Meet Alum Daniel Walsh, Chief Architect of Container Technologies at Red Hat

Name: Daniel Walsh

Title: Chief Architect of Container Technologies

Organization: Red Hat


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

I am chief architect of container technologies at Red Hat, which means I lead a group of Operating System engineers who write code to control what third party applications do on an Linux computer system.


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

I was heavily involved in the Holy Cross Band, Member of Big Brothers/Big Sister.  Performed in ACT Alternate College Theater, as well as senior Play. Went to multiple religious retreats. (5 days no talking). Lots of intramural sports (Basketball, Touch Football)


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

Math Major, I wanted to go into Computer Science, but Holy Cross did not offer the major at that time.  I also took course at WPI through the consortium.


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

I was a horrible writer when I got to Holy Cross, and really felt like I would fail out of some writing courses, but the professors worked with me and got me to the point, where I was passable.  Now I write (blog) prolifically and am well known in the computer security world for my communications skills. I don’t believe I would have been as successful if I had gone to a technical college.


5. What advice do you have for students today?

Enjoy your college experience. If you have a non-technical background, don’t assume you will not be able to work at a high-tech company.  Most of the employees at the top technical companies need to be able communicate.  Sales, marketing, human resources, documentation, management, customer support, legal and hundreds of other jobs require read/writing skills.  Even software engineers need to document their software, and explain how to use it. It is my belief that a liberal arts education, teaches this fundamental skill.

Meet Alum Chad Wright ’92, Senior Director of IT, Amazon Robotics

Meet Alum Chad Wright ’92, Senior Director of IT, Amazon Robotics 


In one sentence, what does your job entail?  

As Senior Director of IT, I am responsible for the overall strategy and delivery of IT services, such as enterprise software, infrastructure, information security and service desk, that help our organization operate safely and efficiently.


What were you involved in when you were on campus?  

When I was on campus, I was a member of the Calculus Workshop (which also included the inaugural Computer Workshop) and a TA that graded lots of math homework.  Though my baseball career was very brief (one season), my friends and I played just about every intramural sport the college offered.


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

I was a Mathematics major with a concentration in Computer Science.  I studied what I loved and it led me into the direction of my career today.  I didn’t know anything about Information Technology and that’s why I’m so passionate about helping students learn more about the industry and be prepared for the opportunities that await them.


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 graduated, I had two job offers.  The first was a math and computer science teaching position with athletic coaching responsibilities at a private school in Long Island, NY.  The second offer was to join a database marketing software company as a business analyst that was much closer to my family and friends in MA.  I decided to take the business analyst role not really knowing what I was getting into, but because it was a growing company with challenging business problems and a teaching and learning culture, I decided to take a chance.  It turned out that I enjoyed the work and really excelled at it.


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

The most important skills are critical thinking and problem-solving.  As a manager, mentor and coach, I find it’s very difficult to teach someone how to think critically or make them a better problem solver without investing an extraordinary amount of time and effort.  Holy Cross helped me develop my skills to look at each challenge pragmatically, to find new and creative ways to solve a problem – whether it be about people or about technology.  Leaving Holy Cross, I became a better reader, writer and listener.  These skills are critical to the success I’ve had in my various IT roles throughout my career.


Alumni Job Shadowing Program: Marialena Bevilacqua ’20

Meet Marialena Bevilacqua ’20 who participated in the Alumni Job Shadowing Program at Amazon Robotics 

Full Name: Marialena Bevilacqua
Class Year: 2020
Major: Mathematics
Shadowing Visit Site: Amazon Robotics
1. Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?
During Christmas Break, I shadowed Mr. Chad Wright at Amazon Robotics, in North Reading, Massachusetts. The original date that Mr. Wright and I had planned for was altered due to the biggest storm of the winter occurring during my visit to Massachusetts. Later on in January, I finally made it to the site. When I first got to Amazon Robotics, I walked by a large cement floor, where robots were being produced,  tested, and were carrying around tall boxes.   Soon after that, Mr. Wright explained to me what the company does, who works at the company, and what his position and daily routines are at the company. Throughout the day, I met with people of various job titles, including a Business Intelligence Developer, Business Systems Analysis, a Project Manager, a Mechanical and Electrical Engineer, as well as a Security Engineer and a Help Desk Technician. Each career and job position had its own purposes and responsibilities, and each employee had their own path in order to achieve their current position. It was extremely interesting to learn how each employee got to where they are and what steps they took in order to achieve their goals and fulfill their daily responsibilities at work. What I gained most from this experience was learning that there are many possible career opportunities for STEM majors, and that there are many different paths to travel down in order to achieve ones’ future career goals. At the end of the day, Mr. Wright brought me for a tour of the site where I was able to piece together how each persons’ role played an important part in the overall production and success of the company. Overall, it was a great experience and I was able to visit a unique and interesting company that I would have not been able to explore without the Alumni Job Shadowing program.
2. How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?
As a Mathematics major, the most common route to follow post-graduation is to become involved in the business or finance fields. But this experience opened my eyes to the vast opportunities that exist for a math major in the technology sector. Within technology, a mathematics major can obtain a degree in engineering, computer science, and other scientific fields. There are also opportunities to be involved in business or finance within a technology company. For a math major who is interested in Finance, but does not want to work on Wall Street, a technology company is another great alternative. Learning about all of these new and fascinating career opportunities opened my eyes to potential careers that I was not aware of prior to my visit with Mr. Wright at Amazon Robotics.

3. What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

 Some helpful advice my alumni host shared with me was to do everything I can in order to prepare myself for a variety of future careers. For example, Mr. Wright suggested that I take Computer Programming in order to open up doors to various technology opportunities that might present themselves in my future. It might even be helpful to take technology courses at schools that offer these classes, such as WPI, in order to better my chances at a future in the technology field. This is advice that I had never received before, and am sure that it will prove to be beneficial to myself and my future.
4. Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?
I would most definitely recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students. This experience allows you to connect with a Holy Cross alumni who has shared similar experiences to your own, and shows you what your work-life and future employment could look like in years to come.  The job shadowing program provides you with someone who becomes a role model, as well as goals that one might aspire to achieve. On the contrary, the Alumni Job Shadowing Program may provide a student with an idea of what they do not want to do with the rest of their life, which is just as equally beneficial, and sets the student on a mission to explore exactly what they want to do and participate in more shadowing  experiences. All-in-all, I had an amazing experience at Amazon Robotics this winter break, and was fortunate enough to connect with another member of “Sader Nation,” all thanks to the Alumni Job Shadowing Program.

My Alumni Job Shadowing Experience at Amazon Robotics

Full Name: Victor Sanchez
Class Year: 2020
Major: Mathematics
Shadowing Visit Site: Amazon Robotics

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

When I first arrived at Amazon Robotics, Chad (HC Alumni) brought me into his office and gave me an overview of his position at Amazon Robotics. Then we talked about how he made his way to the position he was in now (Senior Director IT). Afterwards, Chad gave me a full tour of the Amazon Robotics office and warehouse (where they actually build ALL of the robots, and do all the testing and everything). Then I followed a schedule Chad had set up for me, to meet people in all different positions at Amazon Robotics. So I was able to meet people in all kinds of fields, such as computer engineers, electrical engineers, cybersecurity, business analyst, IT, etc. Within these meetings I was able to get a sense of all of these different possible careers, and was able to discuss with them on how they got to their position today and what sort of things they do on a day to day basis in their career. From this experience, I was able to get a better sense of the workforce, better understand many possible career paths I would like to take, create relationships with people in many fields that I am interested that I can now refer to if I have any questions about the specific career. Additionally, it gave me motivation, because the work environment there seemed so enjoyable. And it reassured me that I do want to go into the fields of engineering, mathematics, or CS. Lastly it made me realize the many possible career paths I could take with my specific major (mathematics).

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

This experience was perfect for my future career plans because it solidified/reassured that I want to be a Mathematics major. It made me enjoy the field that I want to go into even more because actually seeing these robots in action was a surreal experience. I told myself “I 100% want to do something like this for the rest of my life.”

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

My alumni told me that there are so many jobs out there that I could possibly do, to not limit myself because of my specific major. As well as to do what I want/enjoy because you have to remember you are going to be doing this for the rest of your life. So just think to yourself, do I see myself doing this for the rest of my life?

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

I truly recommend the AJSP to other students because it is really helpful. Doing the AJSP is a win-win situation because at the end of the visit you for sure know something, either you are interested in that field and would like to learn more about it. Or you will walk out of there and think I DO NOT want to do that for the rest of my life, and that’s one career off of your possible careers list. With that being said, it truly does help you decide what field you want to get in. Lastly, you are able to network with people in your potential field. So if you build and maintain a relationship with these people it can give you a reference to go to when you have a question about the field, and who knows, they might like you enough and help you get a job once you graduate!

My Alumni Job Shadowing Experience at Bocoup

Name: Francy Mata
Class Year: 2019
Major: Economics
Shadowing Visit Site: Bocoup

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

My visit was very helpful for me. In the beginning of the day, I was able to sit down with the alumni and talk about his experience transitioning from Holy Cross to the workplace. One thing I was particularly worried about was finding a job when it came time to graduate. He was able to provide some very helpful tips to overcome some of the problems students face when attempting to find employment. Throughout the rest of the day, I was able to learn about Bocoup and their role in helping other firms with their software needs and desire. All in all, it was a very beneficial experience.

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

One major way this experience influences my future career goals is that software was an industry I was considering getting into prior to my visit. Throughout my visit, I was able to learn what the daily life of an employee in software was like. By gaining this insight I have learned that my perception of what software was like was slightly misaligned to what it actually is. Because of this I have determined that software will not be an industry that I would like to get into when I graduate. I believe this visit will help me greatly in the future since I will have already determined that I will not be looking for employment in software. I will be able to avoid a lot of stress and save an enormous amount of time.

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

One piece of advice that he shared was the idea that while academic achievement may be important it is not the only important aspect of the college experience. He encouraged me to find things I enjoy and can keep doing these things even if they are completely unrelated to my field study.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

The Alumni Job Shadowing Program allowed me to not only be exposed to the professional world of software but it also allowed me to build a meaningful relationship with an alumni that I can draw back on. These reasons made AJSP invaluable.

Want to explore an interest? Consider applying to the Winter Break Alumni Job Shadowing Program and spend the day with an alum. Click the button below to learn more about the application process.

ALUMNI INTERVIEW: I was a double major in mathematics and physics, now I…

Meet Alison Cheung ’06, Engineer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I work sensors such as a large optical telescope to monitor the space environment and enable the nation to meet the challenges of an increasingly congested and contested space domain.

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?

During my sophomore year at Holy Cross, I was informed of an opportunity via email from the physics department to get funding through the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium for a summer internship at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).  I had been looking at various internship opportunities from the financial industry to the department of defense, but had not previously thought about NASA or the space industry.  After submitting a resume and talking to a mentor at JPL, I jumped on this opportunity.  I worked hard that summer, had frequent conversations with my mentor, and fell in love with the work environment and the space missions.  This resulted in me returning for a total of three summers under the same mentors but with exposure to various mission areas.  Knowing that a graduate degree is incredibly valuable in this type of environment, I attended graduate school but kept in contact with my JPL mentors.  After completing my master’s degree, I chose to return to JPL as full-time staff.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

On campus I was involved in the marching band/pep band, Holy Cross Chamber Orchestra, Society of Physics Students, Science Student Ambassadors, SPUD, and admissions office host for prospective students.

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

I was a double major in mathematics and physics.  I always had a hard time picking a favorite between these majors and struggled to decide which area to go to graduate school in.  Ultimately, I looked for ways to keep a balance of both fields and have continued to do so.

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

My first exposure to MATLAB was at Holy Cross during my senior year and have continued to use MATLAB on a regular basis since then.  Additionally, Holy Cross helped me develop my communication and interpersonal skills that often set me apart from others in my field.

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

My largest piece of advice for students on campus today is to seize any opportunity that comes your way and work hard to make a positive impression.  This could mean being the first to submit a resume or respond to an email.  Don’t worry about how the opportunity came about and don’t doubt your qualifications.  Imposter syndrome is a real thing.  Instead of thinking about why you were given an opportunity, put your energy into making the most of that opportunity so that it leads to further opportunities.  When gaps in your knowledge arise, ask good questions and continuously improve.

ALUMNI INTERVIEW: I Was a History Major, Now I am Senior Manager of Enterprise Support

Meet John Vatalaro ’13, Sr. Manager of Enterprise Support at Yext.

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I oversee the technical support and training provided to some of Yext’s largest and most strategic enterprise customers and their franchisees.

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 found Yext through a one of my Holy Cross roommate’s cousins.  A little networking over drinks got me connected with her friend who worked at Yext.  After a few emails, I was on site for an interview and it was a perfect match right away.  It was the summer after graduation and I had only recently been exploring a possible career in tech, mostly focused around customer service, and this role was a really great fit at a small and exciting company.  Joining a ~200 person venture-funded start-up in NYC was certainly not what I was expecting after graduation, but I just couldn’t turn away from the people, the perks, the company’s mission, and the product.  After joining, I quickly realized it was a place I could learn, grow, and excel quickly with incredibly talented people (including some other HC alumni!) so it was a great environment for me.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

Outside of classes, Men’s Varsity Swimming and my part-time job as a Kimball Captain took up most of my time but I was also involved in Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Varsity Club, HC Goes Unified, College Advisory Board on Alcohol, House Council, and Inter-House Council.

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

I majored in history and minored in art history.  They originally drove me to want to pursue a career in the arts, but later I realized my love of history and art history was more just a passion for learning, understanding people, and recognizing patterns, regardless of the subject matter.  This allowed me to move into tech, where I had the opportunity to apply those skills to become a product and process expert.  As a result, I put myself in a spot to share that knowledge and empower others, whether customers or teammates, to succeed.  Since then, I’ve leaned heavily on my liberal arts education to help me understand varied aspects of our business simply because I understand how to analyze a situation, think through problems, and see the big picture.

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

How to work with others: Being on the swim team, working in the dining hall, living with new friends, and collaborating on schoolwork with others provided me plenty of opportunities to develop the invaluable social and communication skills that helped mold me into the person I am today. You can be the smartest person in the room, but if you can’t get along with others or speak up about your opinion you won’t get very far.

How to give a damn: Really dive into something you care about.  This will help you apply that same passion and drive towards your job/career.  In school,  maybe it’s a passion for competition, learning, helping others, solving problems, or being funny – whatever it is, find it!  When hiring for my teams, I’m always looking for someone who gives a damn about their work or their passions over someone who appears qualified on paper.

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Take the classes and do the activities that you actually get enjoyment out of.  If there’s anything I’ve learned in school or in my career, it’s that you do your best work when you’re challenged by something you enjoy.  So find that class, find that extracurricular, and find a job that brings your joy.  The grades, success, the “right job”, and even money will fall into place if you focus on that.

ALUMNI INTERVIEW: I Was A Political Science Major, Now I…

Name: Payton Shubrick
Class Year: 2015
Title: R&D Lab Manager (Research and Development Lab Manager)
Organization Name: MassMutual
Major: Political Science

What does your job entail?

My role is to manage R&D activities for the company, specific to home office employees. What that means is I attempt to solve business problems leveraging emerging technologies as well as exploring technologies that could impact our industry in the next 12-18 months. What does that mean in plain English? I look for the return on investment a technology can offer. Can we save 2 million dollars be leveraging VR for training sessions as opposed to the current model of paying facilitators and having in classroom sessions?

How has your Holy Cross education contributed to your success?

My Holy Cross education has contributed to my success in many ways. At Holy Cross, I was able to grow – socially, intellectually, ethically, etc. I often find myself harnessing skills that I developed in both the classroom and student activities, like SGA and BSU, to propel me forward professionally. At Holy Cross, I was able to develop a greater sense of awareness of who I was as a person and how I can impact the world around me. With that mindset, you can rethink traditional business problems with many lenses to come up with a solution and then be able to present that idea in a well-written document or verbal presentation.

What skills are most important in your day to day work?

The most important skill in my work is being able to check, adjust, and pivot. Unlike traditional career paths with technology, you can come up with a solution and then discard the entire thing for something better because a smart algorithm can now be applied. This means you can’t grow too attached to one solution or one way to solve a problem. Everything is a fair game all the time and things change rapidly, so accept change early and fast to make life easier later.

What advice would you give to a Holy Cross student looking to enter your field?

Start studying trends in technology now. Virtual/ augmented reality, chatbots, algorithms, autonomous driving cars, artificial intelligence are real and going to change the world around us. In your day to day, life start to think about how things can simplify your life and delivery information before you know you want it.