I’ve never been one to “bleed purple”, a phrase repeatedly used to describe the fervent loyalty, pride and admiration that binds many alumni to Holy Cross. It’s not that I don’t share their love for my alma mater (I do), or that the education I received didn’t live up to my expectations (it exceeded them). Rather, my hesitation can be explained by the fact that I’ve never been one to readily jump on the bandwagon of such phrases. That is, until this summer, when I found myself unexpectedly brimming with pride after telling people about Gina Maffucci, our intern from Holy Cross.
This isn’t the first intern from Holy Cross to spend a summer at STARKMAN. Indeed, a long line of Holy Cross interns have preceded her, myself included, thanks to the Holy Cross Alumni Association who generously covers students’ stipends and living costs in exchange for an authentic work experience. In fact, it is precisely this alumni organization that I, along with many other graduates, have to thank for playing an instrumental role in facilitating opportunities that lead to full-time employment upon graduation.
It is always humbling to reflect back on an experience you had that someone else is about to embark on for the first time, as was the case this summer when I was the Holy Cross “alum” who was now welcoming the “intern.” Though it had been several years, I could easily put myself in Gina’s shoes, recalling both the excitement and anxiety I felt as an intern on my first day.
But, if Gina felt even the slightest bit of nerves upon her prompt arrival, she certainly didn’t show it. In fact, her professional, articulate and pleasant manner that had so impressed me during her phone interview was made readily apparent in her smiling and confident demeanor as she stepped into the office. That same day, we invited her to join us at a Huffington Post panel event, where she demonstrated not only a genuine interest in learning more about media engagement, but her ability to represent herself with the utmost professionalism.
To say that Gina’s diligence, maturity and sense of responsibility exceeded our expectations would be an understatement. She continually impressed me – and all of us – with the ease at which she tackled any and all assignments, her initiative and resourcefulness, and her ability to edit documents with a fine-tooth comb. The Holy Cross Journal of Law & Public Policy is certainly lucky to have her as co-editor this year.
When a conference required our team’s presence at an offsite location for two days, Gina didn’t show the least bit of resentment at having to hold down the fort on her own. Instead, she happily assumed responsibility for our daily tasks and came to my rescue multiple times, helping me respond to email and phone inquiries and facilitate media requests. Her humility upon thorough completion of each task was admirable.
Gina also joined in our office “shenanigans” – by which I mean nothing more than our daily banter and laughs. Indeed, her comment one day about an “awkward turtle” moment (hand gestures and all) will forever remain on our whiteboard of notable phrases and terms coined by the STARKMAN team.
As for going out of her comfort zone, Gina wins the gold: she unabashedly called our office from a payphone and snapped a “selfie” while people were staring at her – a task we deliberately assigned to her after learning that she had never used one (as if we didn’t feel old enough already!).
But, while she was quick to join in the laughter and jokes, she proved to have a bit more discipline when it came to indulging in sweets – something my colleague and I do on a near daily basis. Our feverish attempts to assuage our guilt and persuade her to join in our cupcake-, chocolate-, and cookie-eating endeavors were more often than not met with a smile and polite, “No, thank you.” How I wish I had such self-restraint!
Needless to say, working with Gina has been an absolute pleasure – and has reminded me of the many reasons I am a proud alumna of Holy Cross. Indeed, if Holy Cross were ever in need of a student ambassador, Gina would certainly have my vote.
So, thank you, Gina, for igniting that “purple and white” pride in me. Thank you for your hard work, dedication and positive attitude. And a particularly big thank you for not judging us when we ordered an entire cheesecake from Junior’s to mourn the loss of Crumbs, the place we had visited every week as part of our office’s “Cupcake Thursday” tradition.
We will certainly miss you. But…fear not! You can expect to see us again when your two favorite colleagues visit you for homecoming. Just listen for the accent of our British friend, who will likely still be professing her love for avocados, and look for me among the sea of purple and white, beaming with pride, ready to cheer the Crusaders to victory.