Barking Up the Right Tree

Dr. Betsy Powers, ’08, has pulled off what is perhaps the ultimate career change, and she credits her Bridgewater State education with making it possible.

After 25 years as a tax accountant on Cape Cod, Powers was bored. Her husband sensed this and encouraged her to pursue her longtime dream of becoming a veterinarian. 

“It lit a fire in me,” recalled Powers, who now owns her own veterinary practice in a Charlotte, North Carolina, suburb. “The decision was made, and I never looked back.”

Care Bears

Nadia Nasah, ’19, knew she wanted a job where she could make a difference in the lives of others. It wasn’t until she became a Bridgewater State University student that she was able to put a name to her aspirations: public health

“Especially nowadays, public health is a growing field,” she said. “It’s one of the hardest majors out there because you have to be up-to-date with everything, but it’s the most rewarding. … We prevent people from getting sick in the first place.”

Alumna Profile: Amanda Pacheco, '19

Sometimes it’s important to see ourselves the way others do, especially when someone points out strengths we didn’t know we had.

That’s exactly what happened when biology Professor Jeffery Bowen encouraged Amanda Pacheco, ’19, to consider graduate school.

“He planted the seed of me going to graduate school and pursuing a PhD…I never thought I wanted to go this far ever,” Pacheco said.

Alumnus Profile: Warren Sweeney, '72

Over the course of more than 30 years Warren Sweeney, ’72, has built a successful acting career, appearing on hit shows like, NYPD Blue, The X-Files, Modern Family and The Office.

He may not be a household name, but the Bridgewater State alumnus is without a doubt known in Hollywood circles, finding steady work as an actor in commercials, television and movies.

Alumnus Profile: Kasey Lavallee, ’09

The road to success is different for everyone. Kasey Lavallee’s path started at Bridgewater State University and eventually led to a career as an analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Initially, the 2009 alumnus came to BSU to study organic chemistry, with the goal of becoming a teacher. But…

“Let’s just say, I failed organic chemistry,” he jokes.

That first semester he also took a criminal justice class with Professor Mitch Librett and fell in love with the field.

Sister Act

It was 1983. Aqua Net hairspray and leg warmers were all the rage with Tootsie and Return of the Jedi leading at the box office. It was also the year “Peachy,” “Guilmetty,” “Cowie,” and “Cutting” first met at what was then Bridgewater State College.

Their real names are, Lisa (Picchi) Habig, Sharon (Guilmet) Fries, Rosemary Miller, Kathleen Cutting, and like a good wine, for the past 36 years their friendship has matured, growing richer and deeper.

Alumni Profile

It was a glimpse of what was to come the day a young Lauren Paduch saw a black bear during a family camping trip. Instead of retreating like the rest of her family, she ran toward it. “I just wanted to be friends,” Ms. Paduch recalled.

Luckily, her father scooped her up before she got too close to the roving carnivoran. In retrospect, it should have been clear the young Middleborough native was bound to become a veterinarian.

Alumna Profile: Nicole Long, G’07

Nicole Long, G’07, studied social work with a simple yet important goal in mind: to help people. She never imagined her career would lead to the top of a major social services organization in Southeastern Massachusetts.

Whether mentoring employees as CEO of Old Colony Elder Services or working with a client, Long praises her Bridgewater State education for showing her the way.

Alumna Profile: Laurel Ryan, ’15

Laurel Ryan, ’15, has seized the entrepreneurial spirit since she ran lemonade stands as a kid. But, starting a jewelry business is very different than quenching neighbors’ thirst. Thankfully, she has a Bridgewater State University education.

“I learned so much. I had so many great professors help me,” she said, praising the classes she took in advertising, marketing, public speaking and business law. “I take that knowledge and use it in what I do now.”

Alumna Profile: Ellen Farren, ’57

Ellen Farren, ’57, was only a few years out of college when she left familiar New England behind for the unknowns of teaching in Japan. But, she headed abroad with confidence thanks to her Bridgewater State education.

“Bridgewater prepared me for life. I came as a very young, inexperienced, naïve girl,” recalled Farren, who grew up in Fall River and studied physical education. “They taught us to believe in ourselves. We didn’t have any fear.”


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