The 2nd Annual Career Night will take place on Wednesday, November 2nd!

Karson Tager of the Karson & Kennedy Mix 104.1 morning show is the keynote speaker at this year’s Career Night, Wednesday November 2, beginning at 4:30. The event, will feature alumni panels for each of the four schools, a dinner and a chance to hear Karson Tager at 7.

Here is a list of Alumni Panelists (subject to change) with the panel locations. Panels begin at 4:30.

School of Applied Sciences – Campus Center Oak Hill Room:
Despina Najarian CVT – Vet Tech ’15, MSM ‘16 – Veterinary Technician at BluePearl Veterinary Partners; Lab Assistant at Mount Ida College
Sam McEwan – Vet Tech ’13 – Associate Scientist at Biogen
Julie Spillane – BS in Dental Hygiene ’15 – Dental Hygienist/Consultant at Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Kathy Tilton – Applied Forensic Science ’09 – Pathology Assistant at Boston Medical Center
Tiffany (Witte) Simpson – Funeral Home Management ’09 – Advanced Sales Manager/Funeral Director, Dignity Memorial (SCI)
Jacob Cormier – Funeral Home Management ’16, Apprentice at Boucher Funeral Home (will attend unless there is a funeral that day)
Jim Heald – Funeral Service ’95 – Owner and Funeral Director at Heald and Chiampa Funeral Home

School of Design – Campus Center Theater:
Taylor Birse – Interior Design ’11 – Interior Designer at Cummings Properties
Betsy Dolinko – Fashion Design ’10 – Quality Control Supervisor at LION Apparel and has her own line
Caitlin Greene – Graphic Design ’09 – Graphic Designer at Olympia Sports
Leah Duffney – Graphic Design ’15 – Packaging Designer at Cool Gear International
Matt Reynolds – Graphic Design ’11 – Senior Art Director at Metropolis Creative
Brittany Fernandes – Fashion Marketing ’14 – Assistant Merchandiser at TJX
Tia (Dellarocco) DeAngelis – Fashion Marketing ’10 – former boutique owner/operator at Fate Consignment Boutique

School of Social Sciences & Humanities – Shaw Solarium:
Melissa Jacobson – Psychology ’14 – Community Support Counselor at Riverside Community Care; grad student at Suffolk University
Stephanie Grant – Psychology ’16 – Mental Health Specialist at McLean Hospital
Eliza Madrigal – Psychology ’15 – Corporate Recruiter at Granite Telecommunications
Chris Santiago – Criminal Justice ’98 – Director of Public Safety at Wheaton College
Michaela Dady – Education ’16 – Assistant Teacher at Chickering Elementary School

School of Business – Shaw Multi-faith Space:
Tre Wilkerson-Glover – Hospitality Management ’15 – Office Manager at Shorelight Education
Stephen Butch – Management ’97 – Sr. Apparel Demand Planner at New Balance
Brett Conley – Business Management ’09 – Director of Marketing at Affinity Marketing
Chandler Webb – Business Administration ’13 – Co-Founder at Pointman & Partners LLC
Alex Milot – Business Administration ’13 – Marketing Coordinator at Massachusetts Dental Society
Greg  Hagan – Sport Management ’09 – Head Women’s Soccer Coach & Assistant Sports Information Director at Mount Ida College
Zachary Rosen – Sport Management ’14 – Salesman at NES Group


The Website of game company Turbine says “Making great games is not a solo effort” and they’ve just added a new person to their team, technical artist Taia Lee, a 2015 graduate of the Game Art program at Mount Ida.

Turbine, which was founded in 1994 and is owned by Warner Bros Home Entertainment, Inc., has worked to develop award-winning connected entertainment experiences with such iconic properties as The Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons and DC Comics.

“It’s such a perfect match and opportunity for me,” says Taia.   “Growing up there was a lot of influence around me involving video games. The earliest memory i have of video games was playing on my dad’s Sega Saturn when i was very young and from then on my interest in games grew and it became a large part of my life.”

Taia was fascinated by not only how complex games could be but how the art can make a game unique and immerse the player in such a way that they feel like they are part of that world and develop a strong connection to it. “The art in games for me was really amazing and interesting and it eventually became something i wanted to pursue as a career.”

That passion led Taia to Mount Ida, its Game Art & Animation program. “I loved the small class size.  You could really take the time to talk to the professors one-on-one and ask questions that could potentially be impossible with larger classes.”

Taia was exposed us to a majority of the different parts of the art pipeline. In her senior year she had the opportunity to spend a year on a thesis project of her choice. “Starting off I was really interested in becoming an environment artist and it wasn’t until we had rigging and then scripting that I also became interested in technical art.  I was drawn to the challenge of having to think technically and artistically all at the same time in order to create a rig that was functional but also would deform properly to look how I wanted it to.”

Taia created two unique characters, fully 3D modeled and textured, each with unique rigs, and she also created an art tool inside of Maya for making it easier and faster to be able to unwrap the UV’s of models.

But learning happened outside the classroom as well.  “During senior year I got an internship at Hasbro, as a VFX intern. While I was there I learned about the non-video game side of 3D art and visual effects.”  There Taia got to see what it was like to be in a studio and what the environment was like. “Everyone was extremely friendly and I got to see and even help with some of the promotional work they were doing for upcoming commercials.”

The job search took a while, but Mount Ida was there to support her. “About a year after graduation, my professor who taught me rigging and scripting contacted me and asked if I was still looking for a job and he recommended me for a temp position at Turbine as a technical artist.”  After her interview with some of the artists and the art director, she was immediately offered the job.

And it’s a journey that she’s happy to be on. “My first few months have been eye-opening, I’m learning so much everyday but also have so much fun. I am on the team that is making a Game of Thrones mobile game, which is awesome especially as a huge Game of Thrones fan.”

And she’s thriving not flying solo. “Everyone is really passionate about making games and super friendly. So far the work I have been doing includes creating rigs, writing documentation, integrating assets into the game engine, creating art tools, fixing bugs, and other things as they are needed. I work very closely with my former teacher so it is really nice to already have someone who i know well and who knows my skills and what I am capable of.  He challenges me with the tasks he gives me but also allows me to learn a lot of new skills.“  She adds that the another great part about being a technical artist is that she gets to help and support all the other artists which allows her to do a lot of problem solving on a daily basis.

Taia offers this advice to others looking to start going for this career; “definitely be willing to work hard and extensively on your portfolio and make sure you are doing a lot of research to be certain this is what you actually want to do.  You won’t be sitting around playing games all day.  It is a lot of hard work in order to make great art for games but so much fun and all worth it when you see it all come together.”  Turbine is lucky to have her on the team.

Sarah Marveles

November 2, 2016

By Sarah Mavrelis, Graphic Design ‘18

Most people don’t think about living organ donation, but many people should. Most don’t realize that there are more than 80,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list right now or that more than 4,000 of them will die each year, still waiting. This year it will be one less because I chose to give one of my kidneys to someone I never met before beginning my living organ donor journey.

It began in a Reddit thread originally posted by a Soldier in the US Active Duty Army who recounted his story of giving a kidney to his brother. I am an Army veteran myself and I followed his story for the next two months as he described the process from his perspective. In one of the final threads, another user commented that he was an Army Reservist who had looked into giving a kidney to his own brother but was not a match. Unfortunately, no one in his family was a match either. He said his brother had been on the transplant waiting list for a couple of years and was getting desperate. He then joked, “So if you know anyone with type O blood and in the Massachusetts area, let me know!”

I have been a regular blood donor for more than 16 years, but like most people, I had never considered living organ donation. Of course, if anyone in my family or circle of friends needed something, I would not hesitate to give. Yet, giving to a total stranger just wasn’t on my radar. It wasn’t that I had ruled it out, it’s just that the opportunity never came up. It’s not like you walk around asking people if they need an organ. The Reddit thread and that comment was my opportunity. After talking it over for a couple of days with my husband, I sent the commenter a message:

“Hi. Saw your comment. I’m O negative blood. I live near Boston. How can I help?”

We all know the urban legend of someone waking up in a bathtub full of ice and a note to call 9-1-1 to find that one of their organs had been harvested, so I was relieved when the Reddit commenter sent me the contact information for the transplant team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and his brother’s name. Still, I was a little embarrassed speaking to the transplant coordinator because I had no information about my potential recipient and it felt awkward telling them I found him through the internet. However, they didn’t seem to mind and mailed me a donor guide packet.

The first step on my journey, which began in January 2016, was completing the more than 20-page donor questionnaire asking about every detail of my own medical history and that of immediate family. Next was a battery of physical and mental exams to make sure I was healthy enough in both body and mind to donate. The mental exam was grueling and was three-and-a-half hours of “what if” questions about my feelings that had never crossed my mind: What if the transplant fails, what if the recipient did this to himself, what if the recipient is a different race or religion than me, what if I don’t recover? Up next, 21 vials of blood were drawn in order to conduct blood and tissue matching, an important step that disqualifies most potential donors. After that, I had another round of testing that focused on my kidney health – scans, ultrasounds and even more blood testing. Yet another round of testing followed after that. By the final test, I had a total of 56 vials of blood drawn, five urine samples, four EKGs, two X-rays, an ultrasound and a CT scan. I was finally cleared for donation and the surgery was done June 30th, 2016.

When I told friends about by decision to donate, it was met with excitement but also confusion.

“Why are you giving it to a stranger?”

“What if you need it?”

“What if someone in your own family needs it,” they asked.

I finally met my recipient about three weeks before the surgery, so we were no longer technically strangers. I learned about his life before he got sick, why he needed a kidney and what his hopes and dreams were for the future. I also met some of his family, and his mom and I became quick friends. The nearly six months of testing and retesting ensured that the doctors made absolutely certain that both kidneys were functioning properly and the chance of future failure of my remaining kidney was very low. From the perspective of the transplant team, it made no sense to do one transplant now if there was a higher than negligible chance they’d be doing two more in the future because of a pair of bad kidneys. As to the last question, as a 40-year-old woman, it’s unusual that I don’t have children, but this also means I don’t need to save my organs. And besides, if everyone who could donate, did donate, there would be no more waiting list and no need to save organs for an unlikely and unforeseeable event. The way I looked at it, this was my way of passing on my legacy and DNA to a future generation – I was giving life in a very unique way.

Of course, not everyone can donate, even if they are in perfect health. It can be difficult to get the time off from work for the six-week post-surgery recovery period. Even with approved time off, many can’t afford to lose six weeks of income. Not only that, you need a caretaker for the first week or two after surgery, which means a spouse, parent or friend must also find time off from their own lives. None of this was a worry for me as an unemployed college student. The surgery schedule lined up perfectly with summer vacation, allowing me to jump right back into things just in time for the start of the Fall semester at Mount Ida.

Following the successful transplant, my recipient is doing great and so am I. Now that I’ve fully recovered, I’m making it my mission to spread awareness for Living Kidney Donation. I will be participating in the Boston Kidney walk in October. I have also started a Facebook page ( that details my journey and shares facts about being a living kidney donor. I know there are many more people like me that would donate if only they knew they could, and that they were able do it with almost no impact to their long term health. The reason we are able to donate living kidneys is because we really only need one to live.

If you are interested in learning more about Living Kidney Donation visit the National Kidney Foundation website at Or find me on campus – I can’t wait to tell you how I spent my summer vacation!