Meet Alum Anthony Russo ’14, Assistant Dean @ Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Name: Anthony Russo

Class Year: 2014

Title: Assistant Dean, Graduate Enrollment Management

Organization NameBoston College School of Theology and Ministry

 

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

In my role, I oversee admissions and marketing for the School of Theology and Ministry, a graduate school of Boston College.

 

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?

The very short version: I never would have guessed when I graduated that I’d be doing what I’m doing now, though looking back, it all makes sense! During my senior year, I felt a tug to pursue post-graduate service, which led me to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I then enrolled at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development for a master’s in higher education administration. During this program, I also led a few undergraduate campus ministry programs at BC, which helped me decide to pursue a master’s in theology and ministry at BC. Upon graduating, I was hired into my current role, which is a perfect fusion of both administration and ministry. I am able to utilize both my operational and strategic strengths, as well as support the discernment of folks committed to using their gifts in service to the world. What could be better!

 

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

I was a member of the varsity swim team, Co-Director of Athletics for SGA, Program Coordinator for Gateways Orientation, and a Manresa retreat leader.

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

Political Science. I entered Holy Cross thinking I wanted to go into a career in government; while that turned out to not be the case, my political science major stilled played a significant role in my vocational discernment and career decisions. I remain very interested in questions of power, social structures, and how to form citizens oriented toward the common good. My major continues to shapes the lens through which I make decisions and view my current work.

 

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

A skill that stands out, drawn significantly from a liberal arts education, is the ability to think in interdisciplinary and integrated ways about complex problems. Holy Cross helped me develop a capacity for critical thinking that is essential to my work on a daily basis. In a related way, my Holy Cross education also really enhanced my imagination – intellectually, socially, and spiritually. I learned to think beyond what’s in front of me, and also importantly, how to communicate these thoughts (which particularly helps the marketing side of my role!). With this imagination, I am equipped with both hope and vision to work toward a world more in line with the values instilled by a Jesuit education at Holy Cross.

 

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

Be open to the unexpected! I love a good plan as much as anyone, but don’t limit yourself to pressures to have to stick to plans you or others have set for you. It can be scary to “divert” (though I don’t think our vocational path ever truly follows a straight line), but as in my case, this can often lead us toward something that brings us into greater harmony with who we most authentically are.

 

Meet Alum Antonio Willis-Berry ’13, Director of Residence Life @ Merrimack

Name: Antonio Willis-Berry ’13
Title: Director of Residence Life
Organization Name: Merrimack College

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

I am responsible for all students living on campus and ensuring they are having a safe, engaging, supportive, and caring experience.

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?  

When I was a student at Holy Cross, I discovered somewhere between the summer of my sophomore and the summer of my junior year that I wanted to work in Student Affairs. I had an opportunity to go to a few different conferences and kept meeting and networking with professionals (both working at Holy Cross and within the New England region). An unplanned event happened at the conclusion of my sophomore year, when I wasn’t selected to be a returning RA and I thought my career was over. I was quite angry, but it was a great learning moment for me and one that I’m thankful that I had. I needed to refocus my energy more on school (because I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had flunked out) and the other opportunities that I cared more about. The care the ResLife and Student Affairs Division showed me during this learning moment helped me to decide that this career path would be a great fit for me. They cared about me and I knew that’s what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be for others. My career has not been rainbows and sunshines, but I always come back to that moment of why I started doing this in the first place and that makes the headaches that much easier to navigate.
 

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

Too many things! I was an RA, an OL, Minister of Music for the Protestant Community, in the MAGIS program, a Student Co-Chair of NJSLC, multiple roles in SGA, multiple roles in BSU, Music Director of an A Capella group, a Hogan Student Manager, Co-Chair of WCHC Sports, a dedicated member of CAB, member of the Jazz Ensemble, and I’m sure there was more.

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

Music and it didn’t really affect my career decision. However, they taught me the value of individuality and exposed me to different ways of creating and supporting a team. I learned a great deal about leadership in my conducting course with Prof. Culver and how to improv and be adaptable from my course on Jazz with Prof. Monaghan.

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

I do a lot of reflecting and thinking about the things I am grateful for. I went on the Spiritual Exercises as a student and that really taught me the value of stopping, listening, and being in the moment. I remind myself to do this daily and it really helps to recenter me.

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

Find the communities that bring you joy and add value to your life. For me, it was my a cappella group. I did not tell them enough how impactful they were to my experience as a student and I regret that. I miss them daily and while we are in different parts of the world during different things, I know that we are still connected because of our love of music. So find your place and if you don’t have one, then create it. I was one of the founding members of our group and it had a tremendous impact on me. Holy Cross has the capacity to have a tremendous impact on you and for you to impact it, if you’re willing to listen, push back, and ask the tough questions.

Meet Alumna Melissa Howland ’15, Senior Program Coordinator for Off-Campus Programs, Boston University

Name: Melissa Howland

Class Year: 2015

Title: Senior Program Coordinator for Off-Campus Programs

Organization Name: Boston University, School of Social Work

 

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

My job entails coordinating events, class schedules, faculty assignments, student services and advising to Masters of Social Work students across our four Off-Campus satellite locations around the state.

 

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?  

Right out of college I thought I wanted to work in emergency management and was offered a position with FEMA, but due to some health issues I was not able to take the position. I then started thinking about education since right out of high school I thought I wanted to become a teacher. I applied to work with an organization called College Possible at their Philadelphia office to work with high school students. I was offered a position in their St. Paul office working with college students. Although it was not what I thought I originally wanted, I accepted and that decision has helped shape my career in higher education and non-profits since.

I learned that I enjoyed working with college students, especially in an advising capacity and working with them through the transition from high school to college. I quickly learned that I was not destined to be a classroom teacher and I really appreciated working with students one-on-one. I now work in a bit of a different capacity where I get to develop and administer a program to continually enhance the student-experience.

 

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

When I was a student, I was involved with the Student Advisory Committee for the Sociology & Anthropology department, I studied abroad in La Coruna, Spain and I worked in lower Kimball.

 

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

I was an Anthropology major and completed a concentration in Latin American & Latino Studies. The biggest takeaway for me from this major was that I enjoyed learning about people and hearing their stories. This became evident when I started advising students because I was able to build relationships with them that allowed us to develop plans for them to reach their own academic or personal goals.

 

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

Some major skills I developed at Holy Cross were my time management and organizational skills. Especially the few semester I was taking 5 classes, I had to stay on top of my readings and assignments or I would quickly fall behind. When I was managing caseloads of between 80-150 students it was critical to keep on top of my workload and now managing four satellite campuses, it is critical I stay organized to deliver an equitable program across all sites and stay on task for the many different deadlines throughout the academic year.

I also learned how to say yes to a lot of opportunities while at Holy Cross which is something I have carried with me. I said yes to many events on campus that led me to meeting many people, trying out classes I otherwise would not have signed up for and attending events put on by all different clubs. This has continued in how I have made career choices, from applying for jobs outside of my comfort zone to moving across the country for different opportunities. It has even guided me back to school, as I am now a Master’s in Business Administration candidate with a focus on Social Impact.

 

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

I would encourage students to take advantage of the many opportunities around campus to try out new experiences and build their resume. I was involved in a few things but really regret not doing more. I would also encourage students to reach out to alumni or others in their network to learn about all types of jobs. Mostly, be willing to step outside your comfort zone, try something new and maybe take a chance on something even if it not exactly what you think you want. It could be the best choice you ever make!

Meet Alumna Sara Swillo Muckian ’05, Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development

Name: Sara Swillo Muckian

Class Year: 2005

Title: Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development

Organization Name: Assumption University

 

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

My job is to provide a wide variety of vibrant activities and leadership development opportunities on campus for all students as well as advise student leaders on how they can take what they are learning in the classroom and apply it to their co-curricular activities and in real world experiences.

 

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 working in OSI over the summer when I had a conversation with Brenda Hounsell Sullivan about how to remain active with orientation once my time as an OL was finished. She shared with me about getting a masters of education in student personnel administration and from there I applied to graduate schools. In graduate school, I attended a conference and was speaking after a presentation with one of presenter and thru a Worcester connection, I was offered an internship, at Assumption College, which then turned into my first job as Assistant Director of Student Activities. It is always important to make connections and maintain them!!

I knew that higher education was the right fit for me because I liked going to work, even on Mondays. I am a very extroverted person and being with students and hearing their stories fills my cup and gives me energy so I knew I was in the right field because I am happy to go to work!

 

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

As a student at Holy Cross, I was on Varsity XC, Winter and Spring track for two years before an injury prevented me from running. Then I became involved with CAB as the Special Events Chair. I was an Orientation leader for three years as well as a student employee in OSI. I also was on PKS and in charge of Purple Pride Day.

 

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

I was a Sociology major and to be honest I had no idea what I was going to do with that major. I did an internship my senior year in a middle school guidance counselor office  and realized rather quickly that I did not want to go into social work. I do love hearing people’s stories and learning about their backgrounds and how they work in a group so I knew I wanted to work with populations of people ideally in education. Just so happened that all my co-curricular activities were the starting point for my career.

 

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

Active Listening- I know we did so many activities as a student leader that involved active listening and it has helped me immensely in my career, especially when it comes to listening to students and meeting them where they are.

Reflection and Discernment- I do not think I truly appreciated these skills in college as much as I do now. I find that when I have to make a difficult decision or when I am unsure of the correct path I should take, I spend time reflecting on past experiences, talking with mentors and my support system as well as taking time to think of all the possible outcomes from my decision. I learned to journal at Holy Cross and continue to do so today!

 

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

Get Involved!!! Get involved with something you are passionate about and make sure to attend events and programs that are outside of your comfort zone- these are the programs where you will learn the most. And lastly, make sure to slow down and truly appreciate the four years you are on Mt. St. James, enjoy the late night coffee breaks with your friends, attending sporting events and lectures and make sure to take some time to find out what you are passionate about and what drives you! Holy Cross is a great place to find yourself!

Meet Alum Evan Maloney ’08, Assistant Dean of Students, MCPHS University

Name: Evan Maloney

Class Year: 2008

Title: Assistant Dean of Students

Organization Name: MCPHS University (Worcester Campus)

 

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

In my role in the Dean of Students Office, I advocate for and support students and ensure they are connected to appropriate campus resources.

 

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?  

My roles as a peer educator and resident assistant were my first experiences working in higher education.  Several of the Student Affairs professionals who I worked with in those roles helped me explore higher education as a potential career.  Because my first professional role was at Holy Cross, those relationships led very directly to my career path.

 

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

Resident Assistant; SRC; Treasurer of Holy Cross Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta; College Choir; Chamber Singers; Schola Cantorum; German Club

 

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

I was a double major in English and German.  At Holy Cross, you are always told that with a liberal arts education you can pursue any career.  I absolutely agree!  The critical thinking and communication skills that were such a big part of both of my majors have helped me navigate the many complex—and often unexpected—situations that arise on campus.

 

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

Even though I no longer work at a Catholic institution, the Jesuit’s focus on educating the whole person continues to inform my work in important ways.  By focusing on a student’s whole experience—and not just the specific concern they have when they walk into my office—I’m better able to provide them the support they need to be successful.

 

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

Keep an open mind.  Whether you are applying for a job or picking your courses for next semester, don’t worry about always having the perfect “fit.”  Trying a new path might lead to a new passion.

Meet Alum Jeff Godowski ’13, Assistant Dean at Flora Rose House, Cornell University

Name: Jeff Godowski 

Class Year: 2013

Title: Assistant Dean

Organization Name: Flora Rose House, Cornell University

 

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

Jeff supports the educational mission of Flora Rose House, a residential college at Cornell University, through the supervision of professional, graduate, and undergraduate staff and the administration of the Rose Scholars program.

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?  

After Holy Cross, I went on to receive my Master of Education degree from the University of Vermont in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration. My involvement during my undergraduate experience at HC, and the mentors that guided me, greatly influenced my career path and prepared me for my future career. My first full-time job after graduate school was as a Residence Hall Coordinator at Saint Louis University, another Jesuit institution in St. Louis, Missouri. The mission and identity of Jesuit education was an important factor in the decision process of accepting that role, and it was that connection to my students that really sustained me during those years at SLU, even through some pretty trying times.

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

At Holy Cross, I was an RA and then Student Resident Director for Residence Life and Housing and various intern roles for the Office of Student Involvement; I served as Co-Chair and Senior Advisor for ABiGaLe/Allies (now Pride) and Director of Student Life for SGA. I also worked in the Classics Department and Kimball Dining and was involved in theatre, Schola Cantorum, SPUD and retreats for periods of time over the four years.

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

Classics with Minors in Art History and Italian. While not directly applied in my current career, they still heavily influence some of my personal passion areas outside of work. I did have a difficult decision to make my senior year of whether to pursue my academic interests through an opportunity I had to receive the English Teach Assistant grant in Italy from Fulbright. Through a very intentional period of Ignatian discernment in the spring of my Senior year, I decided to pursue my current career by attending my graduate program instead of the Fulbright program. While this might have been a controversial personal decision at the time, seven years later I still think I made the right choice.

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

The high levels of autonomy and creative direction I had through my student leadership roles at HC really helped to fast-track my career and helped me stand out among peers in my first few roles after graduation. I also learned a lot of critical thinking skills that continue to help me in responding to crises and long term strategic planning in a university context. Also, because my current role has high levels of collaboration with faculty, my liberal arts education helped me in forming relationships and increasing partnerships across academic affairs and student affairs.

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

 Look for your mentors and build those relationships. Whether they are a professor, staff member, alum, or an upperclassmen peer mentor, those relationships will be helpful as you are choosing your own path of discernment for life after college. Since most of you are engaging in remote study right now, make that outreach intentional and set up some time to chat with your mentors over zoom and sustain those relationships.

Meet Alum Aaron Going ’14, Associate Director of College Counseling at Worcester Academy

Name: Aaron Going

Class Year: 2014

Job Title: Associate Director of College Counseling

Organization Name: Worcester Academy

 

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

I currently counsel juniors and seniors through the college application and admission process at Worcester Academy.

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 had originally wanted to be a history teacher after college. However that quickly ended after I passed my MTELS and went through the process of registering for a substitute teacher position. I realized that the structure and environment of a classroom was not the way in which I wanted to serve our youth. I ended up turning my attention to the Department of Youth Services and began working as a Residential Counselor for youthful offenders. After spending some time working at DYS I asked myself one question…

What can I do to ensure young folks have opportunities and resources that will keep them out of a life of bad decisions?

I immediately thought about working as some type of counselor for a Job Corps or college counseling program. Thankfully I got an opportunity to work at a wonderful non-profit called Bottom Line and that is where my career as a college counselor launched.

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

At Holy Cross I spent a lot of my time participating in intramurals and the rest of the time was dedicated to my studies. I had to work through college to afford different things and my part-time job took up the rest of any free time.

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

I majored in History at Holy Cross. I always knew I wanted to work with young people but outside of being a teacher, I was not sure how to do that.  I began exploring the path of becoming a teacher and that ultimately led me to a world of other career opportunities.

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

Efficiency and Perseverance

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

I think my biggest piece of advice to students would be to “try it” and do not think twice about it. Holy Cross offers so many new experiences and opportunities that can seem overwhelming or frightening but I would challenge students to lean it to the unknown. There were a countless amount of things I missed out on at Holy Cross but I wish I didn’t. Sometimes circumstances are out of our control but to my current and future crusaders, if time and responsibility allows, participate in everything!

Meet Alumna Nerelly Checo ’18, Teaching Fellow at Nativity School of Worcester

Name: Nerelly Checo

Class year: 2018

Title: Teaching Fellow

Organization Name: Nativity School of Worcester

 

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

My job entails teaching Spanish, Art and Science to fifth grade boys, serving as an Admissions Assistant and coaching a sport if possible, while attending graduate school.

 

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 served as an Odyssey Mentor during my sophomore year of college and that was my first time stepping foot at the Nativity School of Worcester. I never thought about the school again until Melisa Alves told me they were hiring. Teaching was something I wanted to explore and the fellowship brochure easily caught my attention- I immediately thought it was a good fit simply because of the mission in itself. Working with marginalized populations and giving back to the community is something I have always aspired to do and learning about how much the fellows do for the boys greatly interested me.

 

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

While I was on campus, I was a member of the e-board of LASO for three years. I served as an Odyssey Mentor for two years, studied abroad in Argentina for a semester and also was a ALANA Peer Mentor my senior year. I worked at the Office of Student Involvement for a few years. My senior year I also worked as a Hogan student manager as well as in the Center for Career Development as a Marketing Peer Career Assistant.

 

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

I was a Sociology and Psychology double major. Because I was constantly having conversations about societal issues, it made me realize how essential it is to go into careers where you are making a difference. I want to do work that is productive in creating impactful change for marginalized communities.

 

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

One important skill that I developed at Holy Cross is time management. Holding multiple jobs and being a member of an e-board while balancing academics, prepared me to handle my responsibilities as well as anything I want to do outside of my job description. Although there are days where I still struggle with balancing tasks, I definitely feel that I was better prepared because of my experiences at Holy Cross.

 

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

It is essential to take advantage of every opportunity you get. College really is a roller coaster ride and it is very difficult to see the benefits of certain tasks you need to complete when you also need to juggle so many other things. I promise you that everything you do at college leads to a skill you’ll use in your career. Something as simple as writing an email is so  significant in the workforce and it is very underestimated while in college. If you get an opportunity to manage a project or work in an office or study in another country, go for it because it is so rare to obtain those learning opportunities once you graduate.

Meet Alumna Mary (O’Connor) Kimball ’12, School Psychologist

 

Name: Mary (O’Connor) Kimball

Class Year: 2012

Title: School Psychologist

Organization Name: Silver Lake Regional Middle School

 

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

I evaluate students’ needs in order to help them access the curriculum at school.

 

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 had always had an interest in psychology, but was unsure of which specialty. After Holy Cross, I became an admission counselor at a college in my hometown and started to realize that I was more interested in helping a student define his/her own level of success and how to get them there. I contacted Holy Cross Career Planning Department and they recommended that I reach out to alumni who were in the School Psychology career path. One of the alums responded to my email and we quickly established a great mentor relationship.  I was able to learn a lot about the field through phone conversations and meetings with Dan that truly helped me to understand the career. Through these conversations, I felt like this was a great fit for me. Our conversations have continued through my graduate school search, graduate school, internship, and now in my career.

 

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

When I was on campus, I was actively involved in Campion House, specifically with the retreats and as a Head Eucharistic Minister. I participated in the Admissions E-Board and was a Greeter in the office, and was involved in SPUD. I also helped to coordinate the first ever Dance Marathon on campus, which was such a special experience!

 

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

My major was in Psychology, and I was able to take a few classes in Education, as well, which led me to my interest in School Psychology.

 

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

I think the major skills that I developed and strengthened at Holy Cross were time management and problem-solving. These are the two skills that are necessary in my career as a school psychologist every day as there are multiple timelines to follow for evaluations, behavior plans, special education programming, and crisis situations that require my attention.

 

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

College is an important time in your lives to strengthen your skills and figure out your identity. Try not to be nervous if you are unsure of what you want to do. Even though I liked school psychology, I had two jobs after college before I followed my heart and started my graduate school program.

 

Meet Alumna Erin DeMarco ’04, Senior Donor Relations Officer

Name: Erin (Smith) DeMarco

Class Year: 2004

Title: Senior Donor Relations Officer

Organization Name: Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

 

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

As Senior Donor Relations Officer, I am responsible for creating and implementing strategy and programs to engage and steward donors to the Institute at all levels of giving.

 

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? 

At Holy Cross, I was a Spanish major in the Teacher Education Program.  After my junior year, I interned at ReadBoston, a children’s literacy nonprofit. I found this internship through the Summer Internship Program at Holy Cross and pursued it because I thought it would allow me to hone my interest in education outside of a traditional classroom setting.  My boss that summer was another Holy Cross alumna (Theresa Lynn ’87). After graduation, I was hired by ReadBoston full time. My plan had not been to work in a nonprofit, but through this internship, I discovered my passion for nonprofit work.  I worked at ReadBoston for almost eight years and Theresa, my former boss, remains a wonderful friend and mentor.

 

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

I was a four-year student athlete on the swim team. I was also a member of Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honor Society).

 

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

I was a Spanish Major in the Teacher Education Program. I intended to be a teacher, but my experience interning at ReadBoston changed my outlook.

 

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

My liberal arts education allowed me to study a wide variety of topics and to think critically about different perspectives. These skills are indispensable every day.

 

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

Take advantage of the career center! I went to an info session for the Summer Internship Program and it ended up shaping my entire career in a way I never anticipated. In addition, relationships are so important and valuable, especially within the Holy Cross network.  Go to alumni events and keep up with your relationships with your fellow classmates. You never know when you might need to call on a fellow Crusader.