Meet Alumna Paige Cohen ’21, Junior Consultant – Human Services

Name: Paige Cohen

Class Year: 2021

Title: Junior Consultant – Human Services

Organization Name: Public Consulting Group

 

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?
 
In my role, I support projects with state human services agencies, helping agencies design and evaluate programs (examples might be TANF, SNAP, or workforce development programs), increase revenue/cut costs, and ensure regulatory compliance.

 

 

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 first learned about Public Consulting Group (PCG) through a simple LinkedIn job search in the fall of my junior year at Holy Cross, when I saw their posting for a summer internship. After going to the PCG website, I became really intrigued by the concept of public sector consulting and how private businesses can help support state and local governments. I applied, and through more LinkedIn networking, realized that Stephen Skinner, their Director of Marketing, is an HC alum. I connected with Stephen, and he supported me through the interview process and helped me secure my internship with the PCG Marketing team in summer 2020.

 

I really enjoyed my internship, but I was hoping to transition to the consulting side of the business, as I wanted to dig more into policy work. The more limited job market of early 2021 and my lack of quantitative skills made it challenging to land that consulting job right out of Holy Cross. I ended up taking another job doing internal strategy and operations at L.E.K. Consulting for a year after graduation. While at L.E.K., I focused on learning as much as I could about the consulting industry and building up my quantitative/analytical skills. I always kept an eye out for PCG job postings, and in April, I saw an opening for a Junior Consultant role. I emailed Stephen right away to let him know I was applying, and I was delighted to accept a job offer in May. I’ve been in my role for about 6 weeks now and am having a great experience so far.

 

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
 
While I was on campus, I was a member of the Varsity Rowing team. I was also a Community-Based Learning Intern, an SGA Cabinet member, and Political Science Student Advisory Committee member.

 

 

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
 
I was an English and Political Science double major. I’ve always loved Literature, and the English major gave me a foundational skillset in good writing, reading, and communication. Political Science offered me an application for that skillset, as I thought through and wrote about issues of public policy. My interest in this intersection of policy and communications led me first to an internship at the State Department in the summer of 2019 and then to PCG as both an intern and now a full-time employee.

 

 

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?
 
Critical thinking and policy analysis are two skills that I developed at Holy Cross that I use often in my work at PCG. Throughout classes at Holy Cross, we were called to “ask more”— to not just memorize information but to think critically about what we were learning. I have to do this sort of critical thinking often at work, as we think about how to make state programs operate more efficiently. I also took several public policy classes at Holy Cross, where I studied and debated many of the government policies that I work with now at PCG.

 

 

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

Be patient! Even if your first job or your first internship isn’t what you wanted, there are many paths to take in your career and your first job is just a first step. Try to make the most of any opportunity you are given at work to build up your skills, so that you are prepared for your next move.

Meet Alum Eric Butler ’06, Director of Development at 2U / edX

Name: Eric Butler

Class Year: 2006

Title: Director of Development

Organization Name: 2U / edX

 

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

I work with directly with partners interested in fueling innovation and increasing accessibility on a global scale as it relates to the future of education and workforce development.

 

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? 

Over the years, I have worked in education (secondary education and higher education), but also received my MBA in graduate school. In many ways, my work at 2U/edX, as a global education technology company, combines my passion for education with my interest in business and corporate strategy and engagement. My first job out of college was actually in the Holy Cross Development Office as a Research Analyst where I worked for Holy Cross alumna, Roseann Fitzerald ’78. In this role I was able to work with the Holy Cross Fund staff, major gift officers, planned giving and parent giving team members and the President’s Office. It was a great crash course in advancement work in higher education.

 

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

I was an Admissions Tour Guide, active with Fenwick Theatre and Alternate College Theatre (ACT), and I was a member of the Honors Program and Alpha Sigma Nu. I also was involved with some of Campus Ministry’s retreats and service programs.

 

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

I was a double major in Psychology and Theater. I think the liberal arts in general help make you a more thoughtful, well-rounded, empathetic leader and manager. Also, I expanded my love and knowledge of theater at Holy Cross. To this day, I have stayed involved with the arts by directing local theater, investing and producing commercial Broadway and international shows (An American in Paris, Kinky Boots, On Your Feet, Moulin Rouge), and founding Broadway in Worcester, an initiative that brings A-List Broadway talent to Central MA to perform and work with local students and arts educators.

 

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

Critical thinking. It was a skill that was required through out the curriculum and a skill that is used every day across every professional scenario.

 

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

Take advantage of the opportunities you have through Holy Cross and the career network. Use this time to explore interests on campus and through internships.

Meet Alumna Allie Silge ’20, Wealth Strategy Associate

Allie Silge

Class Year: 2020

Title: Wealth Strategy Associate

Organization Name:  UBS Private Wealth Management

 

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

I work on a team that serves Ultra High Net Worth Clients by managing their investments and providing them with holistic wealth management advice and services.

 

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 participated in the Global Wealth Management Internship at UBS the summer before my senior year.  This program was great for getting my foot in the door and leveraging the Holy Cross network at the firm, which ultimately led for me to receive a full time offer at the bank.  Over the course of the summer I was able to learn more about Wealth Management and realized it was the perfect fit for me.  This industry specifically requires a unique skillset that is a cross between technical/analytical skills and social/people skills.  I loved how these two skillsets could be blended into a job that felt right for me. 

 

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

On campus I was involved in: Finance Club, SPUD, Eucharistic Ministry, and Club Tennis.

 

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

I was an Economics Major and Art History Minor.  My economics major largely affected my career decision as I was interested in the broader macro environment and how it affected financial markets.  I was further interested in how this affected someone’s personal financial investments and what types of investments do well in different macro situations.  Overall, I found the interconnectedness of the markets & the economy to be fascinating.

 

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

One of the most important things I learned at Holy Cross was how to write.  I learned this mainly through my history classes, and is truly an invaluable skill that differentiates me from my colleagues.

 

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

  • First, I would say to cherish your time on the Hill – it goes by faster than you think!
  • Second, I would say to keep an open mind when exploring your career options – it is always better to cast a wide net and be open to many different opportunities than to focus on one particular thing.  If anything, I’ve learned that your interests and strengths change as you develop and grow, so remaining open and malleable to this change is so important.

Meet Alumna Sarah Street ’22, Communications Assistant, Federal Media

Name: Sarah Street

Class Year: 2022

Title: Communications Assistant, Federal Media

Organization Name: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

 

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

Still getting my bearings, but my job essentially entails fielding press requests, sending press releases, and providing support to multiple people on NRDC’s vast Media team. I act as a liaison between our experts at NRDC and reporters and help make sure all the work we’re doing is publicized and framed effectively for the public.

 

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?

Originally, my plan was to join the Peace Corps post-grad and do some environmental service abroad in the Philippines. However, with everything going on with COVID, the organization had basically shut down sending volunteers abroad and after not hearing anything for months after applying, I decided to start applying for jobs. I’ve known that I wanted to work for an environmental NGO if I had my choice but I applied for probably 60+ jobs in the environmental field in general. I was thrilled when I heard back from NRDC, both because the position in Federal Media was right up my alley as well as knowing the incredible work that NRDC does, especially in law and policy which is potentially where I see myself ending up! After interviewing, I was really excited about the opportunity, but I didn’t hear back from my first interview for weeks. Just about when I’d given up that I’d be going through to the next round, was scheduled for a panel interview… and got offered the job the next day! I knew from the panel that NRDC was the place for me based on the way they explained the collaborative and fast-paced culture, opportunities for professional development and advancement, their commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and just the warm and welcoming attitude they all greeted me with.

 

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

On campus, I was a member of the varsity women’s ice hockey team, I was secretary of Eco-Action, and Senior Editor of the Purple Literary Magazine. I also worked part-time at the Hart Center and participated in Working for Worcester. I also volunteered off-campus at Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook and had two internships while at school with the Humane Society of the US and Dismas House.

 

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

My major was International Studies and my minor was Environmental Studies. I picked up Environmental Studies my sophomore year after taking Environmental Political Philosophy with Professor Kendy Hess. That’s when I knew that I wanted to commit my life to the environment and since then, I’ve combined the global interdisciplinary knowledge I’ve gained in both my major and minor to look at careers for the planet that take into account our whole world and ways that we can work together to combat the climate crisis.

 

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

During my time at Holy Cross, I developed my ability to be a self-advocate. This has been in school, in sports, and in my professional career. By learning how to advocate effectively for myself with my professors, during internships, and in the community, I was able to graduate with three internships under my belt, my own money in the bank, the ability to time manage with a ton on my plate, a varsity letter, and a 3.8 GPA. Now, I’m using this skill in my career and helped me not only to get the job, but now that I have it. I’m excited to use my self advocacy skills to, ask for help when I need it, network internally, and pursue projects that I’m passionate about.

 

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

My advice for students on campus today is to get as much experience in the things that they are passionate about as they can. My internships have seriously set me up for success and put me ahead of a lot of my peers at NRDC who are starting from scratch. But, my other piece of advice is to just make the most out of your time at Holy Cross even if it doesn’t relate directly to the career you think you want. I am so glad I spent time on the Purple simply because I love poetry and ultimately, it still gave me skills I’m able to apply in my life now. I’m also grateful for all the times that I wasn’t doing work and was just spending time with my friends, because before you know it you’ll be out in the real world and these will be the memories you will most cherish.

 

Meet Alumna Kat Rosenthal ’13, Project Manager, John Moriarty & Associates

Name: Kat Rosenthal

Class Year: 2013

Title: Project Manager

Organization: John Moriarty & Associates, DC

 

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

I manage the financial and manpower requirements to build buildings

 

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

A series of failed attempts at finding my passion lead me to start throwing darts at the wall to find a career. I wanted something that had a team component, as I missed playing sports so much. I connected with someone from high school who worked for a large general contractor in Boston who then pointed me in the direction of another general contractor. I reached out for an unpaid internship and was hired as a paid intern. Three months of interning lead to a full time job. Six years later, I now run my own project and still love what I do.

 

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

Varsity softball, President of ABiGaLe/Allies (now Pride), Physics grading and tutoring, and a Pub Rat 🙂

 

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

I studied Physics with a Concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies. I knew I did not want to work in a lab forever after a few summer internships. Physics taught me how to collaborate and problem solve; I knew that whatever I did for a living had to let me critically think and work with a team.

 

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

Most definitely teamwork and creative problem solving. Construction is a very big field with a lot of different specialties. As a general contractor, we work to learn a little about a lot, working with the experts (designers and engineers) to make a building. It involves working as a team and problem solving as a group. So many times I know only high level details, but my ability to think outside the box to solve a difficult constructability issue is very helpful!

 

6. What advice do you have for students today?

Do as much as you can while you’re still at Holy Cross. Try everything you can. Get outside of your comfort zone. Do not worry so much about your grades. Instead, work hard, maintain a good reputation, and create great and long standing relationships with professors, staff, and classmates; that will pay off so much more in the long run.

Meet Alum Oswaldo Subillaga ’16, Medical Student, Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Name: Oswaldo Subillaga

Class Year: 2016

Title: Medical Student

Organization:  Alpert Medical School of Brown University

 

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

As a fourth year medical student, I am in the midst of residency interviews (for general surgery!) and completing clinical electives that will help me to become a well-rounded surgical resident.

 

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 able to shadow two wonderful surgeons at UMass Memorial Medical Center through the academic internship program at HC. While I already had an interest in medicine, that experience introduced me to the world of surgery which is ultimately the field that I plan on pursuing.

 

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

While at HC, I was a RA, peer mentor, admissions interviewer, co-chair of LASO, and SPUD volunteer.

 

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

My major was political science and I also did my premedical requirements knowing that I wanted to go into medical school after college.

 

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

Having to argue for a point of view in a short essay at HC has helped me to convey information accurately and concisely in both clinical and non-clinical scenarios. Surgeons, in particular, like brevity.

 

6. What advice do you have for students today?

Take advantage of the mentorship opportunities at Holy Cross and maintain those connections even after you leave the hill. Oh, and pay it forward.

Meet Alumna Sabrina Gross ’02, Virginia Department of Education

Name: Sabrina Gross

Class Year: 2002

Title: Coordinator of Complaints and Special Projects in the Office of Dispute Resolution and Administrative Services

Organization Name: Virginia Department of Education

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

I oversee the complaint dispute resolution process as required by the Individuals With Disabilities in Education Act and manage many teacher and school administrator professional development projects related to special education laws and regulations. I really enjoy my job.

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 knew that I wanted to work in education, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity. I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and my father made me complete the teacher certification program at Holy Cross so that I was an employable upon graduation! Ha! I completed the program to teach social studies but began teaching special education because of my degree in psychology. Teaching special education led me to working in children’s mental health for quite a few years. My experiences encouraged me to pursue a law degree so that I could work in children’s policy. Now I work in special education investigations and compliance.

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

I was on the education student advisory committee, colorguard, and BSU. I also wrote a proposal to reignite the semester away program to an HBCU. I attended Hampton University for a semester.

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

My degree was in psychology. I think working children’s mental health gave me a whole child approach to reviewing many of the complaints we receive and provides me with a unique perspective when working with other government agencies in providing guidance on policy and policy implementation.

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

I think the Holy Cross motto “men and women for others” has led me to understand the importance of public service and giving back.

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

College is an opportunity to explore many varied interests. Take classes that peak your curiosity, join many co-curricular activities, study abroad, and get involved in the Worcester community.

Meet Alum Freddie Santana ’11, College Persistance Counselor, KIPP New Jersey

Name: Freddie Santana

Class Year: 2011

Title: College Persistence Counselor

Organization Name: KIPP New Jersey

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

Provide specific guidance, advising, social and financial support to help a caseload of primarily first-generation college students pursue their college degree.

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?

While at Holy Cross I decided to take an Educational Psychology course that really aligned to my interests. I had some success with the course and as a result I developed an interest in education and its impact on low-income communities. Prior to this class, I only knew that I wanted to work within low-income communities but was uncertain about how that might look for me. I began taking a bunch of education and multi-cultural courses to broaden my knowledge of the underpinnings of education in America.

I guess my interest in education as a Latino drew some interest from the wonderful folks at Teach For America who happened to randomly find me one day while I was enjoying a Peanut Butter Protein smoothie at Cool Beans and they got me to apply. A few weeks and 3 interviews later, I received an offer to join the 2011 Corps in Metro Atlanta. With professional football looming in the shadows I took the leap of faith and decided to start my career as an educator.

The process of learning/deciding if this field was a good fit for me is my favorite part of the journey. I learned how important it is to periodically evaluate each phase of your career and to seek alternate opportunities within your field of interest to ensure you get a holistic view of the work before considering a career change. There is a great quote I heard once that goes something like this: “Maybe the journey is more about uncovering who you are not so that you can make room for the person you were always meant to be.”

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

Varsity Football – Big Brothers Big Sisters Liaison – Multicultural Peer Educator – Latin American Student Organization

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

I majored in Sociology with a concentration in Africana Studies

Sociology allowed me to learn more about communities as a whole and what things impact a community’s overall health. It gave me a holistic view of how different entities like education impact a community and its people. Because I developed this foundational knowledge I felt better positioned to enter the field and make an immediate impact versus going into a totally unfamiliar field and trying to figure it out as I go.

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

One of the biggest skills I developed while being at Holy Cross was the importance of preparation and its correlation to success. I came into Holy Cross with poor academic habits and learned quickly that preparation is the great equalizer.

The second skill I developed was how to network effectively. I attended all networking career banquets, alumni events and met with a lot of professors during my time at Holy Cross. All of which allowed me the opportunity to listen, learn and practice effective networking strategies.

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

Maximize your time on campus by getting involved: connect with peers, faculty, and alumni often, join clubs and other organizations on campus that might be aligned to your interests. Allow yourself the opportunity to meet people that you normally wouldn’t engage with… there is power in learning different perspectives.

Practice and develop strong routines and habits. Figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Create an organization system that works for you and use it with fidelity. You’ll be thankful once you jump into your career and already have these things in place.

Meet Alumna Maggie Moriarty ’20, Financial Services Consultant, EY

Name: Maggie Moriarty

 Class Year: 2020

 Title: Financial Services Consultant-Staff

 Organization Name: Ernst & Young

 

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

Every consulting project is very different, but overall my job entails working with financial services clients (banks, wealth management companies, and insurance companies) to offer them beneficial solutions, additional support, and guidance on tracking and completing either long-term or short term projects that enhance their company.  

 

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? 

My first three years at Holy Cross I always thought I wanted to go to law school, but after attending career fairs and networking with my HC Alumni network, I started to research more about the consulting industry. After further networking I was able to set up calls with HC alumni who worked for Ernst & Young, and ultimately landed an interview and the job. I knew consulting was a good fit for me because similar to being a lawyer, a consultant has several clients and projects throughout his or her career, so he or she is continuously learning and getting up to speed on different subject areas. The ability to transition from project to project greatly appealed to me, especially during the early stages of my career. In addition, I knew I wanted to work closely with others to achieve certain goals and deadlines. Being in constant communication with team members from within my company and/or the client company was appealing to me.

 

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

At Holy Cross, I was a member of the women’s lacrosse team, a member of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, a member of Holy Cross for a Cure, and a member of the pre-business program.

 

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

I majored in Political Science and thoroughly enjoyed learning about current events, policies and the law, as well as creating materials in either presentation or paper format on these topics.  I knew I wanted to take those interests and combine them with my interest in business. Consulting seemed to be a great fit for me because of the opportunity to explore how different policies effect the requirements and decisions of financial institutions, as well as the opportunity to communicate large amounts of information to an audience in an effective and concise manner.

 

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

The ability to synthesize large amounts of detailed information into big picture ideas/trends and time management/organization.

 

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

Continue to work hard and explore different activities and opportunities on campus that are outside of your comfort zone!  

Meet Alumna Lilse Rodgers McKenna ’11, Founder of Lilse McKenna Inc

Name: Lilse Rodgers McKenna

Class Year: 2011

Title: Founder

Organization Name: Lilse McKenna Inc

 

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

As the founder of a residential interior design firm my job entails everything from reviewing architectural drawings and overseeing contractors, to drawing furniture plans, designing furniture and scheming rooms, to managing the orders, timelines, and installations for a project. 

 

 

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 my senior year at Holy Cross I had big plans to go to law school.  At the time I thought that it would be the most logical and practical fit for me, and I took the LSAT class offered at Holy Cross to prepare for the exam.  We were encouraged to take study breaks in between practice tests, and I found myself filling that time with interior design magazines like House Beautiful, Veranda, and Architectural Digest, and countless design blogs.  

After taking the LSAT and starting to pull together my applications for law school I realized my heart wasn’t in it.  Since long before the LSAT I’d enjoyed reading about and discussing interior design with my grandmother, and she and my mother both believed I had shown some innate talent in decorating. My Mom had often suggested I pursue it as a career, but I had the impression that most successful designers had degrees in interior design or a lifestyle that enabled them to open a firm “for fun.” 

After graduation I applied for jobs in advertising and marketing, but nothing really felt like the right fit.  In a moment of frustration with the job search process I googled the phone number for the office of my favorite interior designer at the time and asked if they needed an intern.  They asked how soon I could start.  

Within the first week of the internship, I knew I’d found the right career fit for me in interior design.  Suddenly all of the knowledge I’d accumulated about interior design throughout my life, which I’d long thought was useless and just a hobby, had real value.  I also started to see the opportunity to put another interest of mine, business and entrepreneurship, to use.  I come from a family of entrepreneurs, and just as my knowledge of interior design had been somewhat subliminal, so too was my understanding of work and business through the lens of an entrepreneur.   Having an understanding of how entrepreneurs think and operate gave me a leg up as an intern, and later an employee, of small business owners.  I soon found out that neither a degree in design nor a large trust fund were necessary to start a successful interior design business. 

 

 

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

I volunteered at Dismas House, was a club chair for the Comunications, Advertising & Marketing Club, and interned for the Public Affairs office.  

 

 

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

I was an English major and I think my creative writing classes gave me some insight into how much I enjoyed creative work.  The time I spent working on the assignments for those classes flew by, even when the assignments were difficult.   

 

 

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

While I was at Holy Cross I learned to be very disciplined about my time because I found that the school work load would sneak up on me if I wasn’t consistently setting aside time at the library.  In my industry it is very easy to be distracted by the creative part of the job and put the paperwork on the backburner.  Unfortunately that is probably the quickest way to go out of business, so in life as in school I try to set aside specific time dedicated to the paperwork.

 

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

Trust your instincts when it comes to your future.  Don’t force a career choice, or any choice for that matter, solely because it appears to be the most pragmatic.  If it doesn’t feel right it isn’t, and you should take the time to find what is right for you.  Also, pay attention to what interests you, even the things you think of as silly hobbies or the curiosities you take for granted.  Today more than ever there is value in being an expert in a specialized field, so why not take advantage of that?