Meet Alumna Ariel Baker ’18, Program Manager, New England Blacks in Philanthropy

Name: Ariel Baker

Class Year: 2018

Title: Program Manager

Organization Name: New England Blacks in Philanthropy

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

Creating a narrative shift in the way that the Black community and Black wealth is seen inter-communally and at large.

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 connected to my current employer by a Holy Cross alum Jerome Daye ‘08, who is a mentor of one of my close friends that I also met a Holy across. I decided this role was for me because I knew it was a fantastic starting point in my career and a way for me to explore numerous fields that interested just by the very nature of the position. My organization is a bit of a start up, so I have been deeply entrenched in the operations of the organization as well as the more “client facing” aspects, such as events, networking on behalf of the org etc. I have been able to learn what experiences I enjoy and don’t, in order to continue shaping what exactly I would like my career trajectory to look like. 

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

Rhythm Nation Step Team


Inter House Council
Work Study

Study Abroad 

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

Sociology. I have always been a “systems“ and “theory” person and understanding society from a sociological lens was just a natural fit for me. I am obviously extremely passionate about the way the Black community in particular functions in American society and when I had the chance to work for an organization with a mission like ours as well as to work for and be mentored by a Black woman this early in my career I jumped on the opportunity. 

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

1) Be firm in your approach but never to the point where you are difficult to work with. No one likes a know it all and as a new graduate you have to understand that you will not know much of anything actually. Approach all opportunities with an open mind but also with the confidence that graduating from an institution like Holy Cross has provided you. 

2) Never stop learning. There will always be something that you don’t know. 

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

Try everything at least once. If you have your eye set on one career path I encourage you to try the complete opposite (ex: hard sciences try something more creative and vice versa), just for the experience. You really never know what is out there for you so don’t limit yourself especially right now when you have so much support from Holy Cross.

Meet Alumna Nina Robertson ’17, Bilingual Parent-Child Specialist at New York University School of Medicine

Name: Nina Robertson

Class Year: 2017

Current Title/Employer: Bilingual Parent-Child Specialist at New York University School of Medicine

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

I deliver a pediatric-based early intervention program for babies, newborn to age 3, from at-risk populations. I work with mothers and infants at their well-child appointments and talk about ways to promote their baby’s learning and school-readiness through reading and play.

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

My senior year roomate saw the job posting through a cognitive development email chain and said, “This sounds perfect for you!” I got really excited and applied right away. During my interview, I mentioned my involvement in research with Professor Anggoro from the Psychology department. As it turns out, the woman I was speaking with knew her when she was in undergrad at Northwestern University and had worked closely with her during her time there. Professor Anggoro was also one of my references for the job, so it all came full circle!  

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

I’ve always been interested in the cognitive and linguistic development of young children and the ways in which they learn. I loved that this job gave me hands-on experience interacting with infants and mothers, and also provided me with the opportunity to work with Spanish-speaking families and give back to the Latino community. I was also inspired by the program’s goal to address the school achievement gap among different socioeconomic levels.

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

I was in Off the Record a cappella group, SPUD Parsons Hill, a greeter at mass, performed in Noche Latina, Holy Cross Choir and Chambers Singers, and club field hockey.

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

I majored in psychology because I’ve always been interested in how people think, behave, and interact.  I knew that I loved interacting and working directly with people, and I searched for a job and career that would allow me to have direct contact with patients. During my senior year, I became involved in a cognitive development lab, which sparked my interest in research and gave me the experience I needed to pursue a research-oriented job. I originally had planned to double major in both math and psychology,  but decided to focus solely on psychology during my senior year when I realized that it aligned more closely with my career goals.

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

Interpersonal skills: the way that I learned to interact with my classmates and professors during my time at Holy Cross translated directly to being able to communicate effectively with my coworkers and supervisors in the working field. Similarly, the time management skills that I learned at Holy Cross, such as creating a schedule to balance multiple ongoing projects at once, helped me learn the most efficient ways of tackling my workload within specific timeframes.

Meet CrusaderIntern Sahra Hassan ’19

Meet Sahra Hassan ’19 Intern at Central West Justice Center.

Tell us about where you are interning and the kind of work you are doing.

My day to day work involves reviewing client documents and figuring out why the client’s benefits (either Food stamps, SSI, or EAEDC) have been reduced, cut or terminated. My long term projects include writing a commercial script about Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or Food Stamps) to the purpose of educating the public about the importance of SNAP, who is eligible, and de- stigmatizing it. The other project involves writing a benefits booklet about TAFDC, EAEDC, and SNAP.

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

I have utilized my writing skills a lot. I often write statements to clients and the Department of Transitional Assistance (administers food stamp program).

What has surprised you about being an intern?

I was surprised at how quickly I was able to follow and understand legal terms and documents.

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

This internship made me realize that law school is not for me; however, I appreciate the experience I had at Central West. I now know that I am more passionate about humanitarianism than legal work.

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

Do yourself a favor and do an internship that is fulfilling and makes a good experience and not one that just looks good on your resume.