Posts Tagged ‘Alumni’

Meet Alum Ron Zuvich ’07, Senior Vice President at Emet Capital Management, LLC

November 5th, 2018 by aclauson

Meet Alum Ron Zuvich ’07, Senior Vice President at Emet Capital Management, LLC

 

Name:  Ron Zuvich

Class Year: 2007

Title: Senior Vice President

Organization Name: Emet Capital Management

 

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

My main responsibility is to acquire distressed housing assets which qualify for tax-exempt municipal bond financing in the sectors of affordable housing, student housing, and senior housing.

 

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 attended several financial services networking events on campus and made a concerted effort to network with alumni in financial services. I had several family members in the financial services field and relied on their experience and guidance as well. I also attended an interviewing workshop and went on as many interviews for relevant jobs as I could.  The ability to act with confidence throughout an interview is a critical skill that does not come easy to some but can be developed with practice.

 

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

Spring Break entrepreneurship program (would highly recommend), club soccer, intramural basketball, working as an accounting tutor.

 

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

I was an Economics/Accounting major and felt it provided me with a core base of knowledge that would open up several potential paths in the world of financial services (Capital Markets, Asset Management, Investment Banking). I knew from my coursework that working for a Big 4 Accounting firm was personally not for me, so I began networking and applying to jobs primarily at major banks in Capital Markets and Investment Banking. Through some contacts developed at Citi, I obtained my first job working as a capital markets analyst for Citi in 2007.

 

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

Writing and critical thinking – it is not essential, in my opinion, to have a degree in Finance or a business-related major in order to procure a job in the Financial Services industry. I spend much of my time writing detailed credit memos which require performing significant research, identifying investment risks, and thinking outside the box. This is the value of a liberal arts education – always thinking of ways to challenge the status quo and adding value by bringing a fresh approach to old ideas.

 

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

Networking is more important than ever in today’s world – have coffee, a quick call, or lunch with alumni in the field of your choice as often as you can, even if there is no immediate job prospect from such a contact. Be active on the good forms of social media (LinkedIn) and mindful of your presence on other forms of social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Don’t be afraid to ask your contacts for help – most people are far more receptive than you might expect.

Meet Alum Matt Surabian ’07, Senior Infrastructure Engineer at Zipcar

October 31st, 2018 by aclauson

Meet Alum Matt Surabian ’07, Senior Infrastructure Engineer at Zipcar

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I create systems, write software, and maintain open source tooling that helps ensure Zipcar’s new technology platform is always able to deliver an awesome experience to our members no matter how many of them are using the service at the same time.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

On campus I was most active in Residence Life as an RA and HRA of Clark (the best dorm). I also tutored students through the math department, helped out in ITS as an RCC, and worked in the art department as a dark room tech.

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

I came to Holy Cross as a mathematics and theater double major interested in working at the NSA. While researching an NSA summer internship I had a change of heart and ended up a computer science major interested in security and encryption.

Even though I didn’t finish my math major, I took most of the required courses and that foundation has helped me reason about complex algorithms, distributed systems, and the underpinnings of various encryption methods. My sophomore year I spent the summer doing research in the Math Department with Professor Hwang writing ray tracing software for modeling equations in 3D. That experience was one of the first times I wrote code to help solve a non-trivial problem and it really cemented for me that I wanted to be a programmer.
 
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 started at Holy Cross, Computer Science was still a new major and there weren’t many alumni connections in the field. I used what little I knew to hustle programming work on the side to try and improve my resume. My work in the art department and interest in photography unexpectedly connected me with someone who worked at Bose. We were talking one day and he casually mentioned some difficulties they were having trying to find someone to write a piece of mapping software his team needed. I offered to help and the next thing I knew I was a freelance programmer for Bose’s live music division.
I used this initial “break” in the industry as a stepping stone to get more freelance work at a local startup (MySeniorCenter) going into my senior year. By graduation I had a full-time job lined up at a local creative agency (CGI Interactive) where I was exposed to a lot of different companies, technologies, and technical challenges. I really loved the work and I spent almost 5 years there before leaving to join a team that was maintaining the software behind lots of high traffic websites like TMZ and NewsCorp. If it weren’t for the breadth of experience I gained working at my first post college employer I wouldn’t have known the job I have today even existed. I knew working on high traffic systems was a good fit for me because it seemed to scare people, I loved it, and my laid back vibes seemed to help put my colleagues at ease.
What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

For all its glamour the tech industry is infamous for some toxic cultural issues. I’ve been fortunate to work directly for companies that have been welcoming, inclusive, and supportive, but as a consultant I witnessed toxic tech culture first hand a few times. The culture of “men and women for others” at Holy Cross helped make me a more mindful person than I was when I first arrived on Mount St. James and gave me the tools to productively talk about social issues. I feel this has helped me be a better colleague, leader, and agent for change in an industry that has serious social challenges. I’m by no means at the forefront of this effort, and still have a lot to learn; but I absolutely credit Holy Cross for making me more prepared to take part.

I also think the way Holy Cross encourages students to explore a wide range of subjects and not simply focus on their major has helped me bring a more well rounded perspective to technical challenges. A former boss once said that I was able to, “take the often abstract concepts of programming and interpret it into a vocabulary business staff can understand”, I believe the liberal arts foundation provided by Holy Cross honed that skill.

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 Alum Meg Grogan ’08, Group Director, FRUKT

February 14th, 2018 by aclauson

Name: Meg Grogan

Class Year: 2008

Title: Group Director

Organization Name: FRUKT

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

Helping brands tell great stories through entertainment partnerships.

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 first job came from summer internships – in fact, I took another internship after graduation and that lead to my job as an executive assistant. I knew I didn’t want to be an assistant forever but the skills I learned in that job – time management, executive communication, and briefing, organization etc. have been some of the most valuable skills in my career.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I participated in two immersion trips to Kenya – first as a participant, then as a leader. I also helped to organize two benefit concerts (with Matt Wertz and Matt Nathanson) with CAB, FCA, and the Chaplin’s Office to raise funds for two programs I worked with in Kenya.

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

English Major and Studio Art Minor. Being able to effectively communicate in a clear concise manner is essential to my job. I am constantly presenting, pitching, and providing my point of view to my clients and partners. Creative campaigns most successful when they have great writing and strategy behind them – all things English at Holy Cross taught me. Marketing also allows me to leverage my Studio Art experience and keep my creative skills fresh. Having an inherent sense of design adds another layer to my day to day work and makes everything I do just a little more creative!

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

Collaboration is something I learned at Holy Cross that I use every day. Whether it was study groups with my English seminars or planning a benefit concert, Holy Cross gave me the skills I needed to work with others to deliver success. Finding a group of intelligent passionate people to help and support you in all your professional endeavors is essential and Holy Cross helped me develop the skills to build those relationships.

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Enjoy it! College is only four years – soak in as much as you can – take the classes that interest you the most there may not be another time in your life when you can just learn. Foster your friendships since your fellow Crusaders will be the ones supporting and helping you the most in the real world. Remember that professors are people too and have a wealth of life and work experience to share with you-you just have to ask.

Meet Alumnus Joseph McClellan, Vice President, Biosimilars Development Lead at Pfizer

January 17th, 2018 by msweeney

Name: Joseph E. McClellan

Class Year: 1995

Title: Vice President, Biosimilars Development Lead

Organization Name: Pfizer Essential Health Research and Development, Pfizer Inc.

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

At Pfizer, I lead the global development of a large portfolio of biosimilars (which are highly similar with respect to physiochemical characteristics, biological activity, pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety to originator biologic medicines) by ensuring that all development programs are (1.) aligned with Pfizer strategy, global regulatory guidances and country regulatory feedback; (2.) delivered in a timely and cost-effective manner relative to the development plans; and (3.) developed to the highest quality standards.

 

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I spent a lot of great time with a fabulous group of roommates and friends throughout my four years at Holy Cross.  (I still do a lot with my senior-year Alumni 23 roommates, even after over 20 years post-graduation.)  Also, I participated in Honors Research in Chemistry and was a member of the Men’s Golf Team.

 

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

I was a Chemistry major at Holy Cross with an interest in analytical chemistry and instrumentation.  After Holy Cross, I attained a Ph.D. in Chemistry and also completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship, both of which developed and evolved my knowledge of analytical chemistry and instrumentation, specifically in mass spectrometry.  To this day, I still consider myself a ‘Chemist’ and ‘Mass Spectrometrist’, even though I have not been a bench scientist in over 10 years.  All of my successes in chemistry and the biopharmaceutical industry can be traced to the foundation that I learned and developed at Holy Cross.

 

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? 

Directly after Holy Cross, I went to the University of Florida to pursue my Ph.D. in chemistry.  I chose UF based on a strong analytical chemistry program, which I was keenly interested in based on my Honors Research at Holy Cross.  After my Ph.D. and Postdoctoral Fellowship at Boston University School of Medicine, I began my career at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in 2002, which was acquired by Pfizer Inc. in 2009.   From the outside and in retrospect, my path looks quite calculated and plodding.  However, at each turn every decision was ‘unplanned’ as none of these schools (including Holy Cross), programs, or company was my ‘first choice’ prior to the decision being made.  They all turned out to be the absolute right, best decision for me!  I have been very fortunate in this way and think that is a lesson for folks to recognize that we are often put in opportunities that provide opportunities for success and its vitally important for each individual put forth the optimum effort to succeed.  After 15 years, I am still with the same company, though I have had many distinct roles with ever evolving responsibilities throughout my career.

 

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

At Holy Cross, I learned about analytical chemistry, instrumentation, and mass analysis, which were the early foundation for both my Ph.D. and initial career at Pfizer.  These skills are still used today as I work with development teams and assess physiochemical data for our biosimilars programs.  More importantly, I learned how to be an individual researcher and solve complicated problems on my own at Holy Cross through the Honors Research program.  While team interactions are very important in science and the biopharmaceutical industry, the ability for a scientist to solve complicated problems by his or herself is an important part for both the scientist’s and the team’s success.

Meet Alumna Makayla Humphrey ’15 Associate Producer at CNN

January 17th, 2018 by eklamm

 

Name: Makayla Humphrey
Clas Year: 2015
Title: Associate Producer
Organization Name: CNN

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I help plan the rundown, conduct research and edit video for CNN’s Morning Program New Day.

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?

The Washington Semester was crucial in helping me decide to pursue a career in political journalism. I interned for Hardball with Chris Matthews the fall semester of my Junior year at Holy Cross. I fell in love with the pace of broadcast and the team environment. After college I was hired to be an NBC Page, which is a one-year rotational program in media (I highly recommend!) and after the program, I returned to the Hardball team on MSNBC. If it wasn’t for the Washington Semester, it might have taken me a lot longer to break into national news.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was a part of the SGA Cabinet throughout my four years on campus and worked as a Resident Assistant. While these groups were a blast on campus, they also taught me excellent time management and organizational skills that prepared me for a professional career.

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

As a political science major I loved to debate current events and government. I always thought I would pursue a career on Capitol Hill. However it was after my internship with Hardball that I realized I could have a career where I am able to read, research and learn every day by working in news! Every single day presents a new challenge, especially in our political climate right now. The job is physically and mentally demanding every day, and I know I would never want to work anywhere else!

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

Critical reading!! I recently told Professor Mangiero that I never understood what I was supposed to be gaining by reading 200 pages for class every week. Now I read that much every single day before work. The ability to read and think critically about what I have read is a skill that is invaluable to me.

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Show up early and be present. Whether its a class, club meeting or internship- be early! I have made it a habit in my career to always be thirty minutes early for work every single day. It gives me time to prep my day so I don’t feel behind right at the start of work. It also has given me time to work on my own research and even help out my bosses/superiors with special projects right as they walk through the door. I found it is an easy way to make a good impression at the start of your career.

Meet Alumna Asmani Adhav ’17, Clinical Research Coordinator at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

January 17th, 2018 by eklamm
Class year: 2017
Major: Biology (with concentration in GSWS) on the Pre-Medical track
Employer: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Position: Clinical Research Coordinator- Pediatric Oncology/Hematologic Malignancy

What does your job entail?

I’m currently coordinating 14 research protocols, each of which seeks to improve survival outcomes for children with cancer. Specifically, the protocols I work on are geared towards using various therapies and techniques to tackle several different types of leukemias. There are three parts to my position: clinical interaction, regulatory organization, and data entry. Clinical interaction includes processing patient consent documents, enrolling patients onto study, following their progress through the study, communicating required research assessments to patient clinical teams, and shipping samples. Regulatory organization involves making sure that all investigators on a protocol have proper training, addressing queries that are raised by study sponsors, and ensuring that proper record-keeping is maintained throughout the study. Data entry is how all of the relevant health information for a patient on a protocol is de-identified and relayed to the study sponsor.

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 have only been working in this position for 3 months now, and have already learned an enormous amount of information and medical terminology that will help me with my career ambitions moving forward. The physicians I work with on a daily basis are not only experts in their fields, but approachable and willing to teach us as much as we want to learn from them.

How did your Holy Cross education affect your career decisions?

My Holy Cross education exceptionally prepared me for this position because it taught me how to learn quickly, organize large loads of work, and form meaningful connections with people- all skills that I now use daily.

Meet Alumna Samantha Moor, Associate Manager, Global Merchandising Outlet Handbags at Coach

January 17th, 2018 by msweeney

Name: Samantha Moor

Class Year: 2015

Title: Associate Manager, Global Merchandising Outlet Handbags

Organization Name: Coach

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

Creating seasonal line assortments through a strategic and creative lens & collaborating closely with cross functional partners.

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 was always interested in fashion & the arts but I am also a very analytical and business orientated person so I wasn’t quite sure what industry I wanted to go into. While looking for internships for my rising senior year summer and talking to previous HC interns as well as alums in the industry, I applied to the Coach internship through the Holy Cross Summer Internship Program. I was studying abroad at the time so it felt harder being so disconnected to figure out my first step in my career path. Merchandising seemed like a good fit as the job is both creative and analytical and I was offered the Coach internship position. I had a great experience and worked with a great team. They asked me to come back and help during my Winter break and then offered me a full time position at the end of senior year.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was involved in several clubs such as Spud, Business Program, HC for a Cure. I also interned for O’Keefe Investment management, a financial planning firm started by an HC alum in Worcester, during my senior year.

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

I majored in Economics and minored in Art history. I think both of them combined is very applicable to merchandising – both business/strategic and creative. Economics especially is relatable to every industry so studying economics allowed me to explore other options before choosing fashion.

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

Work ethic!

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

My advice for job/intern searching would be to do as much research as you can – both on the company and talking to people about their careers and experiences.  Holy Cross has an amazing network of alums and a great career service center so just take advantage of all the resources available! Other advice is work hard, stay positive, and make sure you’re doing something you’re passionate about!

Meet Edgar D. Rodríguez ’16, Legislative Correspondent/Aide to Congresswoman Norma J. Torres

November 8th, 2017 by eklamm

Name: Edgar D. Rodríguez ’16
Title: Legislative Correspondent/Aide
Organization Name: United States House of Representatives; Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35)

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I am responsible for managing the Congresswoman’s entire mail correspondence system between constituents and her office, as well as, using constituent input (among other avenues) to help advance her legislative agenda by proposing and drafting bill ideas.

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

My original plan was to return to my hometown (Pomona, CA) and work in the community expanding access to healthcare, specifically for U.S. citizen children of undocumented parents. However, after participating in the Washington Semester program in the fall of 2016 and receiving a job offer, I decided to stay in D.C.

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

While I truly enjoyed my internship on the Hill—especially since I was interning for my representative—I still had plans to return to my community. It wasn’t until the Congresswoman asked me to join her on the campaign trail the week leading up to the general election that I began contemplating the idea of staying in D.C. after graduation. Driving the Congresswoman around to multiple campaign stops in California and Nevada and seeing first-hand the issues that she was advocating for and how it related to the work she was doing in D.C., made me realize the possibility of doing the same in Washington. Immediately after returning from California, the Congresswoman offered me the position to stay and help her accomplish the work she advocated for on the campaign trail.

Rarely do you find D.C. staff working for their home representatives. I saw the need to stay here and work for my home representative and advocate for my community because I am from there and I understand the local issues.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was involved quite extensively during my time at Holy Cross through the Student Government Association. I was the assistant to the SGA Director of Student Life my freshman year, a two-term Senator, and eventually Director of Diversity. Concurrently, I was also involved in the Pre-Business program, co-founded the RSO Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (M.E.Ch.A. de Holy Cross) my sophomore year, took part of several service trips, was appointed to a couple of Presidential committees under the Office of Diversity, and founded the new center for students of color, among other things.

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

I came to Holy Cross seeking an Economics Accounting major. However after my first year, that quickly changed to Political Science. While my major did not directly affect my career decisions, I have greatly benefitted from its instruction in my current job.

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

The two greatest skills that I developed at Holy Cross are the same ones that I utilize today on a daily basis. The first is the ability to manage people. Aside from handling a legislative portfolio for the Congresswoman, I also have the wonderful opportunity to manage our internship program. Understanding the weakness and strengths of people and knowing how to utilize them to the benefit of an organization is something that took quite a bit of trial and error during my time at Holy Cross. The second skill is perhaps more common: the ability to multitask and take on different projects at the same time. For a very long time, I was the type of person that always took more than they could handle simply because I wanted to do it all. Learning to understand your capacity as a leader and how to effectively manage multiple projects early on has truly helped me balance my innate feeling of wanting to take on a lot and doing a good job at it.

What advice do you have for students on campus interested in the Communications / PR field?

I think students always fall short of pursuing their passions and, more often than not, pursue what makes them feel secure and not what challenges them. My advice for students is to try to escape the fear of judgement.

Pursue what makes you grow. There are passions out there that you may discover along the way, passions that you never knew you had. And that might not only impact your life in a positive way, but the lives of those around you as well.

ALUMNI FEATURE: I Was a Sociology and Spanish Double Major, Now I am a Recruitment Assistant

October 11th, 2017 by eklamm

Name: Adrianna Tomasello ’16
Title: Recruitment Assistant
Organization Name: Edelman

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I manage the recruitment process for the internship program and entry level hires in the Edelman DC office.

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 came to DC the September after graduating for a three month fellowship in my congresswoman’s office. I did not plan on staying in DC, but I really enjoyed the city and began looking at recruitment and HR entry level opportunities in the area. After starting at Edelman as a recruitment intern in December, I was fortunate enough to be hired into a full time position 6 months later! Public relations was never an industry I had seriously considered. Through my internship, I was able to discover that I enjoy recruiting for PR jobs and learning about the industry.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was on the steering committee for Dance Marathon and danced in Noche Latina during my time at Holy Cross.

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

I was a Sociology and Spanish double major. Learning about social inequalities from my sociology professors peaked my interest in recruitment and human resources because of the diversity and inclusion initiatives that companies have. I also wanted a career in which I would be able to continue speaking Spanish. I discovered in my interview that I would be able to assist in recruitment for the Edelman Miami office. I have since conducted interviews with potential candidates in Spanish, as it is a valued skillset in our Miami office.

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

Learning how to write concisely and effectively through my liberal arts education has helped me navigate the world of communicating effectively via email. I have also been able to apply my Spanish speaking skills when helping with recruitment in our Miami office.

What advice do you have for students on campus interested in the Communications / PR field?

One thing that I’ve heard from the teams I recruit for is that strong research and writing skills are essential in selecting an intern. Skills like writing press releases and building media lists can be taught on the job; curiosity and communicating effectively are capabilities that can be cultivated during your years on campus. Use your time on campus to think about what you are passionate about (and if you’re having trouble, head to the career planning office to talk it out!). PR firms like Edelman serve clients in various industries, so even if you are passionate about a sector like healthcare and complete internships in that field, there is still an opportunity to summarize those experiences on your resume and apply for opportunities in the PR field that could help clients in the health industry tell their stories.