Maria Damiani

Maria Damiani

ICC Engineering Graduate: 2012
Transferred to: Michigan Technological University


B.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering

Currently Employed: 3M
Title: Advanced Systems Engineer

Date of Testimonial: May 19, 2017

What is your career highlight or proudest career moment to date?
I recently received the highest possible yearly performance rating in my company (which is very rare), and was then promoted to Advanced Systems Engineer after under 2 years with the company. This was a result of my leadership on a complex company-wide software project. Very rewarding!

Why did you choose Itasca Community College to start your engineering education? What do you think is the best thing about the Itasca Community College?
I chose ICC for the practical hands-on Engineering curriculum, dedicated faculty & staff, and strong Engineering community. The financial savings was an added benefit, but did not really contribute to my decision. Even as a high-achieving high school student who had a choice of many schools, I chose ICC because I knew I'd get real practical experience in addition to theory. And I was right - after ICC I transferred to Michigan Tech and found myself much better prepared to lead labs and projects than the other students in my classes. The combination of practical experience and a solid understanding of the basic concepts in my first two years served as the perfect base on which to build additional theory and experience in my advanced classes at MTU.

I think the best part of ICC was how much fun I had! My best friends today are the friends I made at ICC who continued on to MTU with me.

How did ICC Engineering help you shape your personal and professional goals?
I gained confidence! I learned to use all the tools in the shop, how to give a good presentation, and how to attack an overwhelming project and break it down into the right pieces. The biggest thing I learned was how to teach myself to do whatever needs to be done to get the job done right!

What advice would you give to a prospective ICC Engineering students?
If you enjoy a small tight-knit community where you will get practical experience and make close friends with other students and instructors, ICC Engineering would be a great fit for you! There is definitely a fun nerdy summer camp vibe to ICC (with lots of hard work of course!). If you struggle with math (calculus especially) but still want to be an Engineer, I highly recommend you go to ICC and get all your math out of the way before transferring. Craig & Theresa Stertz are the best math teachers around! If you have your heart set on the classic sorority/fraternity life and lots of intramural sports or music activities, you might want to look at a bigger school - but be aware you'll likely have larger classes and definitely less personal interaction with instructors at a bigger school. Do what's right for you!

What advice would you give to a current ICC Engineering student?
Do the things that scare you! Seriously. Lead the project, learn how to weld, use the big saws in the shop, go on the crazy camping trips, do the more challenging project, apply for the internship, join the club - get as involved as you can. Engineering school is a trial by fire - it will be the hardest, craziest, weirdest thing you have ever done, but you will come out the other side as a strong engineer with the skills and confidence to tackle anything. It's pretty empowering!