Alumni Career Days
Villanova's Alumni and Development Department has launched a monthly Career Day for current students led by successful Villanova alumni to educate them about potential career paths.
November 18, 2022 - Kilo Akuna '06, "The Art of Getting Your Foot in the Door."
As an entertainment industry professional, and a Computer Graphics Supervisor who now specializes in post-production, Kilo has been fortunate enough to work on over a hundred projects for televisions, movies, commercials, and games. He’s also gotten to
work in almost every facet of movie magic, from PA work (delivering coffee and hard drives), pitching a movie, preproduction, being on set, and working in visual effects and post-production.
Kilo says: “I am a nerdy gamer who was inspired as a kid by my love of smash brothers, Final Fantasy, Jurassic Park, World of Warcraft, Spiderman, and FLCL. During my years at Villanova and Chapman University, I was able to find friends who also loved gaming and movies. This passion and those friendships helped give me the drive to learn as much as I could about how to work in the industry I'm in today. My close friends during my Villanova years still talk to me sixteen years later.”
Nowadays, he spends his free time with his wife, dogs, and friends, watching horror movies and anime, playing fighting games, and tending his home and garden up in the mountains which he calls home.
October 27, 2022 - Anastasia Marks '17, "Journalism and the Importance of Being a Self-Starter."
After graduating from Villanova in 2017, Anastasia Marks went to the University of Maryland and earned degrees in journalism, government, and politics. In 2020, she was hired as a multiplatform editor at The Washington Post in the nation’s capital. At the beginning of 2022, she moved to the New York Times. She now edits breaking news content and long-form features covering science and health, including the coronavirus pandemic, NASA developments, and the Nobel Prizes. The most important skill she learned at Villanova was time management, which taught her to take on multiple projects and responsibilities effectively and efficiently.
Click here to listen to Anastasia's talk.
August 29, 2022 - Mike Baker '86, "Cops Uncovered."
Mike is a Ventura County Sheriff, Detective, and Mentor. Mike comes from a long line of Villanova supporters. His older brother Josef graduated from Villanova in 1984. Mike's talk
is titled "Cops Uncovered."
He wants students to understand that behind the uniform and badge and sometimes mirrored sunglasses, there is a flesh and blood father, son, brother, mother, daughter, sister.
Click here to listen to Mike's talk.
May 10, 2022 - Kim Cluff-Larkin '87, "Career Path of a Villanova Troublemaker? From VPS to Federal Indian Law."
Kim serves as the Legal Director at California Tribal Families Coalition. Kim will be presenting her career path from Villanova, to an interest in tribal issues and attending law school. Her talk is titled, “Career path of a Villanova Trouble Maker? From VPS to Federal Indian Law.” We look forward to learning a bit about Indian law and hearing from Kim regarding her own experiences, which will allow the students to recognize that they have a voice and that they can make a difference in the world.
Click here to listen to Kim's talk.
April 28, 2022 - Mary McNally '83, "Moving from VPS to College, to Career, Tips from an Alumna"
Mary McNally is the Executive Assistant Dean for Administration at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. She has served in this role for the past ten years where she leads and manages the school’s finances, facilities and capital projects, safety programs, human resources, and information technology.
Click here to read Mary's full bio.
Click here to listen to Mary's talk.
March 3, 2022 - Jacob Greenspan '15, "Where you start is not where you finish"
On March 3, the student body heard from alum Jacob Greenspan ’15, a 5x platinum, Grammy-nominated musician and producer. Jacob co-produced & co-wrote radio #1 & Billboard Rap #1 song of the year “ROXANNE,” by Arizona Zervas. He also co-wrote “Lifetime” by Justin Bieber for which he received a Grammy nomination. Jacob shared with the community how his time at Villanova impacted his career and shared advice for students looking to break into the music industry.
Click here to read Jacob's full bio.
Click here to listen to Jacob's talk.
November 16, 2021 - Richard Hurley '05, "Exploring the Universe from NASA JPL"
We are excited to announce our last career speaker of 2021, set for next Tuesday - Mr. Richard Hurley ‘05. Mr. Hurley works for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (yes, that NASA).
He is responsible for overseeing the integrated master schedule of a satellite launch. His role is vital because if one of the many concurrent projects of the program falls behind, the entire launch date could be delayed. Additionally, he tracks progress and evaluates the entire project's value. His current project is called “SunRISE” (Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment).
To read more about Mr. Hurley and the projects he’s working on, click here.
November 9, 2021 - Michael Wilson '59
We are excited to have Mr. Michael Wilson ‘59 join us on Nov. 9, the format will be an interview followed by a Q&A session. Mr. Wilson is a film and theatre producer, screenwriter and international photography collector-expert. He is well-known through his work as a producer and writer for the James Bond movie series.
Click here to read Mr. Wilson’s full bio, including his work in independent films, Broadway and as a Fellow of the Science Museum in London.
November 2, 2021 - Celia Palermo '13, "From the Stands to the Sidelines: Turning Sports into a Career"
We are excited to announce our next career speaker, Celia Palermo from the class of 2013. Ms. Palermo will join us via Zoom on Tuesday, November 2 and will share with the student body about her work in sports broadcasting. Currently, she covers sports news for the University of Iowa, Iowa State, and Illinois athletics, PGA Tour golf, hockey, minor league baseball, and local sports.
To read her full biography, click here.
Click here to listen to her talk.
April 2021 - Matt LaVere '97, "My Journey from VPS to Ventura County Supervisor"
Please join us for our first career talk of the new school year on Oct. 14 at 9:20 a.m. at the grotto led by Matt LaVere ‘97, who currently serves on the Board of Supervisors, representing District 1 (which covers San Buenaventura, Montalvo, Saticoy, Ojai Valley, City of Ojai, Upper Ojai Valley, Riverpark, Northwest Oxnard, and North Coast).
To read Matts’s full bio, click here.
April 2021 - Andrea Maahs '98, "Getting into Game Design."
Andrea Maahs (Roland) was born and raised in Ojai and graduated from Villanova’s class of 1998. She holds a degree in Game Development from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and presently lives in Henderson, Nevada with her husband Geoff and four cats. She has worked on both mobile games and skill-based slot machine games in Unity and considers herself an able Photoshop Monkey. Her present hobbies include streaming video games as a Twitch Affiliate and making any sort of craft she can get her hands on.
March 2021 - Jessica Landon '00, "Building the Career of Your Dreams."
Jessica Landon (Class of '00) currently serves as a Construction Project Director at Cordoba Corporation where she oversees projects for East Los Angeles College.
During her fifteen-year career in construction, Jessica has held almost every role on a construction team, and she has worked on some of the largest public works projects in the State, including the LAX Runway 7L/25R Replacement and New Central Taxiway Project.
Jessica received her Bachelor of Civil Engineering (BCE) degree from the Catholic University of America in 2004, and is a Certified Construction Manager (CCM). To read her full bio, click here.
February 2021 - Rob Taylor '86, "Don't be afraid to take bets - They'll all work out in the end."
Rob Taylor ‘86 is currently Head of Partnerships and Alliances for a division of Google Cloud, which rents computer infrastructure to companies around the world. Previously, Rob was the Vice President of Alliances at Apigee, a provider of API management software, which was purchased by Google in 2016. Rob has held senior general management positions at no less than 8 technology and investment management firms during his 22-year career in Silicon Valley.
Rob, like his twin brother Mike, attended UC Berkeley and majored in political economy. Rob received his MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1995. Rob and his wife Gwen (Class of 1988) live in the Bay Area and have three kids. Rob and Mike are still the best of friends and now can be seen regularly running through Huddart Park in Woodside, CA.
January 2021 - John Fuller '80, "Things I wish I knew back then that I know now, and wish someone would have told me."
John Fuller (Class of '80) currently serves as the president and CEO of the famous Wahlburgers; the burger chain that was founded by celebrity brothers Paul, Donnie and Mark Wahlberg and got a publicity boost from a reality TV show of the same name.
Before his move to Wahlburgers, John was president and CEO of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, based in Los Angeles, CA. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is the world’s largest independent premium retailer of coffees and teas with approximately 1,200 locations in 30 countries.
December 2020 - Dr. Monika Foster Martin '05, "An Unconventional Journey to Medicine"
Monika Foster Martin (Class of ‘05) received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2010. She attended the University of Southern California for medical school and graduated with her MD in 2015. She completed her pediatric residency at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, and is in her final year of her fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at Harbor UCLA and Children’s Hospital Orange County. She and her family currently reside in Torrance, CA with their two dogs. Monika will be joining a private practice in Milwaukee, WI after graduation.
November 2020 - Mike Taylor '86, "Low Tech Roads into Hi Tech: How Villanova Prepared me for Tesla and Microsoft"
Mike Taylor is currently Chief Financial Officer at GitHub, a sharing site for code: “Over 31 million people use GitHub to build amazing things together across 97+ million repositories.” Previously Mike was Vice President, Finance, Treasurer and in charge of New Markets for Tesla Motors. Mike was also CFO for Tropos Networks and Benchmark Capital, and Vice President for Finance at Micromuse.
Mike attended UC Berkeley majoring in political economy from 1986 to 1990, and received his MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 1996. Mike also received his Juris Doctorate from Stanford University Law School in that same year. Mike and his wife Tammy live in the Bay Area, and have two sons currently attending university.
October 2020 - Tara Hernandez '89, "Tech is for Anybody!"
Tara Hernandez '89, is currently a senior engineering manager at Google. Tara is a specialist in software engineering infrastructure and was an early promoter of what came to be known as the Continuous Integration revolution. Prior to Google, she was the manager of the Netscape Release and DevTools team where she helped launch Mozilla.org and the newly open-sourced browser as well as the corresponding developer tool stack: Bugzilla, Tinderbox, and Bonsai. Additionally, Tara is on the Technical Oversight Committee for the Continuous Delivery Foundation, is a member of the board for Women Who Code, and hosts the 'Women Who Code Radio' podcast.