Meet Cathy Liebowitz, Director of Sustainability

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

I serve as a subject expert, connector, and catalyst for environmental action as Holy Cross strives to reach carbon neutrality by 2040.

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

It was a combination of mentorship and failure. During my first semester of college, I dropped out of a biochemistry class because I was doing quite poorly despite giving it everything I had. That experience made me realize that my original plan to pursue a major in environmental engineering wasn’t going to happen. After stumbling through that reality check, I was fortunate to find the dean of residential life who took me in as a mentee and gave me a few significant opportunities to explore student affairs as a career path.

3. Please tell us your career path since graduating college.

During my senior year, I applied to both jobs and master’s programs. When University of Maryland, College Park offered me a generous financial aid package and an assistantship that allowed me to get practical experience, I decided to go straight to graduate school. After finishing my master’s degree in higher education administration and international education, I was willing to move anywhere in the United States and landed at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign overseeing their $1.1M student green fund. Recognizing my desire to move closer to family, I started applying for a variety of positions in the northeast. I took a sustainability officer position at another institution before ending up here at Holy Cross. While I support networking, all the jobs I’ve been offered have come from online job applications.

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

I majored in Environmental Studies and minored in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino studies. I was, and still am, interested in sustainable development. However, I was leaning on my internship and co-curricular experiences far more than my major when thinking about my career. My major really came into play when I was a few weeks into my assistantship at UMD and my supervisor changed some of my job responsibilities to incorporate environmental stewardship, which aligned with the University’s goals. Otherwise, I’ve made career decisions based on experience, passion, and impact, rather than my major or course selections.

6. What skills are needed for the work you do?

Perseverance, active-listening, a willingness to learn new concepts quickly, and project development skills. The director of sustainability role is a generalist position, so some days I’m analyzing the phase out of R-22 refrigerants or writing a grant proposal while other days I’m helping students with a waste audit or creating social media graphics.

7. What advice do you have for students today?  

If you like multiple professional fields, it’s possible to work and/or stay connected across disciplines, especially over time. For instance, I currently work in environmental sustainability in my day-to-day job, but I support an emergency line in the summer for high school students traveling abroad for the first time, which feeds my interest in emergency management. Conferences, volunteer opportunities, consulting gigs, neighborhood projects, or starting a business are just some of the ways to engage in multiple professional fields. While I’ve held a few sustainability in higher education roles in a row, I’ve certainly explored positions in different areas because I like to merge potential impact, my skill set, and my passions.

Meet Alumna Ariel Baker ’18, Program Manager, New England Blacks in Philanthropy

Name: Ariel Baker

Class Year: 2018

Title: Program Manager

Organization Name: New England Blacks in Philanthropy

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

Creating a narrative shift in the way that the Black community and Black wealth is seen inter-communally and at large.

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 connected to my current employer by a Holy Cross alum Jerome Daye ‘08, who is a mentor of one of my close friends that I also met a Holy across. I decided this role was for me because I knew it was a fantastic starting point in my career and a way for me to explore numerous fields that interested just by the very nature of the position. My organization is a bit of a start up, so I have been deeply entrenched in the operations of the organization as well as the more “client facing” aspects, such as events, networking on behalf of the org etc. I have been able to learn what experiences I enjoy and don’t, in order to continue shaping what exactly I would like my career trajectory to look like. 

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

Rhythm Nation Step Team

MPE

Inter House Council
Work Study

Study Abroad 

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


Sociology. I have always been a “systems“ and “theory” person and understanding society from a sociological lens was just a natural fit for me. I am obviously extremely passionate about the way the Black community in particular functions in American society and when I had the chance to work for an organization with a mission like ours as well as to work for and be mentored by a Black woman this early in my career I jumped on the opportunity. 

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

1) Be firm in your approach but never to the point where you are difficult to work with. No one likes a know it all and as a new graduate you have to understand that you will not know much of anything actually. Approach all opportunities with an open mind but also with the confidence that graduating from an institution like Holy Cross has provided you. 

2) Never stop learning. There will always be something that you don’t know. 

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

Try everything at least once. If you have your eye set on one career path I encourage you to try the complete opposite (ex: hard sciences try something more creative and vice versa), just for the experience. You really never know what is out there for you so don’t limit yourself especially right now when you have so much support from Holy Cross.

Meet Alumna Melissa Cummings ’92, EVP and Chief Customer Officer

Name: Melissa Cummings

Class Year: 1992

Title: EVP and Chief Customer Officer

Organization Name: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island

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

Lead the company’s business lines, responsible for growth and retention overseeing sales, account management, product development, marketing and brand, digital assets, operations, customer service and our retail footprint. 

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 answered a job ad in the newsletter the HC Career Placement Office sent to new graduates for a job in NYC at a healthcare public relations firm. The hiring manager was a Holy Cross alum and she could attest to the value of the Holy Cross curriculum relative to thinking critically, writing effectively, considering alternatives and communicating with meaning.  We connected right away given our shared experience and preparation.  Public Relations was a great initial exposure to job that required strong writing, strong communication and creative skills My client base was an array of pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies and my “clients” were product managers in those firms, most of whom had a MBA.  I knew I could give better counsel to my clients if I had a richer appreciation of all the levers a product manager considered, beyond just public relations, so I attended business school and chose a degree specializing in healthcare management, which at the time was a newer and growing MBA discipline.  I went on to join a for profit health insurer in a MBA leadership development program designed to train general managers.  The notion of being a general manager is a theme I have carried throughout my career as I have had a wide array of varying leadership roles across the health insurer landscape.

My mom shaped my health interest – she was a nurse who left her career to raise kids and later returned to graduate school to receive her Master’s in Social Work and to this day is a private practice psychotherapist.  My dad shaped my business interest – he was a talented sales executive who later started his own business in the data communications space, his entrepreneurial spirit is a strong force for me. My work at UMass Medical Center while at Holy Cross in a community advocate role that I obtained because of a student run health and wellness program I was part of shaped my first exposure to recognizing the power of delivering health with care.

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

I was a Resident Assistant, an Admissions ambassador, a peer minister, I worked as a server in the “Kimball Café” (is this even a thing anymore?  Faculty and staff ate in a café in lower Kimball) and a member of a student run nutrition and wellness organization.

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

I was a Psychology major after trying out Political Science and Economics.  The healthcare/business combination was clearly in me even then! 

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

Critical thinking and curiosity as well as doing what is best for others and the community in which you live are two things that Holy Cross emphasized.  I am a learner at heart and Holy Cross fueled that for me.  I ask questions and am naturally curious and encourage that in those I work with on my team.  My interest in joining a not for profit insurer like Blue Cross is rooted in my appreciation of and commitment to giving back to the community, a core part of my experience at Holy Cross. 

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

Take as many different classes as you can – spark your curiosity.  Find a way to give back to your student community or to the community at large by getting involved in something. Network.  Use the alumni resources the College has to offer to explore different career options, graduate school choices, fields of interest, whatever it may be.  No one ever said “no” to a networking request and it takes little preparation on the part of the person being asked.  It’s a great way to learn about pathways and the twists and turns each career typically includes and it often leads to additional networking introductions.

Meet Alum Peter McStravick ’13, Director – Global Digital Business

Name: Peter McStravick

Class Year: 2013

Title: Director – Global Digital Business, Partner Development

Organization Name: Sony Music Entertainment

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

In my role, we manage the global business relationship with music streaming companies and identify digital strategies to grow engagement with our labels’ content.

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 got my first job at a boutique marketing agency through the Liberal Arts Career Network (LACN). I really enjoyed that problem solving nature of marketing strategy but was more interested in music and film.

And it was through another HC alum that I was first connected to the music industry. The career office put us in touch my senior year and over time led to the introduction of several other music and tech folks. Networking really helped me get a grasp of some of the industry levers, key questions, and the necessary skill set to navigate the space. With the music streaming boom, analytics became an increasingly important piece so I focused on developing this during grad school and internships.

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

 WCHC 88.1, Campus Ministry (i.e. retreats, Spring Break Immersion), The Crusader (student paper), Gateways Orientation, Battle of the Bands

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

Music and Economics. Pretty straightforward!

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

It may sound simple but writing. 

A lot of my work today involves communicating analytical insights to people with limited technical knowledge. I really learned to shape my voice writing countless papers at Holy Cross – even in technical courses in economics and music theory. I think this challenged me back then and helped me get my thoughts/points across more effectively.

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

Two things: Make sure you focus on developing macro skills that will make you successful regardless of where you end up – these will carry you through your career. And then separately, build a plan around acquiring specific skills you need for the avenues you’re specifically interested in.

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.