Some students know exactly what they want to study when they step foot onto a college campus for the first time, but statistics show that often isn’t the case. Multiple sources report that an estimated 20-50 percent of students enter college undeclared.
New Hartford native Gabriella Yacobucci was one such example.
Drawn to SUNY Poly because its smaller class sizes mirrored the secondary schools she attended, Yacobucci came to SUNY Poly with an interest in engineering, but was unsure which concentration was the right one for her.
“I knew I liked math and science,” she said, “and with engineering, you need both [skillsets].”
Since engineering students take many of the same classes during the early stages of their collegiate career, Yacobucci remained on track. While knocking out her prerequisite coursework, she met with an undeclared academic advisor who connected her with faculty who had the background and information she needed to make the decision. Gabriella eventually chose mechanical engineering due to the flexibility it provides when she is ready to enter the workforce.
“Everyone needs a mechanical engineer,” she said.
Even though SUNY Poly’s program in mechanical engineering technology offers more hands-on study, Yacobucci has enjoyed working with machines when she’s had the opportunity as a Mechanical Engineering major. This includes a recent internship at Pursuit Aero’s Whitesboro location. Pursuit Aero is a global manufacturer of complex aircraft engine components that are developed through highly integrated processes.
“I was in the quality department and did a study on one of the parts that they make,” she said, “just seeing how different steps and using different items/processes would change the part. That was my first experience ever in the industry. It was a lot to learn but it was a great experience and company, and I would definitely go back.”
Just as she explored different engineering disciplines with the help of SUNY Poly academic advisors and faculty to narrow down her focus of study, Gabriella plans to continue to build her resume and look at other industries using the skills she’s learned before committing to a specific career field.
Set to graduate next spring, Yacobucci plans to continue as a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Club. The student-led group, advised by Assistant Professor Aarthi Sekaran, meets periodically and hears from professionals in the industry. This in turn opens students up to more ideas and possibilities within the mechanical engineering field.
As a commuter student at SUNY Poly, Yacobucci has enjoyed the smaller class sizes, which have helped her meet peers and make friends with people from all over the world.
“We have a really diverse group of people [at SUNY Poly],” she said, “and it’s really nice to just be around everyone.”