After Graduation, Kerry Cavanagh '20 Will Begin Career at This Leading Oil & Gas Company

The chemical engineering major reflects on her Manhattan College experience and looks forward to beginning her career.

11.06.19-Kerry-Cavanagh-Portrait-Meoli-4.jpgThis story is part of a series highlighting graduating seniors part of the class of 2020.

Name: Kerry Cavanagh

Hometown: Briarcliff Manor, NY

Major/minor: Chemical engineering

Future plans: Starting a full-time position as a process engineer at Shell Chemicals in Geismar, Louisiana

Why did you choose Manhattan College?

My mom, Susan Rice ’84, graduated from Manhattan College, so I was initially against coming to Manhattan for that reason; I wanted to be different! But between my junior and senior years of high school, I attended the Women & Minority Summer Engineering program, led by Dr. Walter Saukin. Little did I know how much those six days would impact my life. I loved what I saw and decided I would shift my search to include colleges with engineering programs, specifically those with an option for chemical engineering. I’m so grateful I chose Manhattan College, as I have treasured my last four years.

Describe your Manhattan College experience:

One of my favorite opportunities that I’ve had during my time at Manhattan was attending the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) National Conference twice, the first to Minneapolis, MN, and this year to Anaheim, CA. SWE's chapter at Manhattan College has been such a great outlet for me since my freshman year, and I’m honored to be serving as the current Vice President of SWE. 

Another fond memory for me was being chosen as the student speaker at the 2019 De La Salle Medal Dinner, which was attended by more than 800 people --including my most supportive Jasper, my mom!

Where have you interned? 

After my sophomore year, I interned with an industrial gas company, Air Products, working on their materials engineering and technology team. During summer 2019, I interned with the Process Automation & Control Optimization team at Shell in Louisiana, which ultimately led to a full-time job offer that I accepted in August. I loved being on site, as no two days were the same, and we were tasked with thinking quickly and acting effectively.

During the fall semester of my senior year, I interned at Tarte Cosmetics with their production team and focused on quality, retains, and streamlining data before product launches.

Is there a professor or faculty member that’s impacted you? 

The top two mentors I’ve had are chemical engineering professor Richard Carbonaro, Ph.D., and Conor Reidy. 

Dr. Carbonaro taught my Process Safety and Senior Design courses. He’s brilliant and has a great way of encouraging students to participate in class and ask questions that they’re interested in asking without fear. He believes in every student and is our biggest advocate. 

Conor Reidy, who serves as campus minister in the office of Campus Ministry & Social Action (CMSA) is such a gift to the Manhattan College community. I first met Conor in the Fall of 2016, when I attended the New Student Retreat. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of spending countless hours with Conor planning Kairos retreats, both in my sophomore and junior years. Conor has taught me so much about life, and about what it means to be a good citizen. He goes above and beyond in his role to make sure students find their home at Manhattan College. I can confidently say he’s made such an impact on me, and feel as though he has played a major role in my growth as a Jasper.

What does being a Jasper mean to you?

It means being a team player and seeking out opportunities to help those around you, whether it's holding the door for someone, helping a classmate, or recruiting younger students to get involved in extracurriculars. It’s being a leader, and seeking out opportunities to train the next generation of leaders.

What advice would you offer incoming freshmen at Manhattan College?

Get involved! Being involved on campus has given me such a sense of belonging in this very special Jasper community we have. 

Interviewed and edited by Madison Smith ’21, communication major

By MC Staff