- by Mount Saint Mary College

Preparing for the work world with a robust classroom experience is just one side of the coin for Mount students. Professionals from the Hudson Valley and beyond take our students under their wing through internships and other mentor programs, giving them a leg up after graduation. 

Career goal guidance with KPMG mentoring 

The Mount is now in its second year of the KPMG University Mentoring Program for students, which offers students individual mentorship. 

KPMG is one of the Big Four professional accounting organizations, providing audit, tax, and advisory services. However, the program provides specific career advice to students in a number of majors, as well as general support and guidance for periods as short as one year or as long as the entirety of the student’s college career. 

“College students with mentors are more likely to know about and take advantage of career enhancing steps like internships, professional associations, networking opportunities and more,” said Robin Rosenberg, a Mount Career Counselor. “Mentorship has been shown to be a high-impact practice, and it’s particularly helpful for first generation college students and those from historically underrepresented groups.”

The Career Center provides powerful, proven, and practical tools to help shape students’ post-graduate portfolio. More than just a program for those currently enrolled in classes, the Career Center provides students and alumni with life-long tools for success and advancement.

In addition to internships and networking, the KPMG program teaches workplace culture, how to obtain professional skills development, strengthening emotional intelligence and communication skills, and improving leadership skills within a professional environment. 

Working alongside a Fortune 500 company supplies the mentee with more advanced career services, and can grant the Newburgh community incentive to be a part of local internships. 

“The regional office has graciously opened its doors to a small number of area colleges, including the Mount,” said Rosenberg. “We are incredibly honored that they chose us as one of the colleges they are partnering with in this area.”

Making Disney magic

Kaitlyn Corrigan, an Information Technology major on the Elementary Education track, has some advice for students who dream big: Don’t just wish upon a star, take a risk and become one. 

Last summer Corrigan participated in the Disney College Program, where she was a tour guide at the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction in Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

Among other duties, her main job was to drive a truck through Kilimanjaro Safaris, leading parkgoers on 20-minute tours that meander through about 40 different species of African animals. With up to three dozen passengers aboard each tour, she gave the lowdown on the giraffes, hippos, lions, and baby rhinos they encountered along the way.

“I learned how to be comfortable in a fast-paced environment while focusing on multiple aspects at once, to ensure a successful and entertaining operation,” Corrigan explained. “I also learned how to be able to comfortably speak to very large groups of people.”

In addition to working around the park, the program offers long-term courses on a variety of subjects to help participants grow personally and academically. Corrigan selected classes on leadership and networking. 

While Corrigan’s leadership classes taught her how to harness her dedication and skill, her time as a Disney tour guide allowed her to educate thousands of Disney guests “about things I am passionate about, creating happiness for them,” she said. Those are traits she plans to carry into her career as an elementary school teacher.

Scoring a touchdown with the Jets

While Corrigan was adventuring through Disney’s safari, another Mount student and life-long lover of sports, Maggie-Ann Zecca, landed an internship with the New York Jets. 

From studying Sports Management and playing on the Mount’s Women’s Soccer Team, Zecca displayed a vested interest in learning more about sports teams and their organizations. Although she wasn’t sure if she would be accepted due to a large number of applicants, she maintained optimism and eventually received the news she had been hoping for. 

Working as a part of their Event Staff Team, Zecca’s roles and responsibilities ranged from setting up hosted events to preparing for VIP Day by fitting player’s jerseys. She would also complete time-sensitive tasks, such as setting up organized team activities or helping young fans locate their parents in the stadium. 

Throughout the internship, Zecca practiced and exercised a number of transferable skills such as communications, networking, taking calculated risks, and learning how to organize and execute an event in a professional environment. 

“This internship has directed me to see different positions and opportunities,” said Zecca. “I am grateful for being part of the Mount, which prepared me mentally, physically and spiritually.”

Protecting against online criminals

After Corrigan’s and Zecca’s exciting experiences, it was Cybersecurity major Jameson Suraci’s turn to begin an internship at the United States Military Academy West Point.

Through his analyst position, Suraci focused on using software programs such as Microsoft Sentinel and Azure to complete log analytics, as well as identifying malicious software on West Point’s networks in an effort to track failed attacks. 

In October of 2021, the Mount’s Career Center hosted mock interviews with Ryan Bellows, a current employee at West Point. Bellows also graduated from the Mount in 2020, after completing an internship in Cybersecurity at West Point. Suraci attended a mock interview with Bellows, which served as a springboard for obtaining the internship.

Suraci also worked closely with Rosenberg and the Career Center to build a strong résumé for the mock interviews. The center, which had forged an excellent relationship with the institution over the years, made a referral to West Point on Suraci’s behalf. Suraci also received an immeasurable amount of knowledge and support from his professor, advisor, and mentor, Sagar Raina, associate professor of Information Technology, who introduced him to the major during his application process two years ago. 

He found great success in the internship, while facing new challenges such as learning a completely new coding language called Kusto Query Language (KQL).

“I’ve learned to be patient and stay focused on the end goal and why I got the internship in the first place,” said Suraci. “It is just a surreal experience being surrounded by all the men and women who serve and protect our country… you will not see anything like it, as a civilian, anywhere else.”

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