Admission: Not Impossible


Have you ever thought about how you can make the most out of your summer breaks during college? Throughout the summer, we will be highlighting current Holy Cross students in our “Sader Summer Scoop” series to show some of the great summer opportunities students take advantage of. Whether they spend a few weeks in a foreign country during a Maymester program, do research with a member of our faculty, or have an internship in their future field, Crusaders are able to further their education in a variety of ways. To kick off our summer series, Fiona Busser ’19 gives us insight into the Weiss Summer Research Program in the Genetics Lab!




Name: Fiona Busser

Major/Minor/Concentration: Biology Major/Philosophy Minor/Pre-med track

Graduation Year: 2019

What are you doing this summer?: Research






What exactly are you doing?: I am participating in the Weiss Summer Research Program in the Genetics lab of Prof. Geoff Findlay of the Biology Department. I work in our lab on the first floor of O’Neil Hall. We as a lab work with the model organism Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) and specifically study the genetics and reproduction of this species. My project investigates a highly conserved gene called Enkurin in order to characterize its function and role in reproduction.

How did you hear about this opportunity?: I knew as an incoming student that involvement in research as an undergraduate student is a benefit that comes along with Holy Cross being a purely undergraduate institution. As I progressed further in my studies within the Biology department, I began to then hear more and more about the research labs and the Weiss Summer research program here at Holy Cross. I then began working in this particular lab the past semester and was then fortunate to continue my work this summer.

What are you most excited about doing within this program?: I am really excited about the amount of time that I have to make a lot of progress on my project. It is always rewarding when we make a breakthrough in the project that moves us along to the next step, or teaches us something new. Having nine weeks to focus on research and learn new procedures and techniques is a huge benefit so that once the school year begins again I will have new skills that will allow me to continue working at a pace that will result in a fair amount of progress being made. I am also excited to learn more about what other labs work on, wither through faculty presentations or from talking with the many other students that are on campus performing various types of research—both in the sciences and in other disciplines.

What are you hoping to gain from your experience?: I hope to not only gain more experience in a laboratory setting, but I also hope to gain a better sense of the collaborative nature of science. By working with both professors and other students, as well as working in conjunction with a lab at UMASS Medical School where my specific project originated, I hope to fully appreciate how the scientific process is dynamic, collaborative, and a well-rounded educational experience. I believe that through the summer research program I can bolster the ways in which I articulate my project, as well as present myself to different audiences all while learning so much from others.

Do you have any advice for prospective students thinking about doing research?: Don’t be afraid to approach professors early on! If you are interested in a particular field of interest that a certain professor specializes in or works on, feel free to go and speak to them about what they do. Not only do they appreciate when students are interested in learning more about particular topics outside of the classroom, but showing an interest and following that up with conversation and certain courses can readily turn into a research position, either during the summer or also during the regular academic year.

When you were in high school, did you expect to have this opportunity in college?: I did not expect to have such a great opportunity as performing such interesting and involved genetics research as an undergrad when I was back in high school. I was not even sure if research was something that I would enjoy, or even want to try. I am so grateful for the opportunities at Holy Cross to expand my learning and to try things that I never expected as now I cannot imagine finishing my biology education without the research I am currently participating in.

Double major=more work. Right? Actually, no, wrong.

As a tour guide, one of the most common question I get is “what is it like to double major? Is it hard?” I actually kind of chuckle every time someone asks me this because it reminds me how inaccurately double majoring is viewed.

Let’s break it down. Students at Holy Cross take 32 courses (each course is one credit) in order to graduate. A typical major is anywhere between 10 and 14 courses. So, if you have ONE major, you take 10-14 courses for that major, and the rest of your credits are filled with other classes—whether it be a minor, a concentration, or just a bunch of random classes!

If you have TWO majors, then you take 10-14 courses for one of your majors, AND another 10-14 courses for your other major. It’s really that simple. You do not need to take more than 32 courses in order to double major. The only difference is, you are taking more courses geared towards one major.

In regards to school work, you don’t have MORE work just because you have two majors. Often, majors require a higher level course in order to complete the major, whether it is a 300 level seminar, or a 400 level independent study course. This means that with two majors, you would have to take TWO of these higher level courses, one for each major.

SO, having two majors doesn’t necessarily mean more work. It means you have another field of study you are interested in addition to your other major. In terms of schoolwork, you would be taking one or two more higher level courses that you wouldn’t necessarily have to take if you just had one major. So when it comes down to it, a double major is really an addition of one or two more higher level courses to your class schedule.

After reading all of that you’re problem thinking why double major then? I’ll admit, double majoring is not for everyone. Some students know they only want to student one thing and one thing only. With me, I have multiple interests when it comes to academics. In fact, I wish I could triple or quadruple major but that’s just not an option. Students typically double majoring when they have more than one interest and want to study more than one thing.

On a more personal note, one of my favorite things about double majoring is seeing how my two areas of study, art history and sociology, overlap. And surprisingly, they do. When you double major, you’ll find a lot of interconnectedness within your courses, which help you grasp a better understanding as to how the world works. Another great aspect of double majoring is that you have two advisors, one from each major department. This is a great feature because you will have multiple amazing faculty resources!

In conclusion, double majoring only means you take courses geared to two specific academic areas instead of just one. It doesn’t mean more work and it doesn’t mean harder courses. In fact, I actually encourage underclassmen to take a wide variety of courses their first and second years to see if they find multiple disciplines they’re interested in and can double major in!

If you’d like to learn more about double majoring or any of our academic programs in general, visit our website at:

Freshman Year at Holy Cross: Commonly Asked Questions and My Experience

While many first-year students have older siblings to learn from as they venture off to college, I am the oldest in my family, so going off to college was a completely new experience for me and my family. While I felt completely prepared to leave high school and begin this new chapter in my life, there was still so much that I was unsure of — both about college in general and about Holy Cross. Here are some of the things I have learned so far from being a first-year student on the Hill…


What’s it like to be a first year student?

One of my biggest fears when going into college was leaving my high school friends — people I had known my entire life — and making a new group of friends. I’m from a pretty small town and I had gone to school with the same people since pre-school, so making new friends was a pretty big change for me. Within the first few days of school this worry of mine eased. Everyone is so open to meeting new people and making new friends during the first few weeks of school, so if you are worried about making friends, don’t be! Just say “hi” to people! I’ve met such amazing people here at Holy Cross and my best advice is to join clubs and activities that you love, branch out and try new things, and just talk to people!


What is your experience with classes and what are professors like?

Classes at Holy Cross are hyped up to sound impossible — they’re not! From my experience, as long as you pay attention, study, and do your homework, everyone is able to manage their classes and still have time for activities and a social life. Attending every class is more than half of the battle, so be sure to make that a priority. Classes are definitely challenging, but they are manageable. I view the challenging parts of classes as a positive thing because I know that I am learning new material and skills and it forces me to put forth my best effort. Additionally, the professors are really amazing! All of my professors so far this year have really cared about my learning and success. They are available, provide great feedback, and get to know their students. I have grown so much as a writer because of my CRAW and Poetry classes that pushed me to think outside of the box. Although that was initially hard to do, the challenge pays off. I can really sense the value in my college education.

Picking classes is another aspect of coming to Holy Cross that many students seem to worry about. My advice would be to have backup plans, just in case you don’t get your first choice of courses. For both first and second semester, I did not get all four of the classes that I wanted, but since I had backups picked out in my “Moodle” backpack, I’ve gotten to take some pretty cool classes that I wouldn’t have taken otherwise. The bottom line is that everything will work out with course selection and especially as a freshman, you have plenty of time to fill your core requirements! Don’t only take classes that you know you’re good at, definitely try some new things and try to broaden your horizons!


What is your Montserrat experience like?

Like many other students, when I first got my assignment for my Montserrat I was a little disappointed, because it wasn’t my first choice. However, I ended up really liking my Montserrat class because it focuses on a topic that none of my other classes cover. Also, because you spend the full year with the same class and professor, it’s really nice to have that sort of consistency at a time where everything else is changing.


What is it like to live with someone “random” as a roommate?

I was so nervous about who my roommate would be. Even after I got my assignment and communicated with my roommate over text, I still wasn’t totally sure what she would be like. I went into college with the expectation that my roommate and I would be best friends and although that isn’t the case, I still love my roommate and have had a great experience! We live very well together and get along great. It’s actually really nice to have somebody outside of your friend group to come home to every day and talk with. Many of my friends had similar experiences to me, while a few ended up being good friends with their roommates. Either way, the majority of roommates at Holy Cross have a positive experience.


Is Holy Cross living up to your expectations so far?

Yes, and more! I knew that I would really like HC, but it truly has exceeded my expectations and I really do love it. There is something so unique about the opportunities and the people here. You aren’t just a number at Holy Cross, you’re a person with a story. It’s so nice going to a small school and seeing people that you recognize all over campus!

I have really enjoyed getting involved here with SPUD, Admissions Outreach, and Eucharistic ministry. I went on a retreat at the Joyce Contemplative Center and hope to attend another. I also want to join club swimming and try out some more new things! I’m excited about the opportunities that the COES business overlay provides and the Maymesters look amazing. There is so much to do and try here and there is something for everyone.


Takeaways? Final Advice?

Don’t forget to stay on top of your Holy Cross email. A lot of important information is communicated that way. Get involved! That’s how you’ll meet and befriend people. Seriously, don’t worry about things like classes, making friends, and roommates. It will all work out and Holy Cross provides students with many resources along the way. Professors are always willing to help out during office hours and older students and peers are always happy to answer questions that first-year students might have. Try new things, say “hi” to people, try your hardest in classes, and everything will work out better than you ever imagined!


written by Katherine Barrette ’21


“Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door…”


This Mickey Rooney song from Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town popped into my head for a couple of reasons during Holy Cross’ Admitted Student Open House. First of all, the weather at times was frightful. And also, my phone let me know that I took over 20,000 steps and climbed nearly 100 flights of stairs throughout course of the day. 

The concept of putting one foot in front of the other feels apt for Holy Cross’ admitted students this week as well. What an exciting moment in time this is for you. By May 1st you will have selected the institution where you will spend the next four years of your life. You also have prom, senior week activities, graduation, and a whole summer to look forward to.

While it may feel like life is trying to whiz on by, make sure that you take time to pause and reflect in these coming days and weeks. Pause to look around your high school halls and to appreciate the friendships which you have been fortunate enough to forge. Reflect on all that you have learned these past four years and think about how you will bring these lessons onto a college campus in the fall.

Congratulations on your many accomplishments and I hope to see you back on Mount St. James very soon. Now go enjoy the final weeks of your senior year! Soon enough, your name will be called and you’ll be expected to walk across the floor.


“I was worried about having a random roommate, but my freshman year roommate and I ended up getting along so well; we have roomed together on campus every year since!”

-Alex Aviza ‘18, Political Science major, French minor, from Chicago, IL





I was most worried about not knowing anyone going into school. Not many people from my high school attend Holy Cross so it was a very new experience/environment. This feeling was remedied after summer orientation and meeting a couple of good friends with whom I stayed in contact with over the summer.

-Jeff Warden ‘18, Economics and Spanish double major, from North Andover, MA







“The thing I was most worried about coming to school was making a good group of friends. I think Holy Cross does a really great job with facilitating first-year programs and giving students something to bond over. I remember going home for Thanksgiving Break last year and being so surprised and happy with how many close friends I had already met through these programs.”

-Kate Beckerman ‘20, English major, from Duxbury, MA










“Going to school so far away from home, but once I stepped foot on campus, Holy Cross became my new home! I am glad I chose somewhere that I can truly call home, especially because of all my amazing friends here!”

-Sarah Brink ‘19, Biology major, Pre-Vet track, from Chicago, IL











“Class difficulty was worrisome, however I have formed better study habits through this to make school work go more smoothly”

-Emma DeFrancesco ‘20, Psychology and Spanish double major, from Albany, NY








“I was worried about being incredibly homesick but luckily I was able to feel right at home with this wonderful community and I met so many people in my first few weeks that I am able to call my friends.”

-Liza Goodman ‘21, English and Theatre double major, from Manchester, NY







“I was really worried about not being able to handle the academic stress mostly. A lot of it was resolved by more careful time management, and also going to office hours to seek for help!”

-Karen (Zhiran) Xu ‘19, Music & Computer Science double major, Neuroscience concentration, from Shenzhen, China










“I was most worried about leaving my family, but when I left them at the Mass of the Holy Spirit, I was greeted by so many smiling faces, I knew everything would be great and I would find my home here.”

-Abby Scott ‘20, French and International Studies double major, from Scituate, MA







“I was most worried about the amount of work I would have and balancing my schedule, but I have found countless resources on campus (office hours, calc buddies, ect.) that have helped me stay on track.”

-Olivia Fredrick ‘21, Undeclared major, from Newton, MA











My favorite thing at HC are the variety of clubs and activities available.”

-Allie Silge ‘20, Economics major, Art History minor, from Lake Forest, IL









The size. I love being so close to all my friends because that doesn’t happen on other campuses. I also love the community, especially within academics. Professors are incredibly accessible!”

-Heather Domenicis ‘19, English major, Creative Writing concentration, from Worcester, MA








“My favorite thing about Holy Cross is the loving attitude everyone has towards one another. If you need a hug, someone is always there. If you need help on a paper, someone is always there. If you need someone to talk to, someone is always there.”

-Michaela Fleming ‘20, Political Science major, Italian minor, from Framingham, MA







“My classes! They have all taught me to question more and think deeper, something that has helped me both in and out of the classroom.”

-Emma Liskov ‘21, Undeclared major, from Milford, MA








“My favorite thing about HC is the passion for service shared by most students on campus.”

-Mae Hougo ‘18, Political Science major, Peace and Conflict Studies concentration








“My favorite thing about Holy Cross is the traditions that we have every year. Whether that be the fall fest dinner in Kimball dining hall, the lessons in carols in the chapel right before Christmas or the homecoming weekend football game. All of these events are a time for the Holy Cross community to come together and they are always something that I look forward to each year.”

-Maggie Scanlon ‘18, History major, Peace and Conflicts Studies concentration, from Wakefield, MA






“Getting to take classes in subjects that I normally would not be involved in such as an Anthropology class and Sociology class. Also the Montserrat program. I had a really good Montserrat experience as a whole.”

-Patience Thompson ‘20, English major, from Nashville, TN









“My favorite thing about Holy Cross is the opportunities it has given me, in meeting amazing people and professors, and all the opportunities I will have after graduating.”

-Maeve McNamara ‘20, Political Science major, Peace and Conflict Studies concentration, from Brewster, MA








“My favorite thing about Holy Cross is the dedication to academics and the close attention that the professors give to each student.”

-William Crowley ‘20, Chemistry major, Pre-med track, from Ridgefield, CT









“The professors.  They are consistently brilliant and wonderful people, and I have felt supported and challenged by each and every professor I have had in class.”

-Julia Palmerino ‘18, History and Music double major, from Sudbury, MA








100% the community. The community aspect of Holy Cross is amazing, which definitely makes it stand out from other schools.”

-Connor Durkin ‘18, Psychology Major, from Merrimac, MA










I have learned that the skills that got you to a certain point in your life are not necessarily going to keep you there, and they won’t help you grow. It is so important to be constantly changing as a student and as an individual, questioning the world around you, and enjoying the opportunities you are presented.”

-Alex Aviza ‘18, Political Science major, French minor, from Chicago, IL





“I think my time at Holy Cross has taught me the importance of context and perspective.  This is built into the liberal arts curriculum and the Jesuit ideals, but particularly as a history major I think I have discovered the importance of thinking critically and understanding different points of view on a given issue.  This broad approach to learning and thinking is something I will absolutely carry with me into the world.”

-Julia Palermino ‘18, History and Music double major, from Sudbury, MA







“I have learned how to be more independent and how to take on more challenging responsibilities.”

-Megan Nementh ‘18, Psychology and Sociology double major, from Charleston, SC








“I have learned that many things can change in four years that will challenge you. These challenges may feel overwhelming at the time, but will ultimately help you become a better person. Also, I’ve learned that four years is too short!”

-Tom Cimini ‘18, Psychology major, Neuroscience minor, from Pittsfield, MA









“That everyone’s contribution to your surroundings helps the community thrive.”

-Ian Robertson ‘18, Economics major, from Beverly, MA








“It would take me hours to answer this completely, but to put simply, I have learned that life will pass you by if you don’t slow down through the madness, spend your days with those who brighten your days, and genuinely care about what you are doing – be it homework, a Rehm event, or anything else. Don’t be indifferent – life is too short.”

-Clare Orie ‘18, International Studies major, French minor, Peace and Conflict Studies concentration, from Sudbury, MA








“Genuine interest in other people. Everyone has something special about them the world ought to know, and I feel as though by being surrounded by so many kind and caring people at HC, I have fostered a similar desire to get to know this something special in everyone I meet.”

-Megan Viera ‘18, Economics and Studio Art double major, from Norwalk, CT








“I’ve learned to think critically and analytically and to use a variety of different lenses when considering a certain situation. I will undoubtedly take this open minded attitude with me post grad.”

-Kelley Kraemer ‘18, Psychology major, Religious Studies minor, from Cincinnati, Ohio









“I learned how interconnected my education can be, and those collaborative skills I will take with me into the workplace and world.”

-Mae Hougo ‘18, Political Science major, Peace and Conflict Studies concentration, from Saint Paul, MN








“As cliche as it may sound, I really learned how to be a woman for and with others. The college’s mission, my professors, and my peers have shown me how and why it is so important to be kind and to care for others. I am much more aware of how a smile, holding a door, or a kind word can really make a huge impact on others.”

-Nina Sparre ‘18, Political Science and Spanish double major, from Holliston, Massachusetts










“I have always been very independent, but I think being a student here has solidified that for me.  From navigating roommate challenges, to studying abroad, to writing a thesis proposal, every aspect of my time here at Holy Cross has taught me how important it is to advocate for yourself and others.”

-Julia Palmerino ‘18, Music and History double major, from Sudbury, MA






“I have learned so much about myself during my time at Holy Cross. One important thing I have realized is that prostration does not only waste other people’s time, it waste my time as well. If I get things done in a timely manner, I have time to relax, stress-free! But I am also still growing.”

-Rosangel Cruz Cabrera ‘18, International Studies Concentration, International Political Economy and Latin America, from Providence, RI






“I feel like I have been able to grow inside and outside the classroom. I have been able to take on a variety of leadership positions and have learned how to work with my peers and also faculty and staff. I also have been challenged in the classroom which has increased my capacity to think.”

-Maggie Scanlon ‘18, History major, Peace and Conflicts Studies concentration, from Wakefield, MA





“I feel like I have developed and grown so much as a person through my time here at HC. This school teaches you so much about the world and I think I’ve become way more open to new ideas and perspectives and much more apt to think about others before thinking of myself.”

-Nina Sparre ‘18, Political Science and Spanish double major, from Holliston, Massachusetts






“Through my four years at Holy Cross, I have not only grown physically, but also spiritually, mentally, globally, geographically, and artistically.”

-Alex Tansey ‘18, Economics major, from Peabody, MA







“I have grown and matured so much as a person over my years at Holy Cross. I have faced challenges that have made me

stronger and I have made wonderful memories that will remain with me forever.”

-Abby Howland ‘18, English major, from Norwell, MA









“I have grown exponentially since my first day at HC. I never would have seen myself as someone who was confident enough to give tours and conduct senior interviews, but here I am! This school forces you to step outside of your comfort zone in so many ways and I am eternally grateful for that.”

-Kelley Kraemer ‘18, Psychology major, Religious Studies minor, from Cincinnati, Ohio








“I have grown intellectually, spiritually, and socially at HC. Their focus on the whole person is so evident in every graduate of this institution.”

-Megan Viera ‘18, Economics and Studio Art double major, from Norwalk, CT








“I have learned to be comfortable not knowing everything and to be confident in my ability to express myself and to explore new experiences.  I have learned to ask more of myself and to be a woman for others.”

-Maeve Westover ‘18, International Studies major, from Boston, MA







“Abundantly. I’ve learned how to prioritize the different aspects of my life when it seems everything is a priority. I love what I study, and I love what I am involved in, and this passion has been a journey from freshman year, where I sort of just had a check-the-box approach to my classes and extracurriculars.”

-Claire Orie ‘18, International Studies and French double major, Peace and Conflict Studies concentration, from Sudbury, MA








“I was excited to be a member of such a close-knit, passionate intellectual community.”

-Julia Palmerino ‘18, History and Music double major, from Sudbury, MA







I most looked forward to the rigorous liberal arts education that Holy Cross offers. As a senior in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to study and I was excited to explore a myriad of options at Holy Cross.”

-Jeff Warden ‘18, Economics and Spanish double major, from North Andover, MA







“Having class, studying, and doing research in the awesome science complex.”

-Tom Cimini ‘18, Psychology Major and Neuroscience Minor, from Pittsfield, MA










“I loved that Holy Cross was like its own community.  When I first came to the campus, I saw people walking by and saying hi to one another, working on homework together, and just talking and having fun.  For me, the best part of Holy Cross is that it is so small. You get to really know the people around you and, in turn, form an even stronger attachment to the community itself.”

-Talia Spirito ‘21, Undeclared major, from Cranston, Rhode Island








“As I was looking at different Colleges and Universities, I was looking closely at the Pre-Med programs.  Holy Cross’s Medical school acceptance rate is one of the highest in the country and more than double the national average.”

-Jennifer Jackson ‘19, Accounting major Anthropology minor, Pre-Business Track, from Newton, MA









“I looked forward to the opportunity to become involved in the Worcester community. Through CBL and SPUD, I have been able to meet amazing people from Worcester who have made a large impact on my life.”

-Olivia Ferrick ‘20, Psychology major, from Kennebunk, Maine










“The thing I most looked forward to experiencing at Holy Cross was being able to take advantage of their research programs to participate in meaningful research.”

-William Crowley ‘20, Psychology major, from Shrewsbury, MA









“I was really excited about attending the sporting events. I was so excited to join Sader Nation and bleed purple!”

-Maddy Glynn ‘18, Psychology major, Pre-Health track, from Rochester, New York

Name: Maureen Connolly

Major: Chemistry

Hometown: New Canaan, CT

What are you going to miss most about Holy Cross?

The community – it’s truly a second family that I know I’ll have forever but not necessarily at my fingertips the way it is now

Do you have any plans for the future?

I am working in White Plains, NY for PepsiCo in a Foodservice Sales position.

What did you learn at Holy Cross that you will take with you into the world?

I learned how to adapt to different situations, personalities, and time demands that I know will be invaluable to me moving forward.

What piece of advice would you like to share with prospective students?

Embrace all that Holy Cross has to offer – there are so many opportunities so do not hesitate to get involved

How do you feel you’ve grown over your time at Holy Cross?

I have grown tremendously. I am more capable as far as time management and a more confident individual than I was when I first arrived on the Hill.

What is your favorite thing about HC?

The friends I have met, I couldn’t imagine my life without them

What is the most exciting event you’ve attended this year?

The Women In Business Conference… The keynote speaker was fantastic and really inspired me not to be intimidated by anyone. It showed me that I can be a strong, confident woman when I enter the workforce next year.


Name: Isabella Cuellar

Major/Minor: Psychology Major, Education Minor

Hometown: Coronado, CA

What are you going to miss most about Holy Cross?

I am going to miss the community and close proximity to all my friends. 

Do you have any plans for the future?

I accepted an offer as a teacher with Teach for America in New York City

What did you learn at Holy Cross that you will take with you into the world?

I learned to be a stronger leader and confidence in taking initiative in all aspects of my life.

What piece of advice would you like to share with prospective students?

I would encourage prospective students to take advantage of all the unique opportunities that HC has to offer and to step out of their comfort zone to try new things.

How do you feel you’ve grown over your time at Holy Cross?

I have grown intellectually and spiritually through the diverse classes I’ve taken and the multiple opportunities in the chaplain’s office that I have engaged in.

What is your favorite thing about HC?

I love the supportive and welcoming community at Holy Cross where students are accepting and encouraging of each other.


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