Planning a Career Grounded in Theology
When Angela Chiappetta graduated with a bachelor’s degree in religious and liturgical studies, she promised herself she would stay true to her passion for theology.
Today, less than two years since graduating from CUA, she is director of marketing at SevenTwenty Strategies, a 15-year-old Washington, D.C., integrated public relations, public affairs, and political action committee communications agency.
And she is keeping her promise.
On weekends and evenings, she works for the Catholic Apostolate Center, planning meetings and conferences. The center, a ministry of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottines) – Immaculate Conception located at the Pallottine Seminary at Green Hill in Washington, D.C., was founded in 2011 to assist with the Church’s New Evangelization.
The center’s director, Rev. Frank S. Donio, S.A.C., B.A. 1989, M.A. 1993, D.Min. 2012, enlisted the help of University students through the Knights of Columbus, to help with the founding of the center. Many of these individuals, now young alumni, like Chiappetta, continue to work for the center.
"Angela readily accepted my invitation to become part of the Catholic Apostolate Center team,” says Father Donio, who is president of CUA’s Alumni Association. “Her CUA education and experience enabled her to effectively engage in the rapid growth process of the center over the last three years."
“Father Frank gave us a unique opportunity to be involved on the ground floor, and those skills and experiences are an important part of my career foundation. We all take pride in the growth of the center,” says Chiappetta.
“I love my work as a marketing director,” she continues. “But it was very important to me to continue my work with the center and thereby continue to serve the Church in a meaningful way.
“While at CUA I studied with many theology majors who were called to religious life. And then there were others like myself who have a different calling,” says Chiappetta, who plans to eventually pursue graduate school in either a master’s of divinity program or in canon law. “My dream job would be a position such as chancellor or communications director for a diocese.”
In addition to her work at the center, Chiappetta studied at the University’s Rome Center, interned on Capitol Hill and in the development office of a nonprofit orgnaization, and worked for a lobbyist as an executive assistant right after graduation.
“A lot of people looked down on me when I became an executive assistant, but I learned so many valuable skills during my short time in that position, particularly in the area of communication, that helped land me the role of marketing director.”
Chiappetta says she was drawn to Catholic University for its Washington, D.C., location, which serves her interest in politics, as well as its Catholic mission.
She served as treasurer of the College Republicans. She recalls fondly the relationship shared by that group and the College Democrats. “We went to each other’s events. We listened to each other’s opinions. While I didn’t change my views, the experience opened my eyes and broadened my world.”
In her sophomore year, Chiappetta declared a theology major over the politics major she had also been considering. She credits the Christianity and Culture course with Chad Pecknold, associate professor of systematic theology, as the turning point. “He was so passionate about theology, so knowledgeable. And also a regular guy with a family and social life. I thought, ‘that could be me too.’”
She says her current job at SevenTwenty Strategies reminds her of her time at CUA. “I am surrounded by the most creative coworkers. The energy level is so high. They constantly challenge me. We have high expectations but we keep it fun. We love to meet and throw out ideas and before you know it one idea is multiplied by 10.”
Degree: B.A. 2013, Religious and Liturgical Studies
Favorite spot on campus: Outside the Basilica overlooking Michigan Avenue. “I loved to go for a run and stop there on the way back.”
Favorite new spot in D.C.: “The Titanic Memorial in Southwest D.C. on the waterfront. I finally watched the movie last year and I have become obsessed with the Titanic. I’ve done an absurd amount of research on it.”
Favorite saint: Mary Magdalene. “I am so fascinated by her story.”