Engineering Awareness Day Draws Dozens of Prospective Students

High school juniors and seniors took the first step toward a Manhattan College degree on Nov. 11 at Engineering Awareness Day.

More than 100 juniors and seniors from 64 tri-state high schools took the first step toward a Manhattan College degree on Nov. 11 at Engineering Awareness Day.

Students and parents packed Smith Auditorium for the day’s first event — a welcome from Tim Ward, Ph.D., dean of the school of engineering, and a panel presentation from five successful engineering alumni: John Lawler ’55, Ph.D., founder of Lawler, Matusky & Skelly Engineers and former chair of the College’s board of trustees; Kristen Barone ’06, lead project engineer for the energy services and technology department at the New York Power Authority; Salvatore Conti ’95, ’97, president and co-founder of Global Systems Integrators; Natalie Ivezaj ’05, manager of package development for Victoria’s Secret; and Ann Marie Flynn ’81, Ph.D., department chair of chemical engineering.

“You have two responsibilities in this world — to develop the talents you have to the utmost degree and then to turn around and use them for the betterment of society,” Lawler told students, reflecting on the program’s theme, Engineering for Society.

The speakers agreed that while earning a degree in engineering is challenging, learning to be a problem solver is applicable to countless critical issues in today’s world — from water treatment to infrastructure repair.

“Engineering gives you that head start. It’s up to you to keep the head start,” said Conti, whose degree took him around the world before he started his own business.

“If you have a drive for engineering, and you really like it, there will be many people along the way to help you,” Barone said, referring to the College’s close-knit community and mentoring program, which pairs students with professionals in the industry.

Following an overview of the College’s new cosmetic engineering program, students broke into small groups to get an inside look at the laboratory facilities in Leo Hall and the Research and Learning Center, while parents stayed for a question and answer session.

For Nora Borsare, a senior at Pine Bush High School in Pine Bush, N.Y., the visit reinforced her desire to study engineering, a concept she was introduced to during the summer at Manhattan College’s 10-day Engineering Awareness Program geared toward women and minorities.

“We got to experience everything — from playing with robots to building little bridges out of wood,” she said. “It really drew me in.”

Eager to know more, Borsare and her tour group visited the environmental, civil, mechanical and electrical engineering labs for demonstrations by professors.

In Leo 312, water filters whirred and bubbled, while downstairs in the solid mechanics lab, steel beams hung from cables, ready for hands-on testing. In Leo 216, a computerized car wowed visitors by locating the exact center of a circle on command.

“Come back for a personal tour, sit in on a class or talk to a student,” encouraged Moujalli Hourani, Ph.D., chair of the civil and environmental engineering department.

Students were reunited with their parents afterward for an informal lunch with faculty and information on admissions and financial aid. While some left campus having grasped a new concept, others were introduced to the Jasper spirit. 

“I walked back [to Smith Auditorium] with a chemical engineering student who seemed to be friends with everyone on campus,” said John Abbatangelo, a senior from St. Mary’s High School on Long Island. “I like that they encourage students to be well-rounded people here.”

See photos from Engineering Awareness Day below: