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CAT Alumni Return for Meet the Professionals Panel

By: Carol Ruiz, Director, Center for Career Development

Creative Arts and Technology alumni panelists wowed an audience of students, recent graduates and College administration with their comments at the Nov. 13 “Meet the Professionals Panel”, one of the career information sessions sponsored for the fourth consecutive year by the Center for Career Development.

Seven CAT alumni participated in the panel, along with employer Brian Bordeur, the President and Founder of ACIEM Studios in Montclair, NJ. The alumni who shared their career journeys included:

• Vanessa Perez, Experience Architect/Product Lead, Accenture (NJ)

• Evan McCall ('11), Technical Artist, High5 Games, (NJ)

• Fatima Cantos ('10), Visual Graphics Project Coordinator, Digital Evolution (NY)

• Lissette Velez ('11), Graphic Designer, Titan Group (NJ)

• Steven Leon ('10), Lead QA Tester/Device Manager, SkyZone Mobile (NJ)

• Marysol Villegas ('09), Senior Project Coordinator, McCann Echo Torre Lazur (NJ)

• Luis Rodriguez ('11), Video Editor, DScape Interactive, LLC (NJ)

“Be curious, be passionate and share your voice,” McCall told the audience, highlighting the “Holy Grail” that guides his career. “Be relentless and use your time wisely,” Rodriguez said during his remarks. “Don’t limit yourself; be humble and pay back.”

The guests of honor commented on how they use what they learned through their courses at Bloomfield, but also touched on the need for employees to teach themselves new skills and to learn things on their own to remain successful.

“The pace is fast and employer expectations are high,” said Velez, whose graphic designs can be seen on NJ Transit buses, trains, bus stops and train stations. She indicated how one has to produce a quality piece not in a few weeks but in several hours, while putting out fires for current clients.

Leon commented on his work at the New Jersey Association for the Deaf and Blind, which taught him the patience he needs for his job and helped him to learn how to communicate with people in different ways. In his current position at SkyZone, the work he does is translated to other languages from Spanish to Korean.

To be successful, Villegas advised students to “not focus on one thing, and to learn what goes on behind the scenes.” Perez added, “Success comes from the willingness to wear multiple hats, and fill in the blanks for team members to help them out.”

Networking was key to the panelists’ continued advancement, and they spoke about how the Center for Career Development had connected them with opportunities to intern at sites such as Inside Edition, High Five Games, Redbook, and MTV. In addition, they spoke about how they have networked to help each other advance in their career journey. Center for Career Development Director Carol Ruiz, who moderated the panel, was inspired by the group whose advice is what students needed to hear. “The students always benefit a great deal by hearing directly from employers and about the experiences of our recent graduates,” she said. “It gives them a true sense of what they can become and do after graduation. It provides a sense of hope, that they too can accomplish their goals no matter what the state of the economy. ”

“As a professor, hearing your former students speak about what they are doing in their careers and how Bloomfield College’s CAT Program and liberal arts education provided a sound foundation for their success was a dream,” CAT Division Chair Nancy Bacci said of the event.” These alumni have made it, and are on their way to greater successes”.