Meet Alumna Jessica Morrison ’99, Digital Branding Expert

Name: Jessica Morrison

Class Year: 1999

Title: Digital Branding Expert

Organization Name:  Seaside Digital Design & Marketing LLC

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

I help female service-based business owners create consistent digital brands (website, social media, and other digital media) that increase sales, grow brand awareness and generate more traffic to their site/store.

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?  

When I graduated from Holy Cross I thought I wanted to go to law school, so I spent a year working as a corporate paralegal in a large NYC firm. I quickly decided that wasn’t for me and moved out to San Diego where I worked in biopharma for a few years. After working in business development there, I took a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative at Pfizer. When I had my first son, I left that job to be at home and it was the genesis of my current career. Even though I was at home, I missed the connection to coworkers and the intellectual stimulation. I decided to start a blog and social media and make a job out of it! Later on I was able to utilize my newly acquired skill set to build my own digital branding agency.

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

I was a member of the Purple Key Society, participated in SPUD activities, was an alumni interviewer and tutor in the Writer’s Workshop.

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

I started off as a pre-med major, but after a year and a half, I transitioned to a Spanish major with a concentration in Latin American Studies.

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

Critical thinking and excellent verbal and written communication skills.

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

Soak up every minute of your college experience because it goes by fast! Also, don’t be afraid of trying new things and taking a while to figure out what you really want to do in your life. It’s a journey, so have fun along the way!

Meet #CrusaderIntern, Zachary Turner ’21, East Coast Metrology

Name: Zach Turner

Class Year:  2021 (Physics Major, Statistics Minor)

Internship Position: Machine calibration technician & lab data analyst

Employer: East Coast Metrology: Global Measurement Solutions

 

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

I am interning at East Coast Metrology for the summer in their engineering lab. During this process I worked with 3D laser scanners, 3D measurement arms, laser trackers and other equipment to provide machine calibrations for some of the largest engineering companies in the country. Working with equipment from Blue Origin, Raytheon, Faro, and many other companies, I learned how to put them through our accredited calibration procedure to ensure they are up to industry standards. Along with my work in the calibration lab, I was part of a team that would conduct experimental trials on other materials and equipment and construct data analysis write ups to find the properties of the materials we were working on.

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

Through the physics program at Holy Cross, I have learned many valuable skills in the classroom and lab settings. When working with the laser trackers, I am able to apply knowledge about optics, wavelengths, laser refraction, thermal expansion and other concepts to the work I do in the lab to ensure I attain the best results. Lab conduct and machine handling is another skill I learned through my physics lab and the key to using heavy machinery the proper way. The metrology industry focuses on very precise measurements where every possible external variable may have an effect on the final value.  Learning how to problem solve and think through every aspect of variability has proven a very helpful skill learned from the Holy Cross education. Along with the physics background, my work in statistics has proven to be equally beneficial. Using different statistical models to extract key coefficients from lab trials and experiments has been a great help in adjusting to my internship. Adjusting and constructing automated spreadsheets to calculate several findings from each calibration has shown me the connection between statistics and real-world engineering processes. Along with physics and statistics, using my computer science background from Holy Cross has allowed me to create and modify programs used to automate the movement of a given laser tracker and create fluid procedures, eventually saving valuable time in the lab.

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?

One of the earliest adjustment’s I had to learn was the 8-5 work day throughout the week. To apply myself for 9 hours a day is something that took a lot of adjusting to do and how the occupational world differs from that of undergraduate college. The other aspect of my job that surprised me is how important it is to communicate with consumers. The ability to change very scientific language to a consumer into a common vocabulary while being able to still express the main idea of the message has been something I’ve learned a lot from the internship. Having a well-rounded education has been very useful in articulating our numerical findings to consumers looking for the qualitative findings of our work.

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

This experience has given me a great perspective into the engineering field. The ability to familiarize myself with certain software, equipment, and lab practices I would not have had without this opportunity is a huge advantage as I look to further my education and career.  Working in a lab that provides their services to numerous other tech companies has given me the advantage to familiarize myself with other companies in engineering which I may look to network with in the future. The experience of working in a lab 8-5 and the routine it presents is another piece of the experience I am grateful to have received and have some experience into what work environment I enjoy for the future. Partnering this work experience with the well-rounded education I am receiving from Holy Cross is creating multiple career and education paths for my future which I can not wait to explore.

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

For me, going into an internship in a field that I had very little experience in what something I was very uncertain in. Engineering is not a field offered at Holy Cross but with any field or internship, even if not a specific field at Holy Cross, the education preps for an easy transition to any field of study or occupation. I am able to use my physics and statistics background to problem solve find ways to complete tasks using concepts I have been educated on through Holy Cross. Any experience through an internship is useful to either see which field you want to pursue, or if you don’t believe the field, you’re working in is right for you. Growing connections, getting used to the in person work place, and finding what field suits you best are all important things one learns through any internship. This has been a great experience and has shown me the true connection between the education at Holy Cross and the future workforce we are all bound to enter.

Meet Alumna Stephanie Tsui ’15, School of Dental Medicine

Name: Stephanie Tsui

Class Year: 2015

Position: DMD Candidate, Class of 2020 / School of Dental Medicine

 

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

As a dentist, we diagnose and treat problems of the mouth, teeth, and gums.

 

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?  

During my time at Holy Cross, I enrolled in the academic internship program and was connected to a local Auburn dentist to shadow, while also attending a weekly seminar. The minute I started shadowing the dentists, I immediately fell in love with dentistry. I loved the aspects of patient care, working with my hands, and the overall work life balance of the job. It was through this program, that I decided to pursue dentistry and apply to dental school.

 

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

I was involved in inorganic chemistry research in the Herrick lab, was a TA for first and second year chemistry courses, and volunteered weekly through SPUD.

 

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

I majored in chemistry and concentrated in Asian studies. I felt that majoring in chemistry really prepared me for the entrance exam for dental school (DAT) and dental school itself. While I don’t use chemistry in my day to day life, I will always appreciate all that I learned and look back at my days in the lab with my classmates fondly.

 

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

I learned to be a life long learner at Holy Cross. I developed great study habits and organizational skills that I utilize to this day. Going into dental school, I was nervous and initially felt I didn’t belong. Those thoughts quickly dissipated once I realized I could handle the course load. I felt confident with my study habits and worth ethic that I developed at Holy Cross.

 

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

Take advantage of all the opportunities that are offered to you daily, especially your alumni network.

Meet Alum John Milligan ’17, Political Director

Name: John Milligan

Class Year: 2017

Job Title: Political Director

Organization Name: Massachusetts Republican Party 

 

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

 Recruiting, training, and running Republicans for office up and down the ballot here in the Commonwealth.

 

2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross?

When I was a sophomore at Holy Cross my friend Rob Tiro, Class of 2015, ran for school committee in his home town Wakefield. Every Friday night for a few months in the Spring Semester we would drive up to Wakefield and spend our weekends canvassing. During the week we would work on mailings, digital, phone banking, and anything else we could do from his apartment in Williams.

When I graduated a conservative grassroots organization that had helped Rob was looking for a Regional Field Director in Southeastern Mass where I grew up, and that was my first ‘real job’ in politics.

 

3. How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

I still remember that first night when Rob won, and the feeling that came with it. I guess you could say I caught the campaign bug. Thankfully I have had more nights like that, and of course a few on the other side.

 

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

On Campus I was heavily involved in Student Life through Gateways Orientation, Residence Life, Mock Trial, and Student Government.

I also studied abroad at the University of St. Andrew’s during the 2016 Presidential Primaries in the United States, on the heels of the Scottish Independence referendum, and in the midst of the Brexit debate.

 

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

I was a History major, and also took a significant amount of Political Science courses. I think historical study of our countries founding have influenced by political ideology.

 

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

 This may be a cliche answer, but I use the communication skills both written and verbal I developed at Holy Cross each and every day.

Outside of the classroom I served as Program Coordinator and then Head orientation leader for Gateways Orientation. This helped me hone the logistical skills you need to work with campaigns from selectman to U.S. Senate.

 

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

No matter when we overcome this virus, the work force you enter will look a lot different than the one I did three short years ago. Think about how you are handling remote learning now, what skills are you developing and how can you market those to employers in your field in the post-virus world.

Meet Alum Jack Kenney ’16, Associate at SV Health Investors

Name: Jack Kenney

Class Year: 2016

Title: Associate

Organization Name: SV Health Investors

 

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

I help form, fund, and guide companies that make cutting-edge medicines.

 

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 connected with my first employer after Holy Cross  (ClearView Healthcare Partners) by reaching out to an alumnus, Rich Mynahan ’93, to learn more about his career.

 

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

Men’s Varsity Ice Hockey and StEP, a non-profit founded by Jake Medina ’16.

 

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

Chemistry and Economics, which helped build the foundation of my interest in finding a way to blend business and science throughout my career.

 

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

The critical thinking and writing skills that I was able to hone at Holy Cross through a Liberal Arts education are some of the most important tools that I use on a daily basis in my career.

 

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

Use the scientific method to reflect on and build your career: be constantly generating hypotheses regarding how you’d like to shape your career, test that hypothesis through reaching out and asking alumni questions, working to secure summer internships, or finding ways to work part-time during the semester, and refine your hypothesis as you go. Once you’re highly confident you’re interested in or passionate about something, double-down and dive deep.

Meet Alumna Sarah Newton ’16, Software Engineer at Liberty Mutual

Name: Sarah Newton

Class Year: 2016

Position: Software Engineer

Organization: Liberty Mutual

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?
I am a software engineer at Liberty Mutual. I support and maintain the actuarial applications used by the finance department.
2. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
I was part of the Math/CS club and I helped run Tea and Games in the math lounge. I was also a Kimball Captain, which was very fulfilling and where I developed lifelong friendships. 
3. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
I was a math major with a computer science minor. I was looking for a career where I could explore both avenues and supporting actuarial applications turned out to be a great fit.
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?
When I first began the job search my senior year, I was not sure where to begin. Most of my fellow math and CS classmates were looking at grad schools and startup companies. My roommate’s father worked at Liberty Mutual and he suggested I apply there. I had not even considered an insurance company as a career option, but Liberty Mutual is dedicated to technology. I love the security a large company provides and because the technology department is so large, I have plenty of opportunities to explore different paths. 
5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work
Holy Cross taught me how to make valuable connections with people. Because my job requires working directly with users and people from other parts of the organization, I have found my ability to communicate to be very important.  I also found Holy Cross gave me the opportunity to have fun even when I was under pressure. Life is full of stressful situations, whether it is a project deadline for server upgrades or three math midterms in the same week, and I think it is important to be able to laugh.

Meet #CrusaderIntern Erin Kinney ’20, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Name: Erin Kinney

Class Year: 2020

Position: Intern/ Epidemiology Workforce Branch on the Student Programs Team

Organization: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

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

I interned at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia this past summer. I worked within the Epidemiology Workforce Branch on the Student Programs Team. I helped evaluate and improve their selection rubric for the Science Ambassadors Program through my own independent research project. I wrote an abstract and presented my findings to CDC scientists and leaders including the division chief. This program aimed to inspire and educate middle and high school teachers from around the country in public health topics to create new lesson plans for their students in hopes of carving a career path for future public health professionals.

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

From what I have learned from all of my STEM courses at Holy Cross, I was able to apply my understanding of the scientific method to my research project. Having this understanding of how to conduct my own research was essential in my success as a student intern in creating a professional list of new guidelines for the program to follow in the future. My experience with excel and creating graphics to present data were also vital skills I needed to succeed during my time spent at the CDC.

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?  

The amount of independence I was granted as a summer intern surprised me. I was able to take my project in many different directions, and it was solely up to me to decide how to proceed and what the best way to present my findings were.

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

This experience opened my eyes to the complexities of public health on both a national and global scale. I realized my desire to contribute to public health in my future career whether that be through research, policy, or clinical practices. The CDC has influence in a variety of different fields from biosecurity to foreign aid such as fighting Ebola in the DOC. Since my time spent at the CDC this past summer, my goals of becoming a practicing physician have been solidified and placed into a new context surrounding the goals of public health.

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

My advice to other Holy Cross students is to being extremely open-minded during this process and to not be discouraged. I have never been to Georgia, let alone the South, until this past summer, and I am so glad I chose to take the leap of faith and experience a new city along with my new internship. Also, apply for the crusader internship fund because this made it possible for me to accept an unpaid position and gain valuable work experience.

Meet Alum Piero Iberti ’11, Screenwriter/Filmmaker

Name: Piero Iberti

Class Year: 2011

Title: Screenwriter/Filmmaker

Organization Name: Currently between seasons writing for USA Network’s Limited Series “The Sinner”

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

For the past four years, my job has taken the form of Writers’ Assistant. A Writers’ Assistant essentially operate as the keeper of the story for the writers. The day-to-day takes place in the Writers’ Room with intense note-taking, while the writers pitch on story arcs for the season and characters, leading to story for specific episodes. It’s basically my job to internalize and manage the story, as it develops, so I can best support the writers as a resource for information. Sometimes I get to pitch my own ideas in the Room and occasionally I get to help a Writer with their outline, but generally a good Writers’ Assistant is one who listens well and reminds the writers of what they talked about without involving themselves too much.

For all three seasons of “The Sinner” thus far, I’ve also worked as the Assistant to the showrunner/head writer & Executive Producer – Derek Simonds.  As of this past season, I not only worked as Writers’ Assistant and Assistant to Derek, but also achieved my dream of writing my first professional script for television with him in this season’s finale.

 

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 a combination of things. After graduating, I knew I wanted to write, I just didn’t know what specific type of writing road I wanted to go down. I knew I loved movies though, how the visual medium helped communicate and anchor a story or message. I consulted with my friends and parents (my Dad also worked his way up the film ladder starting as a Parking Production Assistant for the Locations Department guarding cones/parking spots around the City in the ‘80s and is now an Executive Producer, most recently for HBO’s “Watchmen”). My Dad didn’t have much awareness at the time of a specific screenwriting path, but offered that a good place to start and learn might be as a Production Assistant on set. This way I could experience all the different departments in unison, get paid to help with, but also learn about what it takes, to make a Film/TV Show.

 With his help, as well as one of my childhood friends, I was able to interview and get my first job as a Production Assistant on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. It was extremely hard work: 14-16 hours, low pay, but it was a start. It was also extremely rewarding right away. It was my on-the-job film school. I was suddenly learning what every person on the crew was doing and how each of them contributed to the greater whole. As I progressed as a Production Assistant, I knew that this was the type of collaborative art I wanted to bring my writing to.

 

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

I always tried to stay involved at Holy Cross. Thankfully the school’s intimate size and support from various programs made it easy. Academically, I was a part of the Summer Study Abroad Program my Junior Year with Professor Judith Chubb in Nairobi, Kenya. I was a Resident Assistant my Junior Year (in Loyola) and Senior Year (in Williams) as well as a part of the Spring Break Immersion Program from my Sophomore Year onward. Sports/Team-wise, I played Club Hockey and vibraphone in the Jazz Ensemble, with the one and only Mike Monaghan, all four years.

 

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

I was an English Major with concentrations in Creative Writing and Peace & Conflict Studies. Like I mentioned earlier, I knew I wanted to write – writing was always a passion – I just didn’t know in what form it was going to materialize or make the most sense. A lot of my writing at Holy Cross (under the incredible mentorship of Professors Leila Philip, Patricia Bizzell and Leah Hager Cohen) took the form of prose. A combination of memoir and journalistic writing helped me make sense of areas of history and social justice I was passionate about. My Professors encouraged me to bring a creatively analytical lens to these topics, approach them from various writing angles. Another important piece, was Senior Year I took an elective — a screenwriting course with a visiting professor (Steven Wingate). That’s when it all clicked. All the elements. I asked myself — “Why am I fighting this? This combines all my interests: creative storytelling, economy of language, visual enforcement.”

Without the support from my Professors and classes to experiment with and meld different writing styles, I don’t know if I would’ve had the confidence or skill sets needed to pursue a career in the arts, specifically writing.

 

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

The ability to write analytically across a wide range of topics, proofread thoroughly and edit meticulously. One hundred percent. Also I learned how to take notes efficiently. Each one of these elements has played a significant part of my career growth. I can attribute my comfort and success in these areas, in part, to two other mentors – Professors Steve Vineberg and Judith Chubb. They both saw potential in my writing/creative leanings and helped me focus them analytically, holding me to the highest standard of structure and grammar.

Also, it may seem simple or cliched, but Holy Cross really instilled in me just how much the ability to listen plays into being a man for and with others. Not only in the classroom or with my Professors, but also through the activities I found myself involved with around campus.

 

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

Stay open. Don’t be afraid to say yes to things you’re unsure of – both in the classroom and out – because you never know who you might meet or what you might experience that ignites you. I can tell you confidently that significant friends, mentors, colleagues and success factors in my professional life have often come from the earliest jobs I said yes to, even if it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to do. Those are the steps that help you be most in touch with yourself.

Also, don’t feel like you have to have it all figured out at ANY point in the four year span. A lot of my realizations, in regards to a career, came late…even as I was graduating and that first year after school. It’s that openness which facilitates confidence and further self-awareness.

Also, take advantage of the intimate nature of your classes and professors’ open doors. That is what saved me, kept me at HC and allowed me to access the tools to unlock and realize my passions fully. Honestly.

Meet Alumna Kathleen Reiser ’14, Attorney at The Law Office of Courtney P. Spencer, LLC

Name: Kathleen Reiser

Class Year: 2014

Job Title: Attorney

Organization Name: The Law Office of Courtney P. Spencer, LLC

 

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

I believe that every child has a right to a free appropriate public education and I work  to ensure that every family and child has a voice within the special education system and receives the education they deserve.  I represent families with children with special needs in special education matters to help ensure children with disabilities are receiving an appropriate education.

 

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 went to law school at night while working at The Hartford Insurance in environmental claims. I was interested in special education law while in law school, so I left The Hartford to clerk at my current firm. After graduating law school, I joined the firm as an associate. I knew this area of law was a good fit for me because I had a passion for the work.  While I was not able to take my classes focusing on special education law, it was important for me to get practical experience while I was in law school, which ultimately confirmed that this was an area of law that I was interested in.

 

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

On campus, I was involved in as much as I could be! In addition to different volunteer organizations, I was involved in SGA, Purple Key Society, Admissions Senior Interviewer, Student Advisory Board and an intern with OSI.

 

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

I was a political science major and was pre-law. I knew I wanted to go to law school prior to even college and was always interested in political science. I think more than anything, the well-rounded liberal arts education that Holy Cross provides helped me both in law school and in my career. Holy Cross taught me to think critically and how to look at an issue from a multitude of perspectives and I use this skill every day when evaluating a case in order to put forth the strongest argument for my client.

 

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

One of the strongest skills I took from Holy Cross was the ability to defend my convictions and ideas. This skill was extremely helpful during my first cold call in law school and continues to be helpful every day at work.

 

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

I think the best advice I can give, is to take classes and get involved in activities that may seem out of your interest realm. Holy Cross offers so many opportunities and provides a chance to explore different interests. Some of my favorite classes or on campus activities turned out to be courses/events that I went in underestimating. Most importantly, enjoy the four years on the hill because it goes by too fast!

Meet Alum Aaron Going ’14, Associate Director of College Counseling at Worcester Academy

Name: Aaron Going

Class Year: 2014

Job Title: Associate Director of College Counseling

Organization Name: Worcester Academy

 

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

I currently counsel juniors and seniors through the college application and admission process at Worcester Academy.

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 originally wanted to be a history teacher after college. However that quickly ended after I passed my MTELS and went through the process of registering for a substitute teacher position. I realized that the structure and environment of a classroom was not the way in which I wanted to serve our youth. I ended up turning my attention to the Department of Youth Services and began working as a Residential Counselor for youthful offenders. After spending some time working at DYS I asked myself one question…

What can I do to ensure young folks have opportunities and resources that will keep them out of a life of bad decisions?

I immediately thought about working as some type of counselor for a Job Corps or college counseling program. Thankfully I got an opportunity to work at a wonderful non-profit called Bottom Line and that is where my career as a college counselor launched.

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

At Holy Cross I spent a lot of my time participating in intramurals and the rest of the time was dedicated to my studies. I had to work through college to afford different things and my part-time job took up the rest of any free time.

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

I majored in History at Holy Cross. I always knew I wanted to work with young people but outside of being a teacher, I was not sure how to do that.  I began exploring the path of becoming a teacher and that ultimately led me to a world of other career opportunities.

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

Efficiency and Perseverance

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

I think my biggest piece of advice to students would be to “try it” and do not think twice about it. Holy Cross offers so many new experiences and opportunities that can seem overwhelming or frightening but I would challenge students to lean it to the unknown. There were a countless amount of things I missed out on at Holy Cross but I wish I didn’t. Sometimes circumstances are out of our control but to my current and future crusaders, if time and responsibility allows, participate in everything!