Amanda Siciliano – Passion in Civil Engineering & Self-Care Tips for Students

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Tell us about yourself.

Hi friends! My name is Amanda Siciliano. I am a Junior at Wentworth Institute of Technology studying Civil Engineering with minors in Construction Management and Business Project Management. I am a part of Phi Sigma Pi (PSP), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Student Wellness Education and Empowerment Team (SWEET), and a Resident Assistant (RA) here at Wentworth. 

What got you interested in Civil Engineering?

I got interested in math and science at a young age. I love structures and was always fascinated by bridges growing up. In high school, I took an independent science and research class that expanded my knowledge of the STEM field. One of my physics teachers, Mr. Lenhart, mentored me throughout high school. He even got me a book on the 100 best bridges around the world for Christmas one year. Other online and drafting courses grew my passion for civil engineering. Within the major, I’ve been particularly interested in geotechnical engineering, soil mechanics, and materials science with a focus in concrete.

What advice would you give to students interested in majoring in Civil Engineering?

For those interested in civil engineering, join major specific clubs such as ASCE! This organization has provided the chance to network with professionals in the field, professors at the university, and fellow classmates. I have been able to develop both professional and personal relationships with so many professors here on campus, which has helped with homework, projects, and even the co-op search. For those interested in engineering but unsure of which type, find your passion! Find something that interests you and research it.

How was your study abroad in Rome?

This past summer, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Rome and was enrolled at John Cabot University. It was an awesome experience and the food was unbelievable. While at JCU, I took courses in fluid mechanics, statistics, and thermodynamics that were taught by professors from institutions throughout the US. While in Rome, my soft skills improved, and I was able to meet so many new people. I also had the opportunity to connect with my roots and spend time with family. Both of my parents were born in Calabria so I felt particularly connected with Italy from the moment I landed in the country. Studying abroad has really improved my sense of self and I would absolutely recommend it to everyone.  

You worked in New York City for your co-op at Turner Construction Company, what advice would you give to students looking to work in New York?

Definitely reach out to your network to see if there are any opportunities in other cities. Some of the larger companies in Boston might have offices in New York, so you could ask if there are any opportunities open. At Turner, I worked on a small project team and was able to spend a lot of time with the project executive. If you want to excel in your internship or co-op, definitely ask a lot of questions. Professionals love sharing their experiences and giving the advice to capitalize on that position to learn as much as possible. One specific piece of advice I learned while at Turner was to “dress for the position you want, not the position you have.”

What advice would you give to students looking for a co-op?

Have a strong resume. Research different companies, positions, and projects before going into a career fair, so as to develop a more targeted approach. Be honest during interviews and have a good understanding of personal strengths, weaknesses, interests, and opportunities for growth. When applying to companies, look for companies that match your passions. And of course, network, network, network.

Amanda Siciliano’s Self Care Tips

  1. Essential oil diffusers are a must. Nothing is more relaxing than the combination of lavender and lemon.
  2. Find your own way to unwind at the end of the day that includes staying unplugged from technology. I’ve developed a recent love for contemporary poetry books such as Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur and Nectar by Upile Chisala.
  3. Buy an electric kettle. A warm cup of tea does wonders for the soul (especially after a long day of engineering classes).
  4. Invest your time into meaningful friendships and relationships.
  5. Google calendar is your best friend. It’s one of the best ways to stay organized and manage time.

Any final words of wisdom?

Stay motivated and committed to your major. As a female, it can be easy to get discouraged in such a male-dominated industry. Navigating misperceptions and societal stereotypes can be exhausting sometimes but reach out to mentors for support when needed. Always be proud of your identity. Also, a 30-minute nap is never a bad idea.  

Any shoutouts?

My brother, Steven, is my main source of inspiration and motivation. My parents have also supported me through everything, whether it was going vegan, studying abroad, or going to university 4 hours away from home. I’d also like to give a shout out to my best friend, Kristin, and my civil engineering inspiration, Shivani. Lastly, I’d like to thank Dr. Das and Dr. Jafferji for their continuous encouragement and motivation.

Amanda Siciliano

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