are even pertinent to the functions of a future career, I was able to connect many bigger picture concepts to my coursework at Holy Cross.  My knowledge of psychology, cognition, memory, biology, chemistry and anatomy and physiology made my transition at Yale this summer fairly seamless and smooth. 

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

Since I am planning for a career in healthcare, what better opportunity than to be trained at a world-class medical institution in an arena that focuses on a disease that has impacted millions globally?  Not only was I able to log some of those coveted patient contact hours required for any PA school, but I was also able to practice some of the basic medical and interpersonal skills and techniques that I will be using for the rest of my professional life. 

5. Any internship advice to pass on to other Holy Cross students?

My internship advice would be to identify what you want, and then try to get it.  Just because a Holy Cross student has never had an internship at a site that interests you, do not be afraid to strategically reach out and see if they would be amenable to the idea.  If you are able to secure a HC funded stipend, you are also in a position to market yourself as “free” to them.  I was the first non- Yale undergraduate student to intern at the ADRU.  I was so fortunate to secure the funding from Holy Cross, and then successfully tap into the HC alumni network to help me navigate the process, identify decision makers and share advice.  I would not have had the amazing ten-week internship that I had this summer if I had not figured out how to make a compelling “ask”.  If I can do it, so can others.

Meet Alumna Alyssa Trometter ’08, Deputy Director, External Affairs

Name: Alyssa Trometter

Class Year: 2008

Title: Deputy Director, External Affairs

Organization Name: Clinton Foundation

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?

Driving forward best practices in supporting student entrepreneurs, identifying and sustaining our higher education partnerships, focusing on internal team dynamics, and people management.

 

2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?  

I came to the Clinton Foundation back in 2015 as a postdoctoral fellow through the Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellows program. The year my Doctorate was conferred, the Clinton Foundation had been selected to host a Public Fellow, I interviewed, and they selected me.

 

I discovered this postdoc during the throes of grad school. Quite honestly, I was having a bit of an existential crisis, as I couldn’t picture myself in the often unpredictable and ungratifying slog of post- PhD job searching within academia. Alternative career paths post- Doctorate always resonated with me, part of the reason why I worked for the US State Department during my PhD, nothing against academic but I knew my skills could transfer to the outside and they sure have! My stint at State gave me a glimpse into life in public affairs and I was hooked.

 

My first employer (pre- grad school) was actually Holy Cross, can you believe it?! I was a tour guide and senior interviewer throughout undergrad at HC, so when a job opened up in Admissions it made perfect sense in my mind to apply. I had the best first job out of college, I really think that my admissions road warrior life prepared me for my current career, which is very much external facing with lots of different personalities. I also lead our enrollment processes for the Clinton Global Initiative University now, so very much wear my admissions hat still!

 

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?

Besides tour guide and senior interviewer (see above), I was also a member of the women’s rowing team and a summer and fall OL.

 

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I was a History major and created my own concentration in Indigenous Studies. In every place I have worked (including academia), I have valued and (thankfully) have found strong, female leaders. Aligning myself with women, who believe in, advocate for, and fundamentally support other women, has proved paramount to my professional development. Being a History major at HC brought me my first female mentor and ultimate role model- Professor Gwenn Miller. If you haven’t taken a class with her, do yourself a favor and register straight away!

 

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

Talking to President Clinton about the Jesuits certainly comes in handy around the office. In all seriousness though, the ability to synthesize a large amount of information and distill it down.

 

6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Choose bridges not walls.

Meet Alumna Mary (O’Connor) Kimball ’12, School Psychologist

 

Name: Mary (O’Connor) Kimball

Class Year: 2012

Title: School Psychologist

Organization Name: Silver Lake Regional Middle School

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I evaluate students’ needs in order to help them access the curriculum at school.

 

2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you? 

I had always had an interest in psychology, but was unsure of which specialty. After Holy Cross, I became an admission counselor at a college in my hometown and started to realize that I was more interested in helping a student define his/her own level of success and how to get them there. I contacted Holy Cross Career Planning Department and they recommended that I reach out to alumni who were in the School Psychology career path. One of the alums responded to my email and we quickly established a great mentor relationship.  I was able to learn a lot about the field through phone conversations and meetings with Dan that truly helped me to understand the career. Through these conversations, I felt like this was a great fit for me. Our conversations have continued through my graduate school search, graduate school, internship, and now in my career.

 

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?

When I was on campus, I was actively involved in Campion House, specifically with the retreats and as a Head Eucharistic Minister. I participated in the Admissions E-Board and was a Greeter in the office, and was involved in SPUD. I also helped to coordinate the first ever Dance Marathon on campus, which was such a special experience!

 

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

My major was in Psychology, and I was able to take a few classes in Education, as well, which led me to my interest in School Psychology.

 

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

I think the major skills that I developed and strengthened at Holy Cross were time management and problem-solving. These are the two skills that are necessary in my career as a school psychologist every day as there are multiple timelines to follow for evaluations, behavior plans, special education programming, and crisis situations that require my attention.

 

6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?

College is an important time in your lives to strengthen your skills and figure out your identity. Try not to be nervous if you are unsure of what you want to do. Even though I liked school psychology, I had two jobs after college before I followed my heart and started my graduate school program.