Katrina Adamo, BS

Hometown: Mt Kisco, NY

Degree earned at WPI: BS; Technical, Scientific, and Professional Communication. Minors; Biology and International Studies

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
I grew up in a small farming community in northern Maine, where high school students have 3-weeks off of school to pick potatoes (“Harvest Break”) and most people think that engineers operate trains. So it’s no wonder that people are surprised that I discovered an engineering university like WPI. As a high school student, I was interested in biology and writing, but—as so many people are then—I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life and how I could apply my interests to have a successful, rewarding career. I visited several colleges, and WPI stood out because of the university’s unique, project-based approach to education. By choosing WPI, I knew that I would have the opportunity to pursue my interests in a meaningful way to help solve real challenges in the world.

Present job title and employer:
Associate Director, Scientific Communications at Hudson Global (Tarrytown, New York)

How do you feel your experiences at WPI prepared you for working in your field?
I may not need to know how to name a carbon compound or determine the gender of drosophila in the medical communications field; however, going to WPI taught me to think analytically and work collaboratively with my peers. Additionally, my writing coursework prepared me for the medical communications field by helping to develop the necessary skills for translating scientific information into accurate, relevant, clear, and compelling communications that resonate with different target audiences. These factors have greatly contributed to my current success as a medical writer and manager, in which I develop a diverse range of promotional communications for the pharmaceutical industry.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, prepared you for facing real-world challenges in the workplace?
I’ve found that in “the real world,” particularly in smaller companies, people are required to jump into their new professions, sometimes with little (if any) training. That’s because good companies know that the best way to learn is by doing. WPI gets this. The project-based curriculum helps students gain the hands-on experience related to problem-solving and working with others they need to be successful in the working world.

For example, my Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) team worked for the urban planning board in Venice, Italy. We defined architectural typologies on Sant’Erasmo and devised a system to reutilize abandoned farmland on the agricultural island to promote sustainable development and maintain the historical integrity of the area. While this project had absolutely nothing to do with my chosen field of study, the experience taught me to identify a problem and work together as a team (with very diverse academic backgrounds) to identify a solution.

For my Major Qualifying Project, I wrote an article and developed an educational brochure to address healthcare barriers encountered by Vietnam veterans with hepatitis C. This project, for which I won a Provost Award, essentially summarized my coursework at WPI by integrating my experience in history, biology, and writing. Although my MQP was an individual project, I conducted interviews and worked closely with my project advisors, both of which helped me perfect my ability to work with others to solve real challenges in the world.

These experiences have translated to my career, in which I work on a daily basis with people of different academic backgrounds and roles within my company. Similar to my project work, I also problem-solve by identifying my clients’ brand needs and offer solutions through strategic communications campaigns.

Groups or extracurricular activities you participate in at WPI:

  • The Skull (Senior honor society)
  • Alpha Gamma Delta (International women’s fraternity)
  • Rho Lambda (National sorority leadership recognition society)
  • Peer Learning Assistant (WPI Biology/Biotechnology Dept)
  • Media Relations Intern (WPI Marketing & Communications Division)
  • New Student Orientation Leader/Peer Advisor
  • Student Alumni Society
  • Crimson Key (Campus tour guides)

Academic or professional awards you have received:

  • Hudson Global MVP Award (2009)
  • National Health Information Awards, Patient Educational Information (2009; Team award)
  • National Mature Media Awards, Consumer Education Program (2009; Team award)
  • WPI Major Qualifying Project Provost Award (2005)
  • WPI William L. and Margaret M. Kranich Prize (2005)
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