Assunta graduated from Drexel University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. She is currently
a transportation engineer at AECOM in Philadelphia, specializing in general engineering consulting contracts with
CSX Transportation and Amtrak. She is also a certified track inspector and will spend the summer months walking
along Amtrak's right of way.
When did you realize you wanted to be a civil engineer?When I was about 10 years old my cousins visited from Italy and my parents took us to the Strasburg Railroad Museum for a tour. During the tour, we had the opportunity to ride on one of the trains through Lancaster County. I think that was the day I realized how awesome trains were. Originally, I wanted to be a train conductor, but that didn’t really work out and I had no idea what civil engineering was until I entered college. I then took an Intro to Engineering class, learned all about design and construction, and was hooked.
Who are your role models?The best role models I have in my life are my mom and dad. They came to the US in the early 1980’s, from Italy, and are the definition of the American Dream. They have taught me the importance of education, that hard work does make dreams come true and how to stand resilient in the face of adversity. They have sacrificed a lot to provide and be an example to my brother and I; and I can only hope to one day pay it forward.
Another set of role models are two fantastic women I have worked with every day for the last five years, Alanna and Monica. Both women have helped me become a better leader and to lead with grace and humility, both professionally and personally.
What does empowerment mean to you?By definition, empowerment means “becoming stronger or more confident” and I believe empowering the women around you is incredibly important. This can be done though education, professional development and training. I think it is also important that we promote equality in our field and respect others beliefs and opinions. In short, I think empowerment means we celebrate women’s achievements and lend a hand when we fail. We as women can be each other's best advocates and supporters. In short, I think empowerment means we are there to celebrate women's achievements and lend a hand at the foot of failure.
What has been your favorite part of being an ASCE YMF Board Member?As K-12 Outreach co-chair, I would say visiting different schools each month has been my favorite part of YMF. During our visits, we explain the different fields within civil engineering and then work on an activity together. To see so many children motivated by what we do and say that they too would like to be engineers is inspiring. I might never design the world’s tallest building or the world’s longest bridge, but if I know that I impacted a child to want to become an engineer, then I’d say I did well in my career.