Alcoa executives and Bottom Line students who attended the career event

Alcoa executives and Bottom Line students who attended the career event

Every year, January turns into “career month” for our college students at Bottom Line – New York. This month, there were a variety of career events for our nearly 800 college students to attend while they were home on break. In addition to the Go Far Forum, our signature career readiness event that is held annually, we offered a number of smaller career events at the offices of our corporate partners.

One of those events took place at Alcoa, a global leader in lightweight metals technology, engineering and manufacturing. Alcoa CFO Bill Oplinger, a Bottom Line – New York Board member, kicked off the event by reminding students that “where you start won’t be where you end up,” encouraging students to consider jobs that they might not originally have thought about and to stretch themselves professionally – a theme that his colleagues echoed throughout the day.

To learn more about one student’s impressions and takeaways, read Bottom Line student Shaquille Bent’s account of the day and how he plans to apply what he learned at the Alcoa career event going forward.

Name:  Shaquille Bent

College: SUNY Buffalo State

College Year: Senior

You’ve been to a few career events with Bottom Line now – how did this one compare to past ones you’ve attended?

This one with Alcoa was extraordinary. In a way, it was more hands-on because we got to interact one-on-one with senior executives at Alcoa from very different departments and hear about their career path. It was unique because I got personal feedback on things that I did well and things that I can improve on during that one-on-one career coaching.

Shaq receiving one-on-one career coaching from one of our Alcoa volunteers

Shaq receiving one-on-one career coaching from one of our Alcoa volunteers

What were some of your favorite parts of the career event at Alcoa?

I did research before the event because I had not previously heard of Alcoa. So, it was great to learn more about a company that I didn’t know about before. I really enjoyed hearing about people’s career paths, and I learned that what you study in college does not necessarily determine what type of job you get. My favorite part was the one-on-one conversation with Guru (an Alcoa employee), because he had a similar career path to the one I want. He studied mechanical engineering; I’m studying industrial technology. He also has a MBA, and I’m interested in obtaining one too.

What was the most intimidating or most challenging part of the event for you?

I don’t feel like there was a really intimidating part because Bottom Line has helped me really prepare for events like these. If I were still a freshman, I probably would have been much shyer and not known how to interact with everyone. I definitely wanted to make a good impression on the Alcoa executives, though!

What were some of your key takeaways?

First, I remember Sue (another volunteer from Alcoa) saying how important it was to “make sure you stretch yourself and go after all opportunities.” Guru said the same thing – to look into opportunities outside of the state where you live, to be flexible, to take risks, and do things out of the ordinary. All of the Alcoa employees that we met with have achieved professional success; they inspired me to want the same for myself.

Second, Daniel from Alcoa said that you need to find mentors and keep relationships alive. That was really important for me too. I feel like I’ve started to do that, but I’ve struggled with how to keep the relationship alive. They gave us some specific examples for what to do, like sending an email every now and then just to check in, so that you can build “a repository of advocates” as Daniel said.

What types of careers are you considering, and how did this event help you prepare for them?

I’m thinking long-term about becoming a project director or project manager. Right out of college, I think I want to be an analyst somewhere and gain experience in the business world. I can then interact with professionals as well as other project managers and learn from them. Down the line, I also want an MBA.

This event helped me prepare for that by learning about other successful business professionals’ career paths. They shared their stories about how they got to where they are. They all had very different paths, so I realized that you have to be open to all opportunities because you never know where they might lead.

Any advice for students who are graduating from college soon and starting to make plans for their careers?

One thing that I’ve learned throughout my college career is that you have to network. Networking can open up a whole range of opportunities that you never thought existed.

You also have to find mentors and keep the relationship alive. You can learn a lot from mentors because they have lots of experience and the knowledge that they share with you can help you find a career.


This year, Bottom Line-New York placed 50 of our college students in summer internships at a variety of corporate and non-profit partners. Internships provide a unique opportunity for our students to develop professional skills and build their professional networks. All of the internships were paid or subsidized by generous funders. We’re so grateful to each of the companies and organizations that made this possible, including: BRIC, Children’s Law Center, Citizen Schools, The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Community Voices Heard, Hot Bread Kitchen, iMentor, The Innocence Project, The Jed Foundation, The Jewish Museum, JUMA Ventures, Methodist Hospital, New Teacher Center, Partnership for After School Education (PASE), People.Co, Safe Horizon, Sapient, Start Elevator, and Viacom.

Below, Kassandra Rosales, a rising third-year student at SUNY Albany, explains what she did this summer and what she learned from her time at Sapient, one of Bottom Line’s corporate partners.

Kassandra 1

Kassandra Rosales interned at Sapient, one of Bottom Line’s corporate partners.

Name:  Kassandra Rosales

College: SUNY Albany

College Year: Third

Tell us about Sapient and what you worked on there this summer:

Sapient is a consulting firm that works with other companies like tech companies, retail companies, car companies, banks, etc. They help them develop strategies in order to improve their company’s performance – now or 5 years from now.

For my first project, I worked on the finance team. I was inputting data from media plans, contracts and invoices into “wrap-up sheets” for Sapient’s clients. This allowed Sapient to keep track of how much they were paid and how much they spent for each client. If Sapient used less than the amount in the contract, the company could decide if they wanted that balance back or to use it for another project.

For my second project, I worked in the talent department. I used their talent databases to input information about each candidate and feedback from any interviews. I also did research to find recruiting agencies that focused on the specific careers that Sapient was looking to hire for.

What were the 2-3 skills that were most important for your work this summer?

First, I needed communication skills. There were a lot of things that were new to me so I had to communicate with my supervisor if I didn’t understand something or wanted to be sure that I was doing the work correctly. We had meetings every few days to check in on my progress.

Second, I became a lot more familiar with Excel. Most of my work was done on Excel, and I didn’t have a lot of experience with it before this internship.

Third, I needed researching skills. I learned a lot about where to look, the importance of knowing what specifically I’m looking for, and how to pull out key information when doing research.

What was the best part of your time at Sapient? Biggest challenge you faced?

I really enjoyed the finance work and meeting the employees at Sapient. There were all really nice and I loved hearing about how they got to where they are. For instance, maybe they majored in something totally different than what they do at Sapient. I also enjoyed being in a corporate environment because I’ve worked in schools and non-profits before.

My biggest challenge was a specific assignment – the research project. I hadn’t done a lot of research prior to this job and wanted to make sure that I was completing the project correctly. I spoke with Angela, my manager, before I started the work and she helped me break it down and set up a spreadsheet to organize the information that I was finding. Then I would check-in a few times during the project to make sure I was on the right track. Another Bottom Line intern was doing similar work, so I was able to talk to her as well.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would spend more time getting to know people on different teams at Sapient and learn more about what they do. I feel like I didn’t network as much as I wanted to and so I’d do that more next time around.

Any advice for students who are starting to think about internships for next summer?

Definitely do research on the companies that you would like to intern for, talk to peers who might know more about the companies, and practice your communication and Excel skills now. And, when you’re looking into jobs, be open-minded and flexible.

This month Bottom Line – MA hosted Go Far Forum events in Boston and Worcester. More than 300 college students and graduates from Boston and 200 local professionals gathered at the Westin Copley Place Hotel to participate in Bottom Line’s sixth annual Go Far Forum on January 9th. Lead event sponsors of the Boston Go Far Forum were Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Boston Children’s Hospital, iRobot, Liberty Mutual, and Sun Life Financial. In total, 29 companies, nonprofits, and professional associations had exhibitions at the event. The event also featured a keynote speech by George Foreman III, owner of The Club, boxer, and son of former heavyweight champion boxer George Foreman. Mr. Foreman spoke to students about how to stand out professionally and the importance of building your brand.


Boston Go Far Forum Keynote Speaker George Foreman III conducts a mock interview

Bottom Line Worcester hosted their Go Far Forum at the DCU Center on January 7th with more than 100 Worcester college students, graduates, and local professionals in attendance. Hanover Insurance Group, Worcester’s second-largest employer, served as the lead sponsor of the event. Staples and UMass Memorial Healthcare provided supporting sponsorships. In total, 18 companies and nonprofits were in attendance.

Bottom Line students and Hanover Employees

Students speak to Hanover Insurance employees at the Worcester Go Far Forum

Students at both events participated in mock interviews with volunteer professionals, attended roundtable discussions with human resource professionals, listened to job search panels, and met with representatives from companies and professional organizations at a career fair.

“The Go Far Forum has motivated me to continue working hard in school in order to become a successful person in the future. The mock interviews made me feel confident about the skills I have and helped me prioritize the experiences I will need in order to accomplish my goals,” said Bottom Line student Richard Gonzalez.

The Go Far Forum provides students with an exciting opportunity to explore different career paths, gain professional skills and network with experts in their field.


Bottom Line students at the Go Far Forum in Boston

Click here to learn more about Bottom Line – New York’s recent Go Far Forum event.

On January 9th, nearly 100 of our college students and over 50 volunteers attended Bottom Line-New York’s Third Annual Go Far Forum. Students had the opportunity to work one-on-one with volunteers to edit their resumés, learn from a variety of professionals about their career paths, and practice their networking skills. Below are three of our students’ reflections on the event and what action the Go Far Forum has inspired each of them to take:

  IMG_2254Name: Taiwo Akande

  College: Brooklyn College

  Graduation Year: 2015

  Career Interests: Lawyer, but now I’m also thinking about other careers after this year’s Go Far Forum

What was your favorite career roundtable and why? The Law and Criminal Justice roundtable was my   favorite. Cristina (a Bottom Line – Massachusetts alum) was a volunteer on the roundtable who stood out to me in  particular. I talked to her one-on-one after the roundtable and appreciated how honest she was with me about  the  good and bad parts of entering the legal field.

What’s one piece of professional advice that you learned at the Go Far Forum? Everyone that I communicated with advised me not to focus solely on the job field that applies most closely to my major. They encouraged me not to limit my options. I used to think that with my Political Science major all that I could do was go into politics; the volunteers helped me open my mind to new ideas.

One next step that I’m planning to take after the Go Far Forum: Cristina encouraged me to start practicing for the LSATs if I really want to go to law school right after undergrad. She told me about a great summer program and I’m planning to apply.


IMG_2396  Name:  Randa Naim

  College: College of Staten Island

  Graduation Year: 2017

  Career Interests: Undecided, but I’m studying electrical engineering right now.

What was your favorite career roundtable and why? I really liked the business roundtable because it was pretty inspirational. There was a volunteer from Nickelodeon and he was telling us about the business of getting stars to sign contracts. I found that really interesting because when you watch Nickelodeon you think about Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants, but Joel showed us that there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes.

What’s one piece of professional advice that you learned at the Go Far Forum? There was a volunteer from Canon during the networking time who reminded us to keep reaching out. He said that it’s good that we’re starting early by going to the Go Far Forum, but that we should reach out and not limit ourselves. We should go for lots of internships and get lots of experience while we’re young.

One next step that I’m planning to take after the Go Far ForumI was already applying to some internships and fellowships, so now I’m definitely going to finish those applications.


IMG_2350  Name: Tiffany Acevedo

  College: SUNY Albany

  Graduation Year: 2017

  Career Interests: I definitely want to go to law school, but I’m not sure specifically what I want to study – possibly international business.

What was your favorite career roundtable and why? I enjoyed the law and criminal justice roundtable because I really liked that one of the panelists, Adi, said that if you want to go to law school, you don’t have to major in anything specific; you can study what interests you in college and law school will help you with the legal stuff.

What’s one piece of professional advice that you learned at the Go Far Forum? When you’re having professional conversations, there is never a negative attitude. When professionals were speaking to us, they treated us like adults and not just college students. That made me feel really good about myself.

One next step that I’m planning to take after the Go Far ForumI’m  going to attend more networking events because something good always comes out of them. You could meet someone who will have opportunities that you can take advantage of in the future or you could learn a new piece of advice.

Richardson, Abigail 3Abi Richardson has her Bachelor’s in Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. Abi was born and raised in Boston and is committed to giving back to the community. Her goals vary from expanding her brand Vers Clothing (Very Easily Redefining Style) to assisting at distribution events in Honduras giving children and adults their first pair of sneakers. Abi enjoys collecting sneakers and is actively involved within sneaker culture.

High School: Boston Latin Academy

College: UMass Amherst

Graduation Year: 2013

Job(s): President at Vers Clothing; Director of Programming for Sneakers4Success; Gas Sales and Marketing for NSTAR

Bottom Line Memory:

I appreciate all the assistance Bottom Line has provided for me while I was in college, but choosing a college was the difficult part. I honestly didn’t want to go to college. I remember speaking to Sarah Hedges as a high school student about not really knowing what was next in my life. She helped me visualize what my future could be and helped me to recognize that college would give me more options for my future. She explained to me how helpful Bottom Line would be throughout my journey in college. I instantly felt welcomed and incredibly appreciative.

If I could send a care package, I’d fill it with:

Now that’s easy. I’d fill it with my brand Vers Clothing of course. Don’t get me wrong, getting candy is awesome. But candy AND a tee shirt?? That would be crazy. One day…

Why I stay involved with Bottom Line:

I know I didn’t get to where I am today by myself. It’s important for me to give back to programs that have stuck by my side. There are so many ways to give back to our community, the only problem was choosing one (or two, or three). I appreciated every thing Bottom Line has done for me – from sending me care packages to providing mentoring.

People would be surprised to learn that I used to:

Only have two pair of sneakers. I remember having my all white and my all black pair of Nike Air Forces Ones.

The BEST part of being a college graduate is:

Having the freedom to do absolutely whatever I want with my time. I don’t have to wake up for class anymore or worry about if my homework is finished. I don’t read a syllabus anymore to guide me along each semester. The best part is using everything I’ve learned and applying it to whatever I love to do.

The HARDEST part about being a college graduate is:

Actually deciding what to do with all this free time. There are so many careers to choose from, events to attend and opportunities to volunteer. There’s a lot of pressure to hurry and a find a job right after college but I believe we all have our own path to whatever we define as success.

Join me in supporting Bottom Line by…

Volunteering to build care packages, attending the annual alumni Success Celebration and maybe being part of the Success Celebration committee and donating a care package!



NoelaniMeet October’s alumna spotlight, Noelani Guerrero!

Noelani D. Guerrero is currently a Human Resources Coordinator at Nutter McClennen & Fish, LLP. She received her B.S. in Communications and Human Development from Boston College in 2007. Her goal is to continue working in the Human Resources field as a Generalist and ultimately a Manager. Noelani was born and raised in Boston and enjoys staying involved in community service. She currently serves on the Bottom Line Alumni Board and volunteers with the Hyde Square Task Force College Bound Mentoring Program. At some point, Noelani would like to go back to school and earn a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management.

High School: West Roxbury High School

College: Boston College

Graduation Year:

Job: HR Coordinator Nutter

Bottom Line Memory: Go Far Dinner my senior year of college where I had made a connection with Eastern Bank employees and later got one of my first jobs out of college with them.

If I could send a care package, I’d fill it with: Hand Sanitizer and Chap Stick (can never get enough), healthy snacks, chocolate, pens & pencils (that always manage to get lost), and a quote of encouragement.

Why I stay involved with Bottom Line: The staff and supporters made a huge impact on my college application process and beyond. 

People would be surprised to learn that I used to: Stroll at parties with my sorority sisters….(I still do on occasions!)

The BEST part of being a college graduate is: Not being a student! No more early classes, homework, midterms or finals – although that prepared me for the real world experience, so I’m grateful for it.

The HARDEST part about being a college graduate is: Finding a job that you like, with a company that you like where you can grow and see yourself long term. 

Join me in supporting Bottom Line by…. I supported the Rodman Ride by donating $100 dollars of my own money and fundraising another $500; join me and donate today!


During the 2013-2014 school year, Bottom Line’s six full-time career counselors will provide career services to approximately 600 juniors and seniors who are enrolled in our Success Program. Each student will meet with their counselor between 8 and 15 times over the course of the school year to determine a career path, edit cover letters and resumes, apply to internships and jobs, practice interviewing and networking, and find opportunities to build relationships with professionals in their areas of interest. Students will also have the opportunity to attend Bottom Line hosted career events through one of our career partners. Read more below about  Erin’s summer internship with Sun Life Financial, one of Bottom Line’s career partners.


Erin (pictured left) is currently a junior majoring in Business Management at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management.

How did your Bottom Line counselor help you find a summer internship?

My Bottom Line counselor helped me narrow down internship opportunities based on my major in Business Management. We did several internship searches together and she helped me tailor my resume and cover letter to fit various opportunities. Sun Life Financial is one of Bottom Line’s career partners, so when my counselor found out they were hiring interns, she sent job descriptions to me and helped me apply.

What did you learn from your internship?

I was asked to stay on by Sun Life Financial and I have been able to work there part-time during the school year, so I am still learning from this internship. I have learned a lot about what I am capable of doing: before this internship I was working at a convenient store, so having this internship has really helped me learn a lot about organization and professional skills.  My internship has also helped me to gain insight into the jobs that are available in my field. A lot of times college students don’t know what to do because they don’t know what they can do. One of my favorite things about working in HR is writing and sending offer letters. I remember being on the receiving end of that letter. It’s exciting because the offer is not just a job; it’s a career.

How is your Bottom Line counselor helping you with career preparation this year?

Now that I am a junior, I am even more focused on my future career path and where my experiences will take me.  I am going to focus more on networking opportunities with my Bottom Line counselor and I am looking into focusing my studies on Human Resources. I love working and I feel even more invested in my classes now that I can really see how what I am learning applies to a career.











Philistin, Johanne Meet July’s alumna spotlight, Johanne Philistin!

Johanne graduated with a B.A. in Accounting from Northeastern University in 2010. She is originally from Haiti, and moved to Boston ten years  ago. She is currently a Staff Accountant at Industrial Economics. Her goal in the next few years is to go to graduate school and get a CPA license. Johanne currently resides in Hyde Park where she enjoys riding her bike.


High School: Hyde Park High School

College: Fisher College & Northeastern University

Graduation Year:

Job: Junior Accountant

Bottom Line Memory: The first time I met Dave, I remember him trying to reiterate the fact that the service was free and I thought it was a sales pitch just to get me to sign up. Little did I know the service was, in fact, free.

If I could send a care package, I’d fill it with:
Starbucks gift cards and Kit Kats

Why I stay involved with Bottom Line: They supported me through college, and now it’s my turn to support them.

People would be surprised to learn that I used to: Do ballroom dancing. ( I wasn’t a pro or anything, but I wasn’t bad either.)

The BEST part of being a college graduate is: No homework! (Just kidding). Working in my field and putting all of that theory into practice.

The HARDEST part about being a college graduate is: Loan repayment  

Join me in supporting Bottom Line by…. Joining me on the Rodman Ride or supporting me by going to my fundraising page to contribute!

On September 28th I will be riding 25 miles in a non-competitive ride to support Bottom Line. I ride with Bottom Line because I want those college students to have the same opportunity that I had as a Bottom Line student. I was in their shoes not too long ago, and I know what it feels like to want to walk across that stage and receive that diploma. I believe Bottom Line can help them achieve that goal, and I want to contribute to their success and be part of their journey.

Goncalves, ValdyBIO: Valduvino, or Valdy is a recent graduate of Northeastern University. After college, he landed a job at New Mission High School as a Guidance Assistant where he works with students on college access and well as on the socio-emotional issues that students generally face in high school. He is currently enrolled in a Master’s program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston where he is studying school counseling combining his theoretical work with his actual practice at New Mission High School. He plans to work as a guidance counselor for a few years and eventually become a high school principal or go into higher education.


High School: John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science

College: Northeastern University

Graduation Year:

Job: New Mission High School, Boston Public Schools: Guidance Assistant

Bottom Line Memory: Working there as an intern and experiencing Bottom Line as a staff member & speaking at the Bottom Line graduation!

If I could send a care package, I’d fill it with:

Why I stay involved with Bottom Line: Bottom Line was a critical component of my college process and the reason I went to Northeastern was because of their help with scholarships

People would be surprised to learn that I used to: Work at Target for 4 years!

The BEST part of being a college graduate is: Making full time money!

The HARDEST part about being a college graduate is: Adjusting to a work schedule while still trying to balance graduate school. Not sleeping as much as I did in college; no daily naps!


Meet Hermese Velasquez, our December Alumni Spotlight!

Hermese Velasquez is currently a Business Analyst at Arbella Insurance. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, Certificate in Business Analysis from George Washington University and plans to attend business school in the near future. Hermese is originally from Belize and came to Boston at the age of 11.  She enjoys traveling to warm climate countries, trying new foods, spending time with family and catching up with friends.

High School: John D. O’Bryant

College: UMass Amherst

Graduation Year:

Job: Business Analyst at Arbella Insurance Group

Bottom Line Memory: Visiting UMass Amherst with the Bottom Line

If I could send a care package, I’d fill it with: Trader Joe’s Almond Vanilla Granola Clusters and Eucerin Body Lotion (weird combination but I couldn’t start my day without either!)

Why I stay involved with Bottom Line: I support and believe in Bottom Line’s mission and values. I stay involved with Bottom Line because they not only believe the people in my community can beat the odds but they ensure that they do.

People would be surprised to learn that I used to: Write for the O’Bryant newspaper

The BEST part of being in college was: Spending a semester abroad

The HARDEST part about being a college graduate is: Cooking, though the food wasn’t always great in college, at least I didn’t have to cook.

Join me in supporting Bottom Line by: Donate if you’re able to, if not support with your time and skills.