Alumni Guest Post: Tricia Dunn ’12

To round out our Alumni Guest Posts for the 2012-13 year, we’re happy to present Tricia Dunn ’12, former HC Career Planning Marketing Intern (& Blogger!) and current member of the Human Resources team at Hanover Insurance Group.

Check out more about her job & advice for students pursuing a career at Hanover or in HR!

Hi Crusaders! It’s hard to believe that almost a year has passed since I graduated. And yet, while it

Tricia Dunn ’12

seems like just yesterday I was enjoying Cape Week and pre-graduation celebrations at the Pub, so much has happened since then that I can’t believe college was only a year ago.

I’m currently going on a year at The Hanover Insurance Group, where I work in the Human Resources department and am part of the company’s Future Leader’s Program. I’ve been lucky to try a variety of projects during this year here and am learning a lot. While I have enjoyed this past year and the growth and change it has brought, I will admit I do get a little nostalgic for HC sometimes. So, in that spirit, let’s pretend we’re meeting up in the pub for a $2 beer (side note: do any of you realize how great this is?!) and I’ll share what I’ve been up to over the past few months.

How did I end up at Hanover?


I first learned about The Hanover as a junior looking for internships. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and was applying to internships in a variety of fields and locations. Two young alumni had a lobby table in Hogan and were recruiting for The Hanover—with cupcakes.  No joke, I first learned about The Hanover due to my insatiable hunger for baked goods. One of them asked me if I was interested in applying for the internship program. Since I wasn’t really thinking about insurance, I didn’t take it seriously at first, but their enthusiasm for the company took me aback and I found myself connecting with a lot of the things they mentioned. The more I learned about Hanover, the more it sounded like a place I could like.

Fast forward three months and I returned to Holy Cross having enjoyed my internship and with an offer in hand for a full time position as part of The Hanover’s Future Leaders Program. While it was a little nerve wracking to commit to a company so soon into senior year, I was excited to join the program. I liked the idea of joining a training program in which I would be given more growth opportunities, mentorship, and cross-functional training.

Through the program, I’ll get a certificate in Business Analysis, learn about other business functions and get more access to leadership and mentoring opportunities than I probably would have otherwise. Also, I started with 40 other people – many of which I’ve become great friends with!

What do you specifically do there?

This is tough for me to answer because I worked on a diverse set of projects. I am currently in HR Operations, which supports and designs tactical solutions to get done in our department. In essence, we’re the back end people, on the ground, making sure everything runs smoothly. For example, I manage our relocation program; so when the company hires a new employee who needs to move for the job, I help set them up with our relocation vendor. I consult with the HR recruiters who are making the offer, manage vendor to ensure that it is meeting our employee’s need, pay invoices and run financial reports for our finance department.

I have also done some process improvement work for our Learning & Development group, which hosts and manages all of the enterprise-wide classes and learning programs. I took a look at how the operational work was being accomplished: how the online class sign up system worked, how the classes were being set up and hosted, etc., and was able to identify issues and and make recommendations to improve the user experience and improve efficiency. This project was fun because I got to do a lot of consulting work and the impact of my work was noticeable right away!

I think Operations was a good place to start because it provided me with foundational knowledge about

Co-workers decorate Tricia’s office!

the department and exposed me to all of the different areas within it. However, as I approach my one year mark with the company, I’m looking forward to trying something new. As of June, I will still be in HR, but I’ll be working with our Community Relations & Employee Engagement group. I’ve already begun to take on some more work in this area and am really enjoying it!  I am currently managing the redesign of our career site (stay tuned for improvements!), writing pieces for our internal company newsletter, and planning events with our community partners.  I’m looking forward to taking on more roles with marketing and helping others.

While I’m still not exactly sure what I want to do long-term, I am really happy to be where I am today. As mentioned, I am happy for my year in Operations, but I’ve always known I wanted to get into something more community-focused and more creative. Thankfully, I have had a lot of advocates at The Hanover who have mentored me and helped me get into this new role. As for long-term plans, I think the next year will be telling. I plan to continue to take on a diversity of projects to stretch my skills and interests in new ways. I think by doing this I will discern the next step most clearly and with the experiences I’ve had at HC and The Hanover I believe I’ll be ready to take it on!

Any advice for college students?


Yes! I have three that alumni have passed on to me and that I have learned in my one year in the proverbial real world:

1. Focus on the job role, not the job title.

Titles can be misleading and box you in to a job search. While titles hint at hint at what a job entails, there is usually more than meets the eye. It’s more accurate to approach a job by thinking about what you want your daily life to look like – do you like working with people? Doing something creative? Analytical? Are you passionate about research? Whatever that be, focus on those descriptive words and the type of work which you are seeking – rather than a title.

2. Advocate for what you’re interested in…

As a political science major and a studio art minor, I knew that Excel spreadsheets all day were not going to be my jam. Early on at my time at Hanover, I found myself enjoying my projects which were more creative, solidifying my interest in that area. I made sure my manager, mentors and others knew about it. As a result, I’ve been given more creative opportunities in my current position and will be transitioning to a more creative role full-time as of June.

3. …But be open.

As a newbie to the workforce, you’re bound to be doing projects and tasks you never thought you’d be interested in. Yeah, some of those projects are going to suck as much as you expected them to, but guaranteed you will learn something—and maybe even develop new interests—if you are open to it.

4. Drink more $2 beer.

Just kidding. Sort of. Have fun and enjoy the heck out of your time at Holy Cross! It’s a great experience and I encourage you all to make the most of your time there, in the classrooms, on the fields, in extracurricular and yes, even socially.


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Alumni Guest Post: Ty Shaw ’09

Kicking off our Alumni Guest Post series for the Spring Semester, Ty Shaw ’09 discusses how his post grad life led to his current role as a Business Development Consultant at Oracle!

Ty Shaw '09

Job prospects were few and far between when I left “The Cross” in 2009.  America was in the midst of the modern day great depression.  I soon learned the importance of humility, perseverance and strong networking–or as I say, making new friends and embracing old ones.

During my senior year I had one solid job prospect in an industry and location I didn’t want to be in after college, so instead of taking the job, I chose to go back home to Denver, CO.   At the time I was so wrapped up in my own ego and my sense of entitlement that I could not truly understand how tough the economy was.  I was fixed on the thought that I had a great degree from Holy Cross (which I did), and that was all I needed to land a good job.  I was sadly awakened when I spent almost my first year after graduation working with a staffing firm (temp. agency) to keep my resume/skills current.

During that year with the staffing firm, I was humbled.  I could not find permanent work, and I had sent in around one hundred applications and hadn’t landed any interviews.  My dad soon came to me and said “Son, you have to get around the movers and the shakers.”  So that’s what I did, networking became a part of my daily routine.  And I can’t stress enough how important it is to meet people doing things that you think you may be interested in because most companies don’t waste their time looking at resumes where there is no referral with it.  I began to connect with Holy Cross alumni in Colorado that I found off the Holy Cross alumni website, and I joined meetup groups ( so that I could mingle with people that were doing the work I wanted to do.  Each networking experience helped me to realize that the best networkers are those that make genuine friends.  In this world we can never have too many genuine people in our lives that want to help and are open to being helped.

After networking in Colorado (and a few jobs later), I thought getting back to HC for a spring football game would be a good idea for me to reunite with old friends and teammates.  And I was right! Going back to HC is what led to my current opportunity at Oracle.  A Holy Cross teammate and friend told me about openings at Oracle and how he was recently hired—and this connection helped lead to my current job.

In my role, I am working as a Business Development Consultant (BDC) for Oracle.  I am responsible for prospecting into companies that have technology issues.  On a day to day basis, I perform in-depth research on these companies to gain a deep understanding of their business.  Also, I am researching to see how Oracle can add value to what they do.  Most of the companies I work with are public so I am able to read their 10k reports to understand their business and see if we can help.

Once I’m done researching companies online that I want to call into, I find people within the company to speak with.  There are a plethora of prospecting tools Oracle has available to BDC’s to use in order to find the right person in a company to speak business with.  The number one goal is to first build rapport with the prospect, and after connecting on a humanly level, I go on to better understand that person’s role inside the company they work for.  Then we get down to business, I ask questions to see if we can add value, and if there is a business pain I proceed to set up a next call to help facilitate the sales process.  My main job is pre-sales, so I do the research, find the business problem and build the relationship before facilitating the rest of the sales process with my sales team.  I also provide advice to my sales team on how we can drive business in their territory based off of the research I find.  Ultimately, I am in the business of helping the customer first and driving revenue second.

My opportunity at Oracle wouldn’t have been possible without my new-found sense of humility, perseverance, and the Holy Cross Alumni community.  The lessons that I have learned are things that I hope that you all can take with you before graduating.  Think long and hard about what you want to do, what will fulfill you, where you want to live, and what kind of work you will be proud of.  In nearly being out of college four years, I’m just now feeling like I’m heading down a path to fulfillment.  A Chu!  Chu!  Rah!  Rah! For Holy Cross!


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Alumni Guest Post: Priscilla Lam ’12

Next up in our Alumni Guest Post series: Priscilla Lam ’12 discusses her role as a clinical research coordinator in the Center for Neuro-Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute!


Priscilla Lam ’12

I could not have been more ecstatic when I received a phone call from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston, MA) during senior week with an offer to be the new clinical research coordinator in the Center for Neuro-Oncology. Without any hesitation, I immediately accepted the job offer even though I was informed that the start date of my job would be June 4th (exactly 9 days after graduation!). Everything felt like a whirlwind, but I was very excited to begin a new chapter of my life in Boston.

It is hard to believe that I have been working at Dana-Farber for over four months now. Dana-Farber is an outpatient clinic that is directly connected to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (inpatient). I absolutely love working here. Sometimes it feels like I never left Holy Cross because I work with three other Holy Cross alums in my department and I am constantly running into Holy Cross grads from all years working in various disease centers at Dana-Farber.

The responsibilities of a clinical research coordinator differ slightly depending on the disease center. In Neuro, the majority of the patients I work with are Glioblastoma patients. I am responsible for knowing several clinical trials and being familiar with protocol requirements. Our primary responsibility is data entry and management. We are responsible for entering medical/surgical history information, lab values, concomitant medications, adverse events, etc. in the database for each clinical trial participant for sponsors to review. We have monitors (a representative hired by the sponsor, usually from a pharmaceutical company) come in once a month for every clinical trial to review our data and ensure that all data are properly documented and captured. They issue queries and we are required to answer these queries in a timely manner. Research coordinators are essentially the primary point person between the industry sponsor and the research team at Dana-Farber. We also have regulatory responsibilities such as submitting Serious Adverse Event reports to the Dana-Farber Internal Review Board and the industry sponsor. Other duties include preparing research tubes/kits and flow-sheets for nurses, shipping samples, requesting pathology, scheduling clinic visit appointments and MRIs, [and] communicating with patients, ordering labs, being in attendance when physicians screen/consent patients for potential trials, reviewing provider notes to ensure that there is proper source documentation for data, and organizing/prepping patient charts to be ready for monitor visits and future audits.

Most of the research coordinators work in the Longwood Galleria offices while clinic is in the Yawkey Building. Every day is different. This is not a typical 9-5pm job. Things come up spontaneously and each day is completely unpredictable. Generally, clinic days tend to be busier because that is when our patients come in for visits. I learn something new every day. This job can be challenging and demanding at times, but overall very rewarding. It is interesting to see research from a clinical perspective and being part of the research care team is fulfilling.

Clinical trials give patients a sense of hope. Clinical trials investigate specific experimental drugs not yet approved by the FDA and explore novel cancer therapies, as well as implement standard of care treatment in hopes of finding new and effective treatments for patients.

My favorite part of this job is being a contributing member of the research team and having the opportunity to experience full clinical exposure. I also take much pride in being able to work at an institute that offers state-of-the-art treatment for patients, with renowned physicians and experts on brain tumors, and a team of compassionate individuals consisting of neuro-oncologists, researchers, nurses, and PA. I could not have asked for a better place to be after graduating from Holy Cross. Everyday, I find myself inspired by patients, their families, and the support and care that clinicians provide to patients. This job has definitely helped reinforce my dreams of pursing a future career in medicine. I cannot thank the Holy Cross faculty, staff, and alumni network enough for opening my eyes to the opportunities that can be had working as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Dana-Farber.

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Alumni Guest Post: Will Brown ’11

We are excited to announce that our Alumni Guest Post series is back for the 2012-2013 academic year!

First up: Will Brown ’11 will be sharing his experiences as a Physics teacher with Teach For America!


Will Brown ’11

When I look back at my four years at Holy Cross, many things stand out to me: long hours in class and science labs, long hours studying in Dinand, long hours working at Kimball, and long weekend nights with friends. I enjoyed all of those things, but the one aspect of Holy Cross that truly became a part of me was the idea of being “Men and Women for (and with) Others.” I took advantage of every opportunity I had to serve alongside the marginalized and oppressed. I was one of those people who fell in love with the spring break immersion program. I went to New Orleans my freshman year because I wanted to help others. I quickly learned, however, that the beauty of a life of service is not what you can do for others, but what you can do together. The individuals that I met, both from Holy Cross and the local communities, convinced me to broaden my perspective and go out into the world.

Fast forward a few years, and I am now a second-year Teach for America corps member serving as a physics teacher San Benito High School in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, the area of land alongside the Mexican border. As someone who was a biology major in the health professions program, I often get asked, “Why Teach for America? Why not go to med school?” Medical school is still my target destination, but I did not feel ready at that time to jump in.  Instead, I opted for a short break from school and settled on joining one of the many service organizations that are available (Peace Corps, JVC, Americorps, etc.). Teach for America recruits high-performing college graduates with strong leadership qualities to teach in high-needs schools throughout the country. We go through an alternative teacher certification program and undertake continuous professional development throughout our two-year commitment. This makes it an excellent option for those individuals (like me) who realized very late that they have a passion for teaching, and also those individuals who would like a strong support system as they begin their teaching careers. Although it is not faith-based like the immersion trips, TFA appealed to me because it allowed me to work daily with students who have ambitious hopes and dreams for their futures, but who have also been written off by many as incapable of reaching those goals or, worse, not worth the effort.

The past year and a half has been a constant challenge. The old joke that “those who can’t do, teach” has certainly been proven false. I have worked harder during the past year and a half than I ever did before. My school day runs from 7:45 to 4:16, and then I stay at school most afternoons grading, preparing for future lessons, or organizing extracurricular activities. During my first year I taught three 90-minute chemistry classes and one remedial class for students who needed to pass the state exam. This year I am teaching physics. I find myself constantly relearning things I have forgotten since college. Most nights I am exhausted, and just like at Holy Cross I cannot wait for each weekend to come around so I can relax a bit. I love taking the time to go out to my students’ football games (yes, it really is like Friday Night Lights) or volleyball games and see them excel in something that they love. It is also a fun and easy opportunity to meet students’ parents and influencers.

All of the time and effort is worth it, though, when you see the fruits of you and your students’ shared labor: having Juan look up at you from a problem set and say he finally understands; seeing Mel’s face light up in wonder and amazement when a science experiment works like magic; or seeing a student who has failed multiple times in the past finally rise up and succeed. Those simple, joyous moments remind me why I chose teaching, why I chose Teach for America.

If you are interested in applying to Teach for America, make sure to get in touch with one of the recruiters from the Boston office. TFA works in 46 different rural and urban regions throughout the country from Boston to Hawaii and everywhere in-between. Check out the website to see detailed information about each of the regions. You can make yourself a more attractive applicant by taking on leadership positions on campus and developing your organizational skills, as these are two of the organization’s focal points when looking at applicants. Also, speak to people who are currently teaching in the public school system: there are many things I was unaware of that happen behind-the-scenes. There is a lot more to school than just teaching classes.

I want to leave you with my greatest moment in the classroom so far. One of

Will & Myriah

my students from last year, Myriah, had not passed the state science exam since she was in 8th grade. As a senior, she needed to pass that test to graduate. She was in two science classes with me, for a total of 135 minutes each day, all year long. Myriah had her confidence beaten down, but we knew that she could do it. One month before graduation, on her last chance, she finally succeeded in passing the science exam. She was going to walk across the stage and graduate with her class! I remember many things about that night: My mom and sister were at a Brad Paisley concert, and Johan Santana threw the Mets first no-hitter, but I will always remember the ear-to-ear smile on Myriah’s face as she lined up to walk across the stage. Tears welled up in my eyes as a student sitting near me said, “I didn’t think Myriah was going to graduate.” The tears began to run as I responded, “Well, she did.” In that moment, I knew that I was where I needed to be. I knew that joining Teach for America was the right choice for me.


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Aumni Guest Post: Matt Harper ’11

This semester we kick off the Alumni Guest Post series with a story by Matt Harper ’11, who is living and working in Belize as part of the International Jesuit Volunteer Corps!

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Matt Harper '11 (second from left) at graduation

I have been in Belize City, Belize (in Central America) for about four months as part of the international branch of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.  I work in the youth facility of the Belize Central Prison. My job description says, “Teach literacy and math.” It should probably say, “Be present, teach if you can.” Each day is an adventure and I am constantly learning.

How did I end up here?

It wasn’t until my senior year began that I realized I had much to learn and to experience about the world.  I neglected some very significant opportunities made available to me while I was at Holy Cross; I think my ego kept me from committing myself to the greater service of Worcester. I fooled myself into thinking I had figured something out which thus no longer required me to have direct personal experience with other people’s struggles, poverty and pain.

This was the kindling for my decision to join the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Now, allow me to give a quick summary of the other factors that influenced my decision-making process:

I wanted to get involved with service work because I knew I needed to humble myself, needed to realize that I can’t always do or “fix” things.

I wanted to spend time abroad not because the US can’t provide what I’ve found in Belize but because I believed I would ultimately return home to address the many problems in our own country. I still believe I will return home in two years, but who knows where the whispers of God within me might call me.

I wanted something that focused on spirituality not because I’ve “figured” anything spiritual out, quite the contrary actually. We are spiritual beings and I wanted to finally take that part of me seriously.

I wanted something grounded in community because I often cannot see further than myself, and that hurts everyone. I believed there would be great value in the intentional challenge and support that real community could provide. (I was right!)

Finally, I wanted to improve my ability to see and work for justice in our world. I saw that justice is more about how a person views the world and the actions that come from this foundation more than it is about a person’s words – and I often have a lot of words! I knew I had to simply be with others and shut my yapper for a while.

Truth: I’m still working on all of this.

In addition to my work in the prison, I live in a community with six other people. We share our money, make decisions together, take responsibility for ourselves, each other and our house. We challenge and support each other (aiming to do so through love) in the hope that we can grow together as well as in our own specific ways.

In applying for IJVC, I wanted a challenge that would make it possible for me to positively “confront” all the many aspects of myself that I had previously neglected while simultaneously building relationships with those I am “serving.” Those two things are more interconnected than I could have imagined.

Leaving Holy Cross has made what it gave me all the more tangible.  I was supported and challenged by faculty, staff and students who constantly encouraged me to look a little deeper; I was given countless opportunities to take a stand for something;  I had unimaginable resources; I was asked to search for myself and to consider how I will serve the greater glory of God…the list goes on, and no words can capture fully what Holy Cross gifted to me. Each experience has been so important in getting me to this point as will each well into the future.

I have no doubt—and I feel peace knowing—that Holy Cross will be with me and I with it forever.

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Did this story resonate with you?

Learn more about the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

Check out other volunteer opportunities with Career Planning.

Alumni Guest Post: Gordon Wong ’11

This week hear from Gordon Wong ’11 who sends his greetings from the Windy City!

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Gordon Wong '11

Truthfully, I miss Holy Cross very much and there are many days where I find myself thinking back on probably the four best years of my life. However, there is one thing I do not miss about Holy Cross – the hills!  Chicago has absolutely no hills!  I’m not complaining.

I’m in Chicago this year because I’ve decided to dedicate my first year out of Holy Cross serving as a volunteer with Amate House.

Many people have asked me why I decided to dedicate a year of service.  I always knew that I was going to participate in a year of service, and more importantly in a faith-based service program.  Participating in this year of service was just one way for me to continue the mission of Holy Cross.

To apply my knowledge I wanted to serve and I wanted to serve in Chicago.  There is no city like it and I am just as much in love with Chicago as I was with Holy Cross when I first arrived there for a tour.  Chicago has become my new campus and I don’t want to waste a moment here.

Amate House is the young adult volunteer program for the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.  It is similar to other post-graduate volunteer programs such as Jesuit Volunteer Corps, JVC-Northwest, and AmeriCorps.  For 28 years now, Amate House has provided opportunities for over 30 young adults to serve throughout Chicago, while living together in a community of peers, and participating in educational opportunities and faith formation.  These volunteers seek to form mutual relationships with our neighbors – to work with and for people in some of the city’s most under-resourced communities. (For more information I invite you to visit

I am a community organizer with Mercy Housing Lakefront’s Tenant Leadership department.  MHL is a nationwide housing organization and I work with supportive housing tenants.  My service is in the form of building relationships and a listening ear as they discuss issues in the community.  As an organizer my job is to empower the tenants in MHL, to take ownership of an issue, and to take action.

I wish I could tell you what our campaign is going to be about but I can’t—not yet.  Organizing takes time and the efforts of the tenants and me are just starting to surface.  It’s only a matter of a few weeks till we unveil our campaign.

I love my job.  It’s a humble position I have and it’s not a job where I can measure success quantitatively; the success comes in the forms of relationships and in seeing a tenant grow as their leader.

I’ll end my post with one of my favorite phrases from Fr. McFarland.  He says that Holy Cross is here to help students meet there “tremendous potential.”  Holy Cross started that for me.  I believe that the work I’m doing here in Chicago and with the tenants of MHL is to do what Fr. McFarland says.  I believe that the tenants I work with have tremendous potential to enact change in their communities and I’m just lucky enough to be able to be there with them.

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Did this story resonate with you?

Inspired to do service work after graduation? Check out opportunities inCareer Planning or with the Chaplains’ Office.

Alumni Guest Post: Alana DiPesa ’09

This week hear from Alana DiPesa ’09 and her career development from JVC to graduate school!

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Alana DiPesa '09

I graduated from Holy Cross in 2009 and did what any graduate without definite post-graduate goals would do in an economic recession, volunteer!

I had always wanted to do a year of service after graduation but the lack of job prospects made it all the more appealing once my senior year rolled around. I applied to a couple of international programs and then on a whim applied to the national Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I felt like everyone who volunteered from Holy Cross did JVC, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to follow that path, but the recruiters talked a lot about the JVC community that I would be a part of long after my year of service was over and that appealed to me because it sounded a lot like the Holy Cross community that I had come to love.

I eventually chose JVC over the international programs and was placed at a Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit working to combat domestic violence in Brooklyn, NY.  I loved the year I volunteered for Sanctuary as a paralegal in their immigration department; I became so passionate about the undocumented clients we served and felt as though I had found my life’s work.  When Spring engulfed New York I realized my time at Sanctuary would have to end; I was not only saddened to leave the job I had come to love, I was terrified about what I would do next and how it would ever compare.

The first thing I did to begin my job hunt was talk to all of my colleagues and supervisors with

With the JVC Community

whom I had built strong relationships.  I told them what kind of work I was interested in, gave them a copy of my resume, and asked that they send it along to any of their contacts who might be hiring.  I got a lot of positive responses and a couple of interviews from this alone.

In the meantime, though, I had also made my interest in staying at Sanctuary clear to my bosses and I wound up getting hired on as a Family Reunification Coordinator after my year of service was completed.  This new role was a promotion from the work I had been doing as a paralegal and a huge challenge as I began running the reunification program almost entirely on my own.  I was responsible for assisting the children of our clients who were still living abroad apply for visas, and upon approval, enter the U.S.

As Family Reunification Coordinator I was privy to some of the most intimate interactions that families had; I witnessed the joy upon initial reunification, the fear of inadequacy that mothers who had been without their children for as much as 10 years felt, the disappointment that these children experienced when they realized that their vision of America was a far cry from the life they would be living, and the inevitable arguments that ensued.  It was this exposure to family dynamics that convinced me of what I wanted to do next: I was going to follow in my mother’s footsteps and become a child and family therapist.

Hanging out with friends from JVC

I had come to love my work schedule so much that I was not thrilled about becoming a full-time student again, but I knew that it was the only way to get to where I wanted to be.  I started researching clinical Social Work programs and decided on the Smith School for Social Work because their program would allow me to work at an internship for the majority of the year and only be in classes during the summers.  I completed my first two semesters of classes this past summer and now I’m working at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, CT providing therapy to children and families affected by HIV/AIDS.

I’ve had a taste of everything since graduating from Holy Cross: volunteering, working full-time, and now being back in graduate school. I didn’t plan for my post-graduate years to work out this way, but I can’t imagine it haven’t gone any smoother.

I finally understand what the career counselors were trying to get through to me when I was an undergrad: networking is everything! If I hadn’t made the contacts that I did through my year of service as a Jesuit Volunteer I wouldn’t have landed a dream job afterward and I also wouldn’t have heard about the Smith Social Work program nor had people to write references for me.  Making connections and building rapport with new people that you meet is so much more important than I ever realized while I was at Holy Cross.

Now, although I’m still making new connections at the Yale Child Study Center, I’m also maintaining my former connections through email updates, coffee dates, and cards around the holidays; you never know when you might want to call up that person you met way back when and ask for a favor, so it’s worth it to make sure they remember you and keep them in your network!

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Did this story resonate with you?

Inspired to do service work after graduation? Check out opportunities in Career Planning or with the Chaplains’ Office.

Alumni Guest Post: Isabelle Jenkins ’10

This week we meet Isabelle Jenkins ’10 as she shares her experience as a community organizer in a Boston community!

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I did not have a job when I graduated from Holy Cross in May 2010. In fact, I barely had any job prospects.

Isabelle Jenkins '10

I went on a few interviews April of my senior year, but had not rigorously entered the career planning process. I was just too busy and frankly in denial that my time at Holy Cross was coming to an end.

However, looking back on this time now, it was perhaps one of the best decisions I ever made. I learned that if you have the leisure of waiting to search for a job, then take it. When else will you have a senior year in college? When else will you have a summer off? The jobs will come because Holy Cross has an amazing career network and is an amazing institution, so take the job hunting process at your own pace. Everyone approaches it differently and taking that pressure off of having a job the day after you graduate can actually make the process that much more enjoyable and will definitely make your senior year more enjoyable.

When I did graduate, I took a job as a nanny in my hometown and threw myself into the job-hunting process. Fortunately, for me, it came together rather quickly.

I knew that I wanted to go to graduate school and I also knew that volunteer work was something that I was always called to. So I applied to the Life Together program in Boston, MA, which is part of the Episcopal Service Corps, a program similar to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I was accepted into the program and moved to Boston at the end of August 2010.

My year with the Life Together program changed my life. I lived in community with seven other interns and commuted out to Watertown, MA everyday to work as a community organizer. In Watertown, through an Episcopal church, I worked in the community itself. I talked with people from different organizations, from different churches, and from the local hangouts and listened to what the town needed and wanted.Through this listening process, I discovered an immense amount of energy around building a community garden. Watertown did not have one, but many of the surrounding towns did. So, I set out to help the community build one.

Together, with a team of Watertown residents, we teamed up with the Watertown Housing Authority, a low-income community, and built a garden on a vacant lot that they owned. The garden opened in June of 2011 and has 30 plots where the low-income residents of the housing authority and the neighbors of that community garden side by side. It was an amazing feat and will hopefully be the first of many community gardens in Watertown.

I say that this year changed my life because it was extremely challenging work. Being a community organizer, I had to put myself out there every day. I knew no one in town and I had no idea how to start a “social justice project,” as my program deemed my community-organizing task. I constantly was meeting new people and having to talk about why I was in the town. I also had to return home to seven people and be accountable to the community there.

Peppers at the community garden.

My job and my life became about relationships. This was what was so life-changing about the year. For so long, my goal has always been success, about the numbers and the letters, about what can be quantitatively measured. But what Holy Cross began to teach me and what my year with Life Together taught me is that it is the qualitative things that matter the most. Relationships should be and can be at the center.

Now, one and a half years out of Holy Cross and after my year with Life Together, I am a first year master of divinity student at Harvard Divinity School, still living in Boston. Additionally, I am working as a field education student in the Office of the College Chaplains at Holy Cross and the Alumni Coordinator for the Life Together program. Relationships continue to be what drives me, and I am so grateful that I am doing the type of work that continuously challenges me to keep these relationships at the center.

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Did this story resonate with you?

Inspired to do service work after graduation? Check out opportunities in Career Planning or with the Chaplains’ Office.

Alumni Guest Post: Josh Jones ’11

This week meet Josh Jones ’11, who has transitioned from shooting hoops in Hart to saving lives at St. Vincent Hospital.

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Josh Jones '11

For the majority the past four years my days were happily spent going to class in Stein and Beavan, playing basketball in the Hart Center, meeting friends for dinner at Kimball and for coffee at Cool Beans, studying late Dinand, and of course those “social gatherings” on Caro Street.

Unfortunately, like they say, “all good things must come to an end”.  So, on May 27th 2011, life has I had known it for four years change tremendously.

Now, the time that I once spent shooting hoops at Hart is now spent working as a Pharmacy Technician at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Ma. I became certified as a pharmacy technician during the summer before my junior. As a part of HC’s Academic Internship Program, I was able to intern in the inpatient pharmacy at St. Vincent during the spring of my senior year. I was hired right before graduation have enjoyed working in the pharmacy ever since. I think that working in the pharmacy is a great experience that will prove to be valuable as apply to pharmacy schools.

The time that I previously spent eating with my friends and roommates in Kimball and Crossroads, I now spend grocery shopping and cooking meals for myself. After set the smoke alarm off countless, cooking is something that I am finally getting the hang of. I now appreciate all of the cooking and shopping that my mom did for me when I was at home.

My late nights of writing papers in the stacks of Dinand have now turned into late nights of applying to pharmacy schools in my Shrewsbury apartment. I have applying to schools as close to Holy Cross as MCPHS in Worcester, as far away as Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky.

Although my trips to Caro Street have come to an end, they have been replaced with trips to Boston and New York. Staying in the Worcester area has not only made the transition to life after Holy Cross easy but it has also made it easier to visit and stay in touch with friends who are also in the New England area.

While I miss being a student at Holy Cross, I am happy to be in my own place, working, and preparing for the next stage in my life. To those of you still on the hill; enjoy your time at HC and know that when we leave as graduates we are very well equipped to pave our own way in the world.

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Did this story resonate with you?

Looking for a job in the medical field? Check out Holy Cross Health Professions.

Alumni Guest Post: Christine Giamattei ’10

Check out the first article in our new Alumni Guest Post series–a series of posts written by young alumni about life after Holy Cross! First up–Christine Giamattei ’10 on her transition from Holy Cross to the real world.

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Christine Giamattei '10

When I graduated from Holy Cross in May 2010, I had a lot to look forward to.

A day before my friends and I left to celebrate the end of senior year on the Cape, I interviewed for an assistant job at a top advertising agency – what I thought was my dream job – and got the job on the spot.

What’s more, the job was in New York City, the one place I wanted to live and work after graduation. I had spent summers 2008 and 2009 interning there and, to my surprise, fell in love.

During second semester of senior year, I did everything I could to get back there. I perfected my resume, visited the Career Planning Office almost every day, e-mailed with Holy Cross alumni who worked in Marketing, Advertising, Communications, or Public Relations, wrote cover letter after cover letter, signed up for every social media site to market myself, stalked particular companies’ websites, blogs and Twitter accounts, read up on industry trends and even spent an entire family vacation preparing for a phone interview.

There was a time when I thought that nothing I had done was going to pan out and that I was the only one without a plan.

I was patient, waiting for something good to click for me.

When it did, I was ecstatic. Of course I was going to accept the offer to work at a company that could lead to great opportunities and to live in the city I loved. I knew I wouldn’t be making a lot of money, but I never thought twice about making it work financially.

I found an ideal 4-month sublet and moved down to New York City two weeks after graduation and started my job a day after.

At first, things went well. I was drawing up expense reports, maintaining my boss’s calendar, making photocopies, putting together binders – very much administrative work. It was humbling, and I didn’t mind it – I have always known I’d have to “pay my dues.” I worked with a wonderful group of people who were also recent college graduates, so the environment was fun, social and supportive. I worked hard and give it all I had.

However, I was not prepared for the bad relationship that would soon develop between my boss and me. As the administrative assistant, it was all too easy to get blamed for things that went wrong – and unfortunately, once my boss decided she didn’t like me, it was as simple as that and went downhill from there.

I never thought I’d be someone who didn’t get along with their boss, or anyone else for that matter. I love people and I’m a team player. If I stayed there, I knew my boss would make my life miserable or block me from further opportunities at the company or even fire me.

When I received an e-mail from my supervisor at my internship from the prior summer, asking if I would interview for an open position, I jumped at the chance. I had had a successful internship there and could imagine picking up right where I had left off.

I interviewed, got the offer and accepted right away. I had been earning overtime at my first job, so the salary was actually much less.

Again, I thought I’d be able to make it all work.

Right around the time I switched jobs in October 2010, I moved out of my 4-month sublet, signed a lease with one of my Holy Cross roommates and moved into a very tiny apartment on the Upper East Side. The rent was within our budget and the most bang for our buck, as far as safe areas of New York City go. The neighborhood was wonderful and I loved everything about living with a best friend and being a mile away from Central Park.

However, a few months later, I realized that I did not like my job and was not happy with my financial situation.

Graduation 2010

Very long story short from the past year: It was a good job, but it was not for me. I also never got the feeling that I had a good work-to-life balance. With more than an hour commute each way, I was always stressed out about rushing to and from work. I felt guilty that I wasn’t staying super late every night, even though I would get all of my work done and met my deadlines. I thrive on the “life” part of that balance too.

On top of being unsatisfied there, I was making very little money for the amount of work I was doing and saving none of it.

Along with rent payments each month, there were also payments to be made for my Metro card, laundry and groceries. I did a pretty good job of making ends meet and cutting out basic things like a gym membership and cable, but I was unhappy with that struggle.

This past summer, my roommate and I frequently discussed renewing our lease. For me, it was a tough decision – months and months of weighing the pros and cons. When it finally came time to decide if I would renew the lease, I realized that signing on for another year of these struggles was something I could not do.

It may have been an unconventional career move without another job lined up, but I decided to leave my job and move home. I am interviewing now, and have faith that the right opportunity will come along for me–I’m excited and feeling positive about that!

I’d love to leave you with some things to think about as you apply for jobs or secure plans for after graduation–some things I wish someone had told me when I was still in college.

–It is perfectly OK to graduate without a job or without a plan.

Since I first began working (and not loving my job), I wished someone had told me this. During senior year, jobs and after-graduation plans were hot commodities and everyone seemed competitive about them. I like to akin it to an arms race. Do not get defeated if you do not secure a job right away. The right opportunity will come your way–and the time off after graduation will allow you to think about what you really want to do.

–Do not regret the decisions you do make.

Of course, I still wonder what would have happened if I graduated without a job and moved home. I wonder if I would have had time to think about what I really wanted to do or to save money to pursue other opportunities. However, I definitely do not regret accepting the initial job offer and the past year and a half I spent living and working in New York City. I’ve learned a lot, especially about myself and the kind of career I want.

—Be resourceful.

You’ve most likely heard about the importance of networking, but I will reiterate that it is as indispensable as a good GPA on your resume and the internships under your belt. I got set up with both jobs I’ve had though Holy Cross alumni. Event if it is just to start a conversation or to look for advice, send e-mails to alums! Beyond networking, do everything you can to be the ideal candidate in whatever industry you are interested in. For me, that meant launching my running and healthy living blog to show my writing skills and interest in fitness, social media and communications. Also, never think that you “won’t” get something. There are jobs out there and positions to be filled–so always take the chance and apply!

—Spend time to think about what you really want to do.

Brainstorm about positions and career paths. Figure out what you are good at and are passionate about. Listen to people, ask questions and make lists of pro’s and con’s. Don’t think that you have to go into a particular industry just because you had a similar internship. Consider opportunities like graduate school and teaching fellowships.

—Consider your finances.

Unfortunately, promising yourself that you will make it work is not enough. Things always end up costing more than you initially figure.  Now I am way more realistic about what I can and cannot afford than when I first graduated. Know that it is okay to pass on opportunities and invitations and that saving money is a good ting. Considering your finances may be the hardest thing you’ll have to do after graduated, but it is also the smartest and most mature.

—Enjoy your life to the fullest.

Life does go on after graduation and I promise you, you’ll enjoy it! Keep in touch with Holy Cross friends, make new friends at work and in your city, pursue a hobby, challenge yourself with some task. Though I have not had the best experiences with jobs so far, I am very happy with my life outside of work and who I’ve become.

I hope my story and experiences in the year and a half that has passed since I graduated from Holy Cross have helped you in some way.

Please let me know if you have any questions for me. I can be reached by e-mail at: