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Exploring Careers in Technology’s New Frontiers is a collaborative series developed by the Center for Careers and Internships and Middlebury in DC with content contribution from members of the Middlebury Professional Network and Middlebury students.

Within five years, there will be over 50 billion smart connected devices in the world connected to the distributed cloud. 5G and increased bandwidth will collect and transfer more data than ever, enabling advances in the area of the Internet of Things (IoT), robots, autonomous vehicles, practical blockchain, and human augmentation, creating geopolitical challenges, data privacy concerns, and cyber security demands. These are just a few of the biggest transformational dynamics that will power new frontiers in technology. This series includes interviews with many professionals who will share their vantage points on new frontiers in technology, their paths from campus to career, and career advice they would have for students interested in this career space.

Episode 12: First Destination Software Engineering (SWE) Roles

Guest Speaker: John Sterling ’96, Software Engineer, Google Wallet

John talks about the various first destination software engineering roles and choosing your employer with students as part of the Google@Middlebury program on campus in fall ’23. 

John Sterling ‘96

John, a Computer Science major, started his career working at a series of early-stage startups in San Francisco, at the beginning of the initial internet boom. After that, he worked for Visa launching a tech hub office in Portland, Maine that worked on a variety of payment solutions. Through the years John has worked for both established companies and startups in a variety of SWE roles, often managing people as well. Currently, John runs a SWE team for Google Wallet in San Francisco.

Episode 11: UpNext: Cloud Solutions Engineer - Software Engineering and Liberal Arts

Guest Speaker: Leah Bracken ’18.5 (Computer Science), Customer Engineer, Google Cloud

The content segments below indicate the approximate time marks in the recording during which the specific content is discussed. The segments include:

  • At 0:23 – Lea describes her pathway from Midd to career
  • At 3:22 – What is the cloud and who are the major cloud providers?
  • At 6:05 – What does a cloud engineer do?
  • At 13:35 – How to prepare for a solutions/sales engineer role?
  • At 15:30 Audience Q&A with important points:
    • Networking is important as are referrals
    • Use CCI as much as you can
    • How liberal arts helps
    • Being kind goes a long way
    • DC is a great working and social destination – check out the DC office
    • The cloud is key to organizations becoming digital
    • When searching for opportunities, look for “New Grad” training programs

Leah Bracken ‘19 is a Customer Engineer at Google. She joined recently, back in September 2022, and her focus is on the technical strategic plan for cloud accounts such as identifying customer needs, product implementation, optimization and troubleshooting. Before Google, she worked as a Cloud Engineer for Oracle, where she was part of the Code Innovate Team. She served as a Team Lead and specialized in Oracle APEX solutions for the delivery of Hackathons, the development of Proof of Concepts, and delivery of webinars.

Episode 10: UpNext: The Product Development Process and Functional Roles

Guest Speaker: David Mendelson ’00 (Computer Science), Vice President Product Development, Wheel

The content segments below indicate the approximate time marks in the recording during which the specific content is discussed. The segments include:

  • At 0:35 – Dave describes his pathway from Midd to career
  • At 2:20 – Introducing the software development process
  • At 3:10 – Various product/R&D roles
    • Engineer
    • Product Manager
    • UX Designer
    • UI Developer
    • Technical Program Manager
    • Data Scientist/Data Analyst
    • DevOps
    • Quality Assurance (QA)/Software Developer Engineer in Test (SDET)
  • At 18:20 – Non-technical Roles
    • Product Marketing
    • Customer Success/Operations
    • Sales
  • At 22:00 - Example R&D organizational structures
  • At 25:00 – Planning and Building Software – Product Life Cycle (discover, commit, execute, manage)
  • At 35:00 Audience Q&A
    • Scrum process described
    • Career advancement pathway
    • How new features become defined

David Mendelson ‘00 is the VP of Product Development at Wheel, a telehealthcare startup.  He has over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. In addition to his undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Middlebury, David received an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University. David has built technology for various industries during his career: consumer electronics, enterprise hardware, enterprise SaaS (CRM & construction), and healthcare. A few highlights from David’s career:

  • Sr. Director of Product Development at Autodesk, where he managed a team of over 200 Engineers, Product Managers, and Designers creating SaaS software for the construction industry
  • Director of Product Management at Salesforce, where he managed Chatter and the Community Cloud Q&A products 
  • Co-founder and CTO at Connected Data, a decentralized and distributed file sharing product
  • Director of Product Management at Drobo, a consumer/prosumer storage device, where he ran the product and design teams
  • Software Engineer at TiVo where he developed software for the TiVo set-top box

Episode 9: UpNext: Careers in Technology Panel Discussion

When it comes to the technology field, there is a broad variety of ways to pursue your interests and find outlets for your abilities; digital technology has driven convergence in many ways. The panelists will talk about the trends shaping the scope of this industry and what they mean for future roles in this field?  Hear from a panel of Middlebury alumni with a variety of backgrounds who now have careers across a wide spectrum within the industry.

A Conversation With: 

  • Dan Kelley ’99 (Political Science, German), Engineering Manager, Meta
  • Pete McSherry ’06 (Economics), Senior Vice President, Platform Data Strategy and Solutions, Epsilon 
  • Meghan Weber ’07 (History), Senior Space Product Manager, Amazon Web Services
  • Chris Hench ’11 (German Literature and Economics), Senior Applied Scientist ML/NLP, Amazon Alexa.
  • Elizabeth Knox ’17 (Computer Science and Economics), Digital Specialist, McKinsey & Company
  • John Bowllan ’19 (Math), Data Science Technical Lead, Whoop

Panel Host: Jeff Sawyer, CCI Director of Employer & Professional Network Development

Video: 64 minutes

The content segments below indicate the approximate time marks in the recording during which the specific content is discussed.  The segments include:

  • At 8:50 – Tell us what’s going on in the tech industry today.  Back to Office, Hiring
  • At 27:20 – Given the state of the industry, what should I do to prepare myself?  “Quality over Quantity”
  • At 35:30 – What are future growth areas? AI/ML, Quantum Computing, NLP, AR/VR, Clean Tech, Biopharma, Bioinformatics 
  • At 46:20 – Which roles do you expect to see in demand?  ML-related Software Engineering, Design, Dev Ops, Data Science, Policy-related, Product Managers
  • At 50:15 – Audience Q&A.  Pros/cons of working for a large firm vs start-up; How to demonstrate ability to grow;  Should graduate school be in my future?

Panelist Bios:

Since graduating from Middlebury in 2019, John Bowllan has worked at the intersection of Data Science and Software Engineering, now leading a Data Science team at WHOOP. He currently focuses on researching and deploying algorithms that surface personalized impacts of behaviors (e.g. alcohol consumption) on physiological metrics (e.g. heart rate variability). John started his career as a Data Scientist at Faraday, a start-up in Burlington, where he enjoyed prototyping and deploying new predictive models to production. John is now the Data Science Technical Lead at Whoop.

Chris Hench ‘11 is a Senior Applied Scientist at Alexa AI, where he researches, builds, and deploys state of the art machine learning models to improve and expand Alexa’s understanding. Chris graduated from Middlebury College in 2011 with a double major in German and Economics, after which he taught English in Germany on a Fulbright scholarship. Chris then continued his literature studies, receiving an MA from UMass Amherst and PhD from UC Berkeley in German Literature and Medieval Studies. At Berkeley, Chris was fascinated by computational approaches to literary analysis, and ultimately wrote his dissertation on machine learning models of medieval German poetry. This led to a post-doctoral fellowship at the Berkeley Institute for Data Science and eventually to Amazon, where he has been for the past four years.

Dan Kelley ‘99 studied Political Science and German at Middlebury before a brief career in sales after graduating. Discovering that sales was not for him, he talked his way into an entry-level programming job, started taking CS classes at night school, and embarked on a career in tech. Dan worked for 9 years at ITA Software and helped launch the industry’s first new airline reservation system in nearly 50 years. After ITA was acquired by Google, Dan established Google’s Site Reliability Engineering presence in the Cambridge office. For the last 5 years Dan has worked as an Engineering Manager at Meta. He currently leads the Linux Kernel team.

Elizabeth Knox ‘17 resides in Manhattan, NYC and is a software and cloud engineer, currently working as a Digital Analyst at McKinsey. She architects, develops and deploys secure cloud-based solutions that allow clients to share products and services with users easily and efficiently. With a passion for learning new technologies, frameworks, and deployment practices, Elizabeth creatively designs solutions for a variety of client problems.

Pete McSherry ‘06 is the Senior Vice President of Platform Data Strategy and Solutions at Epsilon. He has 16+ years of experience in marketing consulting and analytics. Pete joined Epsilon in 2011 and manages teams in the U.S., U.K., and India that are responsible for providing marketing analytics for a wide variety of Epsilon’s clients including Johnson & Johnson, TD Bank, and Anheuser Busch InBev.

Prior to joining Epsilon, Pete worked at Modem Media (Founded by a Middlebury Alumna), one of the leading digital marketing agencies, famously known for placing the media buy for the first banner ad back in 1994. While this was before Pete’s time at Modem, he got to learn from some of the industry’s best. At Modem Pete spent 5 years leading teams performing media analytics for Kraft, Marriott, and General Mills. 

Pete graduated from Middlebury College with a BA in Economics and from the NYU Stern School of Business, earning his MBA with specializations in Business Analytics, Management, and Quantitative Finance.

Meghan Weber ‘07 has been with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for 6 years. She is currently a Senior Product Manager – Tech on the Space Services Team, developing new products for Aerospace and Satellite customers globally. She joined AWS as a Professional Services Consultant, and also spent time as a Technical Program Manager. Prior to AWS, she spent time at Software-as-a-Service clean tech companies, and as an environmental consultant. She began her career in university administration. Meghan has a BA in History from Middlebury College and a Master’s of Science in Applied Environmental and Geological Sciences from Queens College.

Episode 8: Leaders in Technology Discuss the Future

Guest Speakers:

  • Jennifer Bailey ’84, Vice President Internet Services, Apple
  • Suzie Reider ’87, Managing Director B2G Marketing and Partnerships, Google
  • Lan Ye ’98, Vice President Teams Group, Microsoft


  • Katie Macalintal ‘24
  • Lindsey Schweitzer ‘24

Video: 54 minutes

The content segments below indicate the approximate time marks in the recording during which the specific content is discussed.  The segments include:

  • At 3:53 – “Tell us about your organization.”
  • At 6:50 – “Tell us about the technology industry job market prospects.”
  • At 12:45 – “Tell us about the growth areas for the future.”
  • At 20:02 – “Tell us about data privacy efforts in the industry.”
  • At 27:38 – “Tell us how students should prepare for tech’s future.”
  • At 34:57 - “Audience Q&A”

Jennifer Bailey ’84 - Jennifer Bailey is the Vice President of Internet Services at Apple. She leads global teams across Apple’s Payment and Commerce services, including Apple Pay, Apple Wallet, Apple Card, Apple Cash and Apple Gift Cards. Jennifer oversaw the launch of Apple Pay in 2014, led the launch and expansion of Apple Wallet, and oversaw the introduction of Apple Card in 2019. She was also named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2018. Prior to her current role with Apple, Jennifer spent 11 years leading the company’s global online stores. She received her MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Middlebury College.

Suzie Reider ’87 – Suzie is Managing Director B2G Marketing and Partnerships, Google. In 2006, Suzie joined YouTube as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). When YouTube was acquired by Google she guided the organization into Google and then ran the team that built the first Billion in video advertising revenue. Over the past 15 years at Google, she has worked on global video strategy roles, running a performance sales team (Adwords) and commercialization and product strategy roles. In the Winter of 2017 Suzie transitioned to Waze with P&L responsibility for the Global Business Organization. She serves on the board of Goldieblox a content company focused on STEM for girls and is an advisor for Reddit and Frameplay. In 2019 she earned her executive leadership coaching certification through the Hudson Institute, moonlights as a coach to Senior Executives at several Bay Area companies, and is currently a Trustee of Middlebury College.

Lan Ye ’98 - As the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Teams Calling, Meeting and Devices group, Lan leads a team of passionate program managers and engineers who are obsessed with making calling and meetings simpler, more inclusive, and more effective. Lan joined Microsoft out of college and worked on a wide range of consumer and enterprise products including Windows Media, Digital Rights Management, Zune, Windows Phone, mobile gaming, Skype, Lync, and incubation projects. In recent years, she has led the convergence and transformation of Microsoft’s Unified Communication strategy from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. Lan has found it to be thrilling to work on a wide range of consumer and enterprise products across Microsoft in the last 20 years.

Coming soon…

Episode 7: A Customer-First Approach to Product Management

Guest Speaker: Nicole Fazio ‘11, Senior Technical Product Manager, Alexa Shopping - Amazon

Interviewer: Adam Wisco ‘22

Video: 26 minutes

Nicole Fazio ‘11, is a Technical Product Manager at Amazon Alexa building o to 1 products that customers love.  With training in econometrics, she started her career analyzing big data using SAS and Python, translating data-driven insights into strategic recommendations. She currently leads product thinking in the brand new space of voice advertising, launching the first-ever Alexa-actionable TV ad that allows customers to discover and browse products in the ad using their voice. Nicole Fazio mentors aspiring techies through the Built by Girls program. She has an MBA from MIT Sloan and was a Div I captain for the Middlebury Ski Team.

Connect with Nicole on Midd2Midd.

A Customer-First Approach to Product Management

Coming soon.

Episode 6: Marketing in a Competitive, Clouded World

Guest Speaker: David Ellis ‘09, Product Marketing Manager, Azure App Services, Microsoft

Interviewer: Serrin Kim ‘22

Video: 18 minutes

David Ellis ‘09 is currently a Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft where he is helping to grow Microsoft’s cloud business. David currently serves as a VP of the Middlebury Alumni Association, where he has been helping to drive several initiatives between Middlebury and Alumni of Color. Prior to Microsoft, David was the Director of Brand Strategy, Advertising and Digital at Starr Companies, a global insurance and investments organization. Before joining Starr, David helped launch Sunny Field Entertainment, a production company that had a first look deal with Paramount Pictures. Prior to Sunny Field, David worked for International Creative Management, a talent agency whose clients included Drake, Beyoncé, Eminem, Al Pacino and Samuel L. Jackson. David started off his Hollywood career at Universal Pictures as an undergraduate intern during his final J-Term at Middlebury. David graduated from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in 2018 with an MBA.  He graduated from Middlebury in 2009 with a BA in Film & Media and minor in Economics.

Connect with David on Midd2Midd.

Marketing in a Competitive, Clouded World

Coming soon.

Episode 5: Drone Technology as Advance Scout Protecting Soldiers

Guest Speaker: Adi Raval ‘98, Head of Communications, Shield AI

Interviewer: Charlotte Gray ‘21

Video: 35 minutes

Adi Raval ‘98 has spent the past two decades serving as a senior spokesperson for C-Suite level officials in the private sector including for Silicon Valley tech firms, as a diplomat for the US Government, as the communications director for major White House initiatives and as a journalist for two well-respected news organizations. Adi is currently the head of communications for Shield AI, a national security focused startup creating software to help protect the lives of service members and civilians in conflict areas.

Before his experience in Silicon Valley, Adi was based in Washington, DC where he worked as the global corporate head of media relations at Bechtel Corporation, one of the largest engineering and construction firms in the world. Adi also spent several years working for the US Government, including serving as the communications director for President Obama’s “Power Africa” initiative, a unique public private partnership between the US Government and over 100 companies created in order to increase electricity access throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Adi began his career for the US Government as a diplomat based in southern Afghanistan along the border with Pakistan. While in Afghanistan, Adi was recognized for his achievements as he received both the State Department’s meritorious honor and expeditionary service awards. Earlier in his career, Adi was a journalist for 12 years with the BBC and ABC News, including reporting from Iraq, the broader Middle East and Asia. He was also in charge of the BBC’s White House coverage for several years.

Adi has a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University SAIS in international public policy and a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College. He is a recipient of Middlebury’s distinguished alumni award. He lives in Sunnyvale, CA with his wife and young daughter.

Drone Technology as Advance Scout Protecting Soldiers

Coming soon.

Episode 4: Tracking of Terrorism and Extremism Online

Guest Speaker: Alex Newhouse ‘17 MIIS ‘17, Research Lead, CTEC

Interviewer: Anthony Sjodin ‘23

Video: 30 minutes

Alex Newhouse ‘17 MIIS, is the Research Lead at CTEC, where he focuses on right-wing extremism, religious fundamentalism, online extremism and terrorism, and terrorist propaganda. In particular, he collects and leverages large-scale social data to understand how the communities, relationships, and language of extremists evolve. Previously, he was an independent researcher and data analyst for CTEC. He also worked at Sony Interactive Entertainment (PlayStation) on the data governance team, working on data privacy compliance issues. Before that, he spent time fighting credit card and payments fraud on PlayStation’s fraud management team. Prior to PlayStation, Alex spent time at Uber, analyzing and contributing to its responses to natural disasters and terrorist attacks. He also has experience as a journalist. Alex has an MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies from the Middlebury Institute, a BA in Political Science and English from Middlebury College, and is currently earning an MS in Analytics from Georgia Tech.

Connect with Alex on Midd2Midd.

Tracking of Terrorism and Extremism Online

Coming soon.

Episode 3: Automated Vehicles

Guest Speaker: Alden Woodrow ‘02, CEO and Co-Founder, Ike

Interviewer: Jiaqi Li ‘22

Video: 35 minutes

Alden Woodrow ‘02.5, was most recently the co-founder and CEO of Ike, a developer of automated trucking technology, which was acquired by Nuro in January 2021. Alden has over a decade of experience building industrial technologies in logistics, energy, and aerospace. He previously held senior product management roles at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, Google’s X lab, and wind energy startup Makani Power. Early in his career, Alden was an economic and environmental consultant on projects ranging from tradable fishing quotas to dog house manufacturing. At Middlebury, Alden majored in economics and philosophy, wrote the original business plan for the College’s organic garden, and was a captain and four-year starter on the ultimate frisbee team. He holds an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business with a focus on new product development. Alden lives in Oakland, California with his wife Kate (Middlebury ‘02.5) and their 7 and 5 year old daughters.

Automated Vehicles

Coming soon.

Episode 2: Creating Therapies to Treat Diseases Using Predictive Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Guest Speaker: Robert Skiff ‘90, CEO and Founder,

Interviewer: Lizeth Lucero ‘21

Video: 27 minutes

Robert Skiff ‘90 has three decades of experience in the area of business formation,  education, and consulting. He co-founded the Vermont Commons School and has done consulting work in blockchain, online learning, higher education finance, system dynamics, and drug discovery optimization. Skiff served on the Board of Advisors for the Carnegie Program on the Educational Doctorate.  He has an undergraduate degree from Middlebury College and a doctorate in leadership and policy studies from the University of Vermont.

Creating Therapies to Treat Diseases Using Predictive Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Coming soon.

Episode 1: Developments and Directions for AI & Robotics

Guest Speaker: Bryan Rich ‘86, Partner AI & Robotics, Accenture Federal Services

Interviewer: Charlotte Gray ‘21

Video: 36 minutes

Bryan Rich ‘86, majored in English Literature and Latin American Studies. He joined Accenture Federal Services in 2018 and founded the Applied Intelligence business to build and scale advanced data science, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation into a unified delivery framework. In the last two years, he has expanded the Accenture Applied Intelligence workforce to nearly 700 data scientists and engineers including a team of 70 applied research scientists with deep expertise in NLP, CV, CNN, ML. Bryan also started the Accenture Federal Applied Intelligence Lab (Discovery Lab) strengthening AFS leadership in scientific research. Before joining Accenture, Bryan worked in Europe, The Middle East and Latin America for 20 years leading leveraged data science technology businesses globally.  He founded a decision intelligence software technology business with domain expertise in national security that he sold to the Carlyle Group via Novetta Solutions in 2015.

Developments and Directions for AI & Robotics

Coming soon.