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In the Field

Paths to Success

Alumni find career satisfaction in unusual places.


Carl Dierker ’77
Going Green: The regional counsel for the EPA in New England provides legal and policy advice on federal environmental law to 600 agency staff. Challenges: Garnering public support to tackle critical public health and environmental issues, such as global climate change and safe drinking water. Building Consensus: “First, you need to reach out and listen to all parties, including those who don’t have the resources to be heard and those with interests who cannot speak for themselves. Then, you develop reasonable legal and policy options to help make decisions that are often extremely difficult. Finally, you explain those decisions in plain language to the public, and, if necessary, defend them in court.”


James Frieden ’75
Lights, Action, Teach: By day, he runs a civil litigation practice in Los Angeles, but in his off hours, he is known as co-founder of Teach with Movies, an online site that shows teachers how to create lesson plans using movies and film. Inspiration: Twenty years ago, he found his niche when he suggested his young son learn about the civil rights movement through watching and discussing movies. Impact: “We have Learning Guides to more than 450 films, and Teach with Movies is one of the top sites on the internet dealing with movies and education. On a typical weekday, the site has more than 8,000 sessions with 17,000 page views.”

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Adolfo Jimenez ’90
Arts and Craft: As the group leader for Holland & Knight’s South Florida Litigation Group and head of its International Arbitration and Litigation Team, he says, “Litigation is an art that requires balance and the appropriate amount of civility, aggressiveness, perseverance, integrity, and professionalism.” Beyond Dispute: He navigates cross-border disputes, helping parties understand and accept different legal systems. Always Something New: “I find it challenging not having an easy answer for what are sometimes basic questions, but each case provides tremendous learning experiences.”

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Charles McCullough II ’03
Down Under: He builds bridges across the hemisphere as director of the Australian National University Liaison Office for the Embassy of Australia in Washington, DC. Diplomacy: Working on issues ranging from technology to indigenous art requires a nimble intellect and a knack for nuance. Fear Not: “It can be a lonely road to travel as you see classmates choose the traditional professional path, but the road less traveled can make all the difference.”


Mary-Alice Miller ’99
Problem Solver: At Ropes & Gray and General Catalyst, she saw that many entrepreneurs needed help growing their ventures but struggled to find the right experts to help them. So, she launched mosaicHUB, an online resource for small businesses, to fill that need. Matchmaker: MosaicHUB lists more than 50,000 marketing, web, legal, accounting, and other specialists eager to help businesses grow. Elbow Grease: “With a start-up, you have very limited resources to create something big. You have to do everything, from strategy to marketing to putting together your own office desks. You have to be ready to tackle anything.”


Amber Villa ’00
Put a Roof on It: As an assistant attorney general and director of the Abandoned Housing Initiative in the Massachusetts AG’s office, she leads a small unit that works with cities and towns to identify abandoned and distressed properties and return them to productive use. Home Sweet Home: “Returning even one dilapidated house to use not only provides housing for a family, but it can also change an entire neighborhood and community.”