MySpartanSuccess with Matthew Dybus

St Thomas Aquinas CollegeWho here on campus would have thought that Matthew Dybus, entering St. Thomas Aquinas College as a freshman in 2011 would eventually be a successful Development Officer for the only remaining diocesan seminary in the United States? Everyone that knew him!

Matt will tell you that it was his involvement on campus that lead him to where he is today.  Matt began as a freshman at STAC studying Finance with a minor in Economics. As a student Matt brought the values that were instilled in him on the home front:  respect and a strong work ethic.

Matt immediately became involved in Student activities on campus: as a STAC Ambassador (his campus tours were amazing), a Career Ambassador (helping students prepare for the real world) and as the President of the Outdoor and Adventure Clubs. To this day, Matt is always up for an “adventure.”

Immediately upon graduation Matt was offered a position at Cathedral Prep High School. It didn’t take long for them to realize what Mathew brings to the table. A scholarship recipient himself, Matt can appreciate what it takes to secure funding for students to achieve their own aspirations and Matt officially took the position as Associate Development Officer.

Matt’s responsibilities include creating relationships between benefactors and Cathedral Prep High School, resulting in: tuition assistance for students, event planning, which includes an annual golf outing, a Hall of Fame event and a Craft Beer fundraiser (again – bringing his experiences from STAC to his advantage), and enrollment/recruitment.  He is successfully juggling all of this because Matt, you see, is a Cathedral Prep High School Alum himself.

His Alma mater remains proud of the work he is doing to support Catholic young men who prepare for possible priestly lives, and for his ongoing support to the College as well. He totally gets it!

Forever a Spartan!  Hats off to you Mathew Dybus!

My Spartan Success with Kelly Russell

#MySpartanSuccess Interview with Kelly Russell


  1. When did you graduate and whkelly-russellat was your major?

I graduated May of 2013. I transferred to STAC after 2 years at a state school. My major was journalism.

  1. How did you hear about your current job?

I heard about my current job through the company’s careers website. I knew exactly the kind of job I was interested in, so it definitely took some time before I found something right in line with my interests.

  1. Can you tell me a little about this position?

Sure- my official title is social media producer, which, in short, means that I manage the social media pages for CNBC’s primetime entertainment programming. A large part of my job is ideating, brainstorming and producing meaningful content for the show pages and working alongside the show talent to create what we call ‘thumbstopping’ posts. I work very closely with the marketing department (promos producers, digital team, graphics department and marketing managers) to come up with larger and smaller concepts for the show. We figure out a tone, voice and attitude for each show. I’m on the field capturing content, producing material, cutting and editing videos, writing copy, publishing, live tweeting during the shows and doing community management of the pages.

  1. Can you explain the Interview Process?

You’ll find that each company and each position really varies. For my specific position, I had a recruiter for the company contact me initially and ask me some questions to see if I had the skills and expertise they were looking for in that position. The next step was several phone interviews with my boss/boss’ boss and other members of the team. Finally, I had several in-person interviews with various people in the department. The entire process took a few months from start to finish.

  1. Did you have an internship before this position and how useful was the internship?

I did- I had several internships and a full-time role before I got my current job. My internships ranged from marketing for a local daily deal website to booking department intern at MSNBC news desk intern at WABC. All of my internships were SO helpful; and I highly recommended trying out a bunch of different roles so you really figure out where your interests lie. My favorite internship was at WABC, because I really involved myself and made sure I shadowed people who worked in all different departments within Eyewitness News. I LOVED my internship, and was able to get my first job from that. I highly recommend interning wherever -and whenever you can.

  1. Did STAC help you in anyway?

I had already had several internships before coming to STAC, but my professors, especially Prof Prior, Dr. Durney and Prof Winship really helped guide me in my internships and careers. I really can’t say enough how helpful they have been in my career.

  1. What is your favorite aspect of the position, can you give an example of what has been your favorite experience so far?

My favorite aspect of the position is the ability to create and not feel stifled or limited. Creativity is really embraced where I work, and it makes for a really exciting work environment. I love that each day is different; I never know what to expect for that day when I walk in each morning and, for me, that’s exciting.
My favorite experience so far has been when I’m able to be in the field with talent or with the crew members producing meaningful content. For example, I went to Texas to film with the cast of one of our shows, West Texas Investors Club, and joined them on tour. It was a blast and I created multiple pieces of impactful content.

8. What advice do you have for other STAC students looking for a job or internship?

My one piece of advice for other STAC students looking for a job or internship is to be open to all opportunities and really think about what would set you apart from other candidates. Don’t be shy in asking to shadow people, or reaching out to others in the industry for advice or help. Don’t limit yourself because you think the internship is too small or what you wanted, if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you will find value in everything. Be motivated and organized- people will notice and it will go a long way. My final and most important piece of advice is HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE. I can’t tell you how much people remember and appreciate this.

My Spartan Success with Candace Rivera

#My Spartan Success Interview with Candace Rivera

Conducted by Laurie Child


  1. When did you graduate and what was your major?

Candace: I graduated from STAC in 2012 with a B.A in Communications and a concentration in Journalism

  1. Did you have a plan after graduation, and did you know what career you wanted to peruse?

Candace: During my time at STAC, I knew exactly what direction I wanted to go. I loved writing and had a passion for journalism, specifically in the crime and politics field.  I split my time between school, friends, various freelance reporting jobs, assisting with events at a local radio station, and occasional voice over work.  I would often be in three different counties in the same day!

One of my most memorable experiences happened during the 2012 election.  I got to interview several politicians from New York on election night including Democratic Congressman Sean Maloney, just a few minutes after he heard the news. I was very passionate about this line of work, but being paid per article, it required a lot of time, travel, and sacrifice.  I knew that I had to find somewhere that offered a more stable income and included benefits.

  1. How did you hear about your current Job?

Candace:  A few months after graduation, I was looking for a full time job. Luckily, I received a phone call from Dr.  Durney.  He explained that KPMG were looking for a Public Relations Assistant, encouraged  me to apply, and contact Corporate Communications Executive Director, Tim Connolly. Honestly, I had never heard of KPMG and thought that they were a radio station, however after some research I realized that it was one of the big four accounting firms.

Before this, I had never thought about working in public relations before. But after a bit of research I thought why not, I’ll give it a go.   I reached out to Tim, and he set me up with an interview.

  1. Can you explain the Interview Process?

Candace: After nervously calling  Tim for the first time and introducing myself I sent in my resume and a few articles for him to review. Luckily, he was impressed and invited me to KPMG for an interview.  Over the next three weeks, I met with two additional department directors and two administrative professionals. What they all had in common was that they genuinely loved what they did. They also had the stability of having a 9-5 job, salary, benefits, and opportunities to travel. I could tell KPMG would be a great start for my career and decided to take a chance in the public relations field

  1. How did your time at STAC prepare you for the professional world?

Candace:  I don’t know where to begin, my time at STAC has truly shaped, and played a big role in where I am today.  One of the biggest benefits of the college, is the student-faculty relationship. With the intimate class size, the professors are truly invested in the students, and I can say from experience that the relationships I have formed with the professors have directly impacted my career path.

My professors, especially, Dr. Durney, Professor Prior, Dr. Matthews, and Professor Winship had a big influence on me and helped guide me both personally and professionally.  Although, a small school STAC offers an array of activities, clubs, and events. During my time at STAC, I was a content editor and writer for the Thoma, acted in many plays as a Laetare Player, and recited a few poems during open mic nights   These clubs and activities really built my confidence and presentation skills.

  1. Can you tell me about your time at KPMG, and some of the roles and responsibilities you have there?

Candace: Starting at KPMG as a Public Relations Assistant in 2012, I have since been promoted to a Corporate Communication Associate.  Some of my roles and responsibilities include co-managing the KPMG US intranet, social media campaigns, producing video content as an on-location correspondent, and writing numerous profiles on our young professionals.    I also  help pitch press releases to the media, gather good news stories about KPMG employees, and promote events across our internal and external platforms.

  1. Why KPMG? What is your favorite aspect of the position? Can you give an example of what has been your best moment so far?

Candace: I have been at the company for four years now, and I can truly say that the people and skill development opportunities keep me here. .  It really is a community, and I work with some fascinating people. I ask my colleagues about their previous jobs, all the time. Since, KPMG attracts great talent
my department has  an Emmy Award winner, experienced speechwriters, and many former journalists from top tier media (think NYT, AP, Chicago Tribune). I’m a sucker for a good story, and my colleagues have plenty.

Coming from a Catholic family, one of my best moments so far was attending Pope Francis’ World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia last year as a  KPMG volunteer. I was also able to bring my family.While we were there, I recorded an event recap that was included in KPMG US’ weekly newscast that later won an award for . It was a one in a lifetime opportunity, and would not have been possible without KPMG!

  1. Finally, what advice do you have for current STAC students looking for a job internship?

Candace: One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to current STAC students, is to keep an open mind.  Going into my senior year, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I didn’t give public relations much thought at the time. Fast forward to today and I can honestly tell you that KPMG is the perfect fit for me, and is where I want to be.

Lastly, I have to stress the value of networking and including your professors within that circle.  While I was freelancing as a student, my article quality spread from local editor to local editor offering me opportunities to cover events for their publications. At the same time, my professors took notice and also kept me mind. That eventually led to Dr. Durney’s call about a full-time job at KPMG. Hard work pays off. Don’t be afraid to tell people how awesome you are!