Taylor ’22 Featured in Local Newspaper for AIP Internship

Emily Taylor
Emily Taylor ’22

By Isabelle Jenkins ’10, Associate Director, Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning

Through Holy Cross’ Academic Internship Program, CBL Intern, Emily Taylor ’22 has been interning with the National Museum of Mental Health Project (NMMHP). The NMMHP is a non-profit organization and a “museum without walls” that researches and creates exhibitions in order to work to transform society’s attitudes about and understanding of mental health. Emily is a communications intern for the organization, and has worked on various projects this semester to amplify NMMHP’s work. Emily’s local newspaper, The Hopkinton Independent recently interviewed Emily on her work with NMMHP. In the interview with Editor Jerry Spar, Emily shared about her passion for mental health work, the impact of NMMHP, and how her experiential learning experience has helped to inform her professional goals. About why she wanted to get involved with NMMHP, Emily said, “I’m really interested in mental health and mental health advocacy…. I want to be a therapist when I’m older. So I thought it would be great to look at mental health from a side that I hadn’t considered before, because everything I’ve been doing in school so far has been lecture-based, science-focused, learning about that aspect of psychology and mental health. But then when I saw there was an art connection that I could explore and have that exposure as well, I thought that would be really cool, so I wanted to get involved.”

Holy Cross and NMMHP first collaborated through the 2020 Non-Profit Careers Conference. NMMHP applied to the NPCC to seek assistance from a group of students on generating ideas for funding and writing language for potential future grant proposals (the student team included, Jany Gonzalez ’22, Kat Hauver ’22, Caroline McKinley ’21, and Nathaniel Trotman ’22). One of the team’s recommendations in their final presentation to NMMHP was to hire a graduate assistant or undergraduate intern to help with the workload. NMMHP did just that, recruiting Emily as their first communications intern!

When “The Breakdown” Broke Down: Hip-Hop with the Woo Crew Goes Virtual – Prof. Megan Ross

By Megan Ross ’11, Visiting Lecturer, Music Department

Editor’s Note: The below post was originally featured on the Dolenan Office of Community-Based Learning Blog on April 28, 2020. You can find the original post at https://communitybasedlearning.me.holycross.edu/2020/04/28/when-the-breakdown-broke-down-hip-hop-with-the-woo-crew-goes-virtual-prof-megan-ross/.

The Hip-Hop Community in Worcester is legit; there are graffiti artists who paint downtown, MC and DJs who hail from the area and work with members of the Wu Tang Clan, and b-boys and b-girls who teach their craft to local youth after school. Learning about hip-hop, a continually evolving global phenomenon from the Bronx, NY c. 1970, requires one to engage with the here and now. When I arrived back to Worcester as an alum and a Visiting Lecturer in Music this fall, I knew I wanted my hip-hop class to be “in the community.” After many months of planning with the Donelan Office, applying for grants, and meeting with members of the local government and school district, “The Breakdown: Hip-Hop With the Woo Crew” was created—a 2-day long event with hands on learning through a graffiti mural project at North High School led by a local artist (Lamour Supreme) and a public forum on the significance of hip-hop in Worcester with members of the college community (Francis Lubega ’20), local government (Che Anderson ’11) and hip-hop scene (7L and Esoteric).

Leading up to the event, which was to take place April 16-17, my students were involved in a series of activities to help them learn more about the local community and prepare for the event. These activities included a tour of Pow! Wow! Worcester public art and group interview projects with local hip-hop artists. We were well underway with advertisements and curriculum designed to help students at North High School prepare for the event when Covid-19 shut down the college and all CBL activities. Needless to say, my students and I were deeply disappointed that our event would be cancelled.

During the week that faculty had to plan for their classes to go online, I was concerned with how to create community in a virtual way that would offer similar benefits to the students and the community at large. I decided to design a website showcasing the members of the “Woo Crew” alongside a student-run blog. Discussions ranged from the impact of Covid-19 on the Hip-Hop community, to reflections on their role as Ethnomusicologists learning more about the local community through their artist interviews. These last few weeks have been filled with discussions, presentations, and personal work related to the website. In lieu of the hands-on learning programed into our CBL event, students were asked to either conduct an interview with a classmate on their relationship with hip-hop or work on a music or art project. The results were astonishing; projects ranged from talk shows with special guest HC student and rapper Jonathan Abrahams (“Don Jon”) to hip-hop inspired beats, mixes, and fashion. We plan to make the website public on the last day of class and hope that it will serve as a platform for members of the community at large to discuss the significance of hip-hop in Worcester. The bonds made between members of the Woo Crew will hopefully build in the coming months, as well as next spring when I hope to revamp this project with my Montserrat class. Although “The Breakdown” broke down, Covid-19 did not stop our foray into community-based learning.


“Abruptly Saying Goodbye” – Kathryn Hauver ’22

Editor’s Note: The below post was originally featured on the Dolenan Office of Community-Based Learning Blog on April 6, 2020. You can find the original post at https://communitybasedlearning.me.holycross.edu/2020/04/06/abruptly-saying-goodbye-kathryn-hauver-22/.

By Kathryn Hauver ’22

The last few days we had on campus were filled with abrupt goodbyes, a range of  emotions, and the harsh reality that we would all have to leave Holy Cross. CBL students were informed of the cancellations, and suddenly, something that was once so integral to our learning was gone. For my CBL, I volunteer at Rose Monahan Hospice Home on Friday afternoons. During my visit on February 28th, I informed the staff that the next week I would not be in for my shift because of spring break. The nurse told me that the resident I had been meeting with may not still be there when I returned, so I should say goodbye. That day, my resident and I had a lovely time together watching cooking shows. At the end of the visit, I expressed my gratitude for the time we had shared, and her smile warmed my heart. I took a long time saying  goodbye, as I knew it would most likely be the last time I saw her. When I was leaving my shift that day, I said my normal goodbyes to the healthcare team, not thinking much of it.

Fast forward to our first week back from spring break. A new panic about COVID-19 permeated campus as everyone eagerly awaited the email regarding Holy Cross’ plan. When I read the email about CBL cancellations, I was very shaken up. I was concerned for Rose Monahan because the home operates by relying on volunteers, and it is a high risk community of COVID-19 infection. At that moment, I was very thankful I was able to say goodbye to my resident, and hoped that other residents would also be able to spend their final moments with their loved ones. I also felt guilty because I didn’t give the Rose Monahan staff a proper goodbye, for I didn’t know my last visit would be my last visit.

I reflected on how I could still express my appreciation for the home and say a more heartfelt goodbye without actually visiting. I decided to make cards for all the residents and send a letter to the staff thanking them for all of their hard work. While it was not how I would have chosen to say goodbye, it was still a way to communicate with my community partner. In terms of saying goodbye in this new environment, I  would recommend reaching out to your community partner and spreading some words of support. Kind words can go a long way in times of crisis and may offer the reassurance they need.

Moot Court Performs Well at National Championship

Members of Holy Cross Moot Court team
From L to R: Renu Mukherjee ’19, assistant coach Neil Petersen ’04, Ryan Parslow ’19, coach John O’Donnell ’04

The Holy Cross Moot Court team performed well on the national stage earlier this year, earning several honors while competing in the American Moot Court National Championship Team in January at the Florida A&M University College of Law.

Moot court competitions feature students arguing for and against positions on certain legal issues. This year’s national tournament included cases on affirmative action, freedom of speech, and academic freedom.  Teams, composed of two students each, will then argue for each side in different rounds. They also field questions from judges which can expose weaknesses in or limits to their arguments.

The Holy Cross senior team of Ryan Parslow and Renu Mukherjee finished fifth at the competition, placing them in the top one-percent of teams in the nation. Sophomores Willem McGee and Natalie DeCoste also performed well, finishing seventeenth and earning a spot among the top five-percent of national teams. In addition, the other Holy Cross teams boosted the College’s collective rank with strong performances.

“Having top ranks in moot court is satisfying because our students deserve to be recognized for their skill, effort, and dedication,” said coach John O’Donnell ’04. “Watching these students engage with a problem, struggle with it, and agonize with it instills an unspeakable sense of pride.”

Mukherjee ’19, has been a member of moot court since her freshmen year, and it has led her to discover interests in constitutional law and political philosophy. Mukherjee, a Political Science major, is now looking to earn a master’s degree in Political Philosophy, as well as attend law school.

“Competing in the tournament felt surreal, as it does every time I get up to argue for Moot,” said Mukherjee. “Ryan and I put in a lot of hours of work this year, and while we felt prepared, we never expected to make it as far as we did.”

Parslow ’19 discussed how Moot Court has helped him develop critical skills to a future career in law such as critically analyzing information, writing clearly, and feeling more comfortable with oral presentations.

“Moot Court has impacted my academic experience and professional goals tremendously,” said Parslow. “I wanted to be a lawyer before entering Holy Cross, and Moot Court affirmed my desire to do so because of the ability to represent a client and formulate an argument on their behalf.

McGee ’21 and DeCoste ’21, both Political Science majors, each described how much Moot Court has played a role in their Holy Cross experiences. They are considering applying to law school after graduation.

“Joining Moot has defined so much of my experience here on the Hill, even in just my first two years,” said McGee. “Moot has exposed me to a group of passionate and talented individuals who have become some of my closest friends and mentors. Moot has bolstered my personal, academic, and professional development by immersing me in this challenging environment and constantly pushing me to grow.”

“Being surrounded by some of the brightest minds Holy Cross has to offer has pushed me to work harder and excel both in Moot and in my other classes,” said Decoste. “Being able to benefit from experiential learning has reaffirmed my desire to practice law, if not made that desire stronger.”

Corey ’18 Reflects on Impact of Ignite Fund Experience

Student stands in middle of busy European market

This reflection piece was written by Patricia Corey ’18, currently a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Latvia. She received an Ignite Fund grant in 2018 to travel to Russia as part of a research project titled, “The Moscow Metro System and its Hidden Figures.” Learn more about the Ignite Fund and apply before the April 12 deadline! Read more about Patty’s experience in the Fulbright program in this recent blog post at ProFellow!

In the summer of 2018, I received an international travel grant through the Ignite Fund to pursue my research project entitled, “The Moscow Metro System and its Hidden Figures” by flying to Moscow, Russia for two weeks. It was essential to go to Moscow to analyze and photograph twenty-five metro stations that have been created recently under the Putin administration. Since the Ignite Fund funded all of my travel expenses, I not only was able to photograph these beautifully artistic and unique stations, I also had the opportunity to stay with a Russian host mother yet again, mirroring my semester and Maymester abroad. Now that I am six months into my Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant in Liepāja, Latvia, my short time abroad this past summer with the help of the Ignite Fund proves helpful to both my Russian and Latvian language development and communication skills with various people.

Since I stayed with a Russian host mother in June, I was able to brush up my Russian skills before moving to Latvia. Even though it is not essential to know Russian in Latvia to communicate, I felt that the fact that I know Russian well gives me an advantage. Firstly, I am able to learn Latvian easier since Russian and Latvian grammar systems are similar. Secondly, I am able to communicate with Russian-speaking wait staff or colleagues without a translator. For example, just the other week I used my Russian exclusively at Grobiņa High School (11 km outside Liepāja) to communicate with the lead principal of the school. Without my developed Russian language skills, we would have needed a translator, most likely a student, to assist us. To me, speaking Russian in Liepāja seems like a survival language that I only use when either Latvian or English will not suffice. However, in these moments of communicating in sometimes stressful and professional situations, I am thankful for the opportunity to have been able to continue my Russian language skills even after graduation with the help of the Ignite Fund.

Additionally, since my research project combined political, historical, and artistic elements, I have been able to use my metro photographs as inspiration for lesson plans to help me teach English in an interesting, adventurous, and creative way. My project inspired me to always use art as a medium to spark new ideas and imagination, which has led me to also use Latvian, Russian, and French art depicting landscape scenes to help students create their own stories in English. In conclusion, the Ignite Fund’s generosity has helped me complete my research, further my Russian language and Latvian skills, and as given me creative ideas for lessons as a teacher in the U.S. Fulbright Program. This experience has prepared me, in part to communicate and teach well here in Liepāja, Latvia.

Spending a Semester at Gallaudet

The below post is a reflection by Juliana Holcomb ’19, who studies Psychology and American Sign Language/Deaf Studies. She studied at Gallaudet University in Spring 2018 through the Semester Away program.

The College of the Holy Cross has provided me with countless opportunities to engage in the two-fold goal of Jesuit higher education: excellence in scholarship and service to others in order to improve society. However, the most impactful experience I have had was my semester at Gallaudet University. Studying at Gallaudet allowed me to become an effective ally to the Deaf community: to learn more about how stigma, discrimination, and prejudice affect this community and embrace the history of American Deaf culture by being fully immersed within it. My semester at Gallaudet University has encouraged me to wholly participate in the Jesuit ideal of not only being a “woman for others” but also “a woman with others” while learning many valuable life lessons along the way.

As I first entered Gallaudet University on a frigid January evening, I knew had stepped into a society vastly different than the one I was accustomed to at Holy Cross. From its architecture to cyclical seating in the classrooms and light-up doorbells, Gallaudet is the only university in the world created barrier-free for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students. When I say “Deaf”, with a capital “D”, I am referring to Deaf individuals who identify as part of the Deaf community: a cultural and linguistic minority group.  This group is tightknit, supportive, and community-oriented even in the face of discrimination and prejudice that they experience in numerous different settings due to the social perception of their deafness.  As a double Psychology and American Sign Language (ASL)/Deaf Studies major, I was immediately drawn to the semester away program at Gallaudet in order to become a better ally to the Deaf community now as well as in my future career. At this institution, Deafness is not defined as a medical condition or something that requires “repair.” Rather, Deafness represents a rich cultural history that started within the United States in 1816, includes the full-time usage of ASL, and encompasses the shared experiences of being Deaf in a predominantly hearing world.  In this environment, I am an outsider and have often felt this label. However, in order to be “a woman for and with others”, it is critical that I identify my privilege, as a hearing person, while fully respecting others whose lived experiences differ from mine.

Although my experience at Gallaudet was one of my most memorable, I would be lying if I said that the transition to Gallaudet was easy.  Arriving at a campus that I knew I did not fit into was a challenge. As I watched my parents drive away, I had tears welling up in my eyes and could not help but think to myself: “what am I doing here?”  After gathering my textbooks and organizing my new dorm room, I decided I would venture to the dining hall for dinner.  Walking into this new environment, I was slightly overwhelmed by the large number of people, the noise level (which was surprisingly loud for a Deaf university), and my immediate realization that there were few empty seats.  My eyes darted left to right and back, looking for an empty table.  I found one hidden in the far back corner and quickly dropped my books, made a salad, and started to walk back towards the table.  I became confused because this isolated table I intentionally placed my belongings on was now filled with other students’ backpacks, books, and laptops. Slightly concerned but optimistic, I sat down and started to eat.  A few minutes later, a large friend group sat at the table and engulfed me on either side. I smiled at them, hoping it would indicate that I was friendly, but my attempt at engaging seemed to be ignored. The group started to have an exciting conversation around me, and in that moment, I truly felt invisible.  I was trying to keep up with what they were saying, but I can honestly say I could not follow the conversation in the slightest – their signing was the fastest I had ever witnessed!  In this moment, I had a glimpse into the life of a Deaf person in the hearing world.  I began to understand how isolating inaccessible conversations were.  In the Deaf community, there is a commonly used term called “dinner table syndrome.”  This phrase is used to describe a familial setting, often around the dinner table, in which hearing family members are talking, sharing information, telling jokes, and enjoying each other’s company, solely through a spoken language with little to no attempt of using sign language.  The Deaf family member sits at the table tries to keep up with often little to no avail (MT & Associates, 2018).  As this is a common theme in the Deaf community, I had learned about it multiple times and understood that it was a significant issue for Deaf individuals.  However, until I felt just a small portion of that isolation and exclusion, I realized I had not truly understood why Deaf people were so hurt by it.  Although my experience at Gallaudet is not the same as a Deaf person who is constantly interacting with the hearing world, a small glimpse into this experience multiplied my empathy and support for members of this community, especially those who feel like they do not belong in the hearing world.

In addition to a deeper sense of empathy, I acquired a significant amount of humility throughout my experience at Gallaudet.  When socially situated in a position of power, it is easy to become accustomed to that level of influence and privilege in daily life.  My identity as a hearing, Caucasian, and female college student carries a significant amount of privilege that many others do not share.  I did not realize that the confidence I had in the classroom and in social settings stemmed, in part, from systemic features of my educational background as a hearing individual.  This was seen poignantly throughout my first few days of classes at Gallaudet.  My first course was entitled “Dynamics of Oppression.”  In this course, we analyzed large areas of prejudice and analyzed its intersectionality with audism and ableism.  I remember walking to class thirty minutes early, getting a seat, taking out a notebook (before I realized notebooks are not commonly used at Gallaudet – it is more important to watch the professor signing), and waiting patiently for class to start.  My professor, a lively Deaf man, excitedly asked us to introduce ourselves with our name, class year, and reason for taking this course.  I knew I could sign the first two sections of this request; however, the last part?  That could get a little tricky.  Especially since ASL has a different grammatical structure that English, I was still struggling with making clean translations from one to another.  When it got to my turn, I said, “Hello! My name is Juliana.  I am a visiting student.”  Before I could even attempt the last part of my introduction, the professor interrupted and said “are you hearing?”  Due to my mediocre signing, I shyly signed back “yes.”  He erupted with laughter and signed back, “IS THIS YOUR FIRST CLASS? GOD BLESS YOU!  YOU NEED LUCK AND GOD.”  Confused, I laughed and hoped he was being dramatic.  I truly wanted to learn as much as possible from my courses and immerse myself in this community.  Other than my awkward introduction, my first class went decently well.  I understood approximately 70-75% of the signing and knew I had a lot of improving to do but felt hopeful.

However, my second class of the day was a mixed undergraduate and graduate course. “Sign Language Rights and Advocacy” seemed fascinating, and I was excited to learn about the promotion of sign languages on a national and international scale in addition to the multiple settings in which it is advocated.  I walked into the classroom, sat down, and read over the syllabus until the class started.  My professor explained that she would go over the syllabus shortly, but first, we were going to do an activity.  She asked us to break into groups of three or four and then described the directions for the game.  I wish I could write about what those were; unfortunately, I understood next to nothing. All I could figure out was that there was a pen involved (because she was pointing at the pen repeatedly), and group members had to come up to the front of the room and do something with the pen.  My stomach sunk as I desperately watched my group members chat, trying to understand what was going on.  Then, a kind student turned to me with a smile and said: “So, what do you think?” Truthfully, I was thinking that I had no idea how I was going to spend a semester at this school and how I would acquire ASL quick enough to fit in.  I thought about the safety and comfort I had acquired at Holy Cross and how much I was missing it.  I was also reminiscing on my “past” identity as a student in which I participated regularly in class, went to office hours weekly, and actively engaged with the class material.  That student seemed to be a distant memory as I sat in this classroom, unable to even respond to a simple question.  My response to my partner translates to something like this: “Pen.  We must go get.  Who has power to get the pen?”  Pushing aside their quizzical looks, my partners began to explain the objective to me. Then, they asked about my experience so far and told me about the great things they were able to accomplish at Gallaudet.  In that moment, I realized that this community, although small and tightknit, was caring and accepting of hearing individuals who tried to learn ASL, strived to become an ally for their rights, and followed behindthem in their pursuit for justice.  Although faced with prejudice, discrimination, and even hate, this beautiful, cultural community was made up of so many fantastic people that taught me about perseverance in the face of adversity, the importance of collectivism, and humility.  Throughout my time at Gallaudet, I had many humbling experiences which allowed me to realize that many of the opportunities I was given were, in large part, resultant of specific types of privilege in my life.  Thus, this experience not only allowed me to immerse myself into a different culture but also provided me with a new worldview and prompted me to be a “woman with others.”

Throughout the past three and a half years, Holy Cross has provided me with the opportunity to pursue both Psychology and ASL/Deaf Studies majors. As a result, I have become deeply passionate about mental health advocacy and treatment, especially in the Deaf community.  My experience at Gallaudet allowed me to work in a psychological research lab, Dr. Poorna Kushalnagar’s “Deaf Health Communications and Quality of Life Lab”, which allowed me to investigate these topics further.  Although there is no correlation between audition and mental distress, Deaf individuals have shown elevated rates of mental illness in comparison to their hearing counterparts (Kvam, Loeb, & Tambs, 2007). Such mental health disparities arise from the lack of accessible mental health information, resources, and treatment coupled with the stigma this community faces. In other words, the increased mental health problems in the Deaf community are avoidable. Therefore, I decided that becoming a Clinical Psychologist for Deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults would utilize both of my academic passions in a way that would serve others. Through this career, I will strive to be an ally to the Deaf community by listening to and respecting their opinions, advocating for socially just policies, and reducing the deleterious stigma that affects many in this community. Through its in-depth courses and influential professors, Holy Cross has ignited a passion within me to not only provide mental health services to members of the Deaf community but to also stand with them in their efforts for accessibility, equal representation, and equity.

Although my experience at Gallaudet University was filled with challenges ranging from using ASL for every aspect of my day to being an outcast in social settings, it has provided me with the insight to connect classroom material to everyday life while further investigating social injustices within this cultural and linguistic minority group. My experiences at Gallaudet University have fueled my passion to continue on both my academic and personal journeys in order to more fully become a “woman for and with others.”


Dinner Table Syndrome and Deaf | MT&A Sign Language Interpreting. (2018, December 03). Retrieved from https://www.mtapractice.com/2016/12/02/dinner-table-syndrome-deaf/

Kvam, M. H., Loeb, M., & Tambs, K. (2007) Mental Health in Deaf Adults: Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression Among Hearing and Deaf Individuals, The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 12(1), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1093/deafed/enl015

Five Things I’ve Learned From Experiential Learning

Kara Cuzzone on a New York City street
Kara Cuzzone ’19

By Kara Cuzzone ’19

Between three community-based learning (CBL) sites and two internships, I’ve had my fair share of experiential learning opportunities during my time at Holy Cross. It’s ironic because when I started college, it wasn’t even on my radar. Sure, I had chosen a Montserrat course with a CBL component, but that was more about wanting to pursue a service opportunity, not an interest in learning outside of the classroom. Considering I’m writing this blog post, it’s safe to say that I’ve come a long way. That’s why I thought I would share some nuggets of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way. Below, find the five things I’ve learned from experiential learning.

You’ll Never Feel Fully Prepared, Go for It Anyway

This is one factor that scares students (and even professors). Because classroom environments can be planned and structured, they are a lot more predictable than an experiential learning environment. As a result, you probably won’t feel totally ready before your first day, or even your first month, at you CBL site or internship position. That’s okay. In fact, these are often the experiences where deep learning occurs because lessons aren’t rigidly planned, so there’s room for discovery.

Be Open to What You Can Receive in CBL, Not Just What You Can Give

If you had told me in the beginning that I’d still be visiting my CBL site, St. Mary’s Healthcare Center, I don’t think I’d believe you. After all, I wanted to do something, not just sit and talk with my resident. I doubted that I was even making an impact there. Then, I started to just show up and be present. Almost immediately, the experience changed. I realized that not only was I forming a relationship with my resident, but she was having a profound impact on me. I always left our visits with a new perspective on life and a smile on my face. There is always something to be gained when engaging with those who are different from us, you just have to be open to seeing it.

Not Everything Can be Learned in the Classroom

It’s just true. You can read, study, and analyze a subject all you want, but until you get out and engage with it, you won’t get the full picture. I noticed this particularly through the Education Department’s Student Mental Health seminar I took this fall. In part of the course, we learned about trauma-informed teaching practices, and how to implement them to create a safe, welcoming environment for all students. That said, I didn’t fully grasp the importance of these practices until I witnessed them firsthand through a site visit at Woodland Academy. It took the conceptual and made it real.

Take Advantage of the Holy Cross Network

I know you’ve heard this one before, but I mean it. The New York Semester Program opened my eyes to how not only willing, but genuinely excited Holy Cross alumni are to mentor current students. Almost every week during the program, we attended a lunch or dinner colloquium where we heard from an alum about their career path and their current role. Through one of these colloquia meetings, I met an alumna who has provided me with invaluable advice and even helped me secure a summer internship.

Make Time to Reflect on Your Experiences

During my Montserrat course, we were required to write weekly reflections about our CBL experiences, and while I don’t do it weekly anymore, this is still a practice that I come back to. Experiential learning in itself is great, but sometimes I don’t even realize the lessons I’ve learned, or revelations I’ve had, until I sit down and write about them. By taking time to slow down and unpack what you’ve experienced, you’ll be able to gain new insights that you might’ve missed along the way.

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


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 thelala.com, 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 byrdie.com, 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 karacuzzone.com

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 karacuzzone.com

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 karacuzzone.com