Menu
Career Development Blog

Career Development Blog

Information for mapping your future

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

Name: Kat Rosenthal

Class Year: 2013

Title: Project Manager

Organization: John Moriarty & Associates, DC

 

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

I manage the financial and manpower requirements to build buildings

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

6. What advice do you have for students today?

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

Meet Alum Michael Pettinati ’13, Data Scientist, Biofourmis

Name: Michael Pettinati

Class Year: 2013

Title: Data Scientist

Organization: Biofourmis

 

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

I develop algorithms using large datasets to improve upon and support patient health.

 

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?    

I went to graduate school for a PhD following holy cross. I attended Ga Tech. I spoke at length with my academic and research advisors (professors Royden and king) about this decision. I had the opportunity to visit these schools upon acceptance and interview with the professors I would be working with. It was these visits that cemented that I wanted to be at ga tech.

 

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

I was involved in the recruitment office my freshman year, and. I worked in food services my first year on campus. I provided tutoring through the computer science department when I was at holy cross. I was a TA and RA for the computer science department as well. I participated in research over the summers with Professor Royden. I was also a member of the honors college and did a senior thesis with professor Royden.

 

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

I was a double major in mathematics and computer science. My work at holy cross was the foundation for my graduate school work, which lead my first job in industry.

 

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

Holy cross gave me a solid foundation as a programmer, and I write scripts everyday at my job. Also, Holy Cross gave me my first experience doing research. I learned to approach problems from different angles. I understood how to ask questions that have value, learn what has been done to answer those questions and do the work to help answer those questions.

 

6. What advice do you have for students today?

Although it’s very cliche, I think it’s important to know that failures are only the end if you let them be. There is no single assignment, test, denial, etc. that prevents you from continuing to study and work on things that interest and excite you.

Meet Alumna Helen Tucceri ’15, Senior Software Engineer at True Fit Corporation

Name: Helen Tucceri

Class Year: 2015

Title: Senior Software Engineer

Organization: True Fit Corporation

 

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

In my role as a Senior Software Engineer on True Fit’s Retail Shopper Experience Squad, I am responsible for all of our different integrations including standard JavaScript, iOS/Android, and API based integrations on retailer sites and connect the end user with our backend services to provide fit and style recommendations.

 

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?    

After graduation, I knew that I did not immediately want to continue with graduate school, so I put my resume out there and started studying for the first Actuarial exam. A recruiter who came across my resume contacted me about a “Web Engineer” position at a company called True Fit. I decided to give it a shot and got the position. Once I started working there, I knew I found the right place because my coworkers were so supportive of my continued growth and learning and were always willing to help me out when I needed guidance. I loved the fast paced startup environment and grew from Web Engineer to Software Engineer to Senior Software Engineer over the past five years.

 

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

Throughout my time on campus I was involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Science Ambassadors, Habitat for Humanity, giving tours for the Admissions office, and Dance Ensemble.

 

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

I majored in Mathematics and minored in both Computer Science and Italian. My math background had me interested in becoming an actuary, which is why I started studying for the exam after graduation. I was also interested in Software Engineering because of my CS background. I decided to go for it when the recruiter contacted me about the position at True Fit, assuming I could fall back on a career as an actuary if it wasn’t for me. I ended up loving it and am so glad that I took the risk and tried something new.

 

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

One part of my Holy Cross experience that has benefited me both in and outside of work is study abroad. I spent a year studying in Bologna, Italy and was able to learn so much about communication, working with others from different backgrounds, and embracing new ways of thinking. These communication skills that I gained during that year help me to communicate with coworkers both inside and outside of the Engineering department as well as with clients. I was also able to participate in summer research with Professor Hwang, during which I learned a great deal about building web applications. This was a great experience that taught me that it’s ok to learn as you go and to not give up even when presented with a problem that you may not know how to solve immediately. This resilience and love of learning has been extremely helpful to me as a software engineer at a growing startup where the pace is fast and learning on the job is required.

 

6. What advice do you have for students today?

One piece of advice that I would give is that it’s ok to not know what’s coming next. Be open to any and all opportunities that present themselves to you. Even if you try something and find that it’s not what you love, you’re still one step closer to finding what you DO love!

Meet Alum Joseph Wihbey ’16, Mechanical Engineer @ Sikorsky

Name: Joseph Wihbey

Class Year: 2016

Title: Mechanical Engineer

Organization: Sikorsky

 

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

I am a mechanical designer that designs, analyzes, and details test machines for Sikorsky helicopter components.

 

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?    

I had always planned on pursuing engineering. I was unsure of which engineering field I would be most interested in. My experience within the Holy Cross physics department helped me decide on mechanical engineering.

 

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

I was involved in on-campus research – I studied atomic physics in Professor Oxley’s lab. The hands-on experiments I took part in through Professor Oxley’s lab were very formative and a major inspiration. I was also involved in SPUD and Track and Field.

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

I was a 3-2 engineering student at Holy Cross. I studied physics at Holy Cross and mechanical engineering at Columbia. In both majors, I got to use a lot of math – particularly calculus and differential equations. I wanted a job where I would be able to use those math skills on a regular basis. I feel very lucky that in my current role I am constantly referring back to my college textbooks and applying what I learned in school.

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

Taking detailed notes! A lot can happen in the course of the day, between meetings and other types of distractions, and keeping a notebook has helped me stay on task.

6. What advice do you have for students today?

Take advantage of the liberal arts curriculum! Try not to think of the common requirements as a chore, but as an opportunity to try something new.

Meet Alumna Dr. Kathleen D. Dejwakh ’09, NASA

Name:  Dr. Kathleen D. Dejwakh

Class Year: 2009

Title: Computer Engineer, Data Management Team Lead, CERES Science Team

Organization:  NASA

 

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

I oversee the production of publicly available data products, generated from data collected by NASA and NOAA Earth observing satellites, that constitute a twenty-year and ongoing climate data record of Earth.

 

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?
I suppose that you could say that this is my first “real” job since graduating from Holy Cross, since I was in graduate school and engaged in a brief post-doctoral opportunity for so long (2009-2017). When I think about it, each transition made sense, but it was mostly serendipity that got me here.

Attending a graduate school so close to a NASA center, (NASA Langley Research Center), was certainly lucky. As I found that I needed supplemental income, I planned on finding an internship type of opportunity, transitioning out of my graduate program in computer graphics. Since I wanted to expand my concept of the types of imagery I could work with, I applied for and obtained a position as a NASA DEVELOP participant, working with Earth observation data. Comparing this more academia-like experience to a previous industry internship that I’d had, I became certain that I wanted to work in a sector that had more direct benefit to humanity and the environment. So, I applied for a civil service position at NASA and was selected.

 

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

I participated in several clubs and activities while on campus: S.P.U.D., liturgical ministry (lector coordinator), Sailing Club, Bishop Healy Multicultural Club, and Math/C.S. Student Advisory Council.

 

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

I majored in Computer Science simply because I enjoyed the classes. I really didn’t have a career goal in mind, at the time. The part-logic, part-creativity involved in creating programs felt really satisfying. It just so happened that it is a hot market for software engineers out there.

 

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

First off, I would say that I employ mindfulness and empathy day-to-day. Practicing the motto and spiritual cultivation at Holy Cross strengthened in me the importance of being kind to myself and understanding of others, and the bigger picture. Secondly, I use those core Computer Science classes of algorithms, data structures, and programming. They’re the backbone of software engineering! What can I say.

 

6. What advice do you have for students today?

I think the best career for someone would be not just what they enjoy, but what they’re good at. To figure that out, you probably have to cast a wide net in school. Don’t be afraid to do that, change with time, cross things off of your list, and envision a career-path that may play to multiple strengths at once or in sequence. Sometimes…you even have to create a niche for yourself. There are no rules.

Meet Alum Daniel O’Brien ’17, PhD Candidate, Georgetown

Name: Daniel O’Brien

Class Year: 2017

Title: PhD Candidate at Georgetown

 

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

I’m designing and building a “smart BandAid”-like patch for monitoring patient health.

 

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

I wanted to experience physics research, so I applied for and was accepted to an NSF-REU program at Georgetown after my sophomore year at Holy Cross. After, graduation, I ended up returning for grad school.

 

3. How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?    
My department is small and has a great community, just like HC Physics! After getting to know everybody on a first-name basis, I was sure it was the spot for me.

 

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

I was in the society of physics students, acting as president during senior year. The rest of my time was taken by intramural sports.
5. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
I was a physics major at HC, and my time in class taught me analytical skills that I’m sure will carry on for years. I hope to stay in STEM, moving to either micro-scale device fabrication, medical work, or climate science after grad school.
6. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work? 
My writing – every day. I write papers, grant applications, etc. When I’m not in lab, I’m either writing or analyzing data, so I recommend you take those CRAW classes seriously and don’t go skipping lecture.
7. What advice do you have for students today?
Get more involved! I wish I spent more time as an ally & engaging with BSU, Pride, POW, LASO, etc. Every community needs allyship in order to extend its reach, and that’s a sphere I wish I spent more time in. Also: take advantage of those common area requirements. They’re not just check boxes to tick — you can gain so much by really taking advantage of the liberal arts offerings.

 

Meet Alumna Virginia Roach ’81, Stormwater/Green Infrastructure Lead Practitioner

Name: Virginia Roach

Class Year: 1981

Title: Stormwater/Green Infrastructure Lead Practitioner

Organization: CDM Smith

 

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

I am a civil/environmental engineer managing and designing stormwater/combined sewer overflow/green infrastructure systems with CDM Smith Inc. in Boston.

 

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?  

Joined Jesuit Volunteer Corps, teaching 7thand 8th grade in Zuni, New Mexico after graduating from Holy Cross in 1981. Was then enrolled in law school, but read more about civil/environmental engineering in WPI course catalogue and was drawn to it.  Switched to WPI civil/environmental engineering program, and professor recommended me to CDM Smith recruiter visiting campus.  Have been working there since graduating from WPI in 1985.

 

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

Long-distance running, theater, Holy Cross Choir

 

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

Major at Holy Cross was mathematics, and studied junior year abroad in Madrid, Spain.  The combination of mathematics, Spanish language skills and liberal arts provided a great, broad foundation for civil engineering career.  Was able to complete second Bachelor’s Degree in civil/environmental engineering in a little over two years.  Completed Master’s Degree in civil engineering while working at CDM Smith.

 

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

One of the most important skills developed at Holy Cross that has helped me in my career is writing.  Another is the ability to prove ideas through logic, developed from proving mathematical theorems.

 

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

If you are planning to continue your education after Holy Cross in a specialized area, read the course descriptions for the courses you will be taking.  This will give you a better idea of what you are getting into, and you will know better how interested you are in that career.

 

Meet Alumna Regan McCooey ’16, Senior Software Engineer at EverQuote

Name: Regan McCooey

Class Year: 2016

Title: Senior Software Engineer

Organization: EverQuote

 

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

I design and implement backend services that facilitate the auction and distribution mechanics of EverQuote’s insurance marketplace.

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?  

After my sophomore and junior years at Holy Cross, I interned at a bank as a software engineer. Originally, I thought I would end up working there; however, after my second summer, I realized that software engineering in finance wasn’t the right fit for me. I began to look into software engineering roles at larger tech companies. My family friend suggested that I apply to TripAdvisor. I interviewed in October of my senior year and was offered the job. I knew it was a good fit because the people seemed very nice and the culture was exactly what I was looking for. I also wanted to do more consumer facing software that would impact real people rather than just writing programs for the back office of a bank.

I spent 3 years as a Software Engineer at TripAdvisor. I learned more than I could ever imagine and my technical skills grew exponentially. I still loved coding and solving complex problems so I knew software was the right path for me, for now. After a few years at TripAdvisor I wasn’t feeling as challenged as I wanted to be so I started to look for a new job. One of my old colleagues from TripAdvisor messaged me and asked if I was ready for a change, and referred me to EverQuote. I ended up interviewing at EverQuote and a few other places. What made me choose EverQuote was the people seemed awesome and there seemed like a lot of opportunity to grow from a technical and a leadership perspective

I started at EverQuote at the end of March. It’s been great so far! It’s definitely been a challenge remotely onboarding and learning everything without being face to face with your teammates but I’m learning a ton and I know it was the right move for me.

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

I played varsity golf for two years and was on the ski team. I participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters as a mentor, acted as an officer for the Math and CS Club, and was a teaching assistant for computer science.

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

I majored in computer science. The classes I took at Holy Cross inspired my love of programming, and helped me decide to pursue a career as a software engineer. When I took Compiler Construction, an upper level project course that involved a lot of programming, I knew that I wanted to be a software engineer.

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

Besides teaching me how to program, Holy Cross taught me to adapt and to teach myself the skills necessary to solve the new problems I encounter every day. The software industry is very fast paced. Things are constantly changing and you are expected to adapt and learn fast. Working in the industry is also very different from programming at school. Nevertheless, the various projects I completed in my computer science courses challenged me to face the problems in front of me head-on and to find creative solutions. My Holy Cross experience gave me the confidence to take on the new challenges I face every day as a software engineer.

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

I would tell current students that they should never feel unqualified or unable to do a job because they don’t have all of the qualifications listed on a job advertisement. Job postings usually have an intimidating list of qualifications, especially in the software industry. If a student meets even one of those qualifications, they should apply for the job. Holy Cross students should always feel confident that they will be able to learn the specific technology required on the job. Prior to starting at TripAdvisor in 2016 and EverQuote this year, I barely knew the programming languages I use everyday. Also I barely knew how to deploy a service using Amazon Web Services, but I figured it out and was able to help create a deployment pipeline for my team. It’s not about what you know or don’t know now, it’s about how you can adapt yourself to learn what you need to know to succeed.

Meet Alumna Sarah Newton ’16, Software Engineer at Liberty Mutual

Name: Sarah Newton

Class Year: 2016

Position: Software Engineer

Organization: Liberty Mutual

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?
I am a software engineer at Liberty Mutual. I support and maintain the actuarial applications used by the finance department.
2. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
I was part of the Math/CS club and I helped run Tea and Games in the math lounge. I was also a Kimball Captain, which was very fulfilling and where I developed lifelong friendships. 
3. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
I was a math major with a computer science minor. I was looking for a career where I could explore both avenues and supporting actuarial applications turned out to be a great fit.
4. 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 first began the job search my senior year, I was not sure where to begin. Most of my fellow math and CS classmates were looking at grad schools and startup companies. My roommate’s father worked at Liberty Mutual and he suggested I apply there. I had not even considered an insurance company as a career option, but Liberty Mutual is dedicated to technology. I love the security a large company provides and because the technology department is so large, I have plenty of opportunities to explore different paths. 
5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work
Holy Cross taught me how to make valuable connections with people. Because my job requires working directly with users and people from other parts of the organization, I have found my ability to communicate to be very important.  I also found Holy Cross gave me the opportunity to have fun even when I was under pressure. Life is full of stressful situations, whether it is a project deadline for server upgrades or three math midterms in the same week, and I think it is important to be able to laugh.

Meet Alum Ray Murphy ’94, Director, Enterprise Applications at Northeastern University

Name: Ray Murphy

Class Year: 1994

Position: Director, Enterprise Applications/DevOps

Organization: Northeastern University

 

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

I manage a team of a dozen or so people that maintain and support the computer systems used by the university’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, applicants, etc.

 

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?  

As far as how I got connected, my eventual employer was run by an HC grad. I actually heard about the job when a classmate of mine got a job offer from this company but turned it down. I followed up and eventually got the same offer. (Tip: don’t forget your classmates in your networking!

 

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

I was sports editor of The Crusader, and had a work/study job maintaining a couple of the computer labs in Haberlin/Swords.

 

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

I was looking for a first job in computer industry after graduating as a math major (HC didn’t even have a CS major yet, just a concentration!). I fell in love with HC on my tour in high school, and enrolled despite the fact that it didn’t have the major I wanted. I muddled through a lot of math classes. The only way that affected my career is that I never really learned to code, but I’ve had no trouble carving a career path in the industry without that skill.

 

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

More and more, I use my liberal arts skills more than the skills from my major. From my first job search to this day, I always position myself as someone who has technical aptitude, but also has the ability to communicate those technical concepts, to think critically about them and to see the big picture. That’s a story that always plays well in interview settings, etc.

 

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

For sure, it’s important to put in the time and effort to find your first job and get your career off to a good start. But you’re going to have a long career, and whether it starts in June or September won’t matter at all in the long term. But especially for seniors, make sure you soak in these last couple of months at HC… you can’t get those back.