Posts Tagged alumni profile

World of Work: Deanna Cameron ’91, Ronald MacDonald House Charities

Posted on September 12, 2012 with No Comments

Deanna CameronDeanna Cameron ‘91
Program Coordinator
Ronald MacDonald House Charities –
Burlington, VT
Major: Social Work

What motivates you to go to work everyday?

I’ve always been someone who needs to really believe in the cause that I’m working for, so that personal connection to the cause is a huge motivation for me. My niece and nephew were born prematurely and Ronald McDonald House was there for my sister-in-law during the three weeks that the babies were in the hospital. I saw first-hand how the support of Ronald McDonald House Charities strengthens families at a very difficult time.

How would you describe what you do on a typical day?

My typical day consists of the following:

  • Our number one priority at Ronald McDonald House Charities is the comfort of our guests. So each day starts out with a house “check-in” in which we review our current guests, any new guests checking in, and address any guests needs.
  • I also manage the nearly 200 active volunteers who cover eight shifts daily in our programs. A large part of my job is ensuring that each of these invaluable volunteers has a meaningful experience serving our organization. I set up month-long volunteer schedules for both the House and in the Ronald McDonald Family Room located at Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care.
  • The second half of my job is fundraising. Depending on the time of year, I may be planning our next fundraising event. I update the agency’s day-to-day communications and social media to keep our supporters up to date on what we’re doing. I also do community outreach to share our cause and needs. And from time to time, I even get to snuggle a beautiful baby who is staying with us.

Tell us about your path to this position.

I definitely could not have imagined where my degree in social work would take me when I graduated. Early in my career my work was oriented toward direct service, doing case management with a variety of populations such as emotionally disabled teen girls and homeless/marginally housed individuals. From these experiences, I moved onto doing some program development in the housing field, which sparked my interest in this type of work.

The mix of direct service work with clients and managing the operations of service programs has proven to be the perfect combination of challenges to suit my skill set. I have been able to expand on this even more in my last two positions where I’ve also become involved in fundraising–both working with donors and on events.

What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?

Volunteerism is a great way to take your career in different directions as well as a means to network with a new circle of colleagues. In the non-profit world where every penny is accounted for, new projects are often started solely with volunteer efforts. As greater value and need is placed on these new projects, staffing can be added to the budget and those that volunteered may then be considered for the new paid position(s). I wouldn’t advise students to volunteer with the goal of acquiring a paid position, but as a way to enhance their talents and explore an interest that may not be fulfilled in other ways.

World of Work: Scott Whitted ’74, Deputy Chief, District Court Litigation Division, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Posted on February 2, 2012 with No Comments

Homeland Security Logo

Scott Whitted ’74
Deputy Chief, District Court Litigation Division, Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
United States Government, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Williston, VT

Major: Political Science

What type of law do you practice and how did you choose that?
I’ve practiced civil law for my entire career, including private practice, with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and now at one of the agencies in the Department of Homeland Security. I’ve never been a full-time litigator, but before I started my federal job I spent some time in court, especially when I was in the Attorney General’s office. Although criminal law and criminal procedure were interesting classes in law school, I never wanted to practice criminal law. Civil law held more appeal for me.

What surprised you about law school and/or the practice of law?
One big surprise was how poorly many lawyers write. The textbooks for most law school courses are compilations of judges’ decisions that often are not well written. They tend to be too long and full of obscure language. Law students copy the style, which perpetuates bad writing. In addition, practicing law can be a real grind, with much tedium and little glamour. There are rarely quick resolutions to legal problems.

What changes have you seen in the legal job market?
With the current economy, the competition for jobs is heightened. It’s a buyer’s market right now. My office recently advertised for four openings and we received dozens of applications.

What advice would you have for students interested in a career in law?  What should they be doing now?
Take college classes that encourage you to think critically and analytically. Those skills will help you to identify problems (“issue spotting”) and develop realistic solutions, which are important aspects of a lawyer’s job. Also, learn to write clearly and concisely. Lawyers do a lot of writing, and unfortunately many lawyers do not write well.

In addition, don’t be afraid to work for a few years before you go to law school. Not only may you be able to save some money toward law school, but you’ll have the benefit of experience in the “real world” before you return to academia. Admittedly, I may be partial to this approach because I worked for five years between UVM and law school.

World of Work: Kathryn Sylvester Manciocchi ‘02

Posted on November 17, 2011 with No Comments

Kate Manciocchi

Kathryn Sylvester Manciocchi ‘02
Benefits Specialist
Millennium Partners Sports Club Management / Sports Club LA
San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Major: Environmental Studies

How would you describe what you do on a typical day?

On a typical day, I can work on any of the following:

  • Benefits enrollment, presentations and questions
  • Working with employees, vendors and brokers
  • Open enrollment and changes to plans
  • 401K administration
  • Leave and worker’s compensation administration
  • COBRA and unemployment administration
  • Company wellness program

What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?

Check out events from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA) and do lots of informational interviews!

Do you like numbers and math? Are you interested in the healthcare industry? Perhaps, you like law and legal matters? This may be for you!

What three words best describe your work environment?

Busy, Engaging and Fun. It’s different every day!

Describe your best day at work.

My best days are when I get a “thank you” for a job well done and I am satisfied with my work at 5:00pm.

World of Work: Brian Trudell ’09, University of Vermont Extension

Posted on October 20, 2011 with No Comments

Brian Trudell

Brian Trudell ’09
Agronomy Outreach Professional
University of Vermont Extension –
St. Albans, VT

Major: Animal Science

How would you describe what you do on a typical day?

My role as a UVM Extension agent is to reduce nutrient and sediment loading in Lake Champlain. I provide education and technical support to Vermont livestock farmers in the Lake Champlain Basin on nutrient management and tillage practices.

My primary areas are Franklin and Grand Isle counties, where the majority of farms are dairy producers. I help farmers manage soil health with soil testing and detailed nutrient management software programs. By reducing non-point nutrient and sediment losses from agricultural fields, surface water quality is improved. This makes the Lake Champlain a better place for wildlife and the many people who enjoy it during our beautiful Vermont summers.

What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?

Create a well-rounded body of work for yourself by leaving your comfort zone. Do internships in far-away places to experience ideas that you may not hear from you college professors. While high-end internships with established organizations may be desirable, you may learn more with a start-up operation.

How did your time at UVM, both in and out of the classroom, prepare you for your position?

While at UVM I learned how people without an agricultural background perceive our industry, especially those that are appealed by organic and/or vegetarian diets. Critical thinking is very important when discussing agriculture and food systems issues.

What motivates you to go to work every day for this organization?

I am building knowledge in a new area because crop and soil work was not a focus of my undergraduate studies. I plan to operate my own dairy business in the future. By working with dairy farms, I build my connections and reputation every day. I aspire to be a leader within the Vermont agriculture industry and see this job as an opportunity to build a solid foundation for my future.

World of Work: Brenda J. Luciano, Esq. ’97, Associate at Paul Frank + Collins, P.C.

Posted on September 22, 2011 with No Comments

Brenda Luciano

Brenda J. Luciano, Esq. ’97
Paul Frank + Collins, P.C. –
Burlington, VT

Major: Business Administration

What type of law do you practice and how did you choose that?

My practice surrounds areas of business law, including business transactions, commercial real estate, and business litigation as well as some environmental litigation. I have a B.S. in Business Administration from UVM so my interests stemmed from my college studies and also from working as a business and e-commerce consultant prior to law school.

What surprised you about law school and/or the practice of law?
Just how diverse the practice of law really is. There are so many areas of practice and so much to always learn.

What changes have you seen in the legal job market? And what should students know about this?

In general the job market and economy are still a bit unstable right now. My advice to students is to be flexible and resourceful in terms of your goals. While in school, students should do things that distinguish themselves from others in the job market, whether it is volunteer work, internships, publishing articles or joining academic or other groups. Show employers that you have done things outside of the classroom especially in a leadership or cooperative role, which may set you apart from the other applicants.

What advice do you have for students considering a career in law?
First, study hard for the LSAT. Take an LSAT course and really try to do as well as you can on it. Also talk to a variety of lawyers already in practice about what they do. You may want to work or intern in a law office to get a feel for the day-to-day work. In addition, visit some law schools and talk to the admissions staff to find out more about what law school will be like. Try to sit in on a class. Talk to current law students or recent graduates about the demands of law school. You may also want to take a legal writing class prior to entering law school since writing is a huge part of your law school education.

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