Meet Alumna Jackie Ford ’91, CFO, America’s Test Kitchen

Name:  Jackie Ford

Class Year:  1991

Title: Chief Financial Officer

Organization Name:  America’s Test Kitchen

 

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

I analyze the financial and operational metrics of the company to guide the strategy.

 

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 an eco/acctg major at HC and so I went into public accounting initially and stayed there fore 10 years.  My first job after that was at a client which I landed through networking.   It was a good fit because the company and the people were already known to me.

 

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

Sports information office,  Resident Assistant, Purple Key Society

 

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

I began my career in public accounting.  I choose the smallest of the big firms at the time because I wanted to work with smaller companies.  It was amazing to work with small and middle market companies as I got to work with so many companies each year and see so many different industries.

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

Meet or speak with as many people you can to find out what you want to do to launch your career.  In launching your career you might consider any of all of the following:  where you want to live, what industry you want to focus on, a specific role or function, big company, small company, or start-up.  You first job is your opportunity to test the waters.  Ask people what they do all day and try and figure out if that interests you.  Networking is very very important to your success so start now.

Meet Alumna Carley Buckley ’18, Administrative Executive Assistant

Name: Carley Buckley

Class Year: 2018

Title: Executive Administrative Executive Assistant

Organization Name: Steiner Studios

 

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

I provide administrative support to the CEO and hands-on office support to staff as well as act as a liaison between the productions on site and our facility.

 

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 all started with an internship hunt for my New York Semester during the fall of my junior year. I knew I was interested in the Arts and Entertainment Industry, however, I was having a difficult time finding an internship. An opportunity at Steiner Studios presented itself at the last minute and I was able to stay in the NY program. As an intern in their Stage Operations Department, I worked with multiple productions and assisted with everyday tasks such as setting up lunch areas and maintaining fire lane codes. The internship introduced me to the behind-scenes part of the industry that I previously knew nothing about. Steiner Studios has given me the opportunity to learn and grow in this industry that I’ve been fascinated with for so long. The internship and the connections I made during that time helped me the most when looking for jobs after graduation.

 

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

I was very involved in the music scene around campus. I was a part of College Choir and Chamber Singers as well as Fools on the Hill. Junior year I formed my own band, “No Protocol” and performed at campus events and participated in Battle of the Bands. Being involved with these groups allowed me to pursue a passion of mine as well as apply what I was learning in my music classes into practice. I was also involved in the Admissions Office as a Tour Guide and then as a Senior Interviewer. As my time at Holy Cross came to close, I found it exciting to see and meet the next generation of students and share my experiences as they began theirs.

 

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

I was an English and Music double major. I enjoyed reading and analyzing epic poems and operas that influence our literature and music today. The double major overlapped many times throughout my courses of study. For example, my 18th Century Poetry class had Martha Redbone perform her compositions using lyrics from William Blake’s poetry. Watching my majors intertwine made me realize what I do and how I do it with my majors is all up to me.

 

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

My interactions with people, both coworkers and clients, happen every day. There is never a slow point in the day where I can hide behind my computer. Therefore, my communication skills is one of the most important skills I strengthened at Holy Cross. I encounter a variety of personalities so it is important that I communicate in a clear, concise, and respectful way in order to assist our clients. Critical thinking is another important skill I use on a daily basis. Whether I need to track down a package that was lost in the mail or conference rooms are overbooked, quick problem-solving can help keep a situation from turning into a disaster.

 

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

Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy. Taking on an internship that wasn’t expected at the time eventually led to my first job out of college and I’ve made some great friends and colleagues in the process. During my internships and throughout Holy Cross, I made some mistakes but what was important was my ability to learn from them and keep moving forward.

Meet #CrusaderIntern Karina Ramos ’20, Lab Technician Intern

Name: Karina Ramos

Class Year: 2020

Internship position: Intern- Lab Technician

Employer: Proveris Scientific Corporation

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

This summer at Proveris, my main duties included running experiments for the Senior Applications Chemist and Senior Field Scientist in the chemistry laboratory. Specifically, the company’s focus is in advancing the aerosol and nasal spray technology industry, so the majority of my time was collecting data off the instrumentation and analyzing it using custom software designed by the company. Not only was I working within my immediate team, but also spent much of my time communicating and deliberating with the engineering, sales, and manufacturing teams. These wide range of duties allowed me to have a holistic understanding of the inner workings that is the pharmaceutical industry.

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

Just before I began my internship, I took Analytical and Instrumental Chemistry. In this course we learned how to read scholarly journals by meticulously studying currently published works and modeling common practices in our own papers. This skill of reading with intention allowed me to become more efficient and confident in my ability to read papers that at first seem too complex to understand. Some of my duties this summer included doing research on past literature in the field to further develop methods for more efficient data collection. My confidence in reading peer reviewed journals and gathering a consensus of the paper’s findings made me a valuable asset in the method development step in conducting experiments.

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?

I have been pleasantly surprised at how eager my department was to allow me to troubleshoot issues in the instrumentation and software on my own. Also, within the first couple of weeks working full-time, I was grateful enough to receive some projects that I could effectively work on myself. Working for a smaller company gave me more autonomy in day to day tasks that lead to working on customer projects independently and with confidence from my supervisors. I am thankful to be given so much responsibility at the intern level.

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

This experience allowed me to expand my network not only into the Holy Cross alumni network, but also into the pharma industry. Working in industry instead of research (which is what I have only been exposed to) has given a good insight to what a routine looks like working for pharma.

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

Network with alumni at the beginning of your junior year so they keep you in mind when applications come out in the spring! Also apply to a variety of different fields in different locations around the country.

Meet #CrusaderIntern Adeline McCullough ’21, Animal Husbandry and Family and Youth Education Intern

Name: Adeline McCullough

Class Year: 2021

Internship Position: Animal Husbandry and Family and Youth Education Intern

Internship Employer: Mass Audubon Joppa Flatts Education Center

 

 

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

I interned at a Mass Audubon Center in Newburyport this summer. There I cared for over 40 species of animals. I fed them and regulated the water chemistry of 30-gallon and 100-gallon saltwater tanks. Also, I led programs educating families about marine life.  I gave presentations, and facilitated opportunities where visitors could hold our animals. Additionally, I went on numerous trips to collect marine animals from around New England such as Plum Island, York Beach, and Gloucester.

 

 

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

My internship required a detailed knowledge of the anatomy, phylogeny, and environments of the animals housed at the center. My previous coursework in biology and chemistry at Holy Cross gave me extensive knowledge in these areas, which allowed me to be confident and prepared in my internship.

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?

What surprised me about being an intern was how much I enjoyed it! The other interns and employees shared the same passion for animals and the environment as I have. I had fun in bonding with the other interns, going on tidepooling trips, and even in the grunt work like cleaning the tanks.

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

This experience made me interested in a career path working with animals. Before my internship I had a passion for biology, but I had no idea what path I wanted to follow. Now that I have experience with caring for animals, I know I want to incorporate that into my career hunt for the future.

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

My advice to other Holy Cross Students is take every opportunity you can to experience something new. A like or dislike are both equally valuable when looking towards a future career.

Meet Alumna Lauren Brown ’07, Assistant Attorney General

Name: Lauren Brown

Class Year: 2007

Title:  Assistant Attorney General

Organization Name: Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia

 

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

I work in the Government Contracts Section of the Commercial Division at the Office of the Attorney General, where I represent the District in bid protest litigation and review and negotiate contracts for various agency purchases that include items, such as new fire trucks for the District to working on the contract for a new bridge worth more than $440 million.

 

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?

After I graduated Holy Cross, I went straight to law school, so I didn’t start my job search until I was in law school. I knew I wanted to work for the government in some capacity, so I started applying to positions, but at the time, the legal market didn’t have very many open, entry-level positions. Moreover, I was fresh out of school with no actual job experience (beyond internships). Thus, my first few positions after law school were temporary positions, which provided me with an opportunity to gain work experience and additional skills while I continued my job search for a permanent position.

 

One of the key themes in terms of events that connected me to my employers has been networking. Even if a connection may not have a job opening right now, it is important to maintain that relationship because you never know when that individual will have an opening in the future or they will hear about an opportunity that they can share with you. I learned about my current position from one of my former supervisors at the Connecticut General Assembly, Office of Legislative Management. My former supervisor was attending a procurement conference in Washington, DC and heard that the Office of the Attorney General was going to be hiring procurement attorneys and she passed the information along to me. I then applied for that position, which is how I learned about my current job. Therefore, it is important to grow and maintain your network and to let your network know that you are searching for a job.

 

Working in some positions that weren’t necessarily the best fit has helped me realize what is most important to me when I was searching for my current position. What I like most about my current position is working closely with our agency clients to accomplish their goals to improve life for District residents. I also like that my position provides me with a mixture of independent assignments, as well as an opportunity to work on other projects as a team with my colleagues.

 

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

I tutored at the Nativity School of Worcester through SPUD, served as Vice President of the Holy Cross Chapter of Model United Nations, worked as an Article Editor for the Holy Cross Journal of Law and Public Policy, and was a member of the Political Science Student Advisory Council, the Holy Cross College Republicans, and the Investment Club.

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

I majored in Political Science and minored in Economics at Holy Cross. I loved majoring in Political Science and took so many great courses at Holy Cross that I knew I wanted to continue my pursuit toward working in the government. I considered getting a master’s degree in public policy, but at the time, I wasn’t sure that was ultimately the area that I wanted to spend my entire career in. After learning about the broad range of careers that people with law degrees have, from practicing law in the traditional sense to being CEOs of companies and everything in between, I decided that going to law school would provide me with more flexibility over the course of my career. Ultimately, the law school I selected to attend also offered a Law and Public Policy Certificate program, so I could still pursue that aspect of my education.

 

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

Some of the most important skills I developed at Holy Cross that I use in my work are the ability to clearly write and communicate, as well as to analyze complex issues and succinctly explain them to others. Also, time management is crucial because on a daily basis I have numerous competing demands that I need to balance in order to meet various, oftentimes short, deadlines.

 

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

I recommend reaching out to Holy Cross alumni to ask if they would be willing to do an informational interview with you. It is a good way to learn more about what their current position entails and the steps they took to get to that point in their career. I’ve met with numerous alumni who have all been very generous with their time and it is a beneficial way to informally learn more about various positions and career paths. The strength of the Holy Cross Alumni Network is very true.

 

Doing internships or volunteer work in an area in which you are interested in gaining additional experience is beneficial. Internships and volunteering also provide you with an opportunity to see whether that type of work is something that you truly enjoy doing and want to pursue as a career. Programs such as Holy Cross’ Washington Semester Program are invaluable in terms of providing you with a high-quality internship and work experience.

 

Another suggestion is to join professional organizations, even while you are still a student. Many organizations offer free or reduced membership rates to students, offer valuable mentoring programs, and provide leadership opportunities. I am on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia and we always encourage students to attend our events and to get more involved, which provides students with an opportunity to learn about various areas of the law in which they may want to pursue a career.

Meet Alumna Erin DeMarco ’04, Senior Donor Relations Officer

Name: Erin (Smith) DeMarco

Class Year: 2004

Title: Senior Donor Relations Officer

Organization Name: Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

 

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

As Senior Donor Relations Officer, I am responsible for creating and implementing strategy and programs to engage and steward donors to the Institute at all levels of giving.

 

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? 

At Holy Cross, I was a Spanish major in the Teacher Education Program.  After my junior year, I interned at ReadBoston, a children’s literacy nonprofit. I found this internship through the Summer Internship Program at Holy Cross and pursued it because I thought it would allow me to hone my interest in education outside of a traditional classroom setting.  My boss that summer was another Holy Cross alumna (Theresa Lynn ’87). After graduation, I was hired by ReadBoston full time. My plan had not been to work in a nonprofit, but through this internship, I discovered my passion for nonprofit work.  I worked at ReadBoston for almost eight years and Theresa, my former boss, remains a wonderful friend and mentor.

 

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

I was a four-year student athlete on the swim team. I was also a member of Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honor Society).

 

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

I was a Spanish Major in the Teacher Education Program. I intended to be a teacher, but my experience interning at ReadBoston changed my outlook.

 

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

My liberal arts education allowed me to study a wide variety of topics and to think critically about different perspectives. These skills are indispensable every day.

 

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

Take advantage of the career center! I went to an info session for the Summer Internship Program and it ended up shaping my entire career in a way I never anticipated. In addition, relationships are so important and valuable, especially within the Holy Cross network.  Go to alumni events and keep up with your relationships with your fellow classmates. You never know when you might need to call on a fellow Crusader.

Meet Alum Nick Elward ’95, SVP and Head of Institutional Product and ETFs

Name:  Nick Elward

Class Year:  1995

Title:  SVP and Head of Institutional Product and ETFs

Organization Name:  Natixis Investment Managers

 

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

I research potential investment products to bring to market, help drive business strategy and lead the exchange traded fund business.

 

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

I always enjoyed following financial markets and started investing at a very early age.  After deciding law school and accountancy weren’t for me, I came to the realization that my love for investing could become a career!  After 25 years in the industry, I wouldn’t want to have it any other way!

 

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

Intramural sports of all types. I know it seems boring, but the teamwork and work ethic required in sports was a key formative activity that has helped me succeed in my career.

 

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

Political Science.  I enjoyed the study of government and thought law school was for me in my first few years.  I later realized my love of investments and business strategy was my calling.   My major forced me to become a very good writer and speaker.  That helps in business.

 

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

Besides my writing and public speaking skills, the extremely strong work ethic that I developed while at Holy Cross has been a difference maker.  A great employee needs intelligence, plus drive.

 

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

Study what you love.  Find a job that allows you to do what you love.  Be the best at whatever you do.  Be happy.

Meet Alumna Kledia Spiro ’10, Marketing Consultant

Name: Kledia Spiro

Class Year: 2010

Title: Marketing Consultant

Organization Name: Independent

 

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

I design and implement comprehensive and strategic marketing plans for start ups and organizations

 

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 a research assistant and supervisor for Dr. Amy Wolfson, the Chair of the Psychology Department. She was my advisor and my mentor after Holy Cross. My first employer was Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. I was the Clinical Research Coordinator for the Neuro-Oncology Department. After having to redo the department’s severe adverse events forms for an audit and meeting with the pharmaceutical companies every other day, I decided it was not the right fit for me. I realized marketing was the perfect combination of my passion for art and story telling while using data analytics, which I so enjoyed in research and medicine.

 

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

I was a  “Hate: Not Here!” committee member, Student Program for Urban Development, Volunteer for Apostolic Church, Office of Multicultural Education, Social Justice coordinator, NEED (Nutrition, Exercise, and Eating Disorders) Peer Educator, Secretary, Nativity School Teacher, Social Justice 101 Curriculum Coordinator

 

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

I was a Psychology and Visual Arts Major with an Asian Studies Concentration. I could not be more grateful to have had a Holy Cross education and to have picked these two majors and the concentration. They have affected my career decisions in countless ways. They gave me the incredible strong foundation on how to be team player, empathic leader, and thrive in fast paced environments. It is these very qualities that opened many opportunities for me when I was a graduate student at Tufts University and when I worked at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and beyond.

 

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

At Holy Cross I learned how to be very detail oriented, accurate and a team player. Being detail oriented and a strategic thinker were really developed in my studio classes as I had to constantly step back from the canvas or whatever work I was creating so I had a wide view of what was happening in my work and weren’t getting lost in the details. I also honed in my accuracy and team player skills in many of my psychology and Asian studies classes.

 

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

Take time to take care of yourself. Go to the Hart center and use the sauna or the pool and just take a break. The stress of a strenuous Holy Cross education can take a toll on your health if you don’t take the appropriate amount of breaks. There are so many opportunities waiting for you as a Holy Cross graduate, don’t over-stress yourself with getting a job before you graduate only to miss the opportunity to enjoy your last semester on the hill.

Meet #CrusaderIntern Daniel Mendez ’20, Programmer Analyst Intern at American Mathematical Society

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

I interned in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the main goal for my internship was to create a new help system for MathSciNet, which is a website used by American Mathematical Society (AMS). This involved working on backend (SQL, Scala) and frontend (Javascript – Vue.js framework, Html, CSS) aspects of full stack development. I created mock ups of help pages for testing queries/output in which databases such as PostgreSQL and Elasticsearch were needed to store/update/delete data. This was a test driven development environment where I would write code for some modules and write code that would test those modules. Lastly, I used tools such as Git for source code control.

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

There were some cs courses that helped me out more than others for this internship. For example, I had to work with such a large amount of data, so using the appropriate data structures to store and access that data was important for memory and time considerations. Therefore, my Data Structures course(csci132) was definitely helpful with this. Furthermore, there are many styles in which to program which are called paradigms. I learned about the majority of these paradigms in my Programming Languages Design and Implementation course(csci324). This course was also helpful when I had to program in Scala for my internship because the internship required me to use different paradigms such as Functional Programming and Object Oriented Programming. Lastly, generally speaking my academic learnings have sharpened my critical thinking skills and have helped me easily work with people from different backgrounds. Therefore, being able to make my own judgments on an issue and articulate my solution to a co-worker is as important as being able to take constructed criticism from that same co-worker.

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?

I have had internships in the past, but they were mainly composed of running errands for the actual employees. Your typical coffee runs and printing out copies, etc. However, for this internship at AMS, I felt more like an actual employee. From the first day I was given a large project to work on and the expectation to learn a plethora of tools and technologies that I had never heard about. This responsibility gave me some pressure, but it also made me grateful and privileged for the position I was in.

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

Part of my future career plan is to attain a job where I don’t have to push myself to go, rather the job excites me enough to pull me into work everyday. I can definitely say I had this feeling sometimes when I worked at AMS. Therefore, working as a software developer is an option I am heavily considering. Furthermore, I plan on obtaining a masters degree after working for a few years, so the area of focus for this may very well be computer science. If not then I may do a crossover between both of my majors in computer science and physics such as Electronics.

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

Be open minded because although you may not obtain the exact internship you wanted, it may turn out to be something you enjoy. Even if it’s not then you still have that connection with the company and its employees which may be helpful a few years down the road. Also, if you don’t hear back from several internships you applied for, don’t give up. It’s their loss not yours. Keeping a positive attitude while you’re applying to internships and going through interviews is very important.

Meet #CrusaderIntern Chris Puntasecca ’19, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

1.  Tell us about where you interned during your summers at Holy Cross and the kind of work you were doing.

In the summers following my sophomore and junior years, I interned with a pharmaceutical company, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, in Tarrtyown, New York. As part of their clinical affairs group, I dealt with databases associated with clinical trials for some of their drugs in development. In my first summer, I worked primarily in a data management role, assisting in the testing of new clinical databases and helping to identify potential protocol deviations and other discrepant patient data. In my second summer, I switched over to a database development role, and helped to actually design the electronic report forms for upcoming clinical trials.

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

The things I learned in my biology and chemistry courses at Holy Cross definitely came in handy when working with clinical data. Part of my role involved reading through a clinical trial protocol and identifying the types of fields that would need to be present in an associated database. My experiences reading and writing lab reports at Holy Cross prepared me to read these protocols critically and ensured that I was comfortable analyzing pages of dense, technical text.

3. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry?  

I was eager to work in pharmaceuticals for at least a summer so that I could gain exposure to large-scale research outside of an academic setting. My initial goal was to intern in a lab, and when my employer at Regeneron ultimately offered me a position in data management, I wasn’t sure if I would find the work interesting. In the end, however, I really enjoyed the work I was involved in, as it revealed an entire aspect of the research process that I had never seen before. I had the option to switch into a “pre-clinical” research lab for my second internship, but I eventually chose to pursue database development as I saw it as a more unique opportunity to gain technical skills.

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

My biggest commitment on campus was on the track and field team, where I competed as a decathlete. Aside from athletics, I worked in Professor Isaacs’s organic chemistry research lab, worked as a TA, and tutored through the STEM+E workshop in academic services. I was also involved in student government for three years, and volunteered at a local rehabilitation center through SPUD.

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

I would tell anyone on campus to find one or two commitments that they’re truly passionate about and pursue them. While I learned a lot and truly enjoyed my involvement on campus, I found that my experiences on the track team were by far the most meaningful and the ones that come to mind most readily when I think back on my time in college. From a practical standpoint, interviewers are going to look for someone who’s driven and passionate about what they do. If you have an extracurricular commitment that really means a lot to you, you’ll not only make great friends and memories, but also have a huge advantage when answering interview questions about your growth and personal experiences in college.