When parents today offer advice to their college-bound children, incoming freshmen may hear something analogous to “Get the most out of your four years!”
Carolyn Detora, of Avon, Conn., apparently took such advice to heart: she dove headfirst into a BS in mechanical engineering and an MS in management through WPI’s Foisie Business School, with sights on graduation in 2018.
It was her father, James Detora ’92, who insisted she tour the WPI campus during her college search process. “I fell in love with it on my first visit. When I got accepted, it was a no-brainer.”
With a passion for leadership, Detora says she was motivated to jump into a two-degree track in order to become a more well-rounded engineer. “I can envision myself as a project manager and I wanted to make sure I am preparing myself now with the skills necessary for this role.”
In the summer between her freshman and sophomore years, she was approached to join a team of students willing to provide input for the new Foisie Innovation Studio. “I knew the project would have a big impact on campus,” she says, “and I would be working with some amazing advisors (Art Heinricher, dean of undergraduate studies, and Diran Apelian, professor and director of the Metal Processing Institute). It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
This past winter she and another IQP teammate traveled to Florida to present their final findings at the WPI Board of Trustees winter retreat. “They were really impressed with our work and we received a standing ovation,” she recalls. “It was definitely one of my most memorable college experiences.”
She was able to network with the trustees—in particular, Dorothea Wong ’92, who has become one of her strongest supporters within the WPI community as well as her mentor through the Trustee Mentor Program.
With her fascination with the aerospace industry and her burgeoning interest in renewable energy, Detora sees her future leadership role falling into one of these industries – but she’s leaving her options open to interpretation. “I don’t have too many plans for my career;
I am very much an opportunist,” she says. “I don’t like to have my whole life planned out. Most of my choices are based on my experiences, and I have so much to experience in the next year before I can make too many decisions!”
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Marietta E. Anderson Award • Slaymaker-Kinsey Award • Charles O. Thompson Scholar • Dean’s List • University Award • Engineering Ambassador • Order of Omega • Tau Beta Pi • Pi Tau Sigma • Exploradreams President • Alpha Xi Delta • Peer Learning Assistant of the Year