The Catholic University of America

May 15, 2015

New Grads Excited to Begin Careers

It’s a time of celebration at Catholic University as close to 2,000 students are set to receive their hard-earned degrees. Before they head out to conquer the world, we caught up with just a few of these new graduates to find out where they will be starting their careers.


Taylor Dodds

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Spanish For Health Care Certification

Job: neurosurgical registered nurse at New York University Langone Medical Center

How did you land this job? I truly believe that being offered this job is a result of every second of hard work and dedication over my last four years here at CUA. This goes to say that it also wouldn't have been possible if I had not been surrounded by such a strong community of nurses who instilled in me the knowledge, skills, and attitude to be qualified to take on this next chapter in my career. I am fortunate to have had an outstanding education, to have been surrounded by some of the most skilled and successful nurses in the profession, and to have had an amazing support system of friends, family, and colleagues.

What excites you about this position? I am thrilled to begin my career as a registered nurse for so many reasons. One of the most exciting aspects about this new journey is that it is probably going to be the most challenging thing I have yet to take on in my short nursing career. There will be days that my knowledge will be tested, and there will be days that my emotions will be tested. However, the idea of finally being able to take responsibility for the care of others, to finally feel that the four years of hard work and training here at CUA were worth the benefits that others will reap, is very exciting to think about.



Julianne Keller Reilly

Degree: Masters of Social Work (She received a bachelor’s in music education from CUA in 2009.)

Job: student support specialist at St. Louis Catholic School in Alexandria, Va.

How did you land this job? For the past six years I have worked as a music teacher at St. Louis. I completed my M.S.W. while teaching.

What excites you about this position? I am very excited to continue at the same wonderful school but in a new capacity, working with and supporting students experiencing challenges that impact their performance in the classroom.




Angeline Linsy Premraj

Degrees: B.S. and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering

Job: patent examiner, United States Patent and Trademark Office

How did you land this job? I applied through USA Jobs.

What excites you about this position? I look forward to learning about the new technologies in the field of medical devices and gaining the knowledge and experience that will someday help me become a patent attorney.




Audra Nakas

Degree: Bachelor of Arts (majors: psychology, politics; minors: philosophy, theology)

Job: research assistant, Social and Economic Policy Division, Abt Associates, Bethesda, Md. She also accepted the Via Sapientiae fellowship with Ethika Politika, an online Catholic journal.

How did you land this job? My academic adviser, Dr. Sandra Barrueco, reached out to her contacts at a number of social policy research firms with my cover letter and her recommendation. Abt responded enthusiastically, and of the organizations that were hiring, it was the best fit.

What excites you about this position? I'm excited to apply what I've learned in my coursework and to improve my quantitative skills, which will prepare me for graduate school in psychology or a related field. Additionally, when I asked each of my interviewers what they liked most about working at Abt, they all said that they love their coworkers.



Tori Neill

Degree: Bachelor of Arts (major: international business, minor: Spanish)

Job: Institutional Clients Group operations analyst at CitiGroup

How did you land this job? I landed my job through my internship this past summer, which I got through a reference.

What excites you about this position? I am very excited to live and work in Manhattan and challenge myself in the field of finance.




Kramer Ortman

Degree: Juris Doctor, Securities Law Certificate

Job: attorney, Itron

How did you land this job? In looking for a job near family, I searched online for available positions at law firms and large companies. When I saw the position at Itron, a publicly traded company, I quickly applied. After a phone interview and a trip across the country, I was offered the position.

What excites you about this position? It is not easy to find an inhouse attorney position directly out of law school, and it was always my goal to work inhouse for a company. When this opportunity came around, I knew I had to jump on the chance to realize my goal, which I previously thought was five years out. Additionally, this job will allow me to be closer to family. And most importantly, the time commitment when compared to a big law associate position will allow me to spend more time with my wife and my son, who is due in November.


Daniel Pierson

Degree: Ph.D. in Philosophy

Job: assistant professor of philosophy, Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan.

How did you land this job? I’m grateful to everyone at CUA who helped me to complete my degree and to be successful in the job market, particularly my dissertation director, Dr. Kevin White, and the dean of the School of Philosophy, Dr. John McCarthy. Having a degree from CUA was an asset to me in the job market. The degree is well-respected, and CUA philosophy has an extensive network of graduates and associates at colleges and universities around the country.

What excites you about this position? Benedictine is an excellent college with a strong Catholic identity. I’m looking forward to working with the faculty there, including Dr. Jamie Spiering, who is also a graduate of CUA philosophy. A sound philosophical education can help students to discover important truths about God, the world, and themselves. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with students and help to guide them in their pursuit of these truths.



Alexandra Stuckey

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Architecture

Job: junior designer/drafter, AV Architects + Builders

How did you land this job? Looking for an internship last summer, I initially wasn’t having much luck. It was the end of May when my mother gave me a magazine that listed companies in the Washington, D.C., area. The first company I called asked me to come in for an interview the next day and at the interview I found out the company was founded by two CUA alumni (who met at CUA and are now married) and she was from Spain. I had just come back from studying abroad in Barcelona. She offered me an internship the next day and now I am returning back to that company after graduation.

What excites you about this position? To get first-hand experience and knowledge of not just the design part of building, but also the construction aspect. I will be able to see a building evolve from the design concept stages through the whole construction phase, which is pretty cool!



Nicki Elledge

Degree: Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre (minor: theology)

Job: Utah Shakespeare Festival, Acting Company (featured performer in the Greenshow; nurse in South Pacific, Falstaff's page understudy in Henry IV Part II.)

How did you land this job? In the Fall of 2014, I submitted a headshot/resume to Utah Shakespeare Festival and was then invited to come to an audition. In November, I auditioned in Chicago with two monologues and a song. A few months later, they emailed me with interest in seeing me perform more literature. They asked me to submit a callback via video. After the video callback, which included both music and a monologue, I was asked to be a part of the acting company for the summer season!

What excites you about this position? I am so honored to be working with Utah Shakespeare Festival. We have already begun rehearsals and the process has been amazing so far. Thank you to all of the faculty in the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music for the wonderful training and guidance. Also, a special thank you to my voice teacher, Fleta Hylton, for her constant support and for helping me prepare for everything, including my Utah Shakespeare Festival audition. If you can, come out to Cedar City, Utah, and check out USF's fantastic season!


Thomas Carani

Degree: Bachelor of Theology and Religious Studies (minor: philosophy)

Job: catechetical apprentice serving the Diocese of Galveston-Houston with the Echo program at the University of Notre Dame. (Echo is a two-year, catechetical leadership program. He will earn an M.A. in Theology over the course of two summers and work in a parish in Houston.)

How did you land this job? I served Catholic University for two years as a student minister, and I discovered that I loved living in an intentional Christian community while helping others encounter Jesus Christ and His Church. Pam Tremblay, Emmjolee Mendoza-Waters, and the rest of the Campus Ministry staff mentored me as I discerned my aptitude for the program. I am grateful for the Office of Campus Ministry's formation and guidance, and to my advisor Dr. William Mattison, who always reminded me to be patient, trust in God, and integrate my intellectual life with my faith life.

What excites you about this position? I am excited to live and work in a new place. I grew up in the Midwest, spent some time in the Northeast — or at least spent time with people from the Northeast while I studied at CUA — and now I get to experience the Southern culture. Serving the Church in the South will have a unique set of joys and challenges, but I am excited to experience them and grow from them.




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