StuCo Hosts First-Ever MICDS Career Fair

A dozen alumni speakers gathered virtually with Upper Schoolers on Thursday during Advisory to participate in the first-ever MICDS Career Fair. With a wide range of professional experiences, the alumni shared their experiences in higher education and about their careers after graduating from MICDS.

This special event was planned by the MICDS Student Council leaders who worked in partnership with the MICDS Alumni Board and Director of Alumni Relations Louise Jones. Read about the inspiration for the event from the perspective of StuCo Co-Head Ava Mandoli ’21: “As a senior this year, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the future. I remember filling out the Common Application earlier this school year, and one of the questions they ask was for us to indicate our future career plans. As I was reading through the long list of options, I realized how little exposure I had to many of the fields. There is such a range of career paths that we have not been exposed to, and I was curious to learn more about them. I spoke to some of my classmates and found they felt the same way. After some brainstorming, Luke and I came up with the idea of a Career Fair. We also wanted to strengthen the bond between current students and alumni and thought that having alumni share their paths from MICDS to where they are now would be so valuable to current students who are figuring out what careers they’re interested in. We are very thankful for the help of Ms. Jones, the Alumni & Development Department, and Student Council, and we hope this will continue to be an annual event the MICDS community looks forward to, even after Luke and I leave StuCo.”

From a product manager at Google and former U.S. Senate staffer to the co-founder of an accessible luxury clothing brand and former-ecologist-turned-MICDS-science-teacher, check out the incredible roster of alumni speakers who volunteered their time to share with our students:

  • Aimun Malik ’14 – Venture capital/growth equity investor at Trustbridge Partners.
  • Cassandra Galluppi ’10 – Former ecological field researcher and current MICDS Upper School Science Teacher.
  • Matt Kreig ’03 – Management Consultant for Fahrenheit 212, an innovation strategy and design firm.
  • Stephen Douglass ’98 – Economic Strategist at NISA Investment Advisors with prior experience trading at a hedge fund and at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Jesse Appleton ’97 – Former U.S. senate staffer (2002-2007) and Bush administration official (2007-2008). Co-founder of a bipartisan public affairs consulting firm that provides government relations and communications services to a variety of clients.
  • Jordan Taylor ’14 – Data Analytics Consultant at Mastercard Advisors. Works with large consumer-facing businesses to help them analyze their data (sales, operations, marketing, etc.) to make better decisions.
  • Chip Mallin ’05 – Associate at Lewis Rice Legal Firm. Specializes in commercial and civil litigation.
  • Aaron-Michael Blackman ’09 – Former software engineer and current technical writer at Microsoft. Works in Software Industry/Gaming.
  • Vishnu Kalugotla ’10 – Product Manager at Google. Previously a product manager at the video game company Riot Games (creator of League of Legends) and spent several years in investment banking before then.
  • Louisa Rechter Takacs ’05 – CEO and co-founder of Mestiza New York, an accessible luxury clothing brand.
  • Kendra Elaine Mack ’04 – Learning Consultant at World Wide Technology; corporate training with a focus in leadership and management development.
For the event, each alum gave a brief presentation on their experiences after graduating from MICDS which was then followed by a Q&A. Multiple sessions were held via Zoom breakout rooms so that on-campus and remote students could learn from several alums during the fair no matter where the alumni were located. At the conclusion of the question-and-answer period, alumni shared their contact information so that students could follow up if they had more questions.

Here are some of the questions posed by StuCo:

  • What did you major in college? Did you ever change it? How long did it take you to discover what you wanted to do?
  • When you were in college, how did you go about finding opportunities in the field?
  • What was the process of finding a job like?
  • If you could do it over again, is there anything you would do differently?

Following are some of the pearls of wisdom that alumni shared with Upper Schoolers:

  • “Talk to people, email them, grab a cup of coffee. People like to talk about what they’re passionate about.” ~Chip
  • On answering what the best part was in being in a foreign country, Louisa shared, “I followed my passion. It made me realize my potential. Once you figure out who you are, it helps you figure out the future.” ~Louisa
  • “Be around people who don’t think the way you do. It’s really important to see things from a different point of view….also, take classes you’re interested in that are also a little outside of your area of interest or expertise.” ~Jesse
  • “It’s ok if you don’t know what you want to do. That might actually help you be more open-minded as you consider different career paths…[and a tip for studying in college] Start studying early. Don’t leave it all to the end and cram. Learn it as you go.”  ~Cassandra
  • On how to be an assertive leader but not too pushy, Kendra explained, “It’s a balance. I’ve used affirmations to build up my own confidence and I’d watch colleagues. I learned that it’s ok to share your opinion and to correct someone when they’re wrong as long as you use tact.” ~Kendra
  • “Talk to friends, mentors, other people in the field, seniors to you, and get advice on what their experiences are like. Your choice is not set in stone. Try internships to test opportunities out. Explore as much as possible.” ~Vishnu
  • “Going to college is not just about getting a degree. You need to leave with connections (teachers, the people that visit your classes, etc.). When you see opportunities, go for them! And also, put some independent projects on your resume.” ~Aaron-Michael
  • “If I won the lottery, I don’t think I would quit. Find your passion. Figure out what the thing is that you’re super excited about.” ~Stephen

“In planning an alumni career fair, our goal was to give students an opportunity to explore career paths they find interesting in a manner outside that of a traditional school environment,” explained StuCo Co-Head Luke Rickers ’21. “Although virtual learning has been challenging, we are grateful that it has presented us with the opportunity to use the school’s virtual resources to facilitate a stronger connection between alumni and current MICDS students through this event.”

It’s safe to say that Upper Schoolers not only enjoyed connecting with and learning from alumni, but they gained great exposure to what possibilities lie ahead after MICDS. Thank you to our alumni for taking the time to share such a variety of experiences with our students!

A note to students: If you’re interested in connecting with one of these alumni speakers to learn about their college and career paths, please email Director of Alumni Relations Ms. Louise Jones at