Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

2009 Career Night Participants

In 2009, 22 alumni and 2 faculty participants spoke about their work in the following fields: Visual Arts, Film, Literary Arts, Performing Arts, and Arts Administration.

Visual Arts

Susan Breen ‘91
Painter, Art Editor

Susan Breen is a painter, represented by Woodward Gallery in New York City, and is Art Editor of Post Road Magazine, now published by the Department of English at Boston College. Susan’s paintings have been exhibited in venues including Woodward Gallery, Islip Art Museum, P.T. Barnum Museum, Cahoon Museum of American Art, City Lights Gallery, Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, Gale Gates Gallery, Reggio Gallery, the Gallery at Roundabout, and the Huntsville Museum of Art. Publications include ArtNews, New York Times, ArtKrush, Denver Quarterly, Illustration Magazine, Bridgeport News, and Star Ledger. Susan is the Recipient of International Performing Arts’ 2006 Arts Leadership Award. She holds a BA degree in Fine Arts from Boston College, and a MFA from the School of Visual Arts. Current projects include a sound piece and screen print for inclusion in Art Voices’ RPM2 project, produced by Jeff Gordon through Wu-shan, to be released in 2010.

Jane Conway Caspe ‘83
Fashion Executive

Jane graduated from BC in 1983 with a BA in Psychology. During her junior year she started working as a model for runway, television and advertising. This sparked her interest in fashion and design and has now been working in the Fashion Industry for the past 28 years. Jane owns two fashion related businesses, ACK Originals and The Nantucket Doll Collection Inc. She is an executive manager and partner at Wildflower Concierge and also co-authored a book called "The Nantucket Diet" published by Random House in 2005. Jane is on the Board of Trustees at the School of Fashion Design and works as a representative and speaker for the school. She is also on the Board of Director’s at Fashion Group International and organizes as well as participates in Boston Fashion Week. Ms. Caspe commented: “I owe much of my success to my BC education!”

Mark Haddad ‘87
Interior Designer

Mark, principal of Haddad Hakansson LLC, a full-service interior design firm, creates home environments for clients throughout New England and New York City. With over 25 years of experience in the design field, partners Mark Haddad and Kurt Hakansson's (’84) expertise includes the implementation and management of major remodeling and building projects, kitchen and bath design, space and color development, furniture and fabric selection, and custom window treatments.  A Massachusetts native, Mark received his B.A. in Psychology and completed an Independent Major in Music.  He received a M.Ed. in Creative Arts Education from Lesley University. In addition, Mark has earned certification as an Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer (AKBD) from the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), the leading trade association for the kitchen and bath industry. Prior to beginning his own design business in 2001, Mark worked as a music teacher and school administrator as well as a vocalist and musical director throughout the Boston area. Mark currently teaches Kitchen and Bath Design Studio at Boston Architectural College.

Patton Hindle ‘08
Gallery Manager

Patton received her B.A. in Art History and English from Boston College in 2008. After interning with a private art consultancy and Sotheby’s auction house during her time at BC, she began working at the Judi Rotenberg Gallery as the gallery manager following graduation. The Judi Rotenberg Gallery represents emerging to mid-career artists and has been voted the best contemporary art gallery in Boston for several years running by Boston Magazine and Improper Bostonian. In her role as gallery manager, Patton is in charge of the day-to-day functions of the gallery from press, artist, and client relations, to sales, to exhibition and art fair planning. She is looking ahead to a rigorous 2010 exhibition schedule including participating in VOLTA NY.

Joseph Newman '97
Gallery Director, Art Historian

Two years after graduating from Boston College in 1997 with bachelor’s degrees in political science and philosophy, he began his career as an assistant to a rare book dealer. This position led to six years in the antiquarian book trade, the last four with the William Reese Company of New Haven. With a background in American cultural history, in 2005 he became the director of the Cooley Gallery in Old Lyme, Connecticut. In October of 2009, he departed Old Lyme for New York, where he is now an Associate Director of American Painting & Sculpture at Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc.

Lydia Panas ‘80
Photographer, Educator

Lydia's work has been exhibited widely, nationally and abroad.She is the recipient of many awards including First Place for the 2009 Publisher’s Choice Award at CENTER, Santa Fe.  She was a finalist for the Photolucida Book Awards in 2008, and was one of nine artists selected for the International Discoveries Exhibit for Fotofest 2007. She has taught at numerous institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, Lafayette and Muhlenberg Colleges, the Maine Media Workshops and the Vermont College MFA Program. Her work is included in a number of collections including the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Modern Art Shanghai, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Allentown Art Museum. She received degrees from Boston College, School of Visual Arts and New York University/ International Center of Photography. Lydia will be having her first solo exhibition in NYC in February at Foley Gallery; the director, Michael Foley, also a Boston College alumnus.

Joseph van Benten ‘74
Furniture Craftsman

After graduating Boston College in 1974 Joe taught woodworking in the Chelsea public school system at the secondary level for three years. In 1978 he leased a retail shop/showroom space on Route 9 in Brookline. He continues to operate in that location today, employing three other furniture craftsmen. Joseph van Benten Furniture makers design and build fine hardwood furniture on a commission basis.  A settee of his design and construction was commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The range of work includes contemporary design/build projects as well as faithful reproductions of high style antiques.  Currently Joe obsessively restores and sails a Bristol 30 sailboat on Buzzards Bay. 

Peter Sandorse ‘81

After graduation from BC, Peter furthered his education at RISD and received a degree in Fine Arts as well as a Degree in Architecture. He has worked for several architects and specializes in residential design. Peter designed the New American Home 1990, for Builder Magazine and was recognized for it. He has run his own firm since 1992 and does work in all the New England states as well as Florida and Georgia. Peter currently is involved as a Thesis Advisor at Boston Architectural College and has been involved there for the past 10 years.

Bill Sterling '65

Sterling graduated from Boston College in 1965 with a B.A. in economics, and Yale University  in 1973 with a Master of Architecture degree. Bill founded Cambridge based Sterling Associates Incorporated, Architects in 1980. Sterling Associates is an architectural and interior design firm offering broad professional experience in a wide variety of building types, including institutional, educational and residential use. He has been designing and site supervising his own architectural design work since 1980 and has provided the design and project management of over 2,000,000 square feet of construction in both new and renovated facilities. 


Peter Keough '79
Film Critic

Keough has been the Film Editor at the Boston Phoenix since 1989. Other publications he has written for include The Chicago Reader, The Chicago Tribune and Sight and Sound. He has been a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics since 1990 and a member of the National Society of Film Critics since 1992. In 1995 he edited Flesh and Blood: The National Society of Film Critics on Sex, Violence and Censorship, which was published by Mercury House Press. He has served as a jury member at numerous international film festivals, including Toronto, San Sebastian, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Thessaloniki, Chicago, Sydney and Stockholm.

Dave McLaughlin ‘95

McLaughlin (B.A. English 1995) wrote and directed the award-winning feature film On Broadway (Hulu, Netflix) which starred Joey McIntyre Eliza Dushku, Mike O’Malley, and Will Arnett. Previously, Dave wrote the feature Southie, which starred Donnie Wahlberg, Rose McGowan and Amanda Peet. Southie won the Jury Prize for Best American Independent Film at the 1998 Seattle Film Festival. Dave has written for various studios and production companies, as well as  having written and directed the plays God Willing and Back To Before. In addition to his artistic life, Dave serves as Executive Director and a founding board member for Boston World Partnerships, a public-private venture that is using social media to raise international awareness of Boston’s economic opportunities. He and his wife Beth have two sons and live in Arlington, MA.

Michele Meek ‘94

Meek pioneered, the premiere magazine and resource for independent filmmaking in 1997. She also led the transition of the 30-year-old film magazine The Independent to an online publication in 2007. She wrote and directed Red Sneakers, which premiered at the Woods Hole Film Festival in 2008 and received second place in the children's category at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. Her most recent documentary Conversations with Women: Masturbation premiered in Boston and can be viewed on YouTube. She has written extensively on film and travel in leading publications such as MovieMaker Magazine, The Independent Film & Video Monthly, WHERE Magazine, Bonjour Paris and indieWIRE.  In 2009, she edited the book The Independent's Guide to Film Distributors.  She has taught film and writing courses at Emerson College, Boston Film Video Foundation and Massachusetts College of Art, and has served on juries for film awards, festivals and screenwriting competitions.

Michael Rossi '98

Rossi is a freelance filmmaker in Boston who has spent the last ten years working in public television. His career at PBS began in the Educational Programming department at WGBH Boston and he has done a variety of freelance production work on documentaries, feature films, television shows, music videos, and commercials in the Boston area. His production credits for American Experience include: Building the Alaska Highway, The Gold Rush (winner of the 2007 Erik Barnouw Prize), and We Shall Remain, a five-part television series and multimedia project on Native American history. He also worked on The War That Made America, a four-hour PBS series about the French and Indian War. Michael completed the B.A./M.A. program in U.S. History at Boston College, where he has guest-lectured for the Black Studies course Eyes on the Prize. Currently, Michael is the Coordinating Producer for the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning engineering series Design Squad as well as a new spin-off series going into production this fall.

Literary Arts

Erin Dionne '97
Novelist, Educator

Erin’s debut novel, Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies, published by Dial Books for Young Readers, was selected as a Featured Title for Scholastic Book Fairs and was nominated to the 2010 American Library Association Popular Paperbacks list. PEN/New England’s Children’s Book Caucus named an early version of the Models manuscript as one of its 2006 Susan P. Bloom Discovery Night award winners.  Her second book, The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet, will be released January 7, 2010. It is also a Scholastic Book Fairs Featured Title. Erin lives outside of Boston with her husband, daughter and dog, and teaches English at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA.

Chuck Hogan ‘89
Author/Screen Writer

Chuck is the New York Times bestselling author of four crime novels, including The Killing Moon, and Prince of Thieves, which was awarded the Hammett Prize for "literary excellence in the field of crime writing." His non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times, and in each of the past two years his short fiction has been selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories anthologies.  His screenplay adaptation of Prince of Thieves attracted the interest of Ben Affleck, who is currently directing the film version in and around Boston (under the book's original title, The Town), starring Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall and Blake Lively.  He is also the co-author, with Guillermo del Toro – Oscar-winning Pan's Labyrinth filmmaker, and director of the upcoming Hobbit  movies – of this summer's international bestseller The Strain.  February 2010 will see the publication of his fifth crime novel, Devils in Exile, followed in June by the second installment in The Strain trilogy, and the release of The Town movie in the fall.

Alexis Rizzuto ‘92

Rizzuto received her BA in English at Boston College (class of 1992) and her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Emerson College, where her work won the DuPrey Award. She has taught creative nonfiction at Cazenovia College, Syracuse University and Grub Street Writers. Alexis learned the publishing business through working at the Kneerim & Williams literary agency and as an editor at Da Capo Press. She is currently the environmental editor at Beacon Press in Boston, MA.

Performing Arts

Betsi Graves Akerstein ‘04

Betsi is originally from Orlando, Florida.  Her dance training includes studies in ballet, jazz and modern dance at Studio 5d and Orlando Ballet. While pursuing a BA in English at Boston College, Graves performed with the Boston College Dance Ensemble, studied dance and arts marketing, and interned at Boston Ballet which led to a five year career in arts administration and teaching at Boston Ballet School.  In 2008, Graves founded Urbanity Dance, a Boston-based contemporary dance company. Hailed by The Hub Review as “staking out a prominent piece of territory in its first program,” Urbanity Dance performances have, in two short years, sold out and the thirty member company has been featured in over ten New England dance festivals.

Chris Cavalier '87
Artistic Director for Theater

Chris founded the Contemporary Theatre of Boston College, an entirely student-run company, in 1985. During his junior and senior years, the CTBC produced 12 full-length plays, including Sticks and Bones, Extremities and Jesus Christ Superstar. Now in its twenty-fifth year the company is still going strong. In 2006 Chris returned to his old New England stomping grounds to form the not-so-coincidentally named Contemporary Theatre of Boston. He has also produced, directed and written for the New York stage with the Zoo Theater Company and Starving Class Theater. His credits include numerous works by Sam Shepard: Geography of a Horse Dreamer, Kille’s Head, Red Cross, Back Bog Beast Bait, Curse of the Starving Class and Savage/Love: and David Mamet: Oleanna, American Buffalo, Edmond and The Duck Variations; as well as Genet’s  The Maids; Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Krapp’s Last Tape; Camus’s Caligula, Ionesco’s The Lesson, Heller’s Catch-22, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and his original works Body of Christ, Spider & the Flies, and evoL, a rock cabaret. Under his Clockwork Films rubric, he also directed a film adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown.

Barbara S. Gawlick
Music Educator

Gawlick, born in Krakow, Poland, received her doctorate in music education from the New England Conservatory of Music. A nationally and internationally recognized authority on early childhood music education, Ms. Gawlick contributed to the 1998 National Standards in Music and lectured at the 2004 International Society of Music Education (ISME) convention in Barcelona. She has taught music in various educational settings for over 20 years, performed and conducted in European summer music festivals, is the director of the Dalcroze Center for Music and Movement in Brookline, MA, and has led the Boston College Family Opera Series since 2005. She joined the BC music department as a lecturer in 2007.

Ralf Yusuf Gawlick
Composer/Music Educator

Ralf Yusuf Gawlick, born in Pfaffenhofen-an-der-Ilm, Germany, received his doctorate in music composition from the New England Conservatory of Music. National and international recognition include awards from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, ASCAP, SCI, and the International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM). His music, broadcast on American national public radio and published by Brazinmusikanta Publications, is available on Capstone Records and Musica Omnia.  Ralf Yusuf Gawlick is an assistant professor at Boston College and his music is available through Brazinmusikanta Publications and the American Music Center.

Jere Shea ‘87
Arts Fundraiser and Actor

Jere is Senior Development Officer for Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, soliciting major gifts for annual operations and strategic priorities, overseeing planned giving, and providing guidance on capital campaign strategy. Also a classically trained actor and singer-songwriter, Jere has starred in several Broadway productions including Guys and Dolls, Damn Yankees and Stephen Sondheim’s Passion (Theater World Award, Tony Award Nomination, Drama Desk Nomination). Film and TV credits include “Passion” (PBS), “Path to Paradise”(HBO), “Law and Order”, “Cosby Mysteries”, “A Season in Purgatory” (CBS miniseries), “The Most Dangerous Woman In America” (PBS), and the Boston-based feature film Southie with Donnie Wahlburg. A former Special Advisor to Governor Paul Cellucci, Jere offers communication skills training and guidance to individuals in business and politics. He has served on the faculties of Emerson College and the College of the Holy Cross, and has lectured at Boston College.

Arts Administration

Megan E. Carroll, Esq. ’89
Arts Attorney
Megan is a 1989 Boston College Arts & Sciences Philosophy/French Literature double major who graduated cum laude and a Scholar of the College. She graduated in 1992 from Boston College Law School. She credits BC Professor Richard Cobb-Stevens’ Perspectives II course on Modernism and the Arts for sparking her interest in interdisciplinary arts subjects. At age 25, Megan opened her own firm, Carroll Associates, Counsel for the Arts, in order to offer quality Legal, Development, Marketing, Management, and Education services to the Arts Community.  She drafts and negotiates all types of Arts and Entertainment Industry Contracts with specialties in Intellectual and Cultural Property. After her first year in practice, Megan began teaching Law, Ethics, and the Arts, and “Copyright Law”  at New England School of Law.  Since 2000, Megan also teaches “Business Law II,” and “Law, Ethics, and the Arts” in CSOM’s Business Law Department. Both offered Spring 2010. She is the mother of two.

Erin Haran MacCurtain '01
Arts Marketing

Since graduating from BC in 2001, Erin has used her English degree to promote the missions of several arts-based non-profit organizations in Boston. She is currently the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications at From the Top, a non-profit organization that showcases extraordinary young classical musicians through its award-winning NPR and PBS series, national tour, and education programs. She is also serving as a member of the leadership committee for the newly formed BC Arts Alumni Network. Erin’s past positions include Communications Coordinator for the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at New England Conservatory. While at BC, Erin was a member of the Dance Ensemble and the University Chorale. She also spent a semester in London, interning at the Royal Opera House.

Andrew Russell ‘00
Arts Marketing and Fundraising

Andrew graduated from BC in 2000 with a degree in Theatre Arts and English.  During his undergraduate years, Andrew was a member of the Dramatics Society Board, University Chorale, worked in the scene shop, and acted in many Robsham Theater Productions.  He also completed the Abbey Theatre Workshop, studying with Tomas MacAnna in Dublin. After graduation, Andrew moved to New York and worked at ABC Television as a member of their Integrated Marketing department, helping pioneer the art of product placement across multiple daytime, news and primetime series.  After moving back to Boston, he worked in the marketing department at WGBH, launching the Curious George television series.  Currently, he is the Senior Manager of Corporate Sponsorships at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, selling and managing all branded corporate relationships for the BSO, Boston Pops and Tanglewood.


Past Participants: