Alumni Spotlights

Alyssa Cuddy '14 ValedictorianAlyssa Cuddy mtn Thailand

Current Residence:  Thailand

Profession:  classroom teacher

When I arrived at Saint Michael's College, I was unsure of what to major in. I soon came to realize that the Anthropology/Sociology track was on pace with my passions. Six years ago, I had no idea where it would lead me. I am so glad I followed my heart because learning from this Department helped me reach a dream to become a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. In April of 2016, I received a letter stating I would be traveling to Thailand to teach. And so, when September came I hopped on a plane alone with a heavy but hopeful heart.
     Everything changed. I became a full-time classroom teacher, lived alone in rural Thailand, used songtows to get from place to place, tried new
Alyssa Cuddy elephant Thailandfoods, and traveled on weekends to nearby countries. The experience taught me that what truly matters in life isn't where you are, but who the people around you are. I made amazing friends and learned how important it was to be myself. Life can become a competition, but I know now that it doesn't matter how fast you go, because forward is forward.
   Through the people of Thailand I saw responsibility, hard work, and friendship epitomized. Life in Khon Kaen, Thailand was eerily similar to being at home besides one thing. Living and working abroad showed me that I don't want to survive life, I want to thrive in life and the only way to do so is to trust yourself. When I left Thailand, I saw how the adventure had opened my heart to others and to myself. I am now hoping to earn a Master's in Social Work for Global Mental Health. And again, I'm not sure where it will lead me, but life's meant to be an adventure.

 

 

Ashley Whittlemore '12 awhittemore

Since graduating in 2012, I have been working in higher education, specifically in Development and Alumni Relations. In my current role at Brandeis University, I manage nine alumni class reunion committees. Throughout the year, I arrange all logistics for reunion weekend and recruit, train and motivate 100+ volunteers.

Saint Mike’s was integral in helping me find this career; I was first exposed to higher education development when I was asked to serve as Co-Chair of the Senior Class Gift Committee. 


Kevin Barisonek

I didn't know it when I chose Anthropology as my major at St. Mikes, but studying about culture would have profound impact on the path that I would take in my life. The professors opened my eyes to a myriad of cultures and beautiful ways of interpreting the world around us and also challenged us to reflect on the way we live. Through my studies I gained a deep appreciation for cultural diversity, which helped me choose to teach elementary and junior high school in rural Japan for 5 years. I think that my experience in Japan was richer for having studied Anthropology. My appreciation for differences in culture made me flexible and helped me to make deep and meaningful connections there.

Now, after lots of traveling and teaching around the globe, I have come back to the States to teach elementary school in San Francisco. My foundation in Anthropology continues to serve me in my classes by helping me to be a more thoughtful, analytical, and reflective teacher.

 


Jud Wellington

Valerie Dillner Brosseau '09

Current residence: Burlington, Vermont
Profession: Executive Director of ANEW Place (formerly Burlington Emergency Shelter)

“The coursework and hands-on service opportunities at St. Mike’s prepared me for the complexities of nonprofit work and gave me the drive to develop new, creative models to meet diverse and constantly changing needs.”

 


Jud Wellington

Megan Irons '14

Current residence: Senegal
Profession: Peace Corps member

"My work abroad is both challenging and rewarding. While I have always had the desire and drive to achieve my goals, my coursework in Anthropology provided me with a solid foundation through which I felt confident to pursue work in international development and service."

 


Angela Mitiguy

I didn't realize until I left Saint Michael's just how valuable the education I received in the Sociology Department truly is. As a Sociology graduate student I am continually relying on the foundation that I received at St. Mike's. Several undergraduate courses have prepared me for graduate level work. Core courses, such as Sociological Theory, have given me a strong basis for extended study while the Research Methods class I took has helped me pursue large scale research projects, like the one I’m currently working on for my thesis.

In general, my undergraduate studies in St. Mike's Sociology program helped teach me how to critically evaluate sociological material as well as develop my own ideas and research interests. As I pursue my Ph.D. in Sociology, I am continually thankful for the education that I received from the Sociology Department at Saint Michael’s and the preparation that education has given me to further my career.

 


andrew parise

Anna Scotto '13

Current residence: Missoula, Montana
Profession: Case Manager at a mental health center

"It is an exciting time to be involved as the mental health programs are working hard to educate the public on better treatment within the jail and in the community. . .  I do miss sociology and the theories! I feel very prepared for all my courses from all the reading and writing I had to do in undergrad so thank you!"

 


Shawna Wakeham

My experience after graduating from Saint Michael's College with a BA in Sociology/Anthropology in 2007 has been one of exciting exploration and continued development. I took a "safe" job soon after graduation and found that while I was comfortable, I was also restless and unhappy. This past July I made a decision that was terrifyingly impulsive according to both my own and my parents’ standards. I joined Americorps*VISTA.

As a VISTA, I receive a monthly stipend which places me economically at the poverty line for my year of service. While this was a concern in accepting my position, I couldn’t say no to the opportunity of working at the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (VRRP). Working as the Family Literacy Coordinator for the VRRP has proven to be one of the best decisions I could have made at this point in my life. I am learning invaluable skills such as grant writing, curriculum building, volunteer outreach and organization, and even teaching. Living at poverty level isn’t easy, but it certainly helps me relate at some level to the clients I see every day.

Rather than sitting discontentedly in a cubicle, I am excited to go to work each day. I am excited knowing that while I have no idea what the end of my year as a VISTA brings, so many doors have opened for me along the way and the experience has been truly amazing.

 


Ben Miller ‘11

Greta Zarro '15

Current residence: upstate New York
Profession: Master's of Arts Student in Food Studies at New York University

In complement to her studies, Greta works at the Brooklyn office of the national non-profit Food & Water Watch, a highly influential consumer rights and environmental watchdog that brings attention to issues such as antibiotic abuse in factory farms, genetic engineering, fracking and climate change, corporate control and international trade agreements.

 


Kate Condon

Current residence: Uganda 
Profession: Founder of EmbraceKulture

After St. Mike's with a double major in Anthropology/Sociology and Spanish, I volunteered at an orphanage in Uganda. After returning to the U.S., I earned my Masters in Special Education with a specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Since, I have co-founded an NGO called “embraceKulture”, working to break down the stigma and abuse of people with disabilities in Uganda through teacher trainings, vocational training, and community outreach. We are passionate about researching the Ugandan cultural views of disability, to make sure the projects are culturally relative, using local resources and adaptations, and Ugandan-drive, in hopes that the models will be more accepted and sustainable. 


Hillary Miller

Hillary Miller

Current residence: Philadelphia area
Profession: Patient Advocate for Mercy Volunteer Corps

I have always had a passion for social justice. However, it was my experience within the Saint Michael’s College community, especially the anthropology department, which truly opened my eyes tonew insights about the world. As anthropology minor I was able to complement by biology courses with anthropology classes, strengthening my global perspectives.  

In my Patient Advocacy role, I work in conjunction with the Mary Howard Health Center in Philadelphia that serves people experiencing homelessness and/or previously incarcerated.

 

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