Cornell Engineering Career Conversations

Celebrate excellence and innovation among engineers whose impact contributes to a healthier, more equitable, and more sustainable world. Join Career Center Director Christa Downey and Engineering Communications Program Director Dr. Traci Nathans-Kelly for authentic conversations with people who are making a difference.

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Season 1

Episode 1: Introducing Engineering Career Conversations

Cornell engineers are making a difference in the world every day. We share our motivation for celebrating excellence and innovation among engineers who are making an impact.

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Episode 2: From Civil Engineering to City Hall: Abena Sackey Ojetayo ‘07, ‘09

Civil engineering alum Abena Sackey Ojetayo describes her work as “developing ideas that meet the triple bottom line of safety, prosperity, and environmental stewardship.” Abena shares her journey from being a student in the College of Engineering to becoming Tallahassee’s Assistant City Manager.

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Episode 3: Creating Technology for Sustainable Food Production:  Matthew Gellert ‘17

Biosystems engineering manager Matthew Gellert develops elegant, functional designs for indoor vertical farms at Brooklyn-based Square Roots. Matthew discusses using his biological engineering education and software engineering skills to tackle challenges in agriculture.

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Episode 4: From Future Doc to Healthcare Industry Disruptor: Alice Yan ‘19, ‘20

Currently working in legal and regulatory compliance at a healthcare start-up, Alice Yan describes her journey from a high school student who wanted to be a doctor to using her biomedical engineering education to improve healthcare outcomes.

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Episode 5: Improving Battery Technology: Nidhi Maniar ‘22

Recently graduated with a master’s degree in chemical engineering, Nidhi Maniar shares her perspective as a new battery engineer at Amazon. Nidhi discusses the value of understanding the fundamentals as well as career resources that she found useful in her job search.

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Episode 6: Ensuring Safe, Clean Water: Jessica Olsen ‘21

United States Air Force Infrastructure Design engineer, Jessica Olsen, discusses her passion for life-long learning and how she has managed the transition from college student to a full-time professional staying abreast of the latest research on emerging water contaminants and other water management and policy topics.

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Episode 7: Designing Safe, All-Electric, Emission-Free Vehicles:  Caitlin Stanton ‘20, ‘21

Software engineer Caitlin Stanton shares her experience working on embedded systems in electric-powered, self-driving cars at Cruise. Caitlin talks about mentoring, overcoming impostor syndrome, and going viral on social media as an undergrad.

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Episode 8: Making the Connection between Chemical Engineering and Patient Care:  Esther Park ‘06

Esther Park’s mother told her she should be a pharmacist; Esther says, “Mom was right.” Esther Park is the Pharmacy Quality, Safety, and Regulatory Compliance Manager at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Esther discusses how engineers can improve healthcare quality by managing urgent drug shortages, streamlining manufacturing processes, and creating vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and other medications that don’t yet exist. She also shares how her chemical engineering education contributes to her problem-solving and communication skills as a pharmacist.

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Episode 9: Building and Managing Community Water Systems: Matthew Snyder '19, '20

Matthew Snyder, an Assistant Project Manager and Engineer at Freese and Nichols, describes his work related to water purification and resource recovery in Texas. Matthew shares what it’s like to work as an environmental engineer and the challenges of educating the public about water water treatment and of maintaining community trust.

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The opinions expressed by the guests and contributors of this podcast are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cornell University or its employees.