Meet Alum Nicholas Harper ’18, Business Technology Analyst Fellow- Holy Cross Advancement

Name: Nicholas Harper

Class Year: 2018

Position:  Business Technology Analyst Fellow- Holy Cross Advancement


In one sentence, what does your job entail?

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

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

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

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

I graduated Holy Cross with a double major in mathematics and economics. Economics pushed me towards pursuing a career in the financial services, which I fully intend to do after finishing my fellowship here at HC. Mathematics opened my eyes to the power of statistics and modeling data, which are hugely influential in decision-making. My majors both contributed to the development of critical thinking and detail-oriented problem solving, both of which should help immensely as I progress in my career.

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

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

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

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


Meet Summer Intern, Emily Rivard ’19, Harvard-Amgen Scholar at Harvard University

Name: Emily Rivard

Class Year: 2019
Internship Position: Harvard-Amgen Scholar at Harvard University

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

This summer I conducted research at Harvard University through the Amgen Scholars program, which is a residential summer research opportunity allowing undergraduates to partner with a Harvard faculty mentor and work under the supervision of graduate students or post-docs in his or her lab for 10 weeks.  I worked in Dr. Hopi Hoekstra’s lab in the Departments of Organismic & Evolutionary Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology, studying the developmental and genetic bases of natural variation.  Using deer mice as a model system, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of adaptive evolution.  I had the opportunity to give an oral presentation on my work, present a poster at a university-wide symposium, and attend the annual Amgen Scholars U.S. Symposium at UCLA.  This program also offered a number of pre-professional development opportunities, such as weekly networking events and graduate school preparation seminars, as well as fun community-building programs with the other members of my Amgen cohort, including Red Sox games, hikes in the White Mountains, and Boston Harbor cruises.


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

I was able to utilize information I had learned in a variety of my biology courses during my research this summer, including material from introductory courses on organismal biology and evolution and material I learned in my upper-level courses in genetics, genomics, and cell biology.  It was really exciting to conduct research that spanned such a wide range of topics within the scope of biological research.  I am glad that Holy Cross promotes such a well-rounded education, since I think it prepared me well for working in an interdisciplinary lab.

What has surprised you about being an intern?

Working as an undergraduate researcher at a university was a new and interesting experience.  My lab this summer had a different environment than what I have experienced at Holy Cross because it was large and composed of undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, laboratory technicians, a laboratory manager, and a PI.  I was pleasantly surprised by the incredible welcome and support I received throughout the summer from everyone in the lab.


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

As a biology major currently applying to PhD programs in genetics/genomics and hoping to one day become a professor, my research this summer was relevant and important to my future career goals.  This experience, in conjunction with the research I conduct in Professor Findlay’s lab at Holy Cross, gave me the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to be a competitive applicant for graduate school.  My research experiences as an undergraduate have also helped me determine the types of biology I would be interested in pursuing for my future research.


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

For students interested in conducting research at other universities, I would definitely recommend getting involved with research here at Holy Cross first.  Conducting research at Holy Cross during the school year and last summer was really important for me to get the experience necessary to be a good candidate for programs like Amgen or REUs.  My research advisor here at Holy Cross was also very helpful during the process of applying to summer research programs at other schools.  The research opportunities at Holy Cross are really amazing, so I would suggest chatting with the professors here about possibilities to help with their projects!

Meet Summer Intern Laura Escolero ‘19, Research Assistant, Boston City Councilor Kim Janey

Full Name: Laura Escolero ‘19

Summer Internship: Boston City Councilor Kim Janey

What were you up to this past summer?

This past summer I was a research intern for Councilor Janey’s office of the seventh district of Boston. Most of my work had to do with researching and brainstorming plans for many issues that the city of Boston is facing such as gentrification, gun violence, trauma, homelessness, and education. During my time working for the city councilor, I was able to sit in many briefs and meetings and understand the process of local government rulings and procedures. I was also able to meet many of the local constituents and hear their voices and opinions on the issues we were directly working on at town hall and community/neighborhood meetings. This was definitely an eye opening and transformative experience as I was able to network and learn about the many challenges my home is facing and how I individually can hold my city representatives accountable.

What was your favorite part?

My favorite part about the internship was that it was very student oriented and I was able to work on issues that I cared the most about. For example, every intern did a research project of their choice and I researched police surveillance through the use of new emerging drones as it was a very concerning issue for many of the residents in Boston. All of the other offices also had college interns and every Friday we would all take “field trips” to local service centers and other community venues to learn about organizations that are helping the city with issues of housing, emergencies, and law enforcement to name a few.

What surprised you?

The most surprising part about my internship was how city councilors and many employees in city hall work all hours of the day and really take into consideration every single complaint or petition of constituents. I really didn’t realize how local officials take their work home everyday in order to improve conditions for each of their districts and how they work tirelessly to really get to know and be in solidarity with their residents.

Meet Alumna Nerelly Checo ’18, Teaching fellow at Nativity School of Worcester

Name: Nerelly Checo

Class Year: 2018

Current Title/Employer: Teaching fellow at Nativity School of Worcester


In one sentence, what does your job entail?

My job entails teaching 15 5th grade boys, living in a community of 7 additional fellows, coaching a sport and operating as an outreach coordinator.  

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

I wanted a job in which I can make a difference in the community. This school serves low income boys of color- a community that I myself relate to. Because I was given many opportunities that have helped me get to where I am today, I wanted to also have an impact in the lives of these boys. I knew that this job was something that I was capable of doing with great interest, yet also challenge me to help me grow.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?  

On campus, I served on the executive board of the Latin American Student Organization for 3 years. I was a mentor for the Peer Mentor program and a mentor and program coordinator for the Odyssey program. I worked in the Office of Student Involvement and in the Center for Career Development as a Marketing Peer Career Assistant. I also worked as a caller for the Phonathon and held the job of a Hogan student manager. Additionally, I studied abroad in Argentina for a semester.

What was your major and how has it affected your career decisions?   

I was a double major in Sociology and Psychology. As a result, it has allowed me to become passionate about issues that people are affected with daily, specifically related to social justice. I tend to look at career paths that will lead me to make a difference and change the issues that our world faces. In addition, whenever I interact with a student, I keep in mind the many different societal and psychological layers that go into their lives.

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

One skill that I developed at Holy Cross was being able to maintain strong, interpersonal relationships. My majors and involvement on campus required me to develop communication skills, both written and orally. In addition, I also developed the ability to juggle multiple responsibilities and meet deadlines. Being involved in many different things on campus prepared me for the array of things thrown at me at my job, often times unexpectedly.

Meet Pat Burpee ’17, Equity Sales Trader, KeyBanc Capital Markets

Name: Pat Burpee

Class Year: 2017

Title: Equity Sales Trader

Organization Name: KeyBanc Capital Markets

In one sentence, what does your job entail? 

I trade domestic stocks for hedge funds.

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 a few job offers throughout my senior year but none felt like the right fit, so I actually graduated unemployed. I continued interviewing around the Boston area (where I’m from) and received another offer. I was ready to accept the new proposal, but in the middle of July a HC classmate mentioned an opening within KeyBanc’s Los Angeles office. I put all my eggs in one basket and went for it. I interviewed a handful of times with KeyBanc, and accepted an offer by early September. Essentially it was the perfect storm of events and I am fortunate it all worked out. I have been with KeyBanc since October ’17.

What were you involved in when you were on campus? 

Varsity Golf & Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)

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

Economics; I wanted to work in finance after college and figured the economics major provided the best route to ensure employment within that industry.

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

Definitely the ability to quickly digest and discern information. HC is not an easy school and there are nights when you are overwhelmed with work. Similarly, there are times during the work day when the stock market is hectic and volatile. Being able to decide what details are important and what items are extraneous is critical when talking to clients. I guess I honed those skills with four years of practice in Dinand.

 What advice do you have for students on campus today? 

A lot of my friends graduated with job security, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t freaking out come May. If you’re one of those individuals who’s still looking for a job come the spring or summer, just know that it’ll all work out. I recommend using the HC alumni network as much as possible. I have never encountered an alum who didn’t have 5 minutes to spare for a fellow Crusader.

Meet Alumna, Sarah Jensen ’08, Director Ad Sales- Crown Media Family Networks

Sarah Jensen, Feb. 18, 2016 Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Title: Director, Ad Sales

Organization Name: Crown Media Family Networks

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I am responsible for selling commercial time on Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, digital inventory across our digital and social properties and monetizing the many unique sponsorship opportunities that we offer across our platforms during the year, especially within our original movies, original series and seasonal holiday events.

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?  

Holy Cross’ alumni network, Crusader Connections, enabled me to make connections with alumni in the media, advertising and communications industries. Through my outreach, I was able to set up many informational interviews with alumni to learn about their roles and responsibilities as I tried to decide the direction in which I wanted to move in my career. Coincidentally, one of my informational interviews with an alumnus of Crown Media Family Networks, which ultimately led me to the opportunity to begin my career in media.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

On campus, I was a member of Fools on the Hill, the College’s only co-ed a cappella group. I also was very involved in Campus Ministry, participating and/or leading retreats like Escape, Manresa and the Spiritual Exercises. I was also in the MAGIS program and the church choir, often leading the 10pm Mass in song.

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

As a Spanish major, I was unsure about the career path I wanted to take after graduation. Knowing I did not want to be a teacher, I was not sure how to best put my major to use in my professional life. My first job after Holy Cross was at a translation company. However, after soon realizing that it was not the right fit, I knew I may have to open myself up to other industries and opportunities to find my place. Despite not working in a role that obviously utilizes my Spanish major, the skills I developed through my major and experience studying abroad for a year in Leon, Spain positively impacted my career decisions and helped me secure a position at Crown Media Family Networks even though I do not use Spanish on a daily basis.

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

My ability to write and communicate clearly and effectively has been essential to my work every day. It not only helps me internally among my colleagues, but it helps tremendously in my outreach to clients and in my ability to establish better relationships with them. Also, thinking creatively continues to help me find success, especially when it comes to finding solutions for my clients.

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Work hard and soak up as much information and as many unique experiences as you can. Everything you do at Holy Cross helps prepare you for the professional world. Once ready to look for a job, be as prepared as you can be as you go into each interview and as you communicate with people throughout the process. First impressions stick!

Leveraging the Alumni Network to Score Your Dream Internship

By: Kara Cuzzone ’19


Until this past spring, I’d heard about the infamous powerhouse that is the Holy Cross alumni network, but I’d never experienced it firsthand. Then I met Micaela English ’08.

I had the opportunity to meet Micaela through the New York City Semester Program. The program involves a four days a week internship, a seminar, and culminates in a capstone project. There are also regular colloquia meetings with NYC-based Holy Cross alumni in a diverse range of fields. That’s how I met Micaela.

The other students and I were invited to meet Micaela at a restaurant in Midtown to hear about her career path. Micaela was a longtime editor at TOWN&COUNTRY before going to work for brands like Anthropologie, Fresh Beauty, and Armarium. I was drawn to her warm, welcoming presence, and impressed by her expertise. It was clear that she knew her way around the media world, and she was happy to share what she has learned during her years at Holy Cross and beyond.

Given our shared interest in writing, as well as her approachable demeanor, I decided to reach out and ask to meet one on one after the dinner. When we did, I mentioned that I was interested in staying in the city for the summer and finding an internship at a women’s media website. Immediately, Micalea pulled out her phone and began texting friends she thought might have a connection to a potential internship for me. And she didn’t stop there. As the semester progressed, she assisted me with my internship search, gave me pointers on interviewing and networking in the field, and didn’t give up until she had helped me secure an internship for the summer.

My experience with Micaela truly speaks to dedicated alumni network Holy Cross has to offer. She went above and beyond in order to help me get my foot in the door in the women’s media industry. And thankfully, our relationship has continued beyond my internship search. Recently, I was able to ask her a few questions about her life, career path, and advice for current HC students. Below, find our conversation.


What’s it like being a brand consultant and writer?

I consult with beauty, wellness, and fashion brands on their storytelling, social media strategy, and product and site copy and then also freelance write for publications like InStyle and Well+Good. No sugarcoating, it’s a lot, it’s a total hustle and has helped me earn my Masters in time management. What I like about consulting is that no day is quite the same. And with all of these different projects, I am continually growing and diversifying my skill set. For example, right now I’m working on a project for a wellness brand with their product copy, so I am writing the description and instructions on the back of a beauty product coming out next year!

 Is there a typical day on the job?

Some days I could be meeting with clients at The Wing for a few hours to solidify brand strategy. Then the next day I could be in my work space all day working on a client project and conducting a celebrity interview for InStyle. It’s constantly changing and flowing, and that’s the beauty and the challenge of it all.

 How did you get your first writing job?

I was an editorial assistant at TOWN&COUNTRY magazine. It was a tiny little piece, maybe 100 words, about Kermit the frog being dressed exclusively by Brooks Brothers for the new Muppet movie. I like to think he’d be proud.

Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve ever written?

I think my most personal pieces end up reading the best and feeling the most me. When you’re vulnerable and real, no filter. There was a piece I wrote for InStyle last summer about a life transition I was going through. It was quite personal. Essentially it’s about growth and the journey to self-love, the awakening feeling I started to experience, and the way it set me free. It took a lot for me to put it out there, everyone wants to paint a pretty picture of how your life looks, but the more honest I am, the stronger I feel.

Is there a motto you try to live by?

The universe has your back. I read this book by Gabrielle Bernstein with that phrase as its title, but the motto itself really applies to my adult philosophy of life…with the “Universe” I think you can interpret this to whatever you believe in, God, a higher power. I trust and believe that everything happens for a reason. The hardships, the heartaches, the job that doesn’t work out. I think when one curtain closes, it’s making room for something much bigger. Those hardships have made me who I am. They often do. I always tell people…if Adele hadn’t had that breakup, there’d be no Rolling in the Deep.


What’s one thing you used to worry about in college that now looking back, you wish you hadn’t worried so much about?

That rush Senior year where everyone is whispering, “Did you hear where so and so got a job?” Don’t put that pressure on yourself. Just ride it out. Be aggressive, but be calm. Do something you love but if it doesn’t come knocking on your doorstep until you graduate, so be it. I also will tell you, ten years after you graduate, nobody will care about who had a job offer September of Senior Year. There is no race to the finish line of “getting the job”.

Any tips for current HC students who want to reach out to alums and make a good impression?

So many. Before contacting an alum, research their experience and have questions prepared. Google them. Look them up on LinkedIn. Educate yourself. Please send a thank you email after you speak to an alum, not a thank you text.

Kara Cuzzone ’19

Micaela English ’08