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.

Meet #CrusaderIntern Juliana Holcomb ’19, The Ana Grace Project

Dr. Noel Casiano, my supervisor (L) and me (R)

 

Full Name: Juliana Holcomb ‘19

Summer Internship: The Ana Grace Project

 

1. What were you up to this past summer?

This past summer, I was a research and data intern at The Ana Grace Project in New Britain, CT.   Created after the tragedy at Sandy Hook which took the life of Ana Grace Márquez-Green as well as many others, this not-for-profit organization is dedicated to bringing social emotional learning, trauma-informed care, and school-based mental health services into New Britain Elementary schools through their “Love Wins” program.  In this role, I analyzed teacher, school administrator, and faculty-reported responses from the ARTIC (Attitudes Related to Trauma Informed Care) measure; collected, organized, and explained trends in disciplinary-related outcomes between 2012-2018 from the Connecticut State Department of Education; and wrote, edited, and prepared APA-style manuscripts for publication.  I was able to contribute to three manuscripts that will hopefully be published in the near future and two manuals for the “Love Wins” program.

 

2. What was your favorite part?

My favorite part was learning about the specific ways in which the “Love Wins” program impacted the elementary school-aged children of New Britain.  Through the data and trends I analyzed, I was able to witness the ways in which the implementation of “Love Wins” quantitatively improved school-based outcomes such as in- and out-of-school suspensions and chronic absenteeism.  On a more qualitative level, I was able to learn about individual stories of how “Love Wins” impacted the New Britain community which was equally as inspiring. Hearing these testimonials made me very hopeful for the future of school-based mental health services.

I also was awestruck by the strength, dedication, and passion of Nelba Márquez-Green as she worked tirelessly each and every day to improve the educational system for low-income students and students of color so that a tragedy like Sandy Hook, which took the life of her daughter, would never happen again.  Her dedication was unlike any I had ever seen before, and I was fortunate to work with her.

 

3. What surprised you?

I was surprised by the amount of collaboration that took place within The Ana Grace Project.  People from all different backgrounds and career paths came together to create this not-for-profit and manage its implementation within schools.  For example, mental health professionals such as Marriage Family Therapists, Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists all worked together in order to provide the school-based mental health services to students as well as counsel them individually and in a family or group setting.  Teachers, within the many elementary schools of New Britain, were also a critical piece of the “Love Wins” program which I saw when I went to a talent show at one of the schools. The administrators and staff of the school were also highly involved. Seeing this community collaboration was a happy surprise I saw during my time at The Ana Grace Project.  They practiced what they preached and emphasized community relations and support in all that they did.

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

Name: Nerelly Checo

Class Year: 2018

Current Title/Employer: Teaching fellow at Nativity School of Worcester

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

My job entails teaching 15 5th grade boys, living in a community of 7 additional fellows, coaching a sport and operating as an outreach coordinator.  

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

I wanted a job in which I can make a difference in the community. This school serves low income boys of color- a community that I myself relate to. Because I was given many opportunities that have helped me get to where I am today, I wanted to also have an impact in the lives of these boys. I knew that this job was something that I was capable of doing with great interest, yet also challenge me to help me grow.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?  

On campus, I served on the executive board of the Latin American Student Organization for 3 years. I was a mentor for the Peer Mentor program and a mentor and program coordinator for the Odyssey program. I worked in the Office of Student Involvement and in the Center for Career Development as a Marketing Peer Career Assistant. I also worked as a caller for the Phonathon and held the job of a Hogan student manager. Additionally, I studied abroad in Argentina for a semester.

What was your major and how has it affected your career decisions?   

I was a double major in Sociology and Psychology. As a result, it has allowed me to become passionate about issues that people are affected with daily, specifically related to social justice. I tend to look at career paths that will lead me to make a difference and change the issues that our world faces. In addition, whenever I interact with a student, I keep in mind the many different societal and psychological layers that go into their lives.

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

One skill that I developed at Holy Cross was being able to maintain strong, interpersonal relationships. My majors and involvement on campus required me to develop communication skills, both written and orally. In addition, I also developed the ability to juggle multiple responsibilities and meet deadlines. Being involved in many different things on campus prepared me for the array of things thrown at me at my job, often times unexpectedly.

Meet Alumna Kelly Garcia ’15, Special Education Teacher at Excel Academy Charter High School

Meet Alumna Kelly Garcia ’15, Special Education Teacher at Excel Academy Charter High School

 

Name: Kelly Garcia

Class Year: 2015

Current Title/Employer:

  • Special Education Teacher at Excel Academy Charter High School – East Boston, MA
  • Vice Chairwoman of the Chelsea School Board – Chelsea, MA

Graduate Degrees (if applicable): Master’s in Education from Boston University

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

As a Special Education Teacher, my job entails the implementation of Individual Education Plans (IEP) for students with learning disabilities, such as, Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

(ADHD), and etc. and accommodating the curriculum so that they are successful in the classroom.

 

What if any, unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross?   

During my sophomore year, I went on a service trip to Dangriga, Belize where 12 other Holy Cross students volunteered at Holy Ghost, an elementary school. It was on this trip that I fell in love with working with children and discovered my passion for teaching. Then, I tutored at a local school in Worcester the remaining years at Holy Cross. When senior year came, I applied to Teach for America and got in! I am now in my third year of teaching and am also an elected official in my city. I serve as the District 7 School Board Member and Vice Chairwoman of the board in Chelsea, MA.

 

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

Giving back to my community and advocating for students in urban school districts is a passion I developed shortly after my years at Holy Cross. I am fortunate and eternally grateful I found my passion  and will continue finding innovative ways to improve my community.

 

What were you involved in when you were on campus?  

Pernet Family Health Services, Community Harvest Project, Pathfinder (Passport Program), Study Abroad (studied in Argentina for a semester), Multicultural Peer Educator, Teaching Assistant in Dangriga, Belize, CASA, BSU,  and LASO.

 

What was your major and how has it affected your career decisions?   

Majoring in Psychology allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of the differences that exist in our society, and taught me to accept everyone for who they are. Developing an acceptance of all differences and all personalities has truly benefited me in the classroom, and has made my job incredibly rewarding.

 

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

The importance of genuinely listening and the art of networking.

-Asking alumni for advice instead of a job

-Stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging the “norm” allows you to GROW! Don’t be afraid to go against what is socially accepted