Alumni Success Stories
Kalene Brennan ’08
Brennan works in development and communications for Best Buddies International, the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
“Our programs empower the special abilities of people with IDD by helping them form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure successful jobs, live independently, improve public speaking, self-advocacy and communication skills and feel valued by society,” she said.
Brennan is the deputy director of development and communications for the Best Buddies Challenge team, which raises more than $10 million annually through walk, run and cycle challenges in California, Florida and Massachusetts. “I manage complex communications calendars for over 50 events annually, create and edit content for the website, manage the social media accounts for the challenges and work with design to create participant fundraising tools,” she said.
She believes that Salve gave her the tools she needed for her current role. “The best lesson I took away from Salve is the importance of taking care of the community you live in,” Brennan said. “If you're on the fence about what to declare as a major, I'd say English is probably one of the best degrees you can walk away with. It's so malleable and can be applied in any professional field.”
Kelsey Murray ’12
As the global head of social media at NASDAQ, Murray is responsible for designing and overseeing implementation of enterprise social media strategy, ensuring it aligns with the brand’s vision and voice. She oversees content planning, event and thought leadership content amplification, paid social campaigns and performance, brand partnership strategy, analytics and reporting.
Prior to joining NASDAQ, Murray worked for Northwestern Mutual, LearnVest, American Salon magazine, People magazine and Thrive Global. “As much as I loved the editorial business, this expanded social media role has helped me dive head first into analytics,” she said. “I get to show how the successful projects my team delivers on ultimately ladder up to the business goals and objectives of the company and help drive revenue and growth.”
Murray said the most important skill she learned in her English communications courses was the art of interviewing. “When I ask my team, my boss, my agency the right questions, we get to a better solution,” she said. “When I return to Salve, I let all English majors know how important this skill set is.”
Murray remains connected with Salve by meeting with English majors and helping new alumni network their way to successful media jobs in New York City and Boston. “There were people who helped me at Salve – find my voice, find my vision, find my passion, find my purpose,” she said. “And it’s my goal to do the same for the next generation of women and Salve graduates.”
Tara Stanzione ’16
As a coordinator of residence education at Roger Williams University, Stanzione supervises 12 resident assistants and oversees about 600 resident students. While her core duties include mentoring students, creating engaging programs and helping those who are in need, every day is different.
“I do not have a 9-to-5 job where I do the same thing each day,” she said. “One day I could be hosting a campus-wide carnival, while the next I could be responding to a serious mental health crisis at 4 a.m.”
Stanzione, who served as editor-in-chief of both the Willow literary magazine and Mosaic student newspaper during her time at Salve, said those experiences provided valuable lessons about teamwork and the importance of open communication. “While being a Resident Advisor changed the direction of my career path, being in charge of two publications and managing the team dynamics of each group has helped me be a stronger mentor to my RAs and a more empathetic team player on my staff,” she added.
Stanzione said that her English communications degree remains incredibly helpful in her career and everyday life. “The skills I acquired have benefited me in being more quick thinking when in a time-sensitive situation, and gave me practice in coming up with the most important things to ask when responding on call,” she said.
Albert Vuoso ’15
As a member of the talent (human resources) team at Warby Parker, a direct-to-consumer eyewear and sunglasses retailer, Vuoso’s work focuses on learning and development, diversity and inclusion, and employee experience.
“During my junior year of college, I developed a strong admiration for the Warby Parker brand, and was intrigued by the thought of working at a fast-growing tech startup,” he said. “I applied in March of my senior year, and heard back in October that same year. At that time, I was working at a film PR agency in New York's financial district, and jumped at the chance to switch careers and companies for Warby Parker.”
Vuoso said Salve’s liberal arts curriculum equipped him to think critically about the world, himself and his work, and to understand his role as a global citizen. He also studied abroad in Costa Rica, an experience that developed his understanding about what it means to be human in different parts of the world.
“Having a strong background in writing, reading and analysis never goes out of style, and are competencies that employers seek out,” he said. “Additionally, and maybe most importantly, a degree in English from Salve is a gift to yourself. You will engage with text, film and theories that will undoubtedly shape you in new ways, and expand your perspective and sense of self for the better.”
Jacqueline Yun ’04
As the director of student services for Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Yun works with students who are navigating academic or personal difficulties. She also oversees student organizations, advises the graduate student council and coordinates programming such as orientation.
“A typical day for me is taking individual meetings with students, often discussing strategies for working with their academic advisor and developing academic plans of action,” Yun said. “I might also meet with the leadership of a student group to help them put together a program or discuss leadership transition plans.”
As a double major in English communications and theatre arts, Yun incorporates lessons from both programs into her current career. “I give oral presentations regularly, work on teams that develop strategies for internal and external communications and write a column for the graduate school’s monthly bulletin,” she said. “In addition, my theatre arts coursework prepared me to think creatively, work collaboratively on teams, learn the power of storytelling and how to improvise.”
Yun said the English communications program is a wise choice for undergraduates, noting that organizations, corporations and nonprofits all need professionals with excellent written and verbal communication skills. “An English degree provides a solid foundation for obtaining employment, applying to graduate studies and being successful academically in graduate school,” she added.