Meet Alum David Cotrone ’13, Director of Public Relations and Communications

Name: David Cotrone

Class Year: 2013

Title: Director of Public Relations and Communications

Organization Name: PRX

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

PR and communications is wide-ranging, but in a nutshell: I help to identify and achieve publicity opportunities through a mix of media relations and strategic communications. PRX is a nonprofit public media company specializing in podcasting and radio. The organization won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for audio, and Fast Company named it one of the top 10 most innovative media companies. PRX works in partnership with an incredible array of content creators: The Moth, the Smithsonian, Radiotopia, Futuro Media, Religion of Sports, GBH in Boston, and many more.

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 grad school in New York right after Holy Cross, in a creative field, thanks in part to a Beinecke Scholarship. Because I gained communication skills through liberal arts, I was a fit for an internship at a public relations firm in the city and working my way up from there. This allowed me to attend grad school and to work at the same time. Eventually, I would combine all my skills into the career I have now, in public media. At its best, public media reaches audiences through trust and human-centered stories. It’s also a rich service.

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

Alternate College Theater. I wasn’t any good at acting or anything like that, but I enjoyed the social aspect of it.

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

My major was English with a focus in creative writing. My goal wasn’t to become a professional writer, but to work in a creative field or to bring creativity with me. As I now work in a field that values the power of narrative––both personal storytelling, stories rooted in journalism, and documentary––I haven’t strayed too far from that original goal.

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

Leveraging critical thinking and curiosity.

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

Take classes in as many different subjects as possible, including outside your comfort zone. Second: find mentors. Third: take full advantage of Kimball Dining Hall while you can. At the end of the day, there is perhaps no greater joy than being there when lunch turns over to dinner.

Meet Alum Alberto Correia ’78, Vice President of Technical Services

Name: Alberto Correia

Class Year: 1978

Title: Vice President of Technical Services

Organization Name: Proveris Scientific

 

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

My focus is customer support. The functions that report to me include:  marketing; field and in-house services and sales of specific product lines.

 

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

I was a chemistry major and one of our instruments broke down. I went to the vendor to obtain the part we needed and met an alumni who offered me an internship in the laboratory from there I worked my senior year and two weeks before I graduated I started a full time position.

 

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

The company was based on chemistry and had a customer focus that was unmatched.

 

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

Junior year I was working 3-4 nights in the laboratory at Waters. Senior year a spent every other week traveling across the USA lecturing for Waters. My professors were great as they allowed friends to tape the lectures and fed-ex them to the hotels I was staying at so I could keep up.

 

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

I was a  chemistry major and all of the positions I have held were related to knowledge of chemistry. 

 

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

The chemistry knowledge was critical, but as important was the life lessons that a Jesuit education instilled in me: loyalty; ethics; hard work.

 

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

Follow your passion. I am 65 years old and never worked a day in my life. I go to work to have fun and make an impact. No amount of money is worth following a path that you do not enjoy.

Meet Alumna Brianna Medeiros ’12, APRN, NNP-BC, Women & Infants Hospital

Name: Brianna Medeiros

Class Year: 2012

Title: Brianna Medeiros, APRN, NNP-BC

Organization Name: Women & Infants Hospital

 

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

I am a Nurse Practitioner in the Neonatal ICU (NICU) where I manage patient care, attend deliveries and perform resuscitative duties, perform various procedures, consult with specialists, and most importantly support patients and their families throughout their NICU stay.

 

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? 

For as long as I can remember, I was always interested in a career in the medical field, and planned to work closely with children and families. While at Holy Cross, I took all of the pre-medical requirements and in my senior year, participated in the Internship Program where I spent a semester shadowing professionals in the NICU at UMass Memorial Hospital. After this experience, I knew that working in the NICU was my calling. I spent the first year after graduation working in clinical research at Rhode Island Hospital while contemplating my future plans. During that time, I discovered that I was interested in more of a “hands-on” role, similar to that of the nurses, so the next step for me was enrolling in nursing school. I graduated in 2015 with my RN and immediately applied to every NICU job I could find, which led me on a cross-country move to Arizona where they hired me as a new-grad RN. After a year of experience, I moved back to the Boston area and continued working as a NICU RN. As time elapsed, I knew that I wanted to be able to do more in terms of both patient management and hands-on skills such as procedures and resuscitations. In 2021 I graduated from the University of Connecticut as a Nurse Practitioner with my Master’s Degree specializing in Neonatal Medicine. Overall, I knew prior to Holy Cross that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine but it was through the different experiences both on and off campus that my path evolved into the career that I now have.

 

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

I participated in a number of different activities, including Novice Crew, SPUD, Eco-Action, Campus Ministry, 4 years of spring break service trips, and the Tanzania immersion trip.

 

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

My major was Psychology and I was on the pre-medical track. I found Psychology to be very interesting and I thought that it would aid me well in my career as a medical provider. The pre-medical courses were very rigorous and I found myself less interested in medical school and more interested in other medical careers as time progressed. In hindsight, it was the best case scenario because it led me to the career that I am incredibly happy with and offers me a wonderful work-life balance that I don’t believe I would have if I chose to move forward with medical school.

 

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

Teamwork and a sense of community/compassion for others outlined most activities at Holy Cross, both academic and social. Teamwork was essential during labs, group projects, and for successful studying. A sense of community was present in all aspects of campus life, from the extracurricular activities (e.g. SPUD) to campus ministry, spring break immersions, and sporting events. As a Nurse Practitioner, I am completely dependent on teamwork and collaborate with nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians, social workers, and so many others on a daily basis; and of course compassion for others is the foundation of all (quality) medical care.

 

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

Enjoy the time you have on the Hill because it goes by so incredibly fast and take advantage of special opportunities you have while there. To this day I regret not studying abroad and in hindsight it would have been so worthwhile to spend that time even if it meant not finishing all of my pre-medical requirements. Ultimately, I did not need them anyway! If you are unsure about what you want to do in your career, use the opportunities that HC provides to explore – take advantage of the Internship and networking opportunities. There will be plenty of time after graduation to figure out your next steps, but there are so many opportunities on the Hill that you cannot take with you after you leave.

Meet Alum Brian Ricca ’96, Superintendent of Schools

Name: Brian G. Ricca

Class Year: 1996

Title: Superintendent of Schools

Organization Name: East Greenwich (RI) Public Schools

 

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

It is my job to ensure all students feel safe, welcomed, and included when they come to school so that they can learn to their fullest potential.

 

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?

Upon graduation, I joined Inner City Teaching Corps, a Chicago-based volunteer program. It was modeled after the Jesuit Volunteer Corps but was exclusively for teachers. I spent two summers as a part of the Mexico Immersion Program with Kim McElaney, and that’s when I knew I wanted to be a teacher.

I loved teaching from that first summer after graduation and have grown in leadership roles since being a classroom teacher.

 

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

Pax Christi, RICH (Residents for Improved Campus Housing), Mexico Immersion Program, Liturgical Ministry

 

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

I was a Religious Studies major with an emphasis on Liberation Theology. The Jesuit mission of living one’s life in the service of others was a through-line in my studies. The notion that our liberation is directly tied to those who are most marginalized is validated by the gospel stories of Jesus in the New Testament. I wanted to start my teaching career where I was most needed.

 

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

The professors at Holy Cross taught me to analyze and think critically, to look at ideas from multiple perspectives, and to be articulate in my rationale. I was a part of the “first” First Year Program at Holy Cross, and that experience of reading a shared text across multiple disciplines was invaluable.

 

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

Strive for the “grey” in our world. There is far too much instant polarization. We have knee-jerk reactions to those whose political ideology does not match ours. Be solid in your values and what you know to be true and good, and be open to the intrinsic value of those who disagree. Be the one willing to have the hard conversation with someone who thinks about the world differently than you do.

Meet Alum Sean Callahan ’89, Mission Director for USAID/Afghanistan

Name: Sean E Callahan 

Class Year: 1989

Title: Mission Director for USAID/Afghanistan 

Organization Name: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

 

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

I am responsible for creating, implementing and leading US foreign assistance programs based on sound development principles for the Afghan people including promoting human rights, democracy, and human rights; supporting Afghan women and girls; and mitigating the effects of the humanitarian and economic crises in Afghanistan.

 

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?  

My Holy Cross semester in Washington DC exposed me to so many different international organizations, think tanks, issues and views that were part of the policy and legislative making process related to international affairs that I was unaware of until then. That semester made me more interested in international issues. My job after Holy Cross was as a legal assistant at a Wall Street law firm. While I thought about law school then and the lawyers there impressed me, I wasn’t interested in a corporate law job nor going to law school just yet. It took 6 years and deferring admission three times before I went to grad school for a joint JD/MPA. Instead, I moved to Southeast Asia first as a Princeton-In-Asia fellow and then with the International Catholic Migration Commission working on refugee matters. 

 

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

 I was on the varsity swim team and started the water polo club. I hope it is still going. I was also part of the Film club where we picked and showed independent and foreign “films” in Hogan and then more Hollywood style movies in lower Kimball on the weekends. 

 

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

My major was political science. Courses in political theory, comparative systems, political economy, history and even the classics made me interested in how the US and other countries analyze and address serious issues such as refugees, sovereign debt, humanitarian crises and the other development challenges. This led to looking for work and experiences overseas. 

 

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

First and foremost, the strong belief – that the Cross instilled in me – of service for others. Even after 20+ years in development work and despite the bureaucracy of the US government, I still strongly believe in the USAID’s mission to help others which I credit to Holy Cross. The most used skill that HC taught me was inquisitiveness. To understand people and problems in order to get to a solution – whether how to unlock financial liquidity in the Afghanistan or create space for civil society in Afghanistan – one needs to understand the underlying reasons and problems. However, the only way to get there is to ask questions and lots of them.

 

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

Get out of your comfort zone. Travel. Meet new people. Be patient. No one lands their dream job right out of school or even after several different jobs. I would also advise against faking it. Trust your heart and look at what motivates you whether it’s public service; the private sector; a religious calling; academia or the fine arts. It all falls in place eventually if you stay true to yourself. 

Meet Alumna Paige Cohen ’21, Junior Consultant – Human Services

Name: Paige Cohen

Class Year: 2021

Title: Junior Consultant – Human Services

Organization Name: Public Consulting Group

 

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?
 
In my role, I support projects with state human services agencies, helping agencies design and evaluate programs (examples might be TANF, SNAP, or workforce development programs), increase revenue/cut costs, and ensure regulatory compliance.

 

 

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 first learned about Public Consulting Group (PCG) through a simple LinkedIn job search in the fall of my junior year at Holy Cross, when I saw their posting for a summer internship. After going to the PCG website, I became really intrigued by the concept of public sector consulting and how private businesses can help support state and local governments. I applied, and through more LinkedIn networking, realized that Stephen Skinner, their Director of Marketing, is an HC alum. I connected with Stephen, and he supported me through the interview process and helped me secure my internship with the PCG Marketing team in summer 2020.

 

I really enjoyed my internship, but I was hoping to transition to the consulting side of the business, as I wanted to dig more into policy work. The more limited job market of early 2021 and my lack of quantitative skills made it challenging to land that consulting job right out of Holy Cross. I ended up taking another job doing internal strategy and operations at L.E.K. Consulting for a year after graduation. While at L.E.K., I focused on learning as much as I could about the consulting industry and building up my quantitative/analytical skills. I always kept an eye out for PCG job postings, and in April, I saw an opening for a Junior Consultant role. I emailed Stephen right away to let him know I was applying, and I was delighted to accept a job offer in May. I’ve been in my role for about 6 weeks now and am having a great experience so far.

 

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
 
While I was on campus, I was a member of the Varsity Rowing team. I was also a Community-Based Learning Intern, an SGA Cabinet member, and Political Science Student Advisory Committee member.

 

 

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
 
I was an English and Political Science double major. I’ve always loved Literature, and the English major gave me a foundational skillset in good writing, reading, and communication. Political Science offered me an application for that skillset, as I thought through and wrote about issues of public policy. My interest in this intersection of policy and communications led me first to an internship at the State Department in the summer of 2019 and then to PCG as both an intern and now a full-time employee.

 

 

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?
 
Critical thinking and policy analysis are two skills that I developed at Holy Cross that I use often in my work at PCG. Throughout classes at Holy Cross, we were called to “ask more”— to not just memorize information but to think critically about what we were learning. I have to do this sort of critical thinking often at work, as we think about how to make state programs operate more efficiently. I also took several public policy classes at Holy Cross, where I studied and debated many of the government policies that I work with now at PCG.

 

 

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

Be patient! Even if your first job or your first internship isn’t what you wanted, there are many paths to take in your career and your first job is just a first step. Try to make the most of any opportunity you are given at work to build up your skills, so that you are prepared for your next move.

Meet Alum Eric Butler ’06, Director of Development at 2U / edX

Name: Eric Butler

Class Year: 2006

Title: Director of Development

Organization Name: 2U / edX

 

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

I work with directly with partners interested in fueling innovation and increasing accessibility on a global scale as it relates to the future of education and workforce development.

 

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? 

Over the years, I have worked in education (secondary education and higher education), but also received my MBA in graduate school. In many ways, my work at 2U/edX, as a global education technology company, combines my passion for education with my interest in business and corporate strategy and engagement. My first job out of college was actually in the Holy Cross Development Office as a Research Analyst where I worked for Holy Cross alumna, Roseann Fitzerald ’78. In this role I was able to work with the Holy Cross Fund staff, major gift officers, planned giving and parent giving team members and the President’s Office. It was a great crash course in advancement work in higher education.

 

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

I was an Admissions Tour Guide, active with Fenwick Theatre and Alternate College Theatre (ACT), and I was a member of the Honors Program and Alpha Sigma Nu. I also was involved with some of Campus Ministry’s retreats and service programs.

 

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

I was a double major in Psychology and Theater. I think the liberal arts in general help make you a more thoughtful, well-rounded, empathetic leader and manager. Also, I expanded my love and knowledge of theater at Holy Cross. To this day, I have stayed involved with the arts by directing local theater, investing and producing commercial Broadway and international shows (An American in Paris, Kinky Boots, On Your Feet, Moulin Rouge), and founding Broadway in Worcester, an initiative that brings A-List Broadway talent to Central MA to perform and work with local students and arts educators.

 

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

Critical thinking. It was a skill that was required through out the curriculum and a skill that is used every day across every professional scenario.

 

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

Take advantage of the opportunities you have through Holy Cross and the career network. Use this time to explore interests on campus and through internships.

Meet Alumna Allie Silge ’20, Wealth Strategy Associate

Allie Silge

Class Year: 2020

Title: Wealth Strategy Associate

Organization Name:  UBS Private Wealth Management

 

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

I work on a team that serves Ultra High Net Worth Clients by managing their investments and providing them with holistic wealth management advice and services.

 

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 participated in the Global Wealth Management Internship at UBS the summer before my senior year.  This program was great for getting my foot in the door and leveraging the Holy Cross network at the firm, which ultimately led for me to receive a full time offer at the bank.  Over the course of the summer I was able to learn more about Wealth Management and realized it was the perfect fit for me.  This industry specifically requires a unique skillset that is a cross between technical/analytical skills and social/people skills.  I loved how these two skillsets could be blended into a job that felt right for me. 

 

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

On campus I was involved in: Finance Club, SPUD, Eucharistic Ministry, and Club Tennis.

 

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

I was an Economics Major and Art History Minor.  My economics major largely affected my career decision as I was interested in the broader macro environment and how it affected financial markets.  I was further interested in how this affected someone’s personal financial investments and what types of investments do well in different macro situations.  Overall, I found the interconnectedness of the markets & the economy to be fascinating.

 

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

One of the most important things I learned at Holy Cross was how to write.  I learned this mainly through my history classes, and is truly an invaluable skill that differentiates me from my colleagues.

 

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

  • First, I would say to cherish your time on the Hill – it goes by faster than you think!
  • Second, I would say to keep an open mind when exploring your career options – it is always better to cast a wide net and be open to many different opportunities than to focus on one particular thing.  If anything, I’ve learned that your interests and strengths change as you develop and grow, so remaining open and malleable to this change is so important.

Meet Alumna Sarah Street ’22, Communications Assistant, Federal Media

Name: Sarah Street

Class Year: 2022

Title: Communications Assistant, Federal Media

Organization Name: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

 

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

Still getting my bearings, but my job essentially entails fielding press requests, sending press releases, and providing support to multiple people on NRDC’s vast Media team. I act as a liaison between our experts at NRDC and reporters and help make sure all the work we’re doing is publicized and framed effectively for the public.

 

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?

Originally, my plan was to join the Peace Corps post-grad and do some environmental service abroad in the Philippines. However, with everything going on with COVID, the organization had basically shut down sending volunteers abroad and after not hearing anything for months after applying, I decided to start applying for jobs. I’ve known that I wanted to work for an environmental NGO if I had my choice but I applied for probably 60+ jobs in the environmental field in general. I was thrilled when I heard back from NRDC, both because the position in Federal Media was right up my alley as well as knowing the incredible work that NRDC does, especially in law and policy which is potentially where I see myself ending up! After interviewing, I was really excited about the opportunity, but I didn’t hear back from my first interview for weeks. Just about when I’d given up that I’d be going through to the next round, was scheduled for a panel interview… and got offered the job the next day! I knew from the panel that NRDC was the place for me based on the way they explained the collaborative and fast-paced culture, opportunities for professional development and advancement, their commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and just the warm and welcoming attitude they all greeted me with.

 

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

On campus, I was a member of the varsity women’s ice hockey team, I was secretary of Eco-Action, and Senior Editor of the Purple Literary Magazine. I also worked part-time at the Hart Center and participated in Working for Worcester. I also volunteered off-campus at Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook and had two internships while at school with the Humane Society of the US and Dismas House.

 

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

My major was International Studies and my minor was Environmental Studies. I picked up Environmental Studies my sophomore year after taking Environmental Political Philosophy with Professor Kendy Hess. That’s when I knew that I wanted to commit my life to the environment and since then, I’ve combined the global interdisciplinary knowledge I’ve gained in both my major and minor to look at careers for the planet that take into account our whole world and ways that we can work together to combat the climate crisis.

 

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

During my time at Holy Cross, I developed my ability to be a self-advocate. This has been in school, in sports, and in my professional career. By learning how to advocate effectively for myself with my professors, during internships, and in the community, I was able to graduate with three internships under my belt, my own money in the bank, the ability to time manage with a ton on my plate, a varsity letter, and a 3.8 GPA. Now, I’m using this skill in my career and helped me not only to get the job, but now that I have it. I’m excited to use my self advocacy skills to, ask for help when I need it, network internally, and pursue projects that I’m passionate about.

 

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

My advice for students on campus today is to get as much experience in the things that they are passionate about as they can. My internships have seriously set me up for success and put me ahead of a lot of my peers at NRDC who are starting from scratch. But, my other piece of advice is to just make the most out of your time at Holy Cross even if it doesn’t relate directly to the career you think you want. I am so glad I spent time on the Purple simply because I love poetry and ultimately, it still gave me skills I’m able to apply in my life now. I’m also grateful for all the times that I wasn’t doing work and was just spending time with my friends, because before you know it you’ll be out in the real world and these will be the memories you will most cherish.

 

Meet Alumna Kat Rosenthal ’13, Project Manager, John Moriarty & Associates

Name: Kat Rosenthal

Class Year: 2013

Title: Project Manager

Organization: John Moriarty & Associates, DC

 

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

I manage the financial and manpower requirements to build buildings

 

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?    

A series of failed attempts at finding my passion lead me to start throwing darts at the wall to find a career. I wanted something that had a team component, as I missed playing sports so much. I connected with someone from high school who worked for a large general contractor in Boston who then pointed me in the direction of another general contractor. I reached out for an unpaid internship and was hired as a paid intern. Three months of interning lead to a full time job. Six years later, I now run my own project and still love what I do.

 

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

Varsity softball, President of ABiGaLe/Allies (now Pride), Physics grading and tutoring, and a Pub Rat 🙂

 

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

I studied Physics with a Concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies. I knew I did not want to work in a lab forever after a few summer internships. Physics taught me how to collaborate and problem solve; I knew that whatever I did for a living had to let me critically think and work with a team.

 

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

Most definitely teamwork and creative problem solving. Construction is a very big field with a lot of different specialties. As a general contractor, we work to learn a little about a lot, working with the experts (designers and engineers) to make a building. It involves working as a team and problem solving as a group. So many times I know only high level details, but my ability to think outside the box to solve a difficult constructability issue is very helpful!

 

6. What advice do you have for students today?

Do as much as you can while you’re still at Holy Cross. Try everything you can. Get outside of your comfort zone. Do not worry so much about your grades. Instead, work hard, maintain a good reputation, and create great and long standing relationships with professors, staff, and classmates; that will pay off so much more in the long run.