Posts Tagged ‘alum feature’

Meet Alumna Kelly Garcia ’15, Special Education Teacher at Excel Academy Charter High School

October 15th, 2018 by aclauson

Meet Alumna Kelly Garcia ’15, Special Education Teacher at Excel Academy Charter High School

 

Name: Kelly Garcia

Class Year: 2015

Current Title/Employer:

  • Special Education Teacher at Excel Academy Charter High School – East Boston, MA
  • Vice Chairwoman of the Chelsea School Board – Chelsea, MA

Graduate Degrees (if applicable): Master’s in Education from Boston University

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

As a Special Education Teacher, my job entails the implementation of Individual Education Plans (IEP) for students with learning disabilities, such as, Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

(ADHD), and etc. and accommodating the curriculum so that they are successful in the classroom.

 

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

During my sophomore year, I went on a service trip to Dangriga, Belize where 12 other Holy Cross students volunteered at Holy Ghost, an elementary school. It was on this trip that I fell in love with working with children and discovered my passion for teaching. Then, I tutored at a local school in Worcester the remaining years at Holy Cross. When senior year came, I applied to Teach for America and got in! I am now in my third year of teaching and am also an elected official in my city. I serve as the District 7 School Board Member and Vice Chairwoman of the board in Chelsea, MA.

 

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

Giving back to my community and advocating for students in urban school districts is a passion I developed shortly after my years at Holy Cross. I am fortunate and eternally grateful I found my passion  and will continue finding innovative ways to improve my community.

 

What were you involved in when you were on campus?  

Pernet Family Health Services, Community Harvest Project, Pathfinder (Passport Program), Study Abroad (studied in Argentina for a semester), Multicultural Peer Educator, Teaching Assistant in Dangriga, Belize, CASA, BSU,  and LASO.

 

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

Majoring in Psychology allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of the differences that exist in our society, and taught me to accept everyone for who they are. Developing an acceptance of all differences and all personalities has truly benefited me in the classroom, and has made my job incredibly rewarding.

 

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

The importance of genuinely listening and the art of networking.

-Asking alumni for advice instead of a job

-Stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging the “norm” allows you to GROW! Don’t be afraid to go against what is socially accepted

Meet Alumna Michelle Schefter ’16, Graduate Scientist at AstraZeneca

October 12th, 2018 by aclauson

Meet Alumna Michelle Schefter ’16, Graduate Scientist at AstraZeneca

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I participate in a rotational research program at AstraZeneca, where I choose three 8-month rotations in three different departments of pharmaceutical research.

 

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was a chemistry lab teaching assistant, as well as a student researcher in Professor Petty’s lab. I studied abroad at Trinity College Dublin for my junior year, where I participated in various activities. Upon my return, I avidly encouraged students, particularly in STEM, to consider studying abroad too. I was also a member of the club soccer team.

 

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

 I was a chemistry major, and I had a hard time deciding what to do with it. I liked the idea of many different career options, particularly in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, but I did not feel ready to commit to medical school or a PhD program. Overall, my degree in chemistry made me eligible for entry-level jobs in both of these fields, and it also showed employers that I was competent in problem solving and other quantitative skills that are important in any industry.

 

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?

A summer internship at a small biotechnology company opened my eyes to an industry that I had not known much about at the time. I later searched for full time positions at similar biotech and pharmaceutical companies until I eventually stumbled upon AstraZeneca’s program. It stood out for several reasons: I would get broad exposure to an industry I did not have much experience in, I would have an impact on active drug projects, and I would have the opportunity to participate in a professional development program. In other words, I saw an opportunity to learn a lot, expand my resume, and grow professionally.

 

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

While it is important to be a diligent scientist while working at a pharmaceutical company, it is just as important to have good ‘soft skills.’ Whether it was assigning group presentations for a class or sending students to the ACS conference in San Diego, Holy Cross provided several opportunities to develop presentation and interpersonal skills and ensured that I was not only a scientist, but also a well-rounded individual upon graduation. At work, I often use these same skills to present ideas to my colleagues and network with the wider scientific community, all of which contributes to being successful in my position.

Meet Alum Paul Endres ’18, Clinical Research Coordinator in Nephrology

October 12th, 2018 by aclauson

Meet Alum Paul Endres ’18, Clinical Research Coordinator in Nephrology

 

Name: Paul Endres

Class Year: 2018

Position: Clinical Research Coordinator in Nephrology

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I work with physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital involved in research to recruit patients for research studies from the hospital, draw patient blood and collect other samples, process those samples, input data, and analyze it with physicians. 

 

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

On campus, I was involved in chemistry research in the Sculimbrene Lab, the chemistry student advisory committee, chemistry peer assisted learning program, STEM+E tutoring, spring break immersion, eEucharistic ministry, and ballroom dance.

 

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

I was a chemistry major with a concentration in biochemistry on the pre-health track. This affected my career decision because it showed me the importance of chemistry and biochemistry in medicine. My biochem classes especially inspired my career because often times we used medical cases to study different biochemical pathways. Biochemistry is a key foundation in medicine, and I often find myself reviewing pathways I learned at Holy Cross at work to understand what my patients are going through. 

 

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?

In a planned sense, I was connected to MGH through Crusader Connections. Senior year, I was always looking at every job posted and reaching out to as many alumni as I could. I had attended Healthcare, Medicine & Science Networking Night and spoke with a few clinical research coordinators about their jobs. What I loved about it was that each position was super unique! I decided this would be a good fit for me because of the variety of the work being done and the clinical experience I would gain. I actually even connected with another Holy Cross alumni in my lab currently who helped me get a foot in the door! I realized my current position would be a good fit when they told me that each day I have to be ready to be flexible. There is never a day where I will be doing the exact same thing as the last, and I enjoy the variety in what I do.

 

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

Definitely people skills for one! A Jesuit liberal arts education of educating the whole person is not just some slogan, by studying different areas it has helped me to connect with a variety of patients from different backgrounds. Additionally, my science classes taught me the data based problem solving skills that are used in medicine every day. My incredible professors instilled in me a skill to be able to look at a problem, and think of how to solve it with the data given.

 

 

Meet Alumna Lilse McKenna ’11, Founder of Lilse McKenna Inc.

October 12th, 2018 by aclauson

 

Meet Alumna Lilse McKenna ’11, Founder of Lilse McKenna Inc.

 

Name: Lilse Rodgers McKenna

Class Year: 2011

Title: Founder

Organization Name: Lilse McKenna Inc

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

As the founder of a residential interior design firm my job entails everything from reviewing architectural drawings and overseeing contractors, to drawing furniture plans, designing furniture and scheming rooms, to managing the orders, timelines, and installations for a project.

 

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 senior year at Holy Cross I had big plans to go to law school.  At the time I thought that it would be the most logical and practical fit for me, and I took the LSAT class offered at Holy Cross to prepare for the exam.  We were encouraged to take study breaks in between practice tests, and I found myself filling that time with interior design magazines like House Beautiful, Veranda, and Architectural Digest, and countless design blogs.

 

After taking the LSAT and starting to pull together my applications for law school I realized my heart wasn’t in it.  Since long before the LSAT I’d enjoyed reading about and discussing interior design with my grandmother, and she and my mother both believed I had shown some innate talent in decorating. My Mom had often suggested I pursue it as a career, but I had the impression that most successful designers had degrees in interior design or a lifestyle that enabled them to open a firm “for fun.”

 

After graduation I applied for jobs in advertising and marketing, but nothing really felt like the right fit.  In a moment of frustration with the job search process I googled the phone number for the office of my favorite interior designer at the time and asked if they needed an intern.  They asked how soon I could start.

 

Within the first week of the internship, I knew I’d found the right career fit for me in interior design.  Suddenly all of the knowledge I’d accumulated about interior design throughout my life, which I’d long thought was useless and just a hobby, had real value.  I also started to see the opportunity to put another interest of mine, business and entrepreneurship, to use.  I come from a family of entrepreneurs, and just as my knowledge of interior design had been somewhat subliminal, so too was my understanding of work and business through the lens of an entrepreneur.   Having an understanding of how entrepreneurs think and operate gave me a leg up as an intern, and later an employee, of small business owners.  I soon found out that neither a degree in design nor a large trust fund were necessary to start a successful interior design business.

 

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I volunteered at Dismas House, was a club chair for the Comunications, Advertising & Marketing Club, and interned for the Public Affairs office.

 

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

I was an English major and I think my creative writing classes gave me some insight into how much I enjoyed creative work.  The time I spent working on the assignments for those classes flew by, even when the assignments were difficult.

 

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

While I was at Holy Cross I learned to be very disciplined about my time because I found that the school work load would sneak up on me if I wasn’t consistently setting aside time at the library.  In my industry it is very easy to be distracted by the creative part of the job and put the paperwork on the backburner.  Unfortunately that is probably the quickest way to go out of business, so in life as in school I try to set aside specific time dedicated to the paperwork.

 

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Trust your instincts when it comes to your future.  Don’t force a career choice, or any choice for that matter, solely because it appears to be the most pragmatic.  If it doesn’t feel right it isn’t, and you should take the time to find what is right for you.  Also, pay attention to what interests you, even the things you think of as silly hobbies or the curiosities you take for granted.  Today more than ever there is value in being an expert in a specialized field, so why not take advantage of that?

 

Meet Alum, Michael Wright ’12, Associate, Equity Capital Markets at Canaccord Genuity Inc

October 11th, 2018 by aclauson

Alum Michael Wright ’12 – Associate, Equity Capital Markets at Canaccord Genuity Inc

 

Name: Michael Wright

Class Year: 2012

Organization Name: Canaccord Genuity (Equity Capital Markets)

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

Advise and execute equity financings for growth focused companies.

 

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?

3 months into my first job out of HC, an HC alumni reached out asking if I would be interested in an analyst position on the Canaccord Equity Capital Markets desk. Despite feeling hesitant given my short time at my first employer, I felt the opportunity to join a small, dynamic team would be too hard to pass up.

 

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

Football, SGA, Big Brother Big Sister

 

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

History major. Despite not being a finance related major, it provided me with the ability to analyze multiple pieces of information into narrower concepts/ themes . The skills of reading, analyzing, writing, etc. are crucial skills in any professional setting.

 

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

Multi-tasking

Information analysis

 

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Choose a major that is interesting to you – Holy Cross has a great reputation across all industries, and employers recognize they a hiring hard-working, smart candidates. Unless an industry requires specific credentials, do not force a major to fit a job application.

Make classroom performance #1, but also spend time utilizing the Holy Cross alumni network in your targeted profession(s). While it can be intimidating at first, the majority of alumni are extremely engaging and happy to provide career advice.

Meet Alumna Erin Connolly ’17, Program Assistant- Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

September 7th, 2018 by aclauson

Meet Alumna Erin Connolly ’17, Program Assistant- Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

 

Name: Erin Connolly

Class Year: 2017

Current Title/Employer:   Program Assistant/ Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I work to educate the public and policymakers (Congress) on nuclear nonproliferation and fissile materials policy by helping plan and host various events; writing op-eds; and briefing congressional staffers on our issues.

What and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross?   

I wrote a paper my sophomore year for a National Security course that argued for a nuclear deal with Iran. While writing this paper, I found myself fascinated by nuclear nonproliferation policy, and it quickly became one of my favorite topics. I left for France, and when it came time to look for an internship I applied to the Center, using that paper as my writing sample. This internship was a vital introduction to the nuclear policy world. It provided me with the foundational knowledge to succeed, but also allowed me to make professional connections while living in Washington, D.C. which is how I learned about the position I currently hold.

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

My internship experience solidified my interest in the nuclear nonproliferation field. I was able to explore the various facets, from Iran, and North Korea, to U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe. My current position involves much more engagement with Congressional staffers and fissile materials; basically I do a lot of work to answer any questions they may have about highly enriched uranium, plutonium stockpiles, preventing nuclear terrorism and other subjects in this domain. We host dinners for members of Congress, a unique opportunity for engagement and education. I also am able to continue writing, I was fortunate enough to get a piece published in Teen Vogue with a colleague in the field (and former fellow intern!) and it’s great to connect with people my age on these issues.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?   

I was involved in the Purple Key Society, which is quite helpful for my event planning now; HEAL, Model UN, SPUD site leader, Manresa, Gateways, Appalachia trips, and I also worked in the History department,

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

I was an International Studies major, French minor and Peace and Conflict concentration. I loved engaging with the multidisciplinary major and in some ways I continue to do that. I am always continuing to learn in this job — from policy to science — and that is something I loved at Holy Cross and am grateful I get to bring that into my career.

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

The importance of asking questions and networking. It is always better to ask questions and do something correctly then to do it wrong. Everyone would prefer to answer your questions than to have you do it again! And networking is one of those things I did not want to believe was important, but it is. Maintaining relationships and connections is so key, especially when you work in a field that’s small like mine! I knew D.C. had gotten to me when I began bringing cards to every happy hour because you just never know who you will meet — friends of friends are great connections.

Meet Alum Chad Wright ’92, Senior Director of IT, Amazon Robotics

April 12th, 2018 by aclauson

Meet Alum Chad Wright ’92, Senior Director of IT, Amazon Robotics 

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?  

As Senior Director of IT, I am responsible for the overall strategy and delivery of IT services, such as enterprise software, infrastructure, information security and service desk, that help our organization operate safely and efficiently.

 

What were you involved in when you were on campus?  

When I was on campus, I was a member of the Calculus Workshop (which also included the inaugural Computer Workshop) and a TA that graded lots of math homework.  Though my baseball career was very brief (one season), my friends and I played just about every intramural sport the college offered.

 

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

I was a Mathematics major with a concentration in Computer Science.  I studied what I loved and it led me into the direction of my career today.  I didn’t know anything about Information Technology and that’s why I’m so passionate about helping students learn more about the industry and be prepared for the opportunities that await them.

 

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, I had two job offers.  The first was a math and computer science teaching position with athletic coaching responsibilities at a private school in Long Island, NY.  The second offer was to join a database marketing software company as a business analyst that was much closer to my family and friends in MA.  I decided to take the business analyst role not really knowing what I was getting into, but because it was a growing company with challenging business problems and a teaching and learning culture, I decided to take a chance.  It turned out that I enjoyed the work and really excelled at it.

 

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

The most important skills are critical thinking and problem-solving.  As a manager, mentor and coach, I find it’s very difficult to teach someone how to think critically or make them a better problem solver without investing an extraordinary amount of time and effort.  Holy Cross helped me develop my skills to look at each challenge pragmatically, to find new and creative ways to solve a problem – whether it be about people or about technology.  Leaving Holy Cross, I became a better reader, writer and listener.  These skills are critical to the success I’ve had in my various IT roles throughout my career.

 

Meet Alum Gaby Betances ’14, Tenants’ Rights Coalition Paralegal at Bronx Legal Services

April 11th, 2018 by aclauson

Meet Alum Gaby Betances ’14, Tenants’ Rights Coalition (TRC) Paralegal at Bronx Legal Services

 

Name: Gabriella Betances (Gaby)

Current Title/Employer:   Tenants’ Rights Coalition (TRC) Paralegal at Bronx Legal Services

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

The TRC partners with community organizers who help organize tenants in buildings, and I provide support on “Know Your Rights” education as well as on affirmative litigation that the tenants decide to pursue.

 

What and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross?   

I knew I wanted to do a service program after of Holy Cross, but the program I was interested in denied me right after finals. Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) was a last minute application and acceptance, placing me in NYC as a Benefits & Housing Advocate at Make the Road New York (MRNY). That was my introduction to the legal field, community organizing, and the non-profit sector.

 

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

MRNY is a grassroots organization that combines services with in-house organizing. Not only were members empowered, but there was a strong sense of community, all of which made me feel so alive. I’m now figuring out if I want to work towards these values through law school.

 

What were you involved in when you were on campus?  

I was an OL, RA, Passport pathfinder, Spanish tutor, tour guide, Senior interviewer for admissions, Relationship Peer Educator (RPE), Pullshapes contemporary dance group, and Office Assistant for the Theatre Department.

 

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

I learned so much about history, culture, writing, critical thinking, and social justice through my Spanish and Latin American studies majors. I wanted to bring these skills and lenses by working with and for the community. I am also passionate about language access, and I currently work with tenants who do not necessarily understand English, legalese or both.

 

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

Super critical thinking and active, intentional listening

Meet Alum Jena Rascoe ’08, Marketing Manager at RSM US LLP

April 10th, 2018 by aclauson

Meet Alum Jena Rascoe ’08, Marketing Manager at RSM US LLP

 

Name: Jena Rascoe

Class Year: 2008

Title: Marketing Manager

Organization Name: RSM US LLP

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I’m responsible for marketing RSM’s tax, audit, and consulting services in Connecticut and Westchester County, NY – which includes managing speaking roles, events, sponsorships, advertising, communications and promoting thought leadership to our network.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was a Relationship Peer Educator, which was part of the counseling center. We organized student programs that provided information and support around adjusting to new social situations, navigating difficult dynamics between peers, and adjusting to life on campus after being abroad. I was also a tutor for a 7th grader at the Nativity School in Worcester. I’ve always been interested in community involvement that’s geared towards education or emotional support.

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

I was an English major, so I did a LOT of writing. I knew I wanted to leverage those writing skills in whatever career path I chose, so I started out on the editorial side of publishing. That morphed into writing and editing marketing materials… and I found I enjoyed being part of a marketing team. While being an English major did solidify my passion for communications, it also taught me to be open to different types of roles and industries – as long as I could use that part of my brain. That openness has proven to be useful in today’s job market.

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

1: A comfort level with asking questions. Intellectual curiosity – and seeking to understand the goals and reasons behind the work – is key to being successful a strategic marketer. HC gives you an environment to hone that skill, and I use it literally every day.

2: Developing high quality writing skills and an eye for detail. That’s important whether I’m writing a marketing plan, pulling a presentation together, or even writing a simple email. Many people in today’s environment are moving too fast to pay close attention to detail, so when you produce a high quality piece, it stands out.

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Have confidence in the fact that your HC education is practical and can be applied to a variety of careers and roles. One of the great things about learning so broadly is that you’re prepared to try new things as you go through the learning “process.” Rely on the work ethic and critical thinking from HC to get you through the periods of uncertainty as you’re deciding your next step… it always leads you in the right direction!