ASEM / INCOSE Leadership Role, Engineering Management Minor Unlock Senior’s Success

Olivia Caracappa

For Olivia Caracappa, a member of Drexel’s Class of 2024, the path to engineering began with a high school teacher who recognized her unique problem-solving abilities. "My teacher was a Mechanical Engineer himself and I remember having a conversation with him about being lost in my decision for what I wanted to study in college," she recalld. "He said the way I approached solving problems in class reminded him of engineers, and encouraged me to explore it as an option."

Despite having no family history in engineering and limited knowledge of the field, Olivia took a leap of faith. "I decided to go for it," she said. She entered Drexel as a mechanical engineering major.

As Olivia progressed through her studies, she remained open to new opportunities and experiences. Her first co-op played a pivotal role in shaping her path, not only providing engineering knowledge but also exposing her to the structure of a company. "I saw what my manager did every day and often thought to myself that I wanted to be in her shoes one day," she explained. This experience led her to switch her major to materials science and engineering and pursue a minor in engineering management.

"I knew that adding this minor would teach me how management strategies impact business success, how to manage people and projects, and help me gain valuable soft skills like communicating with diverse audiences," Caracappa explained.

Once she was part of the engineering management minor, Caracappa quickly got involved with student groups, joining and eventually rising to become president of Drexel's student chapter of ASEM/INCOSE. Through this organization, and through a membership with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), she has connected with industry leaders and built a community of colleagues within Drexel.

"Being a part of ASEM/INCOSE and SWE have improved my Drexel experience greatly,” She said. “These organizations connected me with students with similar interests and goals. Working together with them allowed me to be a better student – we often learned from one another and helped each other overcome challenges in class or co-op," she said.

Engineering management classwork – particularly EGMT 404, Introduction to Engineering Management Communication – was also rewarding for Caracappa. "I always felt I had strong communication skills, but this class showed me there are many factors to consider when communicating effectively," she explained. "I learned how to tailor my communication style to different audiences, which has been invaluable in my everyday life."

Caracappa’s dedication extends beyond the classroom and into the dance studio. As a member of the Drexel Dance Team, she has honed her time management skills while balancing a demanding practice and performance schedule with her engineering coursework. "Being on the dance team has taught me the importance of using my free time wisely and staying on top of my work," she said. "It's a challenge, but it's also incredibly rewarding."

As Caracappa prepares to graduate and begin her career as an engineer, she remains grateful for the experiences and knowledge gained through her engineering management minor. "I would advise anyone interested in pursuing an engineering management minor to go for it!" she said. "You will develop great skills and broaden your class load with classes that will teach you about management, business, and communication. These classes provide knowledge that you don't typically get in your technical coursework and are just as important to the development of your career."