Meet Alum Dr. Robert Molt Jr. ’07, Senior Scientist at ENSCO; U.S. Air Force

Name:  Dr. Robert Molt Jr.

Class Year: 2007

Title: Senior Scientist

Organization Name: ENSCO; U.S. Air Force

 

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

I do research in chemistry and physics for Department of Defense and U.S. National Laboratories, especially in the fields of the quantum many-electron problem, nuclear engineering, IR spectroscopy, and chemical thermodynamics.

 

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 employment, following being a graduate student, was as a professor at IUPUI University in Indianapolis, which was a logical extension of my love of teaching and scientific research. In my current position, I research with the U.S. National Laboratories and Department of Defense. The plan has always been to spend my life learning as much as I can about science; my current employment also allows me to contribute positively to my community at large. I have managed this amidst the unplanned adversities of losing the ability to walk from a spinal injury (I’ve recovered) and 2 blood clots due to genetic illness. However, adversity is that from which we advance, and not the story itself. Any job which allows me do scientific research on important problems and adore my wife is a good job.

 

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

Ballroom dancing, ROTC tutor in calculus/physics

 

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

I studied chemistry and physics, as I always knew I wanted to be a career scientist.

 

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

The greatest skill I learned at Holy Cross was what NOT to do, i.e., making the stupid mistakes of a young man, growing from them, and learning to be more professional.

 

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

The greatest advice I would offer is to balance theory/ideology with empirical reality of what it takes to solve problems in the present. Do not try to solve problems by being righteous/morally superior. It is far too easy to hate and be priggish; life is better lived finding common ground with your fellow man ( or woman).

Meet Alumna Samantha Simonelli ’92, Associate Veterinarian

Name:  Samantha Simonelli 

Class Year: 1992

Title: Associate Veterinarian 

Organization Name: Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA)

 

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

I perform physical exams and surgery and provide access to medical care for shelter animals and publicly owned pets.

 

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 wanted to be a veterinarian from the time I was very young. By the time I got to high school, I wasn’t sure it was still right for me.   I chose Holy Cross for the liberal arts education and majored in visual arts based on my love for a Humanities course I took in high school.  After my first year on the Hill and attending an evening lecture by a veterinarian from Tufts Veterinary School, I decided that I did want to go into veterinary medicine after all. I began taking the prerequisite science classes my sophomore year and during the summer between my junior and senior years at Holy Cross, I was able to volunteer at a local animal hospital. They hired me as an assistant after graduation. The hands on training I received made it easy to see what the job would entail and cement for me my devotion to the field. I started veterinary school the following year and haven’t looked back since. 

 

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

I had a work study job in the Visual Arts department at the slide library.  I loved it and am still in touch with Mrs. Binnall, the slide librarian.  (This was long before Powerpoint presentations ☺).  I also helped found an equestrian club and we competed against other local colleges. 

 

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

I was a Visual arts major and took pre requisite science classes as electives.  I loved studying art and considered going into museum work.  Ultimately, my love for animals won out and I felt compelled to follow my heart into veterinary medicine.  I feel that my degree from Holy Cross helped me gain admission into veterinary school and prepared me for a career as a critical thinker. 

 

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

Active listening is probably the biggest skill that helps me to this day.  My patients can’t talk so I need to listen very closely to what the pet owner or foster is telling me about the animal so that I can determine the next steps. Taking part in seminar classes and listening to other opinions was great experience for future me. Learning to critically evaluate things from a visual standpoint has also translated well from art to evaluating my non-verbal animal patients. 

 

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

Try to get involved in as many things as you can.  I am a bit of an introvert and didn’t take advantage of all the opportunities on campus at the time.  I regret that now. Don’t be afraid to join in. Holy Cross has so much to offer.

Meet Alum Andrew Carten ’75, Planning Consultant

Name: Andrew Carten

Class Year: 1975

Title: Planning Consultant. Retired Planning Director 

Organization Name: I was the Planning Director for the City of Trenton, NJ for 23 years and then worked for a community non-profit for four more years. I presently do community development planning on a contractual basis with state and local governments and local non-profits and mentor youth

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail? 
 
As Planning Director, I was responsible for Land Use Planning ( Master Plans, Zoning and Planning Board applications) , Transportation planning ( managing state and federal funded projects–roads, bridges, light rail, intersection upgrades, bikeways, etc.), housing and economic development projects, and serving as the Mayor’s representative on a variety of task forces, boards, etc. My position at the non-profit involved planning the adaptive re-use of vacant industrial land into uses that better served the community. Undoing some of the environmental injustices that had been imposed on the community and introducing more desirable and healthier uses in their place—skatepark, soccer field, urban farm, restoration of an African American cemetery . My consulting work involves reviews of community planning grants, downtown parking studies, special needs housing.
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 employer after graduating from Holy Cross was Jordan Marsh Department store—the economy was in a recession and I needed a job. I quickly learned that retail was not for me but I also learned the importance of communication skills, earning the trust of the patron. I then worked at a psychiatric facility at a local hospital with the sole objective of saving up enough money to travel in Europe ( which I did with my college room mate for almost six months) Visiting the older European cities and observing they functioned, their infrastructure layout and spatial design , was very informative and presented a variety of ideas on how we can design urban space to be more useful, safe, and utilized. The hospital job taught me the importance of listening and communicating with sincerity. After Europe, I realized that if I wanted to get into planning, I needed to get a masters degree . I earned  a masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Rutgers University School of Planning . During graduate school, I secured an internship with the the NJ Division on Aging and worked on a task force charged with determining how Casino Revenue funds should be spent for the New Jersey’s aged population. That task force work earned me a job with the NJ Department of Community Affairs and their Housing Demonstration Program. The ever changing landscape of the work, the variety of programs and the connection with the local communities affirmed that this was the right career for me. 
3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
 
 I played a little bit of rugby but otherwise wasted my chance to take advantage of the many activities and resources Holy Cross offered at that time. I wish that I had taken advantage of the college consortium and the additional class offerings those schools provided. And, in hindsight, I regret not getting  more involved in some of the community service programs.
 
4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions? 
 
Political Science. My interest in planning was actually sparked by a reading of Lewis Mumford’s book, “The City in History” in high school. I had been intrigued by cities–the factors that led to their creation, how they evolved and their natural transformation over time. At Holy Cross I  became more interested in politics and took advantage of the Independent Studies program to work with State Representative Paul Guzzi doing legislative research. That experience introduced me to the machinations of politics–and a better understanding of why the legislative process is often described as sausage making. 

 

 

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

Analytical thinking–Father Lapomarda and Dr. Anderson were two of my favorite professors. They made history fun . They would always frame the discussion to insure that  both sides of the issues were considered in the analysis and emphasized the importance of building a  position that was strong enough to withstand  challenges to your position. Fr. Lapomardo offered your fellow classmates to be judge and jury of your presentation . Today, I think of problem solving as a jigsaw puzzle .  Difficult decisions are made easier if you can quickly identify the factors at play–the barriers, the points of objection, the key decision makers, their historical inclinations, political biases, etc. Together, those pieces formulate a clearer understanding of the issue and a game plan on how best to approach the problem at hand.

 

 

6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?
 
Advice is just that-advice. Everyone is different. The circumstances and opportunities I had when I  was 22 are different from what students today face.  The job market and workforce expectations have changed . I believe that the so called “quietly quitting” movement is simply an effort to recalibrate  the work-life balance to a healthier level. But work levels will always fluctuate. Some people thrive on heavy workloads that extend beyond the traditional 9-5 , 5 days a week routine. Others dream of being able to reduce their work time to even just a 9-5 routine or be in a position to set their own schedule.  So find out what that happy balance is for you and align your interests with those jobs that require that level of time commitment. Whatever you do, don’t compare yourself  to others as to where you are in the game of life’s accomplishments. Assign value to your beliefs—even if it may not be as financially rich as others. If it aligns with your beliefs and needs….you are doing fine. If you end up making a lot of money–hello computer programmers—enjoy your wealth but don’t forget those less fortunate —the food insecure, the homeless, recent immigrants. 
 
That being said, there are some skills that are as important today as they were in my time.  The ability to read and write clearly and succinctly is a diminishing art. It is a very important skill to possess to be successful in your work. In the planning profession, you will have to read a lot and provide your share of reports and memos, often with a tight deadlines. 
 
For those freshmen, sophomores and juniors. I would highly encourage you to seek out internships in your field of interest or even volunteer for an agency that you know could use some help–aspiring lawyers are needed to help out recent immigrants seeking to obtain legal status, or qualify for various programs

Meet Alumna Molly Cole ’07, Brooke East Boston Founder

Name: Molly Cole

Class Year: 2007

Title: Brooke East Boston Founder

Organization Name: Brooke Charter Schools

 

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

I manage the Director of Talent and Recruitment, as well as coach the Interim Principal of Brooke East Boston.

 

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 tutored through SPUD at Burncoat Elementary School and knew that I enjoyed working with students. I was also inspired by the mission of Teach for America and its connection to the Jesuit idea of being “men and women for others”. I met with the TFA representative when he visited campus in the fall of my senior year, and decided to apply. Immediately following graduation, I taught for two years at an elementary school in rural North Carolina through the Teach for America program.

 

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

While at HC, I participated in SPUD, Purple Key Society and student government.

 

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

I majored in History and minored in Art History. I loved both History and Art History, and think both subjects honed my interest in reading, writing and learning, and I wanted to bring that love to the classroom when I taught.  

 

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

After teaching, I became the founding principal of Brooke East Boston. The two skills perhaps I used most as a teacher and school leader were critical thinking and communicating- and both I developed while at Holy Cross.

 

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

You have all been given the incredible gift of a Holy Cross education- soak in every part of it: listen critically and try your best in your classes, be open to new opportunities and let yourself make life long friends!

Meet Alum Bryan Dextradeur ’17, Consultant at Deloitte Consulting LLP

Name: Bryan Dextradeur

Class Year: 2017

Title: Consultant

Organization Name: Deloitte Consulting LLP (on leave) / Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

 

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

Collaborating with business leaders to design and implement innovative ways of competing in the market by developing growth strategies and addressing operational challenges.

 

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 path fell more on the “unplanned” side – I networked aggressively for 8 – 10 months prior to recruiting season. I knew Deloitte was a good fit for me because of the people – they were interested in getting to know my story and they were generous with their time, both in terms of sharing their experience with me and helping me prepare for recruiting. I immediately had the sense that they would feel like “teammates” instead of coworkers – and that is exactly the culture I found when I arrived after graduation!

 

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

I was an Organic Chemistry II Teaching Assistant, SRC in the Office of Wellness Programming, Admissions Tour Guide, and avid intramural water polo player.

 

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

I was a biology major on the pre-med track. I’ve always had an interest in health care and I’ve carried that forward into my consulting career. At Deloitte, I’ve worked exclusively with health care clients, including health plans, integrated delivery systems, public sector health agencies, and digital health firms. In my time at Tuck, I’ve been closely involved with the Center for Health Care, which develops programming at the intersection of business and health care (e.g., educational sessions, networking opportunities, visiting industry executives, etc.).

 

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

Analytical skills. Having taken many labs at Holy Cross in the pre-med program, I was well-versed in designing experiments, collecting data, analyzing it, and drawing conclusions. In many ways, consulting is not that different! When you have a new client, you start by developing a hypothesis on what the root cause of their concerns is / how they should respond, you collect a ton of qualitative and quantitative data to help you investigate the issue, you analyze that data rigorously to develop insights, and you ultimately arrive at an evidence-based recommendation. Robust analytical skills are a daily necessity in consulting.

Storytelling skills. These are perhaps the most underrated skills in consulting. When I was taking Montserrat at Holy Cross, I often rolled my eyes at the frequent oral and written presentations we had to give, but those experiences have served me well in my career. On a consulting case, it doesn’t matter how insightful or critical your findings are if you can’t effectively communicate them to the audience. The executives who pay for consultants are busy people. You have to be able to tell a clear, concise, and compelling story on your findings if you want them to listen to you and implement your recommendations.

 

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

Start early. It’s disappointing to me when I hear from a Holy Cross student expressing interest in consulting for the first time at the beginning of senior year. Undergraduate consulting recruiting typically begins in August / September of senior year, so at that point, there’s not much I can do to help them. Building networking relationships several months prior to recruiting and beginning the recruiting preparation process early will put you in a better position for success when recruiting kicks off.

Focus on your story. When I speak with students, I don’t expect them to have a show-stopping resume, but I do want to hear a clear, crisp summary of what they have accomplished so far, what skills they have gained from those experiences, why they are interested in consulting, and how those skills will translate into consulting. When students do this well, I can tell they have both realistic goals and a clear self-awareness on how they can achieve those goals, which increases my confidence that they can be successful. This also boosts the chances of getting a warm introduction!

Be honest. If you’re starting early, you don’t need to be 100% sure you want to pursue consulting, nor do you need to know everything there is to know about it. College, and networking, can be time of valuable exploration and reflection as you determine which career you want to pursue. Tell the people you are networking with where you are at in the process and what you’re hoping to get out of each call. If you’re early in the process, far better to tell someone your focus now is learning about the career with the intention of possibly recruiting at a later time than telling them you’re ready to recruit immediately when you’re unsure if you want to and not well-versed in the career.

Meet Alum David Cotrone ’13, Director of Public Relations and Communications

Name: David Cotrone

Class Year: 2013

Title: Director of Public Relations and Communications

Organization Name: PRX

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

PR and communications is wide-ranging, but in a nutshell: I help to identify and achieve publicity opportunities through a mix of media relations and strategic communications. PRX is a nonprofit public media company specializing in podcasting and radio. The organization won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for audio, and Fast Company named it one of the top 10 most innovative media companies. PRX works in partnership with an incredible array of content creators: The Moth, the Smithsonian, Radiotopia, Futuro Media, Religion of Sports, GBH in Boston, and many more.

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 grad school in New York right after Holy Cross, in a creative field, thanks in part to a Beinecke Scholarship. Because I gained communication skills through liberal arts, I was a fit for an internship at a public relations firm in the city and working my way up from there. This allowed me to attend grad school and to work at the same time. Eventually, I would combine all my skills into the career I have now, in public media. At its best, public media reaches audiences through trust and human-centered stories. It’s also a rich service.

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

Alternate College Theater. I wasn’t any good at acting or anything like that, but I enjoyed the social aspect of it.

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

My major was English with a focus in creative writing. My goal wasn’t to become a professional writer, but to work in a creative field or to bring creativity with me. As I now work in a field that values the power of narrative––both personal storytelling, stories rooted in journalism, and documentary––I haven’t strayed too far from that original goal.

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

Leveraging critical thinking and curiosity.

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

Take classes in as many different subjects as possible, including outside your comfort zone. Second: find mentors. Third: take full advantage of Kimball Dining Hall while you can. At the end of the day, there is perhaps no greater joy than being there when lunch turns over to dinner.

Meet Alum Alberto Correia ’78, Vice President of Technical Services

Name: Alberto Correia

Class Year: 1978

Title: Vice President of Technical Services

Organization Name: Proveris Scientific

 

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

My focus is customer support. The functions that report to me include:  marketing; field and in-house services and sales of specific product lines.

 

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

I was a chemistry major and one of our instruments broke down. I went to the vendor to obtain the part we needed and met an alumni who offered me an internship in the laboratory from there I worked my senior year and two weeks before I graduated I started a full time position.

 

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

The company was based on chemistry and had a customer focus that was unmatched.

 

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

Junior year I was working 3-4 nights in the laboratory at Waters. Senior year a spent every other week traveling across the USA lecturing for Waters. My professors were great as they allowed friends to tape the lectures and fed-ex them to the hotels I was staying at so I could keep up.

 

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

I was a  chemistry major and all of the positions I have held were related to knowledge of chemistry. 

 

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

The chemistry knowledge was critical, but as important was the life lessons that a Jesuit education instilled in me: loyalty; ethics; hard work.

 

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

Follow your passion. I am 65 years old and never worked a day in my life. I go to work to have fun and make an impact. No amount of money is worth following a path that you do not enjoy.

Meet Alumna Brianna Medeiros ’12, APRN, NNP-BC, Women & Infants Hospital

Name: Brianna Medeiros

Class Year: 2012

Title: Brianna Medeiros, APRN, NNP-BC

Organization Name: Women & Infants Hospital

 

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

I am a Nurse Practitioner in the Neonatal ICU (NICU) where I manage patient care, attend deliveries and perform resuscitative duties, perform various procedures, consult with specialists, and most importantly support patients and their families throughout their NICU stay.

 

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? 

For as long as I can remember, I was always interested in a career in the medical field, and planned to work closely with children and families. While at Holy Cross, I took all of the pre-medical requirements and in my senior year, participated in the Internship Program where I spent a semester shadowing professionals in the NICU at UMass Memorial Hospital. After this experience, I knew that working in the NICU was my calling. I spent the first year after graduation working in clinical research at Rhode Island Hospital while contemplating my future plans. During that time, I discovered that I was interested in more of a “hands-on” role, similar to that of the nurses, so the next step for me was enrolling in nursing school. I graduated in 2015 with my RN and immediately applied to every NICU job I could find, which led me on a cross-country move to Arizona where they hired me as a new-grad RN. After a year of experience, I moved back to the Boston area and continued working as a NICU RN. As time elapsed, I knew that I wanted to be able to do more in terms of both patient management and hands-on skills such as procedures and resuscitations. In 2021 I graduated from the University of Connecticut as a Nurse Practitioner with my Master’s Degree specializing in Neonatal Medicine. Overall, I knew prior to Holy Cross that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine but it was through the different experiences both on and off campus that my path evolved into the career that I now have.

 

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

I participated in a number of different activities, including Novice Crew, SPUD, Eco-Action, Campus Ministry, 4 years of spring break service trips, and the Tanzania immersion trip.

 

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

My major was Psychology and I was on the pre-medical track. I found Psychology to be very interesting and I thought that it would aid me well in my career as a medical provider. The pre-medical courses were very rigorous and I found myself less interested in medical school and more interested in other medical careers as time progressed. In hindsight, it was the best case scenario because it led me to the career that I am incredibly happy with and offers me a wonderful work-life balance that I don’t believe I would have if I chose to move forward with medical school.

 

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

Teamwork and a sense of community/compassion for others outlined most activities at Holy Cross, both academic and social. Teamwork was essential during labs, group projects, and for successful studying. A sense of community was present in all aspects of campus life, from the extracurricular activities (e.g. SPUD) to campus ministry, spring break immersions, and sporting events. As a Nurse Practitioner, I am completely dependent on teamwork and collaborate with nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians, social workers, and so many others on a daily basis; and of course compassion for others is the foundation of all (quality) medical care.

 

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

Enjoy the time you have on the Hill because it goes by so incredibly fast and take advantage of special opportunities you have while there. To this day I regret not studying abroad and in hindsight it would have been so worthwhile to spend that time even if it meant not finishing all of my pre-medical requirements. Ultimately, I did not need them anyway! If you are unsure about what you want to do in your career, use the opportunities that HC provides to explore – take advantage of the Internship and networking opportunities. There will be plenty of time after graduation to figure out your next steps, but there are so many opportunities on the Hill that you cannot take with you after you leave.

Meet Alum Brian Ricca ’96, Superintendent of Schools

Name: Brian G. Ricca

Class Year: 1996

Title: Superintendent of Schools

Organization Name: East Greenwich (RI) Public Schools

 

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

It is my job to ensure all students feel safe, welcomed, and included when they come to school so that they can learn to their fullest potential.

 

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?

Upon graduation, I joined Inner City Teaching Corps, a Chicago-based volunteer program. It was modeled after the Jesuit Volunteer Corps but was exclusively for teachers. I spent two summers as a part of the Mexico Immersion Program with Kim McElaney, and that’s when I knew I wanted to be a teacher.

I loved teaching from that first summer after graduation and have grown in leadership roles since being a classroom teacher.

 

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

Pax Christi, RICH (Residents for Improved Campus Housing), Mexico Immersion Program, Liturgical Ministry

 

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

I was a Religious Studies major with an emphasis on Liberation Theology. The Jesuit mission of living one’s life in the service of others was a through-line in my studies. The notion that our liberation is directly tied to those who are most marginalized is validated by the gospel stories of Jesus in the New Testament. I wanted to start my teaching career where I was most needed.

 

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

The professors at Holy Cross taught me to analyze and think critically, to look at ideas from multiple perspectives, and to be articulate in my rationale. I was a part of the “first” First Year Program at Holy Cross, and that experience of reading a shared text across multiple disciplines was invaluable.

 

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

Strive for the “grey” in our world. There is far too much instant polarization. We have knee-jerk reactions to those whose political ideology does not match ours. Be solid in your values and what you know to be true and good, and be open to the intrinsic value of those who disagree. Be the one willing to have the hard conversation with someone who thinks about the world differently than you do.

Meet Alum Sean Callahan ’89, Mission Director for USAID/Afghanistan

Name: Sean E Callahan 

Class Year: 1989

Title: Mission Director for USAID/Afghanistan 

Organization Name: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

 

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

I am responsible for creating, implementing and leading US foreign assistance programs based on sound development principles for the Afghan people including promoting human rights, democracy, and human rights; supporting Afghan women and girls; and mitigating the effects of the humanitarian and economic crises in Afghanistan.

 

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 Holy Cross semester in Washington DC exposed me to so many different international organizations, think tanks, issues and views that were part of the policy and legislative making process related to international affairs that I was unaware of until then. That semester made me more interested in international issues. My job after Holy Cross was as a legal assistant at a Wall Street law firm. While I thought about law school then and the lawyers there impressed me, I wasn’t interested in a corporate law job nor going to law school just yet. It took 6 years and deferring admission three times before I went to grad school for a joint JD/MPA. Instead, I moved to Southeast Asia first as a Princeton-In-Asia fellow and then with the International Catholic Migration Commission working on refugee matters. 

 

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

 I was on the varsity swim team and started the water polo club. I hope it is still going. I was also part of the Film club where we picked and showed independent and foreign “films” in Hogan and then more Hollywood style movies in lower Kimball on the weekends. 

 

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

My major was political science. Courses in political theory, comparative systems, political economy, history and even the classics made me interested in how the US and other countries analyze and address serious issues such as refugees, sovereign debt, humanitarian crises and the other development challenges. This led to looking for work and experiences overseas. 

 

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

First and foremost, the strong belief – that the Cross instilled in me – of service for others. Even after 20+ years in development work and despite the bureaucracy of the US government, I still strongly believe in the USAID’s mission to help others which I credit to Holy Cross. The most used skill that HC taught me was inquisitiveness. To understand people and problems in order to get to a solution – whether how to unlock financial liquidity in the Afghanistan or create space for civil society in Afghanistan – one needs to understand the underlying reasons and problems. However, the only way to get there is to ask questions and lots of them.

 

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

Get out of your comfort zone. Travel. Meet new people. Be patient. No one lands their dream job right out of school or even after several different jobs. I would also advise against faking it. Trust your heart and look at what motivates you whether it’s public service; the private sector; a religious calling; academia or the fine arts. It all falls in place eventually if you stay true to yourself.