Isabella Passero

Isabella Passero Drexel Univeristy

Name: Isabella Passero
Graduation Year: 2026
Major: Engineering Technology
Hometown: Williamstown, NJ

When or how did you become interested in engineering?

I always had an interest doing “nerd” stuff since middle school and playing video games with my cousins. That turned into focusing on it all high school joining Engineering Academy (a collection of classes curated to give a broad scope of engineering).

When you were looking at colleges, what made Drexel stand out?

Drexel stood out to me because I wasn’t looking for anything too far away from my family. I also had a fear of being bored going to a college that only has grass to offer. Drexel has done a good job keeping me busy and enjoying the great city of Philadelphia.

Why did you decide to focus on your particular major?

This major is set up similarly to the program I was in in high school. We have a lot of hands-on classes and design-based classes there. This major is so important to me because I know I wanted to be an engineer but don’t know what specific fields to get into and know I like to learn about engineering design and applications.

Tell us about one of your co-ops and how it helped you.

I am on my first co-op right now as an automation engineer for Alfa Laval, a company that work in heat transfer, particulate separation and fluid handling equipment. Currently in the decanter section, I make “how to” videos for decanter centrifuge operation and setup, work on some AutoCAD drawings, PLC programming and even get to go on sites sometimes. This totally confirmed my interest in automation engineering. I love having a role at work to be on a team on a bunch of different projects and the variety of tasks I do. I also think the machines and variety of applications we use them for is amazing from food processing to waste management. The only negative is the rush hour traffic both ways!

Talk about your favorite or most interesting class.

My most interesting class so far was, for sure, Dr. Husanu’s Fluid Power Class. I loved learning about hydraulic and pneumatic systems in the lecture and then seeing them in person. Connecting the hoses and working with my friend to figure out how to build different configurations was a lot of fun and interesting.

How has first-hand learning impacted you?

My major specifically has been nothing but first-hand experience. I am already applying knowledge from my first two years to my co-op, and in turn, my co-op is going to teach me things for classes coming up. Since COVID, I was really slacking on my AutoCAD skills, so taking that class with Dr. Ertekin refreshed my memory and even taught Solidworks. The labs we have like the robotics one from Dr. Chiou’s class in Bossone is so cool, seeing an ABB robot that is the same used in industry. A lot of the other hands-on classes for electronics have been helpful teaching hard to understand concepts like resonance frequency by showing it with lab equipment in Carr’s class. He also teaches PLC programming, so after talking about co-op he helped me with any questions I had about PLC’s since I have never seen them before. This information is going to help me later in class so everything CO-OP and class is symbiotic just helping me for my future.

What extracurricular groups are you in and what value do they bring to students?

I am currently the President of Society Manufacturing Engineers; we are very small so far but hopefully it will become a better space for students with interest in manufacturing processes and plants. We are working on making more engaging activities to make more of an impact on the student body. I am also recently part of ENC (Every Nation Campus) which is doing a great job spreading good faith to Drexel’s campus and helped me make great friends.

How does living and working in Philadelphia benefit your experience?

Living and working in Philadelphia benefits me because I know I am never bored because I am surrounded by culture to explore, and everything is close within a short train ride or a walk away. This made it easy for me to pick up another non-co-op job that is close to me for extra spending money — that I then spend in the city! It keeps you busy for sure but the city view at sunset is enough peace for all the chaos.

What is your favorite part about your Drexel experience so far?

My favorite part about my Drexel experience so far is how easy it was for me to get involved and start trying to make an impact at the school. From meeting my roommates and random people on the street, it was easy to find places I felt like I belonged. A lot of clubs struggle with getting students involved, but for me it was just as easy as showing up. I hope to see more students encouraged to show up as well. I also have an amazing time here talking to my advisor Gerry, who has helped me endlessly navigate my problems and make the most personalized Drexel experience I can imagine.