What Does Having a Career Actually Mean?

By Cassie Naimie ’17, Emily Bowman ’17

Afraid you’re going to get stuck in something? Think again! A successful career path is always changing.


ca·reer  noun  an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.

Used in a Sentence
Your CAREER will be constantly changing and shifting as you develop new passions and skills.  Take comfort in the fact that your first career will most likely not be your last.  There are many roads to the same direction.


fu·ture  noun  the time or a period of time following the moment of speaking or writing; time regarded as still to come.

Used in a Sentence
The FUTURE is exciting, not scary!  Make sure you’re seizing every opportunity to make your future the best it can be by planning ahead now.  A good first step is a visit to the Center for Career Development!


path  noun  a way or track laid down for walking or made by continual treading.

Used in a Sentence
Your career PATH may not be clear to you right now… and that’s completely fine! The important thing is to understand is that determining your path requires serious thought and action, so don’t miss a chance to come into the Center for Career Development and start figuring things out!


What Do You Want To Be?


By Emily Bowman ’17

The eternal question – what do you want to be when you grow up?

When you were in kindergarten, a teacher might have asked you to draw a picture of what you wanted to be when you grew up. You probably whipped out your pack of crayons and drew a doctor or a police officer or, if you were an attention-loving-five-year-old like me, a famous movie star. As you got older, your answer to this question likely changed pretty frequently. Maybe after Take Your Daughter to Work day you wanted to be a lawyer like your Dad, or maybe after your baseball team won the county championships you wanted to play professionally. Deciding what you wanted to be when you grew up was as much a fad as Silly Bandz and Tamagotchis. But I think for most of us, we’re still trying to find the right answer.

So, how can we start to figure it out?

When your younger self wanted to be a dancer or an astronaut, you didn’t have a true affinity for these careers, you were seduced by adventure and excitement. Very few kids dream of working at the DMV when they grow up because it doesn’t hold that same allure. Basically, your career should live up to the standards of five-year-old you – consider positions that challenge you and reward you and impassion you. If you do that, you’ll be on the right track.



Full Name: Siming Zhai
Class Year: 2019
Major: International Studies and History
Shadowing Visit Site: Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

I met with the alumnus in her office in the morning where she spent a little time with me going through her schedule for the day and asked if I had specific interest or questions so that she could connect me with her colleagues in the building who work on those topics. We then started the day with a meeting of the deputy mayor’s office staff. I was very lucky for that the deputy mayor was actually stepping down as she accept a new job in a local branch of Children’s welfare and the press conference of her announcement was held at that day. I was able to meet the mayor, the new deputy mayor and a lot of other government officials working in the same field. In the afternoon, I talked to her and some of her colleagues about their daily routine, job responsibilities and an ongoing project of a homeless shelter. In addition, she introduced me to a staff from a different office working on D.C. Statehood as I was very interested in that.

What I treasure the most from the all-day learning experience was how works are actually carried out step by step. For me, the biggest concern of my transition from college to real life is how can I apply my knowledge and ability into daily executive operations and in what way do I find the bridge from my education to my career goal.

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

I am always worried about my career interest being too vague and idealistic. Shadowing the alumnus in a field that I feel appealing to opened a lot doors for me and turned some of my indeterminacies into visible possibilities as I witness the daily life of the Holy Cross graduate who has shared interest with me and moreover, the love and passion she and her colleagues have towards their work proofed to me that work can actually be a realization of your dream.

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

Always know where your boss’s purse is.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

For students who are not sure with what they want to do in the future, alumni shadowing can be a short experience of a career which would be really helpful for you to think if that field suits you; for the ones who already have a clear plan, shadowing in the field helps you to get an insider’s view of how to prepare yourself for it. Of course, meeting a crusader out there is always exciting on its own!

My Alumni Job Shadowing Experience | EDUCATION, NON-PROFIT, HUMAN SERVICES

Mary McGregor ’19
Major: Sociology
Shadowing Visit Site: Soroptimist- Women’s Organization

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?
While at Soroptimist, I attended department meetings, helped contribute new ideas for the website and learned how the organization grew from a small women’s service club to an international organization. Through this opportunity, I was also able to converse with Nora and her coworkers about how they got to where they are now.

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?
This experience gave me a glimpse into what life in the nonprofit world is like and the variety of positions and backgrounds represented.

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?
Some of the most helpful advice I received from Nora and her coworkers was to be open to new opportunities and experiences that arise. Many of the women working in the office began on very different careers paths or interests but used those skills and strengths in unlikely ways in their current positions.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?
I would recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students because it is a quick and interesting way to explore careers you may be considering as well as a way to gain experience in the professional world.

I was a PHYSICS major, now I…

Name: Kyle Hughes
Class Year: 2017 (3/2 program, so technically 2016)
Title: CubeSat Project Lead
Organization Name: Columbia Space Initiative

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I lead a project team at Columbia that is attempting to build a fully-functioning 1U CubeSat (10x10x10 centimeter nanosatellite) equipped with a payload to (hopefully) calibrate ground-based and sub-orbital millimeter wave polarimeters in low Earth orbit.

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

While at Holy Cross, I was always planning on following through with the 3-2 program with Columbia. Upon entering the engineering school in the fall, I had no idea that an opportunity such as this would have come my way. I have always been passionate about space and aerospace engineering in general; I attribute much of that passion to the concepts I learned while being a physics major at Holy Cross. I did not expect to be responsible for such a project during my first year of engineering school, and it was tough to manage initially. When my team and I received funding from the New York Space Grant/NASA at the end of my first semester, I was both relieved and reassured that this was an endeavor that I want to see through for as long as possible.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

While at Holy Cross, I was primarily involved with the Center for Career Development and with the Society of Physics Students chapter. In the CCD office, I was lucky enough to be an intern during the academic year from the beginning of my sophomore year until when I left Holy Cross, at the end of my junior year. Working in this office was incredible because I could frequently interact with all the awesome career advisors, along with the students who visited the office. I was also given the opportunity to lead the first iteration of Holy Cross’ SPS chapter in the physics department; this was a great leadership experience because previously, the department didn’t have a formal student group to represent it and do cool physics-related things outside of the classroom.

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

I came to Holy Cross knowing that I wanted to participate in the 3-2 program in engineering with Columbia. I chose physics (as opposed to math or computer science) because I have always been intrigued by the discipline, although it terrified me in high school. The physics department at Holy Cross is super tight-knit and helpful; I always felt comfortable with approaching my professors with (many) questions. This is something that I’m sure applies to every major at Holy Cross, but it’s something that definitely shouldn’t be taken for granted. Now that I’m at a larger, more research-focused university, it’s almost impossible to find face-to-face time with your professors. In hindsight, I am happy that I chose to study physics; my classes in the major at HC truly honed my ability to break down complex, sometimes vague, and exhaustive problems. In turn, I discovered that my passions reside in engineering, specifically regarding innovations in power and computation for spaceflight, space exploration, and aerospace research.

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

Resourcefulness and the ability to communicate well. My time at Holy Cross was key for the development of my ability to solve complex problems, even if I didn’t know where to start. I believe that my transition from Holy Cross to engineering school puts me at an advantage when it comes to excelling in project-focused environments because I’m able to communicate well, both verbally and through writing. That is a resounding perk of studying at a liberal arts school that you may not realize until post-grad experiences.

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Interact with your professors and involve yourself with your department as much as you can. Holy Cross is truly unique in the sense that the departments are designed to give students the opportunity to extend their learning beyond the classroom (e.g., through office hours, research experiences, etc.). This is especially impactful for STEM majors at Holy Cross because the departments are so small and getting to know the professors could open doors to future opportunities.

#CrusaderIntern: KCSA Strategic Communications

Catherine Greene ’17
KCSA Strategic Communications

What were you up to this past summer?
As an intern at KCSA, I split my time working on two accounts. One of the biggest parts of my internship is research. From researching press release coverage, to potential contacts for clients, and a wide variety of statistics that our clients utilize, I spent a good amount of my day reading. In addition to this, it is safe to say that I spent an equal amount of time writing briefing books and outreach emails for clients. Many days I will have two or three meetings, listening in on conference calls with clients and other PR firms, as well as participating in brainstorming sessions.

What was your favorite part?
Having the opportunity to intern at a well-regarded communications firm is something that I am very grateful for. I was exposed to many commonly-used PR tools such as Gorkana and Factiva, and worked with account directors and high-up executives. I love the fact that I get to go into work everyday knowing that I will be doing something different for two different accounts, and leaving with a sense of accomplishment.

What surprised you?
Something that surprised me the most was the prevalence of Excel in the public relations industry. While it is not used for computing, it is used as a means of organization and as a way to present information to clients. I met with a man that worked at Google here in New York and he told me that if there is one thing I can enter the workplace with is proficiency in Excel. I would definitely say that this is true and I would recommend to all students seeking internships that they have somewhat of a capacity for Excel.

Make Moves Towards Your Future Career

By: Emily Bowman ’17

It’s safe to bet that you have been asked, on more than one dreaded occasion, what your “plans” are for the summer/after graduation.  Perhaps it was during your most recent big family dinner when a prying uncle asked if you had started the job search yet. Or maybe it was the consistent subtle nags dropped by your mom every time she called you out for having not moved from the couch during winter break.  Either way, let’s face it, you all have an added on second semester stress, FINDING A SUMMER JOB OR INTERNSHIP.

Luckily, the Center for Career Development is an excellent place to go to start relieving this stress. With just one trip to the office, we guarantee you will feel self-assured enough to call your family and let them know you’re making moves towards a future career!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the job/internship search process.

It’s never too late to start looking.

Take a deep breath, relax, take another deep breath.  Don’t freak out if you feel behind on this whole process.  Chances are, almost everyone else feels the same way!  BUT, March is the most popular month for internships deadlines. Now is the time to start to seriously put in some effort before your options narrow down!

Bring your resume and/or cover letter to drop-in hours.

Don’t forget about the Career Office (Hogan 203)… it’s a wonderful resource for making sure all your application materials are top-notch. Swing by drop-in hours or make an appointment with a counselor to have your resume checked over and your cover letters polished.

Make a habit of checking Crusader Connections.

New job opportunities are posted on Crusader Connections almost every day.  It’s smart to get in the habit of checking the site regularly and making sure you’re aware of all upcoming deadlines.

It’s okay to be unsure.

Searching for a job does not mean you have to have your life figured out.  It’s totally fine and normal to be uncertain about where to apply.  In fact, one of the best things about internships and first jobs is that it gives you the opportunity to explore career options and narrow down your interests.

All too often, we find ourselves panicking about our job searches when in reality, we should be excited, not nervous.  This is a chance to discover a position that really calls on your passions, sparks your interests, and sharpens your skills.  Be proactive about the search, but definitely don’t let it stress you out!  For more words of comfort/votes of confidence, stop by the career office, Hogan 203 Monday-Friday 1-4pm.


How Your Cool Beans Coffee Order Can Predict Your Future Career

By Emily Bowman ’17

As college students, we can all relate to the importance of a daily coffee-fix. But can our Cool Beans order actually reveal something about our potential future careers as well? Probably not but it’s fun to theorize!

You are always eager to be caught up in something exciting and spontaneous.  At Cool Beans, you’re likely to opt for a milkshake because, why not?!  It’s definitely the most fun item on the menu, and you’re all about fun.  You’ve probably thought about careers in the Entertainment, Fashion or Sports industries, or maybe considered pursuing an art career.

Large Coffee, extra shot of espresso
You are detail-oriented and super hard working, and you’re probably thinking about a career in Consulting, Finance, or Accounting.  Late nights in the lib barely even faze you at this point.  Caffeine has become a part of your bloodstream, so your go-to is a large coffee, often with an extra shot of espresso.

Green Tea
You’re passionate about helping others, so your drink of choice should be no less beneficial.  You’re probably drawn to careers in Education, Non-Profit, or Human Services because you’re eager to make the world a better place.  Nothing is more Zen or positive-energy inducing than Green Tea!  Plus the health benefits are undeniable.

As someone interested in International Relations, you probably studied abroad in Europe.  Consequently, you can often be found ordering cappuccino’s from Cool Beans in an attempt to satisfy your worldly tastes.

You don’t need caffeine to be energized.  Your health-conscious ways sway you towards the smoothie menu at Cool Beans.  Likewise, you’re drawn to careers in the Health Professions or Life Sciences so you can help others achieve healthy lifestyles as well.

Iced Chai Latte
You have a strong creative side, making you perfect for careers in Marketing, Media, Communications, or Advertising.  You’re always thinking outside the box and you love to be different, which extends to your coffee choices.  Iced Chai Lattes fit your unique personality!

Iced Coffee
Technology, Engineering, and the Physical Sciences are your calling because you love to figure things out and deal with problems in a factual, concrete way.  Iced Coffee fits your no-nonsense persona while also satisfying your caffeine need!

#CrusaderIntern: Douglas Elliman

Name: Tyson Youngs ’17
Title: Broker’s Intern
Organization: Douglas Elliman

What were you up to this past summer?
This past summer I worked as a Broker’s Intern in Manhattan at Douglas Elliman, the largest residential real estate firm in Metropolitan New York.  The broker who I interned with focused primarily on new developments, but also brokered smaller deals, such as single-family sales and leases.  Without an agents license, it was hard for me to completely shadow my broker as there are issues with legality and confidentiality, but I tried to fully immerse myself in the day-to-day operations of a real estate broker in NYC.

It is hard to describe a typical day, because every day was so different. Some days I would work from 10am-2pm, and other days I would work from 8am-7pm.  It all depended on how much needed to be done on each individual day.  As most agents and brokers are independent contractors, there is no set schedule, and daily activities vary based on a client’s needs.  This means, if a client calls Monday night at 9pm and wants to see a few condos the next morning at 8am, you better be prepared, otherwise, you might not have that client anymore.

The fast passed, flexible schedule was something that I really enjoyed.  Doing something completely different every day helped me learn a plethora of new skills, and it kept my energy high throughout the summer.

What was your favorite part?
The median sales price in NYC is just over $1,000,000.  For the most part, as a top 75 broker in NYC my boss was brokering deals well over this amount.  It was awesome to meet the people he was doing business with, and to see the places that amount of money can buy.  It further fueled my passion for real estate, and motivated me to continue to learn and become the best agent, and eventually broker, that I can be.

I also enjoyed roaming the streets of New York City.  Whenever my boss would give me an errand, I would be excited to explore a new section of the concrete jungle.  I felt as though I was unlocking a map, and by the end of the summer, I knew my way around the city.  It was also helpful in learning the different neighborhoods of NYC, as this will prove to be a vital skill when I return to the city after graduation.

What surprised you?
I was surprised by the amount of fun I had at work.  I knew I would have fun when I had time off, but I didn’t expect that I would thoroughly enjoy going to work every day.  I was excited to see that I had such a passion for this particular job, and the entire industry.  I’m obviously sad about leaving Holy Cross, but I could not be more excited to be going back to New York and begin my new career.

#CrusaderIntern: Coach


Name: Lilly Pearce ’17
Title: Global Merchandising Intern
Company: Coach (Coach is looking for summer interns – apply by March 1, 2017 – apply now)


What did you do during your summer internship:

I started working in the Global Merchandising (Outlet Leather Goods) department for Coach New York.  In a nutshell, merchandising involves the promotion of sales through a variety of strategies.  So far, I’ve been able to learn more about the inner workings of the department and also the larger processes of the company.  Our department specifically focuses on promoting the sale of women’s handbags.  I have attended an assortment of meetings that have involved brainstorming, sales strategy, and analysis of sales.  I’ve also been learning about the different types of handbags, including the differences in construction and material, and how they are cataloged.  In addition to this, we have been working extensively with excel and other creative programs to organize, create, and reference assortments.  I have been able to help organize and pull samples to bring to the showroom where professional photos are taken to market each new collection.

Favorite part:
I really enjoyed working with the merchandising team! It’s a small group of women who have been very helpful and knowledgeable. I’ve also really enjoyed the trend forecasting project I’ve been working on for next fall. Since the collections for each season are released in advance to the actual season, the creative process has to start early on.  It’s really interesting to research trends as well as our competitors to learn more about the creative process.

Something that has surprised you:
There is so much work that goes into assembling a successful collection for an upcoming season.  From predicting future trends in fashion, to studying the previous success of certain silhouettes. It’s a very complicated process. It’s really cool to see all the hard work manifest itself in all the stores globally! There is a ton of creativity, perseverance, and talent at Coach. In addition to this, it has been fascinating and eye-opening to learn more about what certain consumers in different parts of the globe look for in a handbag. A bag that sells well here may not be as successful for Coach China, for example. I definitely wasn’t expecting the handbag market to be so diverse!