How The New York Semester Program Shaped My Post-Grad Plans

Photo by Kara Cuzzone

By Kara Cuzzone

If you had asked me about my post-grad plans a little over a year ago, I would have answered with a shrug and a tentative, “Maybe a year of service?” While doing a year of service is a fitting option for a lot of students, for me, it was more of a placeholder; a way to buy myself more time to figure things out. Then, I did the New York Semester Program and that all changed.

During my first year at Holy Cross, I discovered my passion for writing through being an editorial contributor for, a website for college-aged women. After applying on a whim, I fell in love with pitching story ideas and writing my own articles. In the back of my mind, I wondered if maybe I could turn this newfound passion into a career one day, but I wasn’t sure what that would even look like. So when I learned that I could intern in women’s media through the New York Semester Program I thought, “This is my chance to see what it’s really like.”

Thanks to some help from the Center for Career Development, as well as advice from former New York Semester participants, I landed an internship position as a features intern for the print divisions of Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines. Fast forward to late January, and I found myself entering Hearst Tower and riding the infamous escalators in what felt like my very own movie scene. It would be nice if I could say that from that first day, I knew I belonged in the editorial world. However, that just isn’t true. The truth is that it took a couple of months in the position for me to realize two things: I wanted to work in women’s media someday, but I was curious about what working on the digital side of women’s media would be like.

With these new revelations in mind, I decided to start looking for a summer internship at a digital publication. I ended up securing one at, a beauty and wellness site. From day one, it was a completely different experience than working at Hearst. My internship at Byrdie exposed me to the fast-paced world of digital content creation. It also solidified my belief that, at least at this point in my life, I prefer the cadence of digital publishing.

Because of these internship experiences, I know that I want to move back to New York City and pursue a writing career in women’s media after graduation. Not only that, but since I have already had experience in both the print and digital sectors, I can use my insights from those positions to seek out publications that I think will be a good fit for me. I also met wonderful editors through both internships who I feel confident in turning to for advice on the job search process. Had I not done the New York Semester program, I highly doubt I would even know where to begin in forming my post-grad plans.

Kara Cuzzone ’19 is a senior Anthropology major. Read more of her work at

How Community-Based Learning Prepared Me for My First Internship

Some of the 2018-19 CBL Interns

By Kara Cuzzone ’19

I was first introduced to community-based learning (CBL) through my Montserrat course, “Exploring Differences”. To be honest, at first I was pretty ambivalent about it. The idea of going to St. Mary’s Healthcare Center once a week and visiting with a resident seemed a bit mundane. After all, what would I really be doing?My previous service experiences had always been concrete. I went in with a purpose like making sandwiches at a soup kitchen, or tutoring elementary school students. My professor’s recommendation to “avoid expectations” and just see what happened seemed a little impossible given my goal-oriented personality. But nonetheless, I decided to try.

By the time I completed my first semester of CBL, that all changed. I was hooked. I was in awe of just how much I had learned by simply showing up, and being present at St. Mary’s. My visits mostly involved listening to my resident talk about her childhood, and filling her in on the details of my life. Objectively, it didn’t seem like very important work. But after she asked for a hug and told me that she loved me after one visit, I realized that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.

This experience prepared me for my first internship as an editorial intern for Cosmopolitanand Seventeen magazines because in a lot of ways, an internship is a similar to a CBL experience. Since you’re not in a concrete position, you’re basically required to show up and do whatever needs to be done, pitching in any way you can. You’re also not usually doing the “important” work. While this can feel disappointing to some, when I began to think of it in relation to my CBL experiences, it didn’t bother me. I realized that the small, sometimes tedious tasks of interns are often necessary in order to keep the larger operations running. So in that sense, the work is actually is pretty important and meaningful, you just have to look at it in a new way.

I enjoyed my CBL experience so much that I decided to apply to be a CBL Intern during my sophomore year. If you’re unfamiliar, the position involves assisting the daily operations of the Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning and deepening one’s understanding of community engagement. The application process requires a resume, a detailed application, and an interview. Considering I was still a first-year when I applied, this was my first real experience with applying and interviewing for an internship position, so the process served as a great learning opportunity for me.

After being accepted, the CBL Intern program also greatly prepared me for my first internship in the real world. As a CBL Intern, I learned how to interact professionally with supervisors, collaborate with team members, and assist in day-to-day operations of an office. It served as a great stepping stone before venturing into an internship position that was unaffiliated with Holy Cross. Without my CBL office experiences, I definitely wouldn’t have been as confident in my abilities to successfully contribute to a working team.

All of this is to say: take advantage of leadership and community engagement opportunities at Holy Cross whenever possible. They are a great low-stakes way to test the waters and get some experience in the outside world while still having the support of the Holy Cross community when you need it.

Kara Cuzzone ’19 is a senior Anthropology major. Read more of her work at

Read This When Things Don’t Go As You Planned


By Kara Cuzzone ’19

In typical Holy Cross student fashion, I am a planner. But I haven’t always been this way. In fact, when I first arrived on The Hill, I hadn’t given much thought to what my four years here were going to look like. At all. Chalk it up to denial about having to leave home, or anxiety about the future, but I didn’t allot much time to daydreaming about my college days before I found myself right in the middle of them.

Then, I had my first anxiety attack. It turns out that thinking of the next four years as some sort of uncertain void isn’t exactly a great strategy. So I became a planner. My first big plan was that I would go abroad during my junior year. Italy, I decided, for no particularly strong reason. I’m part Italian, and I was already enrolled in Italian 101, so it seemed like a rational choice. Plus, the pictures I had seen of the Amalfi Coast looked pretty incredible.

With my plan in place, I began taking the necessary steps to make it happen. I kept taking Italian courses, and when the time came, I applied to spend my junior year abroad at the University of Bologna. Then, during the fall of my sophomore year, an intriguing email appeared in my inbox. It was advertising an information session for the College’s New York City Semester Program. “I could see you there,” my friend Mattie mused as she read over my shoulder. “Really?” I asked. The thought had genuinely never crossed my mind, but suddenly the wheels began turning.

“I’ll just check out the info session,” I thought, “what’s the harm?” After learning more, I was hooked. The idea of living in New York City and getting a peek into the world of journalism got my heart racing (in the good way). I decided to apply, figuring that if I got into the program, then I would have a decision to make. Much to my excitement––with a tinge of dread––I got in.

Because the Study Abroad office typically doesn’t let students go to Bologna for only a semester, I had to make a difficult choice. Should I stick with my original plan and satisfy my wanderlust by spending my junior year in Italy? Or should I spend a semester in New York City and find an internship in women’s media? I agonized over the decision. I consulted anyone who would listen––my therapist, professors, even acquaintances who didn’t know the full story. And naturally, I got opinions that were pretty split down the middle.

Ultimately, I realized that it came down to either sticking with the plan that I had worked towards and accepted as fact for almost two years, or choosing something new and unexpected that lit me up. Spoiler alert: I went with the latter. I sent an email to Study Abroad explaining that after some careful thought, I would not be spending my junior year in Bologna, and excitedly accepted a spot in the New York Semester Program.

The experience (and agonizing decision process) taught me something important. You can only make a plan that’s best for you at that very moment based on the options in front of you. And that might change in a day, or a month, or in my case, almost two years. That’s okay. Plans are great, but they aren’t everything. And you certainly shouldn’t do something just because it’s “the plan” if it doesn’t feel right. Now, almost two years later, I’ve never once regretted my choice to let go of what I thought I wanted in favor of what I felt called to.

Kara Cuzzone ’19 is a senior Anthropology major. Read more of her work at

Ahearn ’20 Reflects on D.C. Experience

Caroline Ahearn ’20

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Caroline Ahearn ’20, who was an intern in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) office as part of the Fall 2018 Washington Semester Program. Applications for the 2019-2020 Washington Semester Program are due February 11. Learn more at the program webpage, and apply via the Student Programs Application Portal.

I have never been on a movie set, but I imagine it feels a little bit like my commute to work every day during my semester in Washington, D.C. There’s something just a little bit surreal about the historic buildings and monuments in D.C. and the way they juxtapose from the modern architecture of the rest of the city.

Every day I would walk down First Street from Union Station to the Hart Senate Office Building, with the hordes of other federal government employees off to their jobs in the House, Senate, the Supreme Court, or one of the many non-governmental organizations with a Capitol Hill office. Any person I walked beside could have decided or aided legislation that impacted the entire country, even the entire world. Or they could have helped make decisions that completely changed one person’s life for the better, from a Syrian refugee to a farmer in the Midwest. Difference makers throughout our country’s history have walked down the same corridors that I walked every day, whether that corridor led all the way to the Senate floor, or simply the coffeeshop.

This striking feeling of living history stuck with me as I toured the Lincoln Memorial on the opposite side of the mall. It weighed heavy as I had the opportunity to tour the White House gardens. I walked the same paths past the Rose Garden and the Oval Office that 44 of the country’s 45 Presidents, that First Ladies, Chiefs of Staff, and more aides than I could ever imagine have walked. And here I was, one of many in a long history of people who came to Washington to try to make a difference.

It could be easy to feel small amid all of the history and the impact of Washington, D.C., under the dome of the Capitol Building or on the underground train between the Senate buildings, just a car over from a Senator and his team of aides. Every person I came into contact with in my time in D.C., however, from my boss, Senator Elizabeth Warren, to my fellow interns, came to D.C. because they want to work towards a goal they believe in. Every day I was surrounded by elected officials and staffers with multiple degrees and a vast knowledge of public policy. I am a 21-year-old undergraduate college student who served in a 3-month long internship position. This was not a reason, however, to feel discouraged, or small, or unimportant. I, the eight other interns in Senator Warren’s office, and the 15 other Holy Cross students I traveled to DC with are part of the long tradition of the city. We are here to learn, to make any difference we can make in our 14 weeks of the Washington Semester Program, and to take what we learn with us as we continue in our studies and enter the working world.

D.C. is better than a movie set, because every day you work there, you’re contributing to what you believe in, and you’re making a real difference in the world.

Lozy ’20 Recounts Viacom Experience in New York Semester

By Olivia Lozy ’20

As a psychology, sociology, and anthropology geek, I’ve always been fascinated by culture. The behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that define us are topics that I truly never want to stop learning about. I always felt that media was the most representative artifact of the culture from which it arises. I was able to manifest this obsession with culture and media through an internship experience this past semester at Viacom in NYC, thanks to Holy Cross’ New York Semester Program. 

Although it’s in the midst of transitioning into its very own brand, Viacom is most commonly known as the holding company for television networks like Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, and VH1, to name just a few. In my very first interview, I described my passion for the ways in which culture and media feed each other; media creates culture, and culture creates media. In this way, I was able to integrate my studies and academic passions into a full-time internship. It would be an understatement to say it was ‘cool’ to work there. Underneath all of the celebrity sightings, career workshops and book signings, there was no shortage of work to be done. At Viacom, I served on the Digital team at one of their internal creative agencies, Viacom Catalyst. There, I helped curate social content, develop several websites (check out – I helped tune up the backend!) and conduct tech and innovation research. I was able to dive head first into the media industry, and meet and interact with so many leaders who had so much knowledge and experience in their fields. Interning at Viacom both nurtured and fine-tuned my understanding of culture and media, professional experience, and career aspirations. 

My internship at Viacom was incredible, and gave me the necessary tools to continue on the path of infinite learning. I hope to be involved with Viacom in the future, and I will forever cherish the experience it gave me. If you’re at all considering participating in the New York Semester, I can promise that you won’t be disappointed with what this program has to offer. You’ll gain invaluable internship experience, an irreplaceable bond with classmates, independence, and (truly) survival skills that you need to have in order to be a full time employee in New York City. It’s truly the most amazing place.

If you’re interested in my internship at Viacom or the New York Semester Program, don’t hesitate to contact me. From immersive experience in my industry of choice to networking with alumni to experiencing NYC with great people, it’s a program that will allow you to continue to grow and flourish.