#MySpartanSuccess Amanda Lawrence

  1. img_0774When did you graduate and what was your major?

I graduated in May 2016, I majored in Accounting and had a minor in economics.

  1. How did you hear about your current job?

I was informed by both Maureen Mulhern and Mary Vota that a former Alumni had sent over the job posting to the school.

  1. Can you explain the Interview Process?

My first interview was in the regional office I was going to be working in. I was interviewed simultaneously by the regional director of my division and the lead auditor in the office. They mainly asked me about previous experience, to give them scenarios in which I had to use skills like teamwork/critical thinking/ problem solving. They had my resume in front of them, but wanted know more details about the things that were listed on it. They were also very interested as to why I wanted this exact position, what was so special that made me want to work for them.

My second interview was in our NYC office in which I was interviewed on by two of the head attorneys I would be working with. They asked me more detailed questions about classes I had taken, they asked about the writing sample I had given them and the process in which I made my analysis in the piece. They also asked me for examples of things I had done that were not on my resume, personal experiences that I had that have shaped who I am today and what my goals were. This is where I was able to talk about winning the IACBE Case Competition, which I feel gave me an advantage to show the skills outlined on my resume.

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

I work for the NYS Attorney General as an Auditor Investigator in their Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Civil Division. Our cases can be against individual providers, health groups, hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies and drug manufacturers. I get assigned cases that are brought to us by what we call a “whistleblower” someone that has personal knowledge of the fraud that happening, a lot of times this is a former or current employee. Assigned to the case are an Attorney, Lead Auditor, Consulting Auditor and Investigator. After reading the complaint we consult with each other on what we think the best plan of action is and create our investigative plan. I work primarily at my office, but depending on the case I can be brought into the field to go on interviews and interrogations.

  1. Can you share some of your current responsibilities / roles?

As an auditor I have to look into the medical billings pertaining to each case. I analyze the data that we receive and put it into spreadsheets to provide evidence for the attorney in the case. We look at multiple fields like prescription counts, procedural totals and drug totals. We use comparison techniques to analyze the data and see if there is actual fraud occurring and whether or not it is consistent with the complaint.

I am also training to be part of the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units. This team is comprised of auditors and attorneys throughout the country to work on cases that are on a global basis.

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

Yes, I had an internship with GKG CPAs for the 2014 and 2015 tax seasons in their Newburgh, NY office. Although I was working on taxes while I was there I still gained a lot of knowledge and truly believe it helped me with my future. I had my first real interview with this company so I knew what to expect when interviewing for my current job. I also learned what it was like to work in an office atmosphere. Working in the tax field also gave me the opportunity to see one side of the accounting field and it helped me realize that, that was not the direction in which I wanted to go.

  1. Did Career Development/STAC help you in anyway?

Career Development and STAC both helped me tremendously. I was president of the business club my junior and senior year and every event we held pushed me farther in my career; learning to speak in front of groups, team work, learning how to use the Bloomberg terminals all aspects of the business club pushed me to where I am today.  I was also the interviewee during the mock interview which was an immense help when I went in for my interview. I also visited Mrs. Mulhern multiple times for her to help me with my resume and interview tactics. Many professors were also a great help to my success by giving me recommendations and just being there to answer any questions I had. STAC has been very successful within this office, out of the 4 auditors in my office, 3 are STAC graduates, including myself.

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

One thing I really love about my job is that every day is different. Each case has its own problems to solve and data to analyze. I am constantly learning new investigative techniques and different ways to analyze data.

My favorite experience so far was a few months after I started I went on my first case interview and it was one of the coolest experiences. I was able to work with the investigative team to prepare questions in order to get all the information that we needed.

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

My advice would be to make sure you truly research the company and position you are applying for. You want to love what you do and a lot of the factors that will influence that are based on the values of the company. Sit down before applying and make out a list of the things that you really want in a job and items that you do not want.

Make sure you are involved, they want to see more than just your grades and the skills you list on your resume. They want to know how you use these skills, what makes you stand out. STAC and the Career Development office give you plenty of ways to get involved and I highly recommend doing so. You not only will have more things to talk about during the interview process, but you will gain knowledge about who you are and what you want, so when talking about these experiences and yourself, you will have confidence.



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!

My Spartan Success with Jessica Freeman

#MySpartanSuccess Interview with Jessica Freeman 

Written by Laurie Child


Ever consider an internship? Hear from current STAC junior, Jessica Freeman who is currently interning with Sterling National Bank at their headquarters in Montebello, New York. Jessica is expecting to graduate the spring of 2017 whilst working toward a Bachelor of Science in Finance.  She began her internship in September 2016 in tandem with the fall semester (a program that earns 12 credits) and will work through December.   Jessica was informed about the position and program by her finance professor, Dr. Trendafilov; he then referred her to Mary Vota along with the Career Development Office who explained the process and what the program entailed.  We asked Jessica to explain the interview process to us. “Before I could be interviewed, I had to fill out an online application and submit my resume. Once I was successfully screened, I was called in to interview by the liaison to Sterling as well as the heads of the credit, accounting and ops departments. They asked me a series of questions about my academic record and my goals for the future”.  This internship program is very competitive, and involves many screening processes.  Jessica explained how, “Mary Vota was beyond helpful, she was always available to answer any questions I had about the process”.  Jessica expresses the importance of connecting with your professors, stating that, “If it wasn’t for Dr.T recommending this program to me I would have missed out on this fantastic opportunity”.  

Jessica currently splits her time between the Credit and Finance Department at Sterling. Some of her responsibilities include: spreading financial statements, pulling credit reports, and performing due diligence on potential clients.  Her favorite aspect of the internship is performing due diligence, “I like investigating clients and looking for their online presence”.  One of her favorite experiences so far was meeting the CEO of Sterling, Jack Kopnisky and explains how, “He is a great leader and has grown the company immensely since he has taken over”.  Jessica loves her internship at Sterling, and emphasizes how much she has learnt so far and how good of an experience it has been.  She is currently in the interview process for a summer internship as an Analyst and is hoping her current internship will increase her chances for consideration.

The importance of networking is magnified in the current job market, and sites like LinkedIn enforce this.  It is important to always be professional and make as many professional contacts as you can.  You will never know who and how someone may be able to help you. We asked Jessica what advice she would give to current STAC students looking for a job or internship?  “My advice to another student at STAC looking for a job or internship would be to take advantage of the Career Development Office as well as to build professional relationships with professors. If you are able to establish a relationship with a member of faculty, they will often think, and refer you to positions that they hear become available”.

My Spartan Success with Brendon Padilla

#MySpartanSuccess interview with Brendon Padilla      

Conducted by Laurie Child                                                             

Brendon at the New York Stock Exchange

When do you plan to graduate and what is you major?                                    

Brendon: I am currently a Communication Arts Major, scheduled to graduate this December, 2016.

Can you tell me a little about the position you have?                                        

Brendon: I am currently transitioning from an editorial intern to a freelance position with CNBC. I recently interviewed and successfully obtained the position to work for the CNBC audio team on Wall Street.  During the past 2016 Presidential election, I was called in to work in the sandbox.  This involved controlling the different cameras from other Networks, and being able to switch to different feeds if needed.  I am currently training to be the audio board controller, and will be actively working with CNBC after graduation.  Some of the responsibilities I have will include: to mic people on set (including Mad Money with Jim Cramer), control audio levels and camera angles, and work in the sandbox.

How did you hear about this position?                                                                                                

Brendon: Part of a Professor Prior class involved taking a tour of the CNBC headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey.   To work at CNBC was always a dream of mine, and the tour of the facility was amazing.  The technology they have and the resources available are out of this world.  After the tour, I knew I wanted to work there, but was apprehensive about applying due to a lack of experience.  After speaking with Dr. Durney about the tour and my aspiration of working at CNBC, he put me in touch with Mary Duffy (STAC alumni), Vice President of Talent Development.  I set up a time to meet with her and discuss the possibilities at CNBC and what I needed to do to get my foot in the door.   I spoke with her for 10 minutes at maximum, with no position lined up.  A few weeks later, I received a call and was offered a summer internship position in the talent development department.  It was a dream come true!

How did STAC help you in your career search?                                                                                

Brendon: My time at STAC helped in showing me the importance of persistence and goal setting. The personal relationships gained with the professors in a small classroom setting gives you the opportunity to extend your network and leverage your contacts.   Without Dr. Durney, I would not have had the opportunity to meet with Mary and get my foot in the door obtaining my first internship with CNBC.

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

Brendon: Working two internships with CNBC, and now training for a freelance position, I have worked in different departments in different locations. I cannot exaggerate the community aspect of working at CNBC, and the people I work with.  I truly love going to work and being on site at CNBC.   One of my favorite experiences so far has to be working with Jim Cramer on Mad Money.  As an intern, I ran the scripts to Jim and got to know him on a first name basis (having regular conversations with him before his set).  I love his show, and before CNBC I would not have dreamed to be working directly with him.

What advice would you give to STAC students looking for a job or internship?                    

Brendon: I would advise current STAC students to take advantage of the networking opportunities at the college, especially the professors, their backgrounds and potential contacts. When competing against some of the bigger named schools out there, it can be very daunting to many students from smaller schools.  Do not let this get to you, but motivate you to show how STAC has prepared you.  Focus on being unique and detail orientated when in the workplace.

My Spartan Success with Sean Wilson

Sean Wislon, 2016

Interview Conducted  by Laurie Child

Written By Victoria Perrotta

When do you graduate, and what is your major?

Sean Wilson is currently a senior and is expected to graduate in May of 2017. He is majoring in Communications with a Minor in Public Relations.

Sean Wilson at Fox News Station

How did you hear about the position?

Sean is currently interning with Fox News in the Digital Library Department where he pulls, cuts, and edits old video clips to be used on the Digital Platform. Sean had previously applied for a position at Fox but missed the deadline, and was unsuccessful. He reapplied the next time it became available and was contacted for an interview.


Can you explain the interview process?

The interview process was a unique one, and split into 4 phases. The first phase, applying online and submitting his resume and cover letter.  After a successful screening, he was then contacted for phase 2 of the interview process – an online process in which he assumed he would be talking with someone via Skype.  Instead, it consisted of a question popping up on the screen, and given 60 seconds to answer before moving to the next question.  After completing this phase successfully, Sean was contacted for a phone interview and eventually obtained the position.   Unlike the traditional interview process, Sean was never asked to come in and participate in a face to face conversation.

How did STAC help you in your career search?

Sean used the Career Development Office during his early years at STAC, helping him put his resume together and layout his experience appropriately.  Sean has really benefited from the small school environment, taking advantage of the personal connection with professors and participating in classes that may not be available at larger institutions.   An example of this is the Communication Skills in Business class which is taught by Professor Winship. Part of this class involves participating in a Mock Interview, and completing a self-evaluation of your answers and preparation.  Sean found this very useful and was able to apply his knowledge to his Fox success.  

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

Sean loves his current Fox News internship, “I love the fast paced environment of working in New York City, and the social aspect of the office”.  Sean has recently obtained another internship with Fox News in the production department.  Although he loved his time in the Digital Library, he wants to pursue a career in production, and this internship is a dream come true.   

What advice would you give to STAC students looking for a job or internship?      

Sean’s advice for current students is to “get yourself out there”.  Although it seems daunting, you have to be proactive and leverage the opportunities STAC provides with the small school environment and the services offered here.  “Before successfully getting this position with Fox, I applied to 20 plus companies, and did not hear back from any of them”.  He went on take an unpaid Internship with the Rockland Boulders which although was not top of his list, gave him the direct experience to production, and allowed him to compile a professional portfolio with published works. He advises students to “consider every opportunity, and not overlook anything that may not be top of your list – learn to say yes”.