Where Are They Now?

Angelo Cangialosi

Angelo’s essay, “The Soul’s Pulse” was published in Volume 9 of Fresh Ink in 2007. He wrote the piece for Dr. Laura Tanner’s class on “The Body in Sickness and Health.”

As a biochemistry major, Angelo was involved in organic chemistry research in the lab of Dr. Amir Hoveyda during his time at BC. He was also a member of the BC Democrats and played intramural soccer. After graduating, he decided to pursue a career in politics. “My transition from the Heights to the real world was a little rough,” explains Angelo. “I had to do a few internships before getting a paid position on Capitol Hill in D.C.” Now, he’s getting his PhD in Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Best advice for BC students? “… be open about career paths, and network as hard as you can for the position/career that you do want since I’ve found that it is the most valuable currency in the ‘real world.’”

Victoria Havlicek

Victoria was a psychology major and a philosophy minor and, during her time at BC, was on the women’s varsity crew team her freshman year, sang in the chorale, tutored through the Campus School, and worked on the Laughing Medusa.

Victoria’s essay, “Reservoir” was published in Volume 9 of Fresh Ink in 2007. Although she doesn’t remember what motivated her to submit it, she does admit that “submitting a piece of my writing is/was fairly uncharacteristic of me, so I’m sure it had something to do with my teacher/peers encouraging me to do so. That was the first time anything of mine was published and to this day it’s so exciting. It gave me a lot of confidence – and still does – to keep writing. I still write to this day… I’m currently working on a screenplay.”

Right after graduation, Victoria moved to California on a whim. Now, she lives and works in New York City for a music/comedy marketing agency. She loves to run in Central Park, volunteer at an educational non-profit called 826 NYC in Brooklyn, read, write, and go to lots of concerts and stand-up comedy shows.

Her advice to BC students is to “do what makes you come alive. Also – Be gentle on yourself.”

Ben Pickering

Ben was an International Studies Major and Hispanic Studies Minor at BC. He traveled to Nicaragua during his sophomore year through the Arrupe International Immersion Program, was a member of BC’s Club Soccer Team for all 4 years (and club president his senior year), studied abroad in Buenos Aires during his senior year, and was also an assistant middle school soccer coach at Beaver Country Day School during the fall of his junior and senior years.

His essay, “Education: A Process Transcending Academia,” was also published in Volume 9 of Fresh Ink. Encouraged to submit a work by Professor Erin Wecker, Ben decided on this one because he “enjoyed writing literary analysis pieces and taking a deeper look into the intentions of authors through scenes, words, cinematography, and objects.”

Ben describes his transition from the Heights into the “real world” as “atypical!” When he thought about graduating he knew he wanted to live abroad and to be self-sustaining.

“I discovered a program offered through the Spanish Ministry of Education that designated native English, French and German speakers to be teaching aides at public schools throughout the country. I applied and received my placement the day after my last exam – Albacete, a small city of 170,000 seemingly in the middle of nowhere that I knew absolutely nothing about. I packed my bags in September and ended up staying for 2 years.”

Ben taught at the public secondary school and at two private English academies while giving individual private lessons to kids and adults at people’s homes. “Along the way, I became part of an intimate community and met a host of great people who became close friends,” explains Ben. “It was an incredibly formative experience that stays very near to me today.”

Currently, Ben works as a business analyst at a HR services firm in Milwaukee. When he’s not at work, he plays and coaches soccer on respective men’s leagues and youth teams, listens to live music shows, plays the piano, and travels.

His advice for BC students is to “appreciate and make the most of your time with all of the truly great people and resources you are able to interact with on a daily basis that are just a short walk away from your doorstep.”

Cathleen Chopra-McGowan

Cathleen was a theology major at BC, studying the Hebrew Bible with a focus on prophetic literature. Under the guidance of Professor David Vanderhooft, she wrote her senior thesis on the use of childbirth as a metaphor for military crisis in the prophets.

Outside of the classroom, Cathleen was involved in the international students community as an international assistant for three years. She was also involved with UGBC as a director for students for students with special needs and a director of religious affairs. She was president of the theology association during her senior year and traveled during the summers, participating in excavations in Israel and teaching introductory biblical studies at a summer bible program in Northern India.

Cathleen notes that her essay, “Magic in the Pediatric Ward,” is about her little sister, the “north star” of her life. “It was a challenging piece to share, and my first-year writing seminary instructor, Alicia, suggested that I submit my essay to Fresh Ink,” explains Cathleen. “I was overjoyed when it was selected for publication! I have continued writing, for both scholarly and non-academic avenues.”

After graduating, Cathleen spent a year on a Fulbright in Israel and subsequently attended Yale Divinity School for a masters degree. She explains how, because she was able to remain in close contact with so many people from the BC community (especially professor David Vanderhooft), her transition was very smooth. Currently, Cathleen is a doctoral student in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago, where she conducts research in the prophetic literature as well as the Book of Lamentations, and their relationship to other Ancient Near Eastern material.

Most recently, she wrote an essay titled “Not My Body” for a Claretians publication based out of Chicago called U.S. Catholic Magazine.

Melissa Roberts

Melissa was a History major at BC and was involved in the Campus School, UGBC, the College Democrats, and the creation of BC Students for Sexual Health. However, her focus was often off-campus because she worked part-time on a series of political campaigns and was involved in major activist efforts such as the Testify and Unite Rally in 2007 and the Bill Ayers fight in 2009.

Melissa wrote her essay, “Delta Landscape,” after returning from a service trip to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina during spring break. “It wasn’t an organized trip – I just hopped in a car with some friends and ended up spending a week living and gutting houses in a commune based in the Upper Ninth Ward. I have so many memories of that trip, but suffice it to say, it was an experience that changed the way I think about my responsibility to my community, both locally and in the larger sense. It was an experience that drove me to both get involved in and eventually leave politics,” explains Melissa. “I wrote that piece almost immediately after getting back from that trip, and now with years of hindsight, I feel less optimism and more frustration when I think about how little progress has been made since then.”

When Melissa graduated from BC in 2009, she began working on campaigns in Boston and Lowell. After some time, she took a job at a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C. and worked there for a few years before moving home to Kansas City to work as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at a theater. Eventually, Melissa left the theater to start her own public affairs and strategic communications firm in January 2013, Free State Strategy Group, LLC.

Because she wasn’t in the business school at BC, Melissa explains that she was faced with quite a steep learning curve when starting her business. To tackle this curve, she “started to attend educational programs for entrepreneurs and startups and became very involved in the Kansas City startup community.” Now, Melissa helps to run a weekly education program for entrepreneurs called “1 Million Cups” in 36 cities across the Midwest, bounces around networking events, navigates the process of hiring her first employee, and does her best to make her clients look smart.

Melissa describes her advice to BC students as “random at best.” “Learn to code while you have the time. Making money isn’t evil, but keeping it can be. Try to change the world, tackle big problems, but be smart about it – you can count on one hand the number of times real change has been driven by the guy holding the megaphone. Get far, far, outside of your comfort zone as quickly as you can.

Courtney Kipp

Courtney majored in French and Theology at BC. She spent a semester studying in Paris at the Sorbonne concentrating on 18th and 19th century Romantic Literature. On campus, she was a member of the Dance Organization, the Student Admission Program, and the French Honors Society while holding two work-study jobs on campus in the Office of Undergraduate Admission and the Learning Resources Center for Student Athletes.

Courtney’s remembers feeling very excited and humbled when her essay, ”One Religious Quest,” was chosen for publication in Fresh Ink in 2007. “I wrote about my decision to become Catholic when I was a 16 year-old high school sophomore,” explains Courtney. “That decision truly impacted my college journey; I chose BC largely because of its Catholic Jesuit identity and liberal arts education. I felt compelled to submit the piece because I wanted to share my experience with the Catholic Church and show others how I cam to my understanding of my faith.”

After graduation, Courtney decided to stay at BC for another two years to pursue her Master’s in Theological Studies while working as a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Undergraduate Admission. Now, Cathleen works as an Admission Counselor at Providence College. Courtney credits her professional success to her undergraduate work and volunteer experiences on the heights because “it was in the Office of Undergraduate Admission that I truly found my passion for higher education,” explains Courtney. During her free time, Courtney goes on runs in Boston, hangs out at her CrossFit gym, spends time with friends, and reads. She also still finds time to write and has contributed a few pieces to a friend’s blog while working on a novel for about a year now!

Although she admits that her advice to current BC students may sound cliché, Courtney stresses how important it is to put yourselves out there and take risks. “Try out for something new… and then when you don’t make it, work harder and try out again. Go abroad and fall in love… with the country, or the language, or perhaps with a person… even if it means you get your heart broken when you leave. Take an academic risk by studying what you love, and not necessarily what is ‘practical.’ You’ll find a job and figure life out eventually.”