Meet Alumna Alison Cheung ’06, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Space Systems and Technology Division

Full Name: Alison Cheung

Class Year: 2006

Title: Engineer, Space Systems and Technology Division

Organization: MIT Lincoln Laboratory

 

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

My job entails designing and validating software to control and collect data from space surveillance sensors (optical telescopes and radar) that observe, track, and characterize space objects.

 

 

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

At Holy Cross, I was involved in the Holy Cross Chamber Orchestra, the Goodtime Marching Band, Calculus Workshop Tutoring, Society of Physics Students, SPUD, and Appalachia.

 

 

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

I was a double major in mathematics and physics.  This provided me with a strong foundation to go in a variety of science directions.  I never had a specific path in mind so this gave me lots of options.

 

 

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?

During my sophomore year, I received an email about an opportunity for physics students to apply for an internship at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory funded through the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium.  I didn’t expect it, but jumped on the opportunity, put together a resume and cover letter, and had phone interviews with potential mentors.  I spent the summers after my sophomore, junior, and senior years at JPL and knew this field and environment was what I wanted.  After completing graduate school, I called my mentor and said I wanted to return to JPL as a full-time employee.  My internship, that came about because of Holy Cross, got me my internship at JPL.  My performance during that internship allowed me to return subsequent summers and ultimately lead to my first full-time job where I worked on mission operations for the Cassini spacecraft that was orbiting Saturn.

 

 

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

Holy Cross helped me develop confidence in my abilities by being in a small setting where professors could suggest opportunities that I would not have pursued on my own.  One of these opportunities was independent study during the academic year where I was able to develop research skills.  Particularly useful was the ability to navigate dead-ends and uncertainty in where an approach might lead.

Meet Alum Christopher Pichay ’95, Family Physician, Circle of Life Family Medicine

Full Name: Christopher Pichay

Class Year: ’95

Title: Family Physician/DO, President/Co-Owner of Circle of Life Family Medicine

 

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

 

As being a family physician who co owns a private family practice with my wife who is also a physician, my job entails providing health care for patients of all ages while at the same time dealing with running a business.

 

 

2. How do you balance life and work?

 

I balance my personal life and work through the grace of God and with the support of my family.  There is no other way!

 

 

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

 

While I was on campus I was involved with intramural sports (Basketball and volleyball), a martial arts club, SPUD, and ALANA

 

 

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

 

I majored in biology and minored in visual arts.  I had already made up my mind to become a physician before enrolling in undergrad studies and I believed biology would help with the pre med concentration and my application to medical school.  Majoring in biology prepared me to teach biology and Anatomy & Physiology to high school students.

 

 

5. 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?

 

Planned:  getting into medical school and becoming a physician.

Unplanned:  Having the opportunity to play D1 basketball, becoming a high school teacher upon graduation, marrying a fellow medical student and then going on to have 9 children with that spouse.  It just goes to show that sometimes your initial plan is not the correct plan and that the plan you often end up with is the best case scenario!  I have no regrets with how my life turned out and feel extremely blessed to be where I am today!

 

 

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

 

I found a renewed strength in my faith going to Holy Cross, a maturation in learning and how to apply what I’ve learned to real work experience, and I realized the importance of the reputation of excellence Holy Cross has established in the outside world and the lifelong camaraderie and networking advantage of being a Crusader!

Meet #CrusaderIntern Michael Melch ’20, International Law Institute

Full Name: Michael Melch ‘20

Summer Internship: International Law Institute

 

1. What were you up to this past summer?

Last summer I interned at the International Law Institute in Georgetown, DC. I was responsible for the preparation of training seminars for international lawyers. My duties included marketing the seminars, coordinating with the experts who taught the seminar regarding the necessary materials, and interacting with participants to ensure that the meetings ran smoothly. As a result, I was able to attend many of the seminars on topics ranging from legislative drafting to anti-trust and competition.

2. What was your favorite part?

I really enjoyed interacting with the participants of the seminars who came from countries all over the world, such as Italy, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Nigeria, and the Philippines, to name a few. The seminars often included site visits, and one of the highlights of my internship was leading a group of Chinese lawyers from the Shanghai Bar Association on a tour of the Supreme Court and US Capitol. Also, the International Law Institute arranged professional development trips designed for the interns to learn about various legal and economic organizations. The visits included law firms, the Federal Trade Commission, and my favorite, the World Bank.

3. What surprised you?

I was surprised by how many different nationalities came to expand their legal knowledge at the International Law Institute to better prepare themselves for their profession in their home countries. The specialized legal education and training may not be available in their home countries so they come to Washington D.C. to advance their legal careers or improve for the career they already have.

Meet #CrusaderIntern Juliana Holcomb ’19, The Ana Grace Project

Dr. Noel Casiano, my supervisor (L) and me (R)

 

Full Name: Juliana Holcomb ‘19

Summer Internship: The Ana Grace Project

 

1. What were you up to this past summer?

This past summer, I was a research and data intern at The Ana Grace Project in New Britain, CT.   Created after the tragedy at Sandy Hook which took the life of Ana Grace Márquez-Green as well as many others, this not-for-profit organization is dedicated to bringing social emotional learning, trauma-informed care, and school-based mental health services into New Britain Elementary schools through their “Love Wins” program.  In this role, I analyzed teacher, school administrator, and faculty-reported responses from the ARTIC (Attitudes Related to Trauma Informed Care) measure; collected, organized, and explained trends in disciplinary-related outcomes between 2012-2018 from the Connecticut State Department of Education; and wrote, edited, and prepared APA-style manuscripts for publication.  I was able to contribute to three manuscripts that will hopefully be published in the near future and two manuals for the “Love Wins” program.

 

2. What was your favorite part?

My favorite part was learning about the specific ways in which the “Love Wins” program impacted the elementary school-aged children of New Britain.  Through the data and trends I analyzed, I was able to witness the ways in which the implementation of “Love Wins” quantitatively improved school-based outcomes such as in- and out-of-school suspensions and chronic absenteeism.  On a more qualitative level, I was able to learn about individual stories of how “Love Wins” impacted the New Britain community which was equally as inspiring. Hearing these testimonials made me very hopeful for the future of school-based mental health services.

I also was awestruck by the strength, dedication, and passion of Nelba Márquez-Green as she worked tirelessly each and every day to improve the educational system for low-income students and students of color so that a tragedy like Sandy Hook, which took the life of her daughter, would never happen again.  Her dedication was unlike any I had ever seen before, and I was fortunate to work with her.

 

3. What surprised you?

I was surprised by the amount of collaboration that took place within The Ana Grace Project.  People from all different backgrounds and career paths came together to create this not-for-profit and manage its implementation within schools.  For example, mental health professionals such as Marriage Family Therapists, Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists all worked together in order to provide the school-based mental health services to students as well as counsel them individually and in a family or group setting.  Teachers, within the many elementary schools of New Britain, were also a critical piece of the “Love Wins” program which I saw when I went to a talent show at one of the schools. The administrators and staff of the school were also highly involved. Seeing this community collaboration was a happy surprise I saw during my time at The Ana Grace Project.  They practiced what they preached and emphasized community relations and support in all that they did.

Meet Alumna Justine Hill ’08, Independent Artist

Name: Justine Hill

Class Year: 2008

Title: Artist

Organization Name: Self-Employed

 

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

As an artist, most of my job is spent working in my studio making new artwork for both exhibition and sale.

 

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?  

As with most artists I know, I’ve had many non-art-related jobs. But I am grateful for two jobs that helped me connect better to the arts community in New York.

My first was an internship for the artist Mickalene Thomas. At the time she was working towards a large show at the Brooklyn Museum and needed extra help. I only worked there for a few months, but it gave me a huge insight to different ways artists can function and run their studio practices.

The second job was at Denny Gallery (now Denny Dimin Gallery). It was one of those great serendipitous moments at an exhibition opening (which I went to constantly when I first moved to New York, and still do for that matter) when the owner was saying she was looking to hire help. I interviewed that week and worked there for four years. I learned invaluable information about the inside workings of a gallery and the commercial art world from that job. I no longer work there but they now represent me as an artist so it’s still a growing relationship.

 

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

I probably wouldn’t be classified as a joiner while at Holy Cross. But I was involved in GESSO the student gallery in Hogan, I was a Publicity Chair for CAB (Campus Activities Board), and my last year I worked at the Cantor Art Gallery.

 

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

I was declared a studio art major and I believe also a math major when I first arrived at Holy Cross. However, I quickly only want to take art classes and tried to find ways to take as many as I could. I had no idea what career I was going to have.

 

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

I feel in order to answer this I should explain more of what my job entitles, because I certainly did not know this when I got to Holy Cross.

It’s certainly true that most of my time is working on new artwork and projects in my studio. This involves sketching, planning, building panels and painting. I spend a lot of time researching and looking at art in galleries, museums, and at other artists’ studios so I always know what is happening around me and what has happened before me. I also spend more time than I realize on general correspondence and logistics such as shipping, packing and installing artwork. And as with all professions, networking is very important and something I am constantly trying to be better at.

Where I am still very grateful to Holy Cross, is when I am in my studio. Many of the small decisions I constantly make are rooted in what I was taught at school. Decisions such as material choices and being conscious of scale. But also the advice that the first idea is not usually the best and one sketch is helpful but twenty would be much more helpful.

I received great practical advice in my studio classes but perhaps the most important skill they encouraged was to be extremely self-critical. This constantly helps me as an artist and as an entrepreneur.

 

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

Make the most of your time on campus. And what I mean by that is gather as much information and advice from your professors as you can because it’s very hard to find that type of an honest and open mentor relationship after school.

But also, be honest with yourself and realistic about the type of life you hope to lead. I love being an artist and wouldn’t change it for the world, but I may never be financially stable and might live in a studio apartment for the rest of my life!

Meet Alum Rusmir Musić ’01, Global Business Development Lead for EDGE Green Buildings Program

Name: Rusmir Musić

Class Year: 2001

Title/Company: Global Business Development Lead for the EDGE Green Buildings Market Transformation Program

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

I am the Global Business Development Lead for the EDGE Green Buildings Market Transformation Program, an initiative by the World Bank Group to raise awareness around benefits of green construction.

 

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

I was an RA for Alumni and Senior RA for Hanselman; I was heavily involved with Allies and ABiGaLe, including serving as co-chair; I also did behind the scenes work and producing for ACT – Alternate College Theatre.

 

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

I majored in Chemistry but I had a well rounded curriculum in humanities, including almost being a minor in religious studies. I left the sciences behind for a period of time and worked as a career counselor, but then returned back to my job at the World Bank, where I work in the climate business department. The major has prepared me with a great work ethic and an understanding of sciences needed for doing business in the new, clean economy.

 

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?

Immediately after Holy Cross, I worked in higher education, with connections from my student involvement as an RA and later as a Graduate Housing Assistant. I decided to switch careers and focus more on sustainability, so I enrolled in an MBA program at Georgetown. During the MBA, I heavily networked with professionals in the DC area, whom I was meeting through referrals. One of those meetings led to a job offer at the World Bank.

 

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

I approach problem-solving like I approached my Chemistry labs – you figure out where you think you need to be and you work backwards, figuring out what ‘ingredients’ and what ‘reactions’ you need to implement along the way. I also learned a lot about interpersonal dynamics – my RA position taught me how to better read people, how to be comfortable with public speaking, and how to influence group consensus.

Meet #CrusaderIntern Princy Sindurakar ’20, Research Assistant, Northeastern University

Name: Princy Sindurakar

Class Year: 2020

Internship (position & employer): Research Assistant, Northeastern University

 

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

I interned and worked for the Sridhar Lab at Northeastern University, Boston, MA. I was part of a cancer cell biology research lab, where I was assigned my own research project and had the chance to assist in many of their ongoing studies. I performed several lab techniques, mainly surrounding different cancer cell lines. I was able to learn cell cultures, several biological assays, and work closely with experimentation on mice. My project focused on the development of “spacers”, radioactive implants used for efficient drug delivery system, specifically advancing cancer treatment plans. Beginning from the biological level with cancer cells to the development of these spacer implants, the project combined a lot of fields to make an impressive treatment plan to tackle prostate cancer.

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

While the combination of my chemistry and biology courses prepared me for working at the lab and taking proper precautions, being part of a research lab at Holy Cross helped me understand the extent of planning and the work put into research projects, which prepared me at my internship. I was prepared to be involved from the beginning, being active and ready for the training.

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?

I was amazed by the wide connections within the field of research and the impressive scale of translational research, especially for cancer studies. I had the opportunity to learn about different ongoing projects such as that of lung cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. While my main focus was prostate cancer and its treatment, I also learned about the different drug deliveries and lab techniques within the other projects so I was grateful to have the chance to participate in weekly lab meetings where I learned about other projects in the lab as well. I didn’t expect to be as involved as I was in the lab!

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

Being a Biology major on the pre-med track, research has been an important part of my academics and career. From this internship, I was able to truly immerse myself and learn about the vast field of research. I learned about the extent of planning and organization that goes into a research study, especially with cell cultures and live animals. It has amazed me to see the vast field of cancer research and how many different minds have to come together to create a successful advancement. It has further elevated my interests in the research field and since this was more biological, I have learned I would like to pursue some type of research during or after medical school. Although I still love being around patients and in the hospital, I have also started loving research and the amazing work the field has to offer. I would like to work in the field of research during my gap years before applying to medical school and devoting myself to that path.

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

Set personal goals and work on them! Take full advantage of your opportunity by networking and doing your research because you don’t only develop a certain set of skills, but also learn so much about that career field. It is your chance to ask questions, develop lasting relationships, immerse yourself within the field and find your interests!

Meet #CrusaderIntern Delaney Wells ‘20, The Department of Justice, Disability Rights Section

Name: Delaney Wells ‘20

DC Internship: The Department of Justice, Disability Rights Section

 

1. What were you up to this past semester?

I worked as a legal intern in the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice. Interns came in before attorneys, architects, and investigators to begin work. My supervisor collected projects and tasks from other employees and assigned them among interns. This ensured we all had the opportunity to work on different cases concerning the ADA. I worked on a variety of projects at the same time, keeping my supervisor updated on my status through a spreadsheet tracking my progress. We reported directly to the attorney overseeing our project. This allowed me to establish excellent working and personal relationships through setting deadlines, editing assignments, grabbing lunch and  even attending an oral argument at the Supreme Court together. I took advantage of opportunities including brown bag lunches with attorneys, a special tour of the White House, and attending working groups with different agencies. These allowed for a holistic understanding of the Disability Rights Section, the organization of the Justice Department, and the inner-workings of politics in the Capital.

 

2. What was your favorite part?

I was able to complement my time at the Justice Department with sharing time in a local L’Arche community in Arlington,  VA. This allowed me to achieve a holistic approach to disability through technical and social perspectives. Sharing life in this home throughout the semester gave me a deeper and more complete understanding of how the work done by lawyers, architects, and investigators impacts the daily life of citizens.  Along with interning every day, I spent my Fridays and weekends at the L’Arche 6th Street home in Arlington, VA. Sharing time with the core members has provided a social dimension to complement the technical understanding of disability that I have gained through the DOJ. Learning about accessibility challenges, institutional conditions, rights and regulations introduced in Section 504 all come to life when I go to 6th Street and witness the struggle that many core members work through each day. From voting poll accessibility to lack of ASL translators at medical facilities, I have gained a full appreciation of the importance of the work within the Disability Rights Section. The complementary technical and social dimensions allowed me to begin discerning my vocation through practice of techniques I have learned on retreats and in spiritual groups on campus. My mind often jumped to the questions, “who am I, who do I want to become, and who do I want to be for and with others?”. I am leaving with some sort of understanding of the direction my life may take in disability advocacy. I will take this semester to reflect intentionally on my experience and see how it shapes my future regarding law school and further involvement in area of disability study, which is where I have truly found my home.

 

3. What surprised you?

I expected to work exclusively with lawyers each day as I was working in the Justice Department. However, this was not the case. Each day was totally different and I never knew what to expect. I was able to work on a case being actively litigated, with architects, service animal cases, and more. The variety  I was amazed at the amount of case work we were able to work on throughout the semester. On a day to day basis I worked on several memorandums for attorneys. These assignments allowed me to hone my writing skills and analytical thinking. I learned how to blue-book, a type of legal citation, when citing violations for a settlement agreement. I became acquainted with the Westlaw, Relativity, and Lexis platforms when performing background research on witnesses for a case that is being actively litigated. The varied experience I had at the Department of Justice has resulted in an ultimate understanding of the American Disabilities Act and its impact on citizens through advocacy as a platform for equality. I was treated like another employee within the Justice Department, not just as an intern.

Meet Alumna Nina Robertson ’17, Bilingual Parent-Child Specialist at New York University School of Medicine

Name: Nina Robertson

Class Year: 2017

Current Title/Employer: Bilingual Parent-Child Specialist at New York University School of Medicine

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

I deliver a pediatric-based early intervention program for babies, newborn to age 3, from at-risk populations. I work with mothers and infants at their well-child appointments and talk about ways to promote their baby’s learning and school-readiness through reading and play.

2. What if any, unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross?   

My senior year roomate saw the job posting through a cognitive development email chain and said, “This sounds perfect for you!” I got really excited and applied right away. During my interview, I mentioned my involvement in research with Professor Anggoro from the Psychology department. As it turns out, the woman I was speaking with knew her when she was in undergrad at Northwestern University and had worked closely with her during her time there. Professor Anggoro was also one of my references for the job, so it all came full circle!  

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

I’ve always been interested in the cognitive and linguistic development of young children and the ways in which they learn. I loved that this job gave me hands-on experience interacting with infants and mothers, and also provided me with the opportunity to work with Spanish-speaking families and give back to the Latino community. I was also inspired by the program’s goal to address the school achievement gap among different socioeconomic levels.

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

I was in Off the Record a cappella group, SPUD Parsons Hill, a greeter at mass, performed in Noche Latina, Holy Cross Choir and Chambers Singers, and club field hockey.

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

I majored in psychology because I’ve always been interested in how people think, behave, and interact.  I knew that I loved interacting and working directly with people, and I searched for a job and career that would allow me to have direct contact with patients. During my senior year, I became involved in a cognitive development lab, which sparked my interest in research and gave me the experience I needed to pursue a research-oriented job. I originally had planned to double major in both math and psychology,  but decided to focus solely on psychology during my senior year when I realized that it aligned more closely with my career goals.

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

Interpersonal skills: the way that I learned to interact with my classmates and professors during my time at Holy Cross translated directly to being able to communicate effectively with my coworkers and supervisors in the working field. Similarly, the time management skills that I learned at Holy Cross, such as creating a schedule to balance multiple ongoing projects at once, helped me learn the most efficient ways of tackling my workload within specific timeframes.

Meet Alum Devin Brown ’12, Private Equity Investment Professional- Kelso & Company

Name: Devin A. Brown

Class Year: 2012

Title: Private Equity Investment Professional

Organization Name: Kelso & Company

 

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

At Kelso & Co, I am responsible for all aspects of deal screening/evaluation, execution, and post-transaction portfolio company management including, initial investment screening and evaluation, financial modeling and valuation, due diligence, transaction structuring, and portfolio company management.

 

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? 

One of the benefits of attending Holy Cross was the diverse student body.  This allowed me to glean perspectives from students who pursued opportunities in a broad array of industries and fields.  I kept an open mind, asked questions, and once I had enough insight to develop my own perspectives, I began reaching out to Holy Cross alumni in my specific field of interest.  The key here was keeping an open mind and not being afraid to ask questions.  My first tangible experiencing was developed through an alumnus that allowed me to shadow him for a day at Morgan Stanley.  I was able to spend time observing the environment, analyzing the temperament of employees, etc. which ultimately helped me decide whether the job would be a good fit.  While I did not end up at Morgan Stanley, I did accept a similar position at Wellington Management.

 

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

I was a member of the Men’s Varsity Basketball Team and the Student Athletic Association.  I also participated in the Summer Business Program and Finance Boot Camp.

 

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

At Holy Cross, I majored in Psychology.  As an individual with a passion for building and cultivating relationships, the Psychology major was a means to enhance a natural interpersonal skill set and interest in the mind and behavior.  Despite my major, I intended to pursue a career in the financial services industry.  In order to accomplish this, I knew that demonstrating and supporting my interest in financial services would be critical.  As such, I supplemented my major with business-related courses such as Economics and Financial Accounting and business-related clubs and activities such as the Holy Cross Summer Business Program and the Finance Boot Camp.  This combination allowed me to speak to my soft and technical skill-sets, both of which are critical in the financial services industry.

 

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

In Private Equity, how do you decide whether to acquire a company?  Or how much to pay?  Once you acquire the company, how do you decide whether to expand the Company’s operations into a new region?  Which region(s)? How do you decide to build a new product?  To add a new service?  To charge more or less for a product or service?  To close down a manufacturing plant?   These are types of decisions that Private Equity professionals make on a daily-basis.  To do this successfully, one must be able to think critically and analytically.  Holy Cross taught me to do both.  Holy Cross challenged me to think outside of the box, to approach topics from new angles, to venture outside of my comfort zone, and to examine the causes and effects of my actions and the actions of others. Most importantly, Holy Cross taught me to think creatively.

 

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

My biggest pieces of advice are to take advantage of the on-campus resources that Holy Cross has to offer, develop meaningful relationships with classmates, and engage with alumni.  Holy Cross has some of the most esteemed professors, faculty-members, and staff in their respective fields.  They are willing to go above and beyond and to provide academic support, career advice, mentorship, etc – take advantage of this.  Also, Holy Cross students are some of the brightest students in the world.  You may not know it, but you could be sitting next to the next big CEO, teacher/professor, president, professional athlete, judge, doctor, philanthropist, photographer, artist – you name it.  Use your time on campus to get to know people, especially those from different backgrounds and forge genuine relationships.  Your classmates will serve as lifelong friends and may also help your career one day.  Lastly, Holy Cross has one of the best alumni networks in the world.  It is one of the reasons many of us chose the Cross.  Alumni love hearing from students and are here to help.  Reach out as soon as you are comfortable, forge relationships, ask questions, and be genuine.