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Meet Our Staff

Our staff embraces our mission to inspire and empower Cornell Engineers to create lifelong career success. We believe the greatest impact arises when career education is integrated in each student's life from day one as a Cornellian. We encourage every engineering student to engage with our office throughout their time here at Cornell.

Christa Downey, Director, Engineering Career Center

Christa B. Downey

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Director 
Christa is inspired by people who pursue their passions through work, service, and hobbies and is passionate about helping Cornell students find ways to connect their strengths and interests through unique opportunities. She is the Director of the Engineering Career Center, where the team inspires and empowers Cornell Engineers to create life-long career success. Past experiences include leading the Arts & Sciences Career Center, facilitating groups on Cornell’s Hoffman Challenge course, teaching business math at a community college, and other roles in higher education. A first-generation college student and Pittsburgh native, Christa holds a B.S. in Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon University, where she currently serves on the Alumni Association Board. She also holds an M.S. in College Student Personnel from Miami University (in Ohio - Miami was a university before Florida was a state). When she’s not working, Christa is likely outside, training for triathlons, camping, boating, traveling, or reading. Her favorite hike was in Poland’s Tatra Mountains, her favorite tri was the Timberman in Gilford, New Hampshire and she is always looking for new book recommendations.

Helen Chandler

Helen Chandler

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Assistant Director

A North Carolina native, Helen got her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Shortly after graduating from UNC, she moved to Charlottesville, Virginia and began working at the University of Virginia Career Center, where she realized her passion for student affairs. She then completed her M.Ed. in Higher Education at UVa and worked as the Student Services Coordinator for the Higher Education Graduate Programs from which she had just graduated. Working with the Higher Education students solidified her desire to advise students as they find their interests, talents, and paths forward, and in the Summer of 2018, she joined the Engineering Career Center as an Assistant Director.

Stephen Capobianco

Stephen Capobianco

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Assistant Director, Cooperative Education Program

Stephen wakes up every day thinking about how we explore and find our place in the world. Both through his work and research, he specializes in high-impact educational practices, such as global learning, internships, and cooperative education. Stephen is also a Ph.D. candidate in Community Research & Action focusing on public scholarship that addresses critical issues facing communities and seeks to understand how inclusive practices in complex systems can better people’s lives. Prior to joining the Cornell Engineering Career Center in the summer of 2018, he was active in the field of International Education for several years as an Education Abroad Advisor in the Office of Global Learning at Cornell and, prior to that, as a Study Abroad Coordinator at Binghamton University. Stephen earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature and a Master of Public Administration from Binghamton University. Outside of work and research, Stephen enjoys traveling to new countries, practicing the languages he has learned along the way, hiking up to the top of tallest hill (or mountain), and trying new recipes to make back home.

Jennifer Soprano, Employer Relations and Recruiting Coordinator, Engineering Career Center

Jennifer Soprano

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Employer Relations/Recruiting Coordinator

Jennifer grew up in Rose, NY - a very small town about 90 minutes north of Ithaca. She has completed undergraduate course work at Roberts Wesleyan College (Rochester, NY), Finger Lakes Community College (Canandaigua, NY), SUNY Oswego and, most recently, Cornell. While at FLCC, Jennifer completed her AS in Liberal Arts. In the fall of 2006 she began her career at Cornell as an Administrative Assistant in the Advising and Career Services office in the College of Arts and Sciences. In the Fall of 2012 Jennifer joined the Engineering Career Center as the Employer Relations/Recruiting Coordinator. Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys growing gardens, camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing and enjoying all that the Finger Lakes Region has to offer!

Julie Wright, Co-op Assistant, Engineering Career Center

Julie Wright

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Co-op Assistant

Julie served five and a half years as an administrative assistant at Gannett Health Services, where she was the sports medicine first point of contact for students and staff. Prior to joining Cornell, Julie worked locally as receptionist/billing assistant at Family Medicine Associates; surgical scheduler at Plastic Surgical Associates Podiatric; medical assistant for Dr. Evan Meltzer; and habilitation assistant at Groton Community Health Center. Julie is a graduate of Moravia Central Schools and attended Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Erin Philipson, Operations Assistant, Engineering Career Center

Erin Philipson

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Operations Assistant

Erin is a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she earned a B.A. in Communications and Dance. She has both retail sales and client relations experience. She also teaches dance at The Next Jennaration Dance Studio in Lansing. Her responsibilities include overseeing the front desk and co-supervising student staff, greeting and preparing for recruiters each morning, marketing office programs and services, and general administrative duties.