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 catalyst.viacom.com – 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.

Alvarez ’20 Reaches the Big Leagues in NY Semester

This post was written by Manny Alvarez ’20, who was part of the Fall 2018 New York Semester cohort.

Since a very young age, my dream was to make it to the show: Major League Baseball. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, baseball was in my blood. It was my culture. Sadly, I was not able to achieve this dream, but little did I know that MLB was in my future. After being in New York City a few weeks into the program, I was invited to have an interview at Major League Baseball Headquarters in Manhattan. Still to this day, I can feel the huge smile on my face from cheek to cheek. It was amazing to walk into a building with so much memorabilia and history, and this was a dream I did not want to wake up from. At the door, I was greeted by a familiar face and a fellow Dominican, Nelson Tejada, who little did I know became my role model. In just a few days, I got a call back that changed my life. I was interning for MLB’s Department of Investigations.

MLB Investigations is made up of essentially private detectives for the specific purpose of policing the league. We conduct internal investigations of baseball personal such as players, staffs, teams, umpires and anyone involved with MLB to make sure that all rules are being followed and that the game is played fairly. As an intern, I was able to help out with many investigations by supporting confidential background investigations, writing interview reports, and monitoring player activities.

My experience at MLB was amazing, and I am so grateful to have worked with the Investigation crew. I was surrounded by baseball 24/7, great people, and the greatest plus of them all, it was the year that the Red Sox won the World Series! Everyone was friendly and received me with open arms. I was comfortable and felt like I belonged from the start. I will greatly miss working at MLB and living in NYC, but it is only an “until later” and not a goodbye! MLB was not the only highlight of the NYC Semester! What I loved the most of the Semester away from the Hill was the family that was created between the 2018 NYC semester gang created. From our funny moments to our astonishing adventures, the semester would not have been the same.

Favreau ’03 Highlights Washington Semester Program

High school seniors across the country are receiving early decision letters from colleges, some of which contain good news and some of which do not. Jon Favreau ’03, former Director of Speechwriting for President Barack Obama and a Washington Semester Program alumnus, shared in a tweet how rejection from Ivy League schools ultimately worked out in his favor.

The Washington Semester Program is a highly competitive, semester-long program offered in Washington, D.C., through Holy Cross. The program welcomes students from all disciplines to connect their academic learning with direct, professional experience in their major fields, providing them with dynamic opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth and development. Through the Washington Semester Program students have the opportunity to work with national leaders, engage in independent research, and live in the stimulating environment of Washington, D.C.

Wells ’20 Discusses Volunteering in D.C.

The below post is by Delaney Wells ’20, a member of the Fall 2018 Washington Semester Program cohort. Please note that some names in the below post have been changed to protect privacy.

I have been able to complement my internship at the Department of Justice in the Disability Rights Section with time at the 6th Street L’Arche home in Arlington, VA where I shared life with the four incredible core members and assistants one to two days per week. From Friday night talent shows to tending the flourishing rosemary in the garden and everything in between, I have seen, felt, and heard love in a way I never thought was possible; there is a magic in L’Arche excuded through hard work and extreme dedication by core members and assistants alike.

Perhaps the most salient lesson I have gleaned through L’Arche is the profound notion of a mutually transformative relationship. This bond that L’Arche boasts is formed through sharing time and life with core members, and can only be experienced by means of a first-hand encounter. I have learned patience, unrelenting kindness, and unmerited grace in each conversation, hug, and quiet moment with core members. Holding John’s hand as he silently cries and prays for his impending surgery in January has granted me the chance to be a witness to genuine empathy. Listening to Laura sing herself to sleep as she got ready for bed provided a feeling of pure joy I cannot express in words. Listening to Patrick’s cope with the recent death of his father has shown the individual nature of grief and the need for dependence on others when healing and processing devastating loss. Hearing him reassure himself under his breath that, “even though I am sad, I will be okay” is an example of bravery through vulnerability I will carry with me forever.

L’Arche’s mission is both necessary and essential in a broken world. L’Arche provides holistic care and compassion through transformative relationships with a foundation in love, the most genuine love, to foster communities that can create greater societal change by being with people on the margins. These are places where vulnerability is recognized and we witness lessons from the broken and marginalized about love, humanity, and the way we should stand withone another. God comes to be with the poor through Disability Theology and ultimately transforms brokenness into gentle humanness. Within L’Arche, liberation comes when people begin to let go of their individuality and independence and recognize the strength that comes from “gentleness, mutuality, weakness, vulnerability, and brokenness”. In this way, those who accompany and share life in L’Arche find themselves as they learn who they are withothers.

These lessons have defined the walls of L’Arche and have shaped who I am and how I value and understand how to be human. I have learned to pour love and empathy into all relationships and now understand partnership among people as the importance of treating one another; all of these lessons only can be gleaned through L’Arche. Without sharing life, my Washington Semester would have felt incomplete. Experiencing L’Arche and the Department of Justice together allowed for discernment of my vocation and recognition of my personal and professional aspirations; creating a place where they can come together to exemplify the Jesuit motto of being “for and with others”.

Holy Cross Students Secure Nine Awards at Mediation Tourney

The Holy Cross Mediation Team took full advantage of hosting its first invitational academic mediation competition, winning an impressive nine awards during the October 5-6 competition. The College of the Holy Cross, in partnership with the International Academy of Dispute Resolution (INADR), hosted a tournament that was viewed as a success by all.

“As student tournament director, I am delighted to report that Holy Cross’s inaugural invitational operated smoothly and without issue,” said Brian Senier ’19, a member of the Mediation Team. “By all accounts, we acted as gracious hosts, and we were particularly proud to host students from across the country on Mount Saint James. Many students and coaches alike commented positively on things ranging from our beautiful, New England campus to our elegant receptions and hardworking Hogan Dining and J.D. Power Center staff.”

The award winners ranged from seasoned mediation veterans to newcomers, including Bridget Whelpley ’21. Whelpley, who won several individual and team awards, said of the tourney, “The team captains and coaches were so supportive and encouraging that I felt no pressure going into the tournament. It was great that the Holy Cross teams did well and represented the school at our tournament.”

The Mediation Team was founded in 2014 by Ed McDermott ’79, Distinguished Visiting Lecturer as well as Mock Trial coach. McDermott, who serves as Mediation Team coach, said that the team provides an opportunity for students to develop important skills that will serve them well even after graduation.

“The mediation tournaments seek to introduce students to a methodology for finding peaceful resolution,” said McDermott, “to train students in important communication and critical analytical skills; and to give the students the benefits of intercollegiate competition and camaraderie.  Mediation stands apart from other student advocacy competitions because of its focus on mutual respect and on upholding the dignity of one’s opponents, even in disagreement. Mediation offers students who are less combative by nature an option to compete outside of mock trial.”

The Holy Cross team will now move on to compete in the INADR National Undergraduate Championship, hosted at Drake Law School in Des, Moines, Iowa from November 16-17.

Holy Cross award winners from the Oct. 5-6 tourney are listed below:

  • 1st Place Mediation Team (Bridget Whelpley ‘21)
  • 3rd Place Mediation Team (Jessica Russo ’19)
  • 1st Place Individual Advocate/Client Pair (Jessica Russo ’19 and Brian Senier ’19)
  • 10th Place Individual Advocate/Client Pair (Brian Senier ’19 and Bridget Whelpley ’21)
  • 1st Place Individual Mediator (Bridget Whelpley ’21)
  • 5th Place Individual Mediator (Brian Senier ’19)
  • 6th Place Individual Mediator (Deep Bhattacharyya ’21)
  • 7th Place Individual Mediator (Jessica Russo ’19)

Two Students Share Their AIP Experiences

Learn more about the Academic Internship Program through two students’ experiences in the program! John Dube ’19 and Luca Szczepanik ’19 are both currently in AIP and shared their stories below. Make sure to finish your application by today if interested!

John Dube ’19

This semester, I have been interning for Wickstrom Morse, LLP, a local law firm which specializes in several legal areas including personal injury law and real estate transactions. Specifically, I have been interning for Attorney Timothy Wickstrom, a partner at the firm who focuses on complex litigation cases and is a Holy Cross alumnus. Attorney Wickstrom has given me opportunities beyond what I could have asked for as an undergraduate. He has allowed me to shadow him in meetings pertaining to his current cases, I have assisted in the discovery process for some of his ongoing cases, and he has given me the chance to draft memos and other documents needed in the discovery process for several of his cases. This first-hand experience has given me the chance to see what it is like to be an attorney, and it has solidified my desire to go to law school. I have developed a passion for the work that Attorney Wickstrom has given me, and I can see myself enjoying this work in a lifelong career after I graduate from Holy Cross.

A notable aspect of my internship is working with an alumnus of the College. Holy Cross prides itself in the vast network of alumni connections that are offered to students. I have been able to experience the value of having these alumni connections by working with Attorney Wickstrom. Attorney Wickstrom gives me projects which he knows will advance my knowledge in the skills needed to become a successful attorney. He takes the time to speak with me about the projects I work on, and we have often engaged in intellectual discussions regarding the role of law in society. Attorney Wickstom’s personal investment in my development as an aspiring attorney is a unique benefit I have received from working with a Holy Cross alumnus. It is also interesting to compare my Holy Cross experience with Attorney Wickstrom’s past experience as a student at the College. This provides us both with insights on how the College has changed and how that change has helped us grow into the people we are today.

For anyone thinking about doing the Academic Internship Program, I highly recommend it! It has been a perfect way for me to develop the skills I have learned in the classroom by applying them in a professional setting. I have found this internship to be so enjoyable and invaluable to my intellectual and academic development, that I have chosen to extend it into the spring semester. Participating in AIP has further enhanced my Holy Cross experience and has given me the confidence to enter the professional world after graduation.

Luca Szczepanik ’19

Looking back on the past three years of my time at Holy Cross, I am confident to say that the memories I have made during my internship were unforgettable. Before applying to the Academic Internship Program, I thought to myself what I wanted to gain in return for applying to this program. As a junior, I wanted to find a course which I could apply my academics to something meaningful in my life and be able to make memories that would stay with me after I graduate from Holy Cross. Just over two months into my time in the program, I have made many helpful connections with mentors that have been in my position during their undergraduate years, been able to apply my seminar discussions into my internship experiences, practiced working in my field of interest and helped to create positive environment for those who seek help from my internship mentor.

I personally have enjoyed all my classes here at Holy Cross, but I believe that the Academic Internship Program was a course where I could apply my Holy Cross education to a career path I’m interested in and be able to make a meaningful difference. For some students who are approaching their senior year, it may be stressful to figure out plans for post-graduation, but by being a part of the Academic Internship Program, students would gain more guidance and connections into career paths which they might want to apply for. Those students who are new at Holy Cross can take advantage of what the program offers by applying their Holy Cross education into their internship and make a meaningful difference. To the students who are looking to make an impact during their Holy Cross career, I would highly advise to take the time to apply to the Academic Internship Program because the memories and opportunities offered by this program can’t be wasted.

Mavrodieva ’19 Studies Ethnographic Approach to Russian Gender

Image by Valentina Katz

By Elisaveta Mavrodieva ’19

As I stepped into the bright summer air of Moscow, descending the airplane staircase into the Sheremetyevo Airport, I felt tears swell in my eyes. In part, it was because I was really happy to be done with the eleven-hour flight, but mostly I was ecstatic that I had stepped onto my birthland again– this time, however I was here for a purpose. After two days of flashing metro lights, an immersion into the endless waves of city life, and dipping my toe into the vast social complexities of the contemporary capital city through my participant observation, I took the train through the vast landscapes of fading greenery from Moscow to Volgograd. Again, I felt stirred seeing the Родина Мать, or the Motherland Calls statue appearing on the early morning horizon.

For my Weiss Summer Research Program project, I travelled to Volgograd, Russia and interviewed 32 women from different generations whose perceptions had been shaped by the historical time periods and changes that they lived through. 10 women were from my generation, 10 women were from my mother’s generation, and 10 from my grandmother’s. My initial question focused on gender equality, but the information I had gotten covered a plethora of other topics besides gender – my interviewees shared their beliefs, concerns and observations of the changes they have observed in Russia after the fall of the USSR.

The moment I arrived to my grandparent’s flat, I began scheduling interviews. I was lucky to have contacts with many people in Volgograd already, as my parents grew up in this city. Most women had been enthusiastic about sharing their stories. They wanted to be heard. My questions were few, but there was so much to be told. What was your childhood like? Have you felt Russia change over the past 30 years? Over the last 50 years? How does it feel to be a woman living in Russia? How do you imagine a feminine ideal? What is important to you? The stories began pouring in – stories of struggle, of loss, nostalgia, hope, and hopelessness. Many of the themes were similar – people loved Russia, and clung on to hope through the twists and turns of historical, economic and political changes. Happy childhoods, memories of the Great Patriotic War, hard work, reconstruction, growth, uncertainty, chaos, hope, improvement, decay. That is just a cluster or words. How should one compact all that they value, all that has happened – their entire lifetimes, in a two hour long interview? I was blessed to hear thirty-two of these incredible stories told by women of various age groups, social circles and perspectives. I was invited into many modest, but cozy and generous homes, offered delicious food, interesting advice and enthusiastic encouragement. I learned that it is important to bring to light points of view that challenge, inform and broaden the way we make sense of history and culture.

Now, with the kind and helpful guidance of my advisor, Professor Alvaro Jarrin, I am listening, translating, recording and making sense of the lifeworlds and habiti of these incredible women who allowed me a grateful glimpse into their lives. I am so grateful to College of the Holy Cross and the Weiss Summer Research Program for offering the opportunity to get a hold of this rich, and fascinating material – not only was I able to delve into a field of study I aspire dedicating my life to, I was also able to gather fascinating historical richness, complexity and nuance from the perspectives of remarkable Russian women.

Corey ’18 Studies Hidden Figures in Moscow Metro System

Image by Patty Corey

 By Patty Corey ’18

I went Moscow, Russia for two weeks through the Weiss Summer Research Program and the Ignite Fund to research the Moscow Metro system, specifically looking at the newest stops that have been recently built during the Putin administration. My inspiration for this project came from a brief discussion with the humanities program director, Dr. Anthony Cashman, as I told him that one of my first cultural immersion experiences when I studied abroad in Moscow for seven months my junior year, was learning how to use the Moscow metro system as well as learning new Russian phrases and literary and historical figures that are visually and aesthetically represented within the stations.

My research experience has been the most exciting, since I got to go Moscow for two weeks where I intensively studied 20 stations, a mix of old and new to start comparing and contrasting concepts, themes, and figures. When I was in Moscow, my typical day was getting up, having breakfast with my host mother, Alla, and going out for six hours and just riding the metro, stopping at the stations that I precisely researched but also allowing my creative imagination to go wild and to stop wherever I wanted to.

Likewise, my faculty advisor, Professor Amy Adams, encouraged me to treat the beginning stages of my research as an adventure, visiting the metro stations, taking pictures, and writing down my reactions and observations no matter what they are. Even similarity now, I am encouraged to research anything new and interesting that may help me to make conclusions, such as recalling how Alexander Pushkin, national symbol, poet, and icon, defines and redefines the narrative of “freedom” and “will” in his poetry and Russian culture.

Image by Patty Corey

My hope is that this research will help Americans understand certain aspects of Russian culture, but beyond this, I believe we can learn a lot from how Russia commiserates, celebrates, and condemns figures, events, and certain achievements when we look specifically at the metro system that contains several murals, stained glass windows, painted walls and ceilings, and statues of both perceived “positive” and “negative” figures.  In America, we recently have had issues in how we publicly display history and figures who have done terrible things.

Such questions can even affect communities like Holy Cross. The Moscow metro system, between older and newer stops, still continues to display Lenin and Stalin, but as well as famous literary geniuses such as Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, and Mayakovsky, and many sports and science achievements, all represented eclectically in one system. Thus, my project can inform and influence how Americans think about public and historical memories that may not have been our most glorious moments. However, my advice for anyone considering the Weiss Summer  Research Program is that choose a project that comes from a true and authentic place of curiosity and interest, because that is where unique projects are discovered, just like mine which came from a genuine place of amazement.

Over 100 Students Set to Conduct Summer Research at Holy Cross

Photograph Prof. Chris Arrell works with Zhiran Karen Xu ’19 on “Coding against the Wall of Silence: Coding Music for Charlie Chaplin’s Silent Film”

Most college students do not have the opportunity to search for ancient fossils in Arizona, to study the representation of Russian history, literature, and politics in the Moscow metro system, or to conduct intergovernmental analysis of urban development in Worcester. At the College of the Holy Cross, however, students will be working on these research projects and more through this year’s Weiss Summer Research Program.

A record number of 113 students- representing all class years and most academic fields- will be taking part in this year’s program, which starts on June 4th. The Weiss Program includes distinct divisions in the Natural Sciences (68 students participating); the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts (37 students); and Economics (8 students).

“Holy Cross’s extensive commitment to undergraduate summer research is unique among our peer institutions,” said Daniel Klinghard, Director of the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World, which oversees the Weiss Summer Research Program. He referenced the wide variety of majors represented, the number of students funded, the generosity of funding each student receives, and the time commitment of faculty.

Professor Dan Bitran, who directs the Natural Sciences division of the program as the College’s Science Coordinator, noted that the ability for undergraduate students to work directly with research faculty is a unique feature of the Weiss Program. He said, “Our students are engaged in meaningful original research that may lead to a presentation at a professional regional or national meeting. Some of our students have earned authorship in peer-reviewed journals.”

Summer research often takes students far from Worcester. This summer, two students will travel to Russia for their research, and two to Vietnam. Klinghard noted that past students, for instance, have traveled to unique destinations such as Indonesia, Tunisia, and Puerto Rico to conduct research.

Along with conducting original research, students take part in weekly workshops designed to introduce them to interesting methodological issues, and they are able to apply for funding to present their findings at conferences.

The Weiss Summer Research Program is a key part of the College’s commitment to providing a rich range of experiential learning opportunities to students, said Dean of Experiential Learning and Student Success Loren Cass. The Weiss Program, said Cass, “is a critical facet of our overarching goal of assuring that all Holy Cross students participate in at least one experiential learning opportunity, and hopefully several, during their time at Holy Cross.”

Cass also noted that the opportunity is available to all students, regardless of financial background. “The students are paid a stipend for their work and are provided with housing,” said Cass, “so that money is not a barrier to pursuing research.” Students are also eligible to apply for a range of funding opportunities to buy equipment and books, and travel.

To learn more about the program, please visit https://www.holycross.edu/academics/research/student-research/summer-research.

Helping Students Navigate the Publishing World

Megan Sawicki works on “Researching Latin American Art through RTTP” during Summer Research.

Holy Cross students have a lot to say about their research. From the College Honors Program to the Weiss Summer Research Program to advanced seminars, students are doing important research that contributes to bigger scholarly conversations. Many of them publish their ideas in journals, ensuring that their ideas have a reach beyond campus.

But the world of publishing can be mystifying. How do journals decide what to publish? Who participates in peer review? And what journals accept submissions from undergraduates?

To aid students in understanding the process of publication, the J.D. Power Center, in collaboration with CrossWorks—the Holy Cross Libraries’ publishing service—have launched a Student Publishing website. The site links to a number of journals that feature undergraduate research, as well as a range of journals published on campus. It also features a resource guide (created by Lisa Villa, the College’s Digital Scholarship Librarian) designed to help students navigate the tricky process of evaluating journal quality and understand how to protect their rights as authors.

The site integrates with CrossWorks to maintain a current list of Holy Cross student publications, providing examples of successful publications—and allowing students to share their work with others on campus. And it includes a form through which students can report their successful publications, and begin the process of publishing to CrossWorks.

The site will expand as students submit more publications, allowing the list of undergraduate journals and examples of student scholarship to grow.

For more information on CrossWorks, go to https://crossworks.holycross.edu/.