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Michelle Martucci

Civil Engineering
Michelle Martucci

Hometown: Staten Island, NY

Current School Year: Junior

Anticipated year of Graduation: 2013

Major: Civil Engineering

Minor: Technical and Science Communications


Please describe your study/research interests and why.

Within civil engineering, my interests vary from structural analysis to project management. I find structural analysis intriguing and challenging, yet I know with my skills I can excel with project management. Taking my interest in traveling into consideration, I hope to be able to travel to developing countries and help people meet their needs and improve the quality of life using my knowledge and skills.

Describe your co-op experience.  Include where you worked, a brief description of your duties, and what you learned.

My first co-op was with AMEC Earth & Environmental, where I scheduled projects located in the Middle East. I really enjoyed working in project management, but the only downfall was that I wasn’t able to go on site since these projects were located overseas. For my second co-op I decided to take a job where I would get the experience of working on site, so I worked for the City of Philadelphia, Capitol Program Office. Here, I was mostly working on the Ben Franklin Parkway Renovations, assisting the project directors, engineers, and inspectors. My third and final co-op will be with The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers working as a Civil Engineering Technician in the Geotechnics division. I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to gaining new experiences in my field.

Describe any extracurricular activities that you participate in. 

Currently, I am most involved in EWB (Engineers Without Borders). This organization’s goal is to support community-driven development programs worldwide to design and implement sustainable engineering projects. Currently, the Drexel chapter is working on restoring two bridges in Jamaica and a water treatment system in Miramar.

If you have studied abroad, please describe this experience and the impact it has had on you.

I studied abroad in Leeds, UK during the fall term of my junior year. This was by far the greatest four months of my life, and the most rewarding experience I have had at Drexel thus far. The people in Leeds were some of the happiest and friendliest people I have ever met, and their attitudes and perspectives on life surely rubbed off on me. The city of Leeds itself was so lively, and had a fantastic nightlife. I definitely had some high points and low points while abroad, but that’s all part of the process of being away from home for an extended time.

Culture shock was a big part of my adjustment to life in the UK. For instance, taking engineering classes in a different country was much different than I had anticipated. The classes in the UK were structured very differently than what I was used to. There was a lot less influence from the professor, which forced me to stay more on top of my school work than I would have if I were in the US. For most classes, there were limited assignments due during the term, and the majority of my grade depended on the final exam. It was challenging at first to manage both studying and traveling, but I managed to stay focused enough during the week so that I could travel on the weekends. I was able to travel and explore tons of new cities, such as Florence, Madrid, Amsterdam, Prague and Copenhagen, just to name a few.

The best part about studying abroad was having the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. I now have some great friends in Italy, Germany, Australia, Spain, and of course England. Furthermore, one of the most significant lessons I learned from studying abroad was learning to accept and understand people from other cultures. I learned that simply listening to what people have to say allows you to see things from a new perspective. You may not necessarily need to agree with what they say, but hearing them out is what makes a difference. Meeting people from different parts of the world exposed me to different cultures, languages, and ways of life.

In only four short months, studying abroad changed me as a person, and impacted my outlook on the world. I learned to view each day as an opportunity for new adventures and new lessons. I learned to accept and appreciate each and every person that comes into my life, and most of all, I learned to be happy with myself, and the person that I have become.

Explain what you would like to do after graduation.

After graduation I plan to work overseas for a few years, possibly in Australia, while working to get my PE (Professional Engineering license). Eventually, I would like to help people in developing countries with my skills, knowledge and experience as a civil engineer. I would love to have the opportunity to help other people, as well as see different parts of the globe, and explore different cultures.