Meet Alum Oswaldo Subillaga ’16, Medical Student, Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Name: Oswaldo Subillaga

Class Year: 2016

Title: Medical Student

Organization:  Alpert Medical School of Brown University

 

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

As a fourth year medical student, I am in the midst of residency interviews (for general surgery!) and completing clinical electives that will help me to become a well-rounded surgical resident.

 

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 was able to shadow two wonderful surgeons at UMass Memorial Medical Center through the academic internship program at HC. While I already had an interest in medicine, that experience introduced me to the world of surgery which is ultimately the field that I plan on pursuing.

 

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

While at HC, I was a RA, peer mentor, admissions interviewer, co-chair of LASO, and SPUD volunteer.

 

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

My major was political science and I also did my premedical requirements knowing that I wanted to go into medical school after college.

 

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

Having to argue for a point of view in a short essay at HC has helped me to convey information accurately and concisely in both clinical and non-clinical scenarios. Surgeons, in particular, like brevity.

 

6. What advice do you have for students today?

Take advantage of the mentorship opportunities at Holy Cross and maintain those connections even after you leave the hill. Oh, and pay it forward.

Meet Alumna Nicole Falan ’20, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow at the National Institutes of Health

Name: Nicole Falan

Class Year: 2020

Title: Post-Baccalaureate Fellow

Organization: National Institutes of Health

 

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

I am a post-baccalaureate fellow at the National Institutes of Health and I research how to prevent medication-induced hearing loss, which affects millions of people globally.

 

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

I knew I wanted to start my professional career in scientific research when I was performing research in Professor Alexis Hill’s neurobiology lab. By working in the lab during the school year and participating in the Weiss Summer Research Program, I discovered my passion for scientific investigation. Knowing of my strong interest in research, Professor Alexis Hill was the first to tell me of the NIH post-baccalaureate IRTA fellowship and encouraged me to apply. The Center for Career Development and the Office of Distinguished Fellowships and Graduate Studies provided helpful feedback on my application and held mock interviews with me. My educational background in chemistry and neuroscience, recommendations from professors, and the reputation of the Holy Cross science department all contributed to my success in obtaining the position at the National Institutes of Health.

 

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

I was heavily involved in the Best Buddies, Holy Cross Wishmakers, and Big Brothers Big Sisters clubs while on campus.

 

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

My interest in science led me to major in chemistry and minor in neuroscience. My passion for neuroscience led me to perform research in Professor Hill’s neurobiology lab and my positive experience from the lab helped me to determine that I wanted to go into scientific research following graduation.

 

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

At my current job, I use many skills that I learned and cultivated while at Holy Cross, such as the critical-thinking skills I used in my chemistry courses, and tangible skills such as confocal microscopy that I learned in the Hill lab.

 

6. What advice would you give to current students? 

My advice for students to take advantage of the many opportunities that Holy Cross offers. Find a mentor on campus or from the alumni network that works in the field you wish to enter following graduation. Professors and alumni are generally very happy to assist you and they can provide crucial knowledge, guidance, encouragement, resources, and opportunities that will greatly progress your career.

Meet #CrusaderIntern Seryna Warren ’22

Name: Seryna Warren

Class Year: 2022

Intern Title: Human Resources Project Manager

Organization: Seaside Sustainability

 

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

Over the summer, I remotely interned at an organization called Seaside Sustainability based in Gloucester, MA. At Seaside, I was a Human Resources Project Manager, where I handled internal communications between staff, and worked to prioritize the mental well-being of the employees. In this position, I managed projects pertaining to mental health and community well-being, such as workshops and newsletter programs. At Seaside, I also worked as a Green Consulting intern, where I collaborated with a team on the development of a sustainability consulting program and contract to use in collaboration with schools to help them work towards more sustainable campuses. At this internship, I also received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, an award given to interns who complete a certain amount of volunteer hours.

 

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

I was able to apply so much of my academic learning to my internship. As an Environmental Studies major, I am able to go into depth in a plethora of different disciplines during the academic year, from the humanities to the hard sciences. During the summer, I was able to carry over all I had learned while involved in the ENVS program to my internship. I was able to apply my knowledge of the hard sciences, such as biology and chemistry, to the brainstorming and developing of consulting areas. I also was able to utilize my knowledge from my course on environmental perspectives to prioritize ethics in the consulting program as well.

 

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?

What had surprised me about being an intern was how much I was actually able to contribute to the organization. Upon starting the internship, I had the misconception that I would only be able to contribute so much, as someone with minimal experience. I totally was. wrong. During my internship, I felt as though my ideas and thoughts were well heard and included in the work that was going on, leaving me with the feeling that I had made such a strong contribution to the teams that I was on.

 

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

This experience helped me to establish a few ideas that I have for my future. To look more positively, as a Green Consulting Intern, I was able to establish a curiosity about sustainability consulting that I continued today with my participation in the Pothos Project here at HC. I also learned through this internship that I hope to have a more active position in a career. All of my internship was done behind a computer screen, which was great as I was able to work with people all over the world, but I also found that it was not the type of work setting I hope to have in my future career. I also feel as though my internship showed me the opportunities to work in nonprofit organizations, which is another career path I hope to look more into.

 

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

My best advice when looking for / doing an internship is to make meaningful connections through networking. Over the course of my internship, I was able to meet and network with some amazing individuals. This skill of networking continues to help me today with my current internship (different from my summer internship), as well as within my career search.

Meet Alum Dillon Clancy ’20, AmeriCorps Men’s Health Care Coordinator

Name: Dillon Clancy

Class Year: 2020

Title: AmeriCorps Men’s Health Care Coordinator

 

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

AmeriCorps Men’s Health Care Coordinator at 112 Southampton Street Shelter Clinic. I directly work with patients to coordinate equitable access to the highest quality of health care, benefits, and community resources.

 

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?

During my senior year, I knew that I wanted to pursue a future in the health professions. I decided to sign up for the Health Care Career Trek that was hosted by the Center for Career Development. One of the places we visited was Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP). During this visit, I was able to connect with a Holy Cross graduate, who was in one of my Health Studies classes as a senior when I was a freshman. She served an AmeriCorps year at BHCHP and now works there full time. She gave me the advice to apply to the AmeriCorps program at BHCHP, and here I am!

 

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

On campus, I served as both an Orientation Leader and Student Coordinator for Fall Gateways Orientation, I worked as Writing Consultant in the Writer’s Workshop, I sang as a Bass in Fools on the Hill, I played on the Men’s Club Volleyball Team, was a Co-Leader for Spring Break Immersion Programs, and a retreat leader with the Chaplin’s Office for the Communitas Virtual Retreat. Yes, I did like to keep busy 🙂

 

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

In coming to Holy Cross, I was extremely passionate about pursuing a Health Studies major through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. Throughout the courses I took at Holy Cross (S/O to my advisor, Prof. Masvawure, and the many other wonderful professors I had), and the internships I was fortunate enough to have, my passion for health only grew deeper. Along the way, I decided to add on a Neuroscience minor, which perfectly complemented my interests. The “highlight-reel” of classes that I took at Holy Cross include, Mixed-Methods Health Research, Drug Use: Brain and Behavior, Writing about Data and Policy, Critical Issues in Global Health, and Health Care Management Academic Internship Program. In combining my major and minor, I grew particularly interested in the intersection between mental health, substance use disorder, and health care delivery, which led me to BHCHP.

 

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

The two most important skills that I use in my service as an AmeriCorps Member with BHCHP are communication and persistence. As for communication, both my written and verbal communication skills were sharpened at Holy Cross through the classes I took and the extracurriculars I was involved in. It is so important that I effectively communicate information to the patients that I serve, and to all the other care teams that are providing care to patients. As for persistence, this position is HARD. It is difficult to “sum up” my job in one sentence because there is so much that my job may entail – there is no “typical day.” The patients that I work with are experiencing homelessness for a whole range of reasons, but overarchingly due to the incredible number of systems that are built to disadvantage them. It is my job to navigate through these systems with them, which requires a lot of persistence and grit.

 

6. What advice do you have for students today?

Be thankful and take advantage of the opportunities given to you at Holy Cross.  Holy Cross can be an easy place to get caught up in the mix of everything, and quickly grow overwhelmed. It always helped me to take a step back to reflect on the good that I had, rather than the bad that constantly stressed me out. If that is academics – great! If that is extracurriculars – awesome! If that is hanging out with friends – cool! Find the thing that makes goosebumps fills your arms, and, as St. Ignatius once said, SET THE WORLD ON FIRE.

Meet #CrusaderIntern Erin Kinney ’20, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Name: Erin Kinney

Class Year: 2020

Position: Intern/ Epidemiology Workforce Branch on the Student Programs Team

Organization: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

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

I interned at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia this past summer. I worked within the Epidemiology Workforce Branch on the Student Programs Team. I helped evaluate and improve their selection rubric for the Science Ambassadors Program through my own independent research project. I wrote an abstract and presented my findings to CDC scientists and leaders including the division chief. This program aimed to inspire and educate middle and high school teachers from around the country in public health topics to create new lesson plans for their students in hopes of carving a career path for future public health professionals.

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

From what I have learned from all of my STEM courses at Holy Cross, I was able to apply my understanding of the scientific method to my research project. Having this understanding of how to conduct my own research was essential in my success as a student intern in creating a professional list of new guidelines for the program to follow in the future. My experience with excel and creating graphics to present data were also vital skills I needed to succeed during my time spent at the CDC.

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?  

The amount of independence I was granted as a summer intern surprised me. I was able to take my project in many different directions, and it was solely up to me to decide how to proceed and what the best way to present my findings were.

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

This experience opened my eyes to the complexities of public health on both a national and global scale. I realized my desire to contribute to public health in my future career whether that be through research, policy, or clinical practices. The CDC has influence in a variety of different fields from biosecurity to foreign aid such as fighting Ebola in the DOC. Since my time spent at the CDC this past summer, my goals of becoming a practicing physician have been solidified and placed into a new context surrounding the goals of public health.

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

My advice to other Holy Cross students is to being extremely open-minded during this process and to not be discouraged. I have never been to Georgia, let alone the South, until this past summer, and I am so glad I chose to take the leap of faith and experience a new city along with my new internship. Also, apply for the crusader internship fund because this made it possible for me to accept an unpaid position and gain valuable work experience.

Meet #CrusaderIntern, Claire Hanlon ’21, Intern at Sargent Rehabilitation Center

Name: Claire Hanlon

Class Year: 2021

Internship (position & employer): Sargent Rehabilitation Center

 

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

This summer I interned at Sargent Rehabilitation Center’s Day School in Warwick, RI. As a whole, Sargent Rehabilitation Center serves adults and children with a focus on neuro-rehabilitation and striving to restore the ability to be independent. I spent my time in the day school with students with conditions such as autism, Asperger Syndrome, brain injuries, genetic disorders and other developmental disorders. I was placed with high school aged students and spent my days helping them with the curriculum and assisting in the daily operations of the classroom.

 

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

One way that I saw a direct relation between my academic learnings and my internship was through my cognitive neuroscience class that I took my sophomore year. This class focused a large portion of the semester on autism and the differences in the way that students learn along with their strengths and weaknesses in the classroom. My time at Sargent Center allowed me to see these findings first hand and gave me the opportunity to find ways to help these students learn in their own ways.

 

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?

One aspect of my internship that surprised me was how involved I was able to be in the student’s life. Going into the internship I wasn’t sure how helpful I would be or how much responsibility I would be given with respect to helping the students. I was lucky enough to work with a great group of staff at Sargent Center who allowed me to have a great experience and fully involve myself helping students every day. I was able to leave my internship feeling like I truly helped the students and was able to make a difference in my short time at Sargent Center.

 

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

I have always been interested in physical therapy and had pictured myself entering the sports field of therapy. However, after spending this summer at Sargent Center where the students day consists not only of math, spelling, and reading, but also occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy, I have now opened up my eyes to a whole new aspect of physical therapy that I could picture myself working in. I have seen the important ways that physical therapy was used to improve the daily life of the students I worked with and how therapy was made enjoyable for the students. Without this opportunity to intern at Sargent Center I don’t think I would have been able to see this often overlooked aspect of physical therapy and how important it is.

 

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

The advice I would give to future Holy Cross interns would be to always go into your internship with an open mind. For me, every day at my internship was different and came with new experiences and opportunities to learn.

Meet #CrusaderIntern Meghan Donahue ’21

Name: Meghan G. Donahue

Class Year: 2021

Position & Company: Yale School of Medicine Alzheimer’s Disease Research Unit (Intern, Research Assistant)

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

This summer, I interned at the Yale School of Medicine Alzheimer’s Disease Research Unit where I was trained to function as a full time Research Assistant, and support the functioning of multiple Alzheimer’s clinical drug trials. I had the opportunity to interact with patients presenting a wide array of cognitive abilities on a daily basis as I took their vital signs, performed EKGs, drew their blood, and administered some cognitive testing. I became adept at retrieving the major medical history of potential trial participants, and collaborated with a panel of medical professionals as they assessed these factors and other clinical measures leading to a diagnosis.

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

As a psychology major with a health professions career track, I frequently integrated my academic learning into my day to day responsibilities.  One specific example of how I applied my classroom learning to my internship focused on the techniques necessary to process blood labs that were drawn in the office .  The challenge of balancing a centrifuge and pipetting contents from a vile utilized skills that I have practiced during my Chem and Bio lab periods.  Having had this academic experience, I felt calm and confident when handling these blood samples, and competently transferred the contents from my very first assignment onward.

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?

Something that surprised me about being an intern was how easy it was to grasp new workplace concepts, and apply what I have been learning in the Holy Cross classroom to real life applications. While many students find the meticulous detail of courses to be an annoyance at times, questioning if they are even pertinent to the functions of a future career, I was able to connect many bigger picture concepts to my coursework at Holy Cross.  My knowledge of psychology, cognition, memory, biology, chemistry and anatomy and physiology made my transition at Yale this summer fairly seamless and smooth. 

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

Since I am planning for a career in healthcare, what better opportunity than to be trained at a world-class medical institution in an arena that focuses on a disease that has impacted millions globally?  Not only was I able to log some of those coveted patient contact hours required for any PA school, but I was also able to practice some of the basic medical and interpersonal skills and techniques that I will be using for the rest of my professional life. 

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

My internship advice would be to identify what you want, and then try to get it.  Just because a Holy Cross student has never had an internship at a site that interests you, do not be afraid to strategically reach out and see if they would be amenable to the idea.  If you are able to secure a HC funded stipend, you are also in a position to market yourself as “free” to them.  I was the first non- Yale undergraduate student to intern at the ADRU.  I was so fortunate to secure the funding from Holy Cross, and then successfully tap into the HC alumni network to help me navigate the process, identify decision makers and share advice.  I would not have had the amazing ten-week internship that I had this summer if I had not figured out how to make a compelling “ask”.  If I can do it, so can others.

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

Full Name: Christopher Pichay

Class Year: ’95

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

2. How do you balance life and work?

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

5. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

 

Planned:  getting into medical school and becoming a physician.

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

Name: Princy Sindurakar

Class Year: 2020

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

 

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

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

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

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

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?

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

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

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

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

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

Meet Summer Intern, Emily Rivard ’19, Harvard-Amgen Scholar at Harvard University

Name: Emily Rivard

Class Year: 2019
Internship Position: Harvard-Amgen Scholar at Harvard University

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

This summer I conducted research at Harvard University through the Amgen Scholars program, which is a residential summer research opportunity allowing undergraduates to partner with a Harvard faculty mentor and work under the supervision of graduate students or post-docs in his or her lab for 10 weeks.  I worked in Dr. Hopi Hoekstra’s lab in the Departments of Organismic & Evolutionary Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology, studying the developmental and genetic bases of natural variation.  Using deer mice as a model system, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of adaptive evolution.  I had the opportunity to give an oral presentation on my work, present a poster at a university-wide symposium, and attend the annual Amgen Scholars U.S. Symposium at UCLA.  This program also offered a number of pre-professional development opportunities, such as weekly networking events and graduate school preparation seminars, as well as fun community-building programs with the other members of my Amgen cohort, including Red Sox games, hikes in the White Mountains, and Boston Harbor cruises.

 

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

I was able to utilize information I had learned in a variety of my biology courses during my research this summer, including material from introductory courses on organismal biology and evolution and material I learned in my upper-level courses in genetics, genomics, and cell biology.  It was really exciting to conduct research that spanned such a wide range of topics within the scope of biological research.  I am glad that Holy Cross promotes such a well-rounded education, since I think it prepared me well for working in an interdisciplinary lab.

What has surprised you about being an intern?

Working as an undergraduate researcher at a university was a new and interesting experience.  My lab this summer had a different environment than what I have experienced at Holy Cross because it was large and composed of undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, laboratory technicians, a laboratory manager, and a PI.  I was pleasantly surprised by the incredible welcome and support I received throughout the summer from everyone in the lab.

 

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

As a biology major currently applying to PhD programs in genetics/genomics and hoping to one day become a professor, my research this summer was relevant and important to my future career goals.  This experience, in conjunction with the research I conduct in Professor Findlay’s lab at Holy Cross, gave me the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to be a competitive applicant for graduate school.  My research experiences as an undergraduate have also helped me determine the types of biology I would be interested in pursuing for my future research.

 

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

For students interested in conducting research at other universities, I would definitely recommend getting involved with research here at Holy Cross first.  Conducting research at Holy Cross during the school year and last summer was really important for me to get the experience necessary to be a good candidate for programs like Amgen or REUs.  My research advisor here at Holy Cross was also very helpful during the process of applying to summer research programs at other schools.  The research opportunities at Holy Cross are really amazing, so I would suggest chatting with the professors here about possibilities to help with their projects!