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Career Development Blog

Career Development Blog

Information for mapping your future

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

Name: Sarah Newton

Class Year: 2016

Position: Software Engineer

Organization: Liberty Mutual

 

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

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

Name: Erin Kinney

Class Year: 2020

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

Organization: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

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

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

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

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

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?  

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

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

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

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

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

Meet Alum Piero Iberti ’11, Screenwriter/Filmmaker

Name: Piero Iberti

Class Year: 2011

Title: Screenwriter/Filmmaker

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Name: Kathleen Reiser

Class Year: 2014

Job Title: Attorney

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

Name: Aaron Going

Class Year: 2014

Job Title: Associate Director of College Counseling

Organization Name: Worcester Academy

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Efficiency and Perseverance

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

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

Meet Alum, Brooks Young ’19, Leveraged Credit Analyst at Hartford Investment Management Company

Name: Brooks Young

Class Year: 2019

Title: Leveraged Credit Analyst – High Yield

Organization Name: Hartford Investment Management Company (HIMCO)

 

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

My team analyzes high yield investment opportunities across companies’ capital structures to achieve excess returns for our portfolio clients.

 

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?

Through Holy Cross (and with help from the career center!), I was fortunate to participate in multiple summer internships across the financial services spectrum that allowed me to sculpt and narrow down my interests. When assessing full-time opportunities, I put a premium on finding a high-quality learning experience where I would be able to develop a strong skill-set. I was introduced to HIMCO through networking, and once I met the credit team, I was convinced it would be a great learning opportunity.

 

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

My most active role on campus was being a peer career assistant(PCA) in the Center for Career Development.

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

I was an economics major, which enabled me the platform to think about many different career opportunities from an economist’s lens. Classes like Monetary Theory and Industrial Organization & Public Policy had a profound impact on my interest in the financial services industry.

 

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

It may be cliché at this point to say, but communication is vital to my work, and I believe the human capital skills I gained at Holy Cross give me a leg up every day. Whether it is interacting with my boss or presenting an investment idea to the group, the soft skills go a long way.

 

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

My advice is to be persistent and stay positive. I think this rings even truer now with the global pandemic. I am sure there are many of you feeling a bit lost, and it can be easy to get down on yourself when it feels like more doors are closing than they are opening. All it takes is one email/phone call/ coffee chat to open another door – so more you put into it, the more likely you are to get something out of it.

Meet #CrusaderIntern, Claire Hanlon ’21, Intern at Sargent Rehabilitation Center

Name: Claire Hanlon

Class Year: 2021

Internship (position & employer): Sargent Rehabilitation Center

 

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

This summer I interned at Sargent Rehabilitation Center’s Day School in Warwick, RI. As a whole, Sargent Rehabilitation Center serves adults and children with a focus on neuro-rehabilitation and striving to restore the ability to be independent. I spent my time in the day school with students with conditions such as autism, Asperger Syndrome, brain injuries, genetic disorders and other developmental disorders. I was placed with high school aged students and spent my days helping them with the curriculum and assisting in the daily operations of the classroom.

 

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

One way that I saw a direct relation between my academic learnings and my internship was through my cognitive neuroscience class that I took my sophomore year. This class focused a large portion of the semester on autism and the differences in the way that students learn along with their strengths and weaknesses in the classroom. My time at Sargent Center allowed me to see these findings first hand and gave me the opportunity to find ways to help these students learn in their own ways.

 

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?

One aspect of my internship that surprised me was how involved I was able to be in the student’s life. Going into the internship I wasn’t sure how helpful I would be or how much responsibility I would be given with respect to helping the students. I was lucky enough to work with a great group of staff at Sargent Center who allowed me to have a great experience and fully involve myself helping students every day. I was able to leave my internship feeling like I truly helped the students and was able to make a difference in my short time at Sargent Center.

 

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

I have always been interested in physical therapy and had pictured myself entering the sports field of therapy. However, after spending this summer at Sargent Center where the students day consists not only of math, spelling, and reading, but also occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy, I have now opened up my eyes to a whole new aspect of physical therapy that I could picture myself working in. I have seen the important ways that physical therapy was used to improve the daily life of the students I worked with and how therapy was made enjoyable for the students. Without this opportunity to intern at Sargent Center I don’t think I would have been able to see this often overlooked aspect of physical therapy and how important it is.

 

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

The advice I would give to future Holy Cross interns would be to always go into your internship with an open mind. For me, every day at my internship was different and came with new experiences and opportunities to learn.

Meet Alum Patrick Drain ’01, Deputy Foreign Policy Advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations

Name: Patrick C. Drain

Class Year: 2001

Job Title: Deputy Foreign Policy Advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations

Military Rank: Commander (O-5)

Organization Name: US Navy

 

 

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

 

I support the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) through his Foreign Policy Advisor to by providing key information, analysis, and specific advice on a wide range of diplomatic and political-military issues that concern the U.S. Navy.

 

 

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 joined the US Navy in 2001 upon graduating from Holy Cross, and initially I served as a Surface Warfare Officer.  It was a pretty good fit, but after about a decade I realized there was a better option for me within the Navy.

 

In 2011, I transferred into the Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Community in the Navy, which placed me in a cadre of Middle East (CENTCOM)-focused officers and offered one year of Arabic language training and a Master’s Degree in National Security Studies. My focus was to do my best as a Middle East FAO, and this eventually earned me enough recognition to be asked by name to join the CNO’s personal staff.

 

My tip on knowing if something is a good fit: If on most days you wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work, then you’re in the right place.  If on most occasions this doesn’t happen, then you should probably look for a new job.

 

 

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

 

Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), all four years

Student Government Association – Class VP (freshman and sophomore years), SGA Parliamentarian (Junior Year)

Resident Assistant (Junior Year)

Students for Responsible Choices (Senior Year)

First Year Program

 

 

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

 

Political Science.  It was a reflection of my interest in international affairs, and I do not think it affected any of my career decisions.  I could have majored in anything at Holy Cross and gone down the same path.  They critical thing Holy Cross gave me is a firm foundation in thinking deeply about issues and the capability to intelligently express my ideas.

 

 

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

 

Writing.  The amount of writing – and the thorough analysis of our writing, at Holy Cross helped to hone a crucially important skill for many, many jobs.

 

 

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

 

Stick with what you love to do – you’ll work with more enthusiasm in these fields than you would otherwise.  Even if doing what you love means you will be starting at the bottom of what seems like an impossibly long ladder, it will be worth it in the long run.  People notice enthusiasm, and it will open doors you cannot imagine.

 

Don’t stick with jobs that are “comfortable.”  Once you get good at something and you feel like you’ve learned what you need to learn and you’ve got it down, it’s time to start thinking about where you want to go next.  Look to do things that will push your envelope and force you to learn more and be more than the comfortable job ever would.

 

Minor in a foreign language and aim for fluency!

 

Take a statistics course.

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

Name: Nerelly Checo

Class year: 2018

Title: Teaching Fellow

Organization Name: Nativity School of Worcester

 

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

My job entails teaching Spanish, Art and Science to fifth grade boys, serving as an Admissions Assistant and coaching a sport if possible, while attending graduate school.

 

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 served as an Odyssey Mentor during my sophomore year of college and that was my first time stepping foot at the Nativity School of Worcester. I never thought about the school again until Melisa Alves told me they were hiring. Teaching was something I wanted to explore and the fellowship brochure easily caught my attention- I immediately thought it was a good fit simply because of the mission in itself. Working with marginalized populations and giving back to the community is something I have always aspired to do and learning about how much the fellows do for the boys greatly interested me.

 

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

While I was on campus, I was a member of the e-board of LASO for three years. I served as an Odyssey Mentor for two years, studied abroad in Argentina for a semester and also was a ALANA Peer Mentor my senior year. I worked at the Office of Student Involvement for a few years. My senior year I also worked as a Hogan student manager as well as in the Center for Career Development as a Marketing Peer Career Assistant.

 

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

I was a Sociology and Psychology double major. Because I was constantly having conversations about societal issues, it made me realize how essential it is to go into careers where you are making a difference. I want to do work that is productive in creating impactful change for marginalized communities.

 

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

One important skill that I developed at Holy Cross is time management. Holding multiple jobs and being a member of an e-board while balancing academics, prepared me to handle my responsibilities as well as anything I want to do outside of my job description. Although there are days where I still struggle with balancing tasks, I definitely feel that I was better prepared because of my experiences at Holy Cross.

 

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

It is essential to take advantage of every opportunity you get. College really is a roller coaster ride and it is very difficult to see the benefits of certain tasks you need to complete when you also need to juggle so many other things. I promise you that everything you do at college leads to a skill you’ll use in your career. Something as simple as writing an email is so  significant in the workforce and it is very underestimated while in college. If you get an opportunity to manage a project or work in an office or study in another country, go for it because it is so rare to obtain those learning opportunities once you graduate.

Meet Alum Ray Murphy ’94, Director, Enterprise Applications at Northeastern University

Name: Ray Murphy

Class Year: 1994

Position: Director, Enterprise Applications/DevOps

Organization: Northeastern University

 

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

I manage a team of a dozen or so people that maintain and support the computer systems used by the university’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, applicants, etc.

 

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?  

As far as how I got connected, my eventual employer was run by an HC grad. I actually heard about the job when a classmate of mine got a job offer from this company but turned it down. I followed up and eventually got the same offer. (Tip: don’t forget your classmates in your networking!

 

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

I was sports editor of The Crusader, and had a work/study job maintaining a couple of the computer labs in Haberlin/Swords.

 

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

I was looking for a first job in computer industry after graduating as a math major (HC didn’t even have a CS major yet, just a concentration!). I fell in love with HC on my tour in high school, and enrolled despite the fact that it didn’t have the major I wanted. I muddled through a lot of math classes. The only way that affected my career is that I never really learned to code, but I’ve had no trouble carving a career path in the industry without that skill.

 

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

More and more, I use my liberal arts skills more than the skills from my major. From my first job search to this day, I always position myself as someone who has technical aptitude, but also has the ability to communicate those technical concepts, to think critically about them and to see the big picture. That’s a story that always plays well in interview settings, etc.

 

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

For sure, it’s important to put in the time and effort to find your first job and get your career off to a good start. But you’re going to have a long career, and whether it starts in June or September won’t matter at all in the long term. But especially for seniors, make sure you soak in these last couple of months at HC… you can’t get those back.