Faculty/Staff Current Students

Huskies Make Their Mark

A look at students and recent grads on the fast track to success.


By: News@Northeastern

December 1, 2013

Star Quality • Mateo Caldas, AMD’14  

How’s this for dreaming big? “I want to be a Hollywood movie star,” says Mateo Caldas. 

He started living that dream in June, when a panel of Hollywood insiders selected him as the best actor in this year’s Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival. He beat actors from more than 100,000 films submitted for consideration.

“I couldn’t go to Hollywood to get my award, so I went home to finish some homework,” he quips.

The contest challenges aspiring filmmakers to make a five-minute movie in one week. Caldas plays the lead in Reset, a thriller written and directed by Scott Keenan, DMSB’14, in which a grief-stricken young lover gets the power to go back in time to save his girlfriend’s life.

Even though Caldas was a pilot at age 16 and a professional motocross racer at 17 in his native Colombia, acting has been his enduring passion. “When I was 7, I would write a script and invite friends over. My dad’s friend is a filmmaker and he would film the movie.” Then, as now, he prefers to play the good guy.

As a direct result of winning the gold, Caldas now has an agent in Hollywood, where he’s headed right after graduation.

The Curse of Unemployment • Rand Ghayad 

Before he has even completed his economics PhD, Rand Ghayad’s research has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Forbes, and Bloomberg Businessweek.

The idea for Ghayad’s research grew out of the difficulty his friends were having finding work in the wake of the recession. They had the qualifications. They had the resumés. But they weren’t having any luck. Ghayad wanted to find out why.

So with the help of his PhD adviser, William Dickens, University Distinguished Professor of Economics, Ghayad designed a way to test his hypothesis that unemployment itself is a sort of economic leprosy—once you’ve got it, no one wants to touch you. He sent out 4,800 fictitious resumés to companies with job openings. The only difference among the applicants was the amount of experience and length of unemployment.

What he found was an “unemployment cliff”—once people had been unemployed for six months or more, their chances of being hired plummeted, even when their resumés were exactly the same as those who had been unemployed for less time.

His work has since been published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, where Ghayad is currently a visiting scholar.

Ghayad expects to complete his PhD in December 2013 and enter the job market himself, looking for positions in academia and government organizations that will allow him to continue to study unemployment and influence policy decisions.

Security Force • Kaitlyn Duffy, S’14

Kaitlyn Duffy’s final co-op is at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Security—the most recent stop on a journey that began on her second day of fifth grade. That was when the World Trade Center came crashing down.

“My peers and I grew up under the shadow of the threat of terrorism,” says Duffy, a senior honors student majoring in chemistry and political science. “There’s a desire to improve upon the current government processes and to really know what threats are out there. I didn’t have a grasp of the global picture until very recently.”

Duffy has been working toward that understanding for some time. Through a variety of classes and experiential learning programs, she has focused her college career on international affairs, disaster preparedness, and counterterrorism from an interdisciplinary perspective.

In 2011, on a co-op at INTERPOL Washington, she saw how closely international, federal, and state agencies work to distribute information and investigate crime.

On a Dialogue of Civilizations in Switzerland, Duffy studied disarmament diplomacy and simulated international negotiations with diplomats from the United Nations and NATO. For her second co-op at Risk Solutions International in New York, she researched emergency-management planning and helped map out risk-management documents for clients.

Last summer, she was among a select group of undergraduates invited to the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program, where she spent 10 weeks at the Naval Postgraduate School helping to orchestrate field experimentation events.

Now at the State Department, Duffy is helping to coordinate interagency threat-reduction programs for weapons of mass destruction.

After graduation, she’s hoping for a job at the Department of Defense, where she can apply what she’s learned: “There’s a lot more to security than just al-Qaida threats.”

Diplomatic Corps • Michael Creegan, DMSB '13

Michael Creegan has been preparing for a career in the U.S. Foreign Service since his second year of college.

He spent two full academic years abroad in Mexico, and in addition to his international business degree from Northeastern, he also earned a degree from Mexico’s Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, widely considered the top business school in Latin America.

While in Mexico, he did his co-op with CEO Business Consulting, a firm that helps companies in Latin and Central America break into the North American market.

“What I’m striving for is to become an economics officer with the Foreign Service,” he says. “If you’re going to promote U.S. businesses abroad, you’re going to need a strong background in math and economics.”
Since graduation, he has taken a position with Bloomberg in New York, where he is training to work in the fixed-income analytics department.

Creegan has already demonstrated his ability to be noticed, winning appointments to two international conferences: one in Mexico, where he led the American student delegation in a simulation of the G-20 Summit, and a second in Dubai focusing on the rising role of China in world politics and economics.

Making a Mark in Global Affairs • Patrick McQuillan, SSH’14

Patrick McQuillan is not one to sit back and wait for success to come to him.

When he landed his first co-op—a dream assignment at the U.N.—the first thing he did was rise above his role as a messenger by writing a research article, which he distributed to executive officers. The proactive move earned the economics and international affairs major a promotion to political analyst and conference officer.

McQuillan excelled in his new position, writing comprehensive reports that are still in use by the secretary-general. He was asked back for his next co-op, where he sat in with the Disarmament and International Security Committee and helped draft resolutions that were to be voted in as treaties.

Although he’s still an undergraduate, McQuillan recently published a scholarly article in the prestigious magazines of the G-8 and G-20/B-20 Summits. The article explores the economic instability created by the European debt crisis.

After graduation, McQuillan aspires to a career in international law.

“Working with global groups has inspired me to follow suit and leave my own mark in the world,” he says.