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Up Next: technology blue banner with white text saying, Meet alumni with careers in technology

The UpNext: Careers in Technology program was held on Friday, October 21, 2022

Schedule for full-day event 9:00 am - 4:45 pm

Attend one event, or as many as you like. All students are welcome.
Click on the event title to register in Handshake.

9:00 am-12:00 pm  Resume Review Office Hours (Kitchel House)

If you are interested in a career in technology, don’t miss this chance to get valuable feedback on your resume from Middlebury alumni currently employed in the industry.  Resume reviews are private, one-on-one conversations and approximately 20 minutes in length.

  • Dan Kelley ’99 (Political Science, German), Engineering Manager, Meta
  • Chris Hench ’11 (German Literature and Economics), Senior Applied Scientist ML/NLP, Amazon Alexa
  • John Bowllan ’19 (Math), Data Science Technical Lead, Whoop
  • Elizabeth Knox ’17 (Computer Science), Digital Analyst, McKinsey
  • Pete McSherry ’06 (Economics), Senior Vice President, Platform Data Strategy, and Solutions, Epsilon Forrest Wallace ’17 (Computer Science), Engineering Manager, Block
  • Leah Bracken ’19 (Computer Science), Customer Engineer, Google


12:30-1:30 pm  Panel Discussion (Hillcrest 103)

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.  Applying Data Analytic Methods to Natural Language Processing Capabilities
  • Elizabeth Knox ’17 (Computer Science), Digital Analyst, McKinsey
  • John Bowllan ’19 (Math), Data Science Technical Lead, Whoop

2:00-4:45 pm  Breakout Sessions (see the schedule below for the session location)

Experienced professionals currently employed by a variety of technology firms will host multiple breakout sessions designed to set you up for success as you explore career possibilities, apply for positions, interview, and begin your own career.  Each workshop is 45 minutes.

2:00-2:45 pm

The Product Development Process and the Various Functional Roles Involved (Virtual – Bi Hall 220)

David Mendelson ’00 (Computer Science), Vice President Product Development, Wheel, will describe the product development process and discuss the various functional roles involved, e.g., Software Development, Data Scientist, UX/UI Research, Design and Development, Product Management).

How Data Analytics & Data Science is Used in Marketing (Hillcrest 103)

Pete McSherry ’06 (Economics), Senior Vice President, Platform Data Strategy and Solutions, Epsilon, will give an overview of the marketing analytics space and speak to how data science is used in advertising & personalization, and how different functional roles interact with data and technology to drive business outcomes. Pete will highlight some of the cutting-edge work Epsilon does in that space. Students attending will also gain a good understanding of the skill sets that help when first starting in the various analytics and consulting roles within the marketing field.

3:00-3:45 pm

Picking Trends in Tech / Deciding What to Invest in Learning (Bi Hall 220)

Dan Kelley ’99 (Political Science, German), Engineering Manager, Meta, will share his perspective that software engineering remains a less mature discipline than many other kinds of engineering and is constantly evolving. As software powers many aspects of the world, software engineering is not just evolving, it’s expanding. If you let your skills atrophy, you might find fewer job opportunities than you’d like when you go looking. But with the rate of change and finite time to learn, how do you decide which trends to jump on?  Dan will provide his insights to help you consider these trade-offs.

Applying Data Analytic Methods to Natural Language Processing Capabilities (Hillcrest 103)

Chris Hench ’11 (German Literature and Economics), Senior Applied Scientist ML/NLP, Amazon Alexa, will describe his path from studying languages and literature to building state of the art NLP models in industry. He will talk about some of the advances in NLP over the years and the current state of the field, as well as what it takes to acquire the necessary skills for industry applications. His unique pathway from literature to data science reinforces the idea that data science is not only for quantitative majors.

Cloud Solutions Engineer: Software Engineering and Liberal Arts in One (Virtual – Bi Hall 219)

Leah Bracken ‘19 (Computer Science), Customer Engineer, Google, will describe the exploding market for cloud solutions, her experience working as a solutions engineer, share how a liberal arts education has prepared her to be successful in this role, and what skillsets are important for entering this technical role.

4:00-4:45 pm

Tech, Space, and Satellite Solutions Product Management is for History Majors Too (Hillcrest 103)

Meghan Weber ’07 (History), Senior Space Product Manager, Amazon Web Services, will speak to her experience working as a product manager at Amazon Web Services (spoiler: you don’t need to be an engineer to become a product manager!). She will share more about what her day to day looks like, how liberal arts prepared her to be successful in the technology field as a non-engineer, what skill sets are important for the product manager role, tips on how to get started in the field, and how to prepare for an interview.

Consulting: Building Digital Factories in the Cloud Engineering Arena (Bi Hall 220)

Elizabeth Knox ’17 (Computer Science), Digital Analyst, McKinsey, will provide a case study of the consulting work in which she is engaged as a cloud engineer.  She will discuss the software engineering skills she deploys, as well as the nature of technology consulting and how best to position yourselves for these opportunities.

What Data Science Tells Us in the Wearables Market (Bi Hall 219)

John Bowllan ’19 (Math), Data Science Technical Lead, Whoop, will share his experiences working as a data scientist in a start-up tech company focused on the wearables market.  His discussion will include an overview of the wearables market, the data and tools he uses in his work, the intersection of data science and software engineering, and his interactions with other functional roles.

Alumni Guests

John Bowllan '19

John Bowllan ’19

Data Science Technical Lead, Whoop

Since graduating from Middlebury, John 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. 

Leah Bracken '19

Leah Bracken ’19

Computer Science
Customer Engineer, Google

Leah Bracken 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.

Chris Hench ’11

Chris Hench ‘11

German Literature and Economics
Senior Applied Scientist ML/NLP, Amazon Alexa

Chris is an 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.

Connect with Chris on Midd2Midd.

Dan Kelley '99

Dan Kelley ‘99

Political Science, German
Engineering Manager, Meta

Dan 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 at Meta. He currently leads the Linux Kernel team.

Connect with Dan on Midd2Midd.

Elizabeth Knox '17

Elizabeth Knox ‘17

Computer Science
Digital Analyst, McKinsey

Elizabeth resides in Manhattan, NYC and is a software and cloud engineer. 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

Pete McSherry ‘06

Senior Vice President, Platform Data Strategy, and Solutions, Epsilon

Pete 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.

Pete was named a 40 under 40 recipient by the Fairfield Business County Journal for outstanding contributions to his work and school communities.

In his free time, Pete enjoys golf, running, and spending time with his family. Pete lives in Fairfield, CT with his wife, Courtney, and their two children, Madison and Peter.

Connect with Pete on Midd2Midd.

Dave Mendelson '00

Dave Mendelson ‘00

Computer Science
VP of Product Development, Wheel

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

Connect with Dave on Midd2Midd.

Meghan Weber '07

Meghan Weber ‘07

Senior Space Product Manager, Amazon Web Services

Meghan ‘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.

Connect with Meghan on Midd2Midd.