From Bologna to Texas: the journey of Bianca Vitale

Lamar University alumna Bianca Vitale, hailing from the city of Bologna, Italy, graduated with a bachelor’s in industrial engineering and a minor in mathematicsin 2021. She continued her educational journey by pursuing a master’s in industrial and systems engineering, set to graduate in 2023. While not a first-generation college student, Bianca's path to higher education is marked by passion, dedication, and a unique international experience.Bianca Vitale Photo

Discover what ignited her fervor for industrial engineering, her journey to the university, and the transformative five years she spent at LU. From her participation in the women's tennis team to her current role as a Staff Engineer at American StructurePoint in Round Rock, Texas, Bianca's story is one of perseverance and growth.

What sparked your passion in your major?

Since I was a kid I’ve always been interested in science andmathematics. When I reached high school, I realized that I was very good at handling multiple tasks and completing them as efficient as possible. This is the reason why I got fascinated by automated systems, ergonomics, and lean manufacturing tools to improve productivity. 

Why Lamar University?

Being an international student, it was difficult to select the perfect school. I played tennis in junior college, and I wanted to transfer to a good D1 program to compete at a higher level and get a better degree. I received an offer from the athletic department and after carefully reviewing the engineering programs among the schools that were interested in me, Lamar was the one that attracted me the most. 

How was your experience at Lamar University?

These 5 years at Lamar were probably some of the best in my life. The size of the university was perfect to create professional and personal relationships. The number of students in my classes always allowed me to interact with professors and classmates. At Lamar, especially within athletics, there are a lot of international students like me that didn’t have a family around. This created very strong friendships that will last for life. 

What clubs and organizations were you a part of?

In these five years at Lamar, I was a part of the women’s tennis team both as a player than as a graduate assistant. This kept me very busy especially during season, which made it difficult to be a part of any other academic organization. 

What company/organization do/will you work for?

I am currently working for American StructurePoint.  I am part of the transportation group, and my title is Staff Engineer, EIT. My duty is to work on highway planning, design and construction in connection with a variety of interesting and challenging multi-disciplined projects. Some of my responsibilities are to develop and produce construction plan drawings, geometric design, and roadway plans.

How did you go about obtaining this role?

After applying for a lot of jobs on LinkedIn and not having much success, I decided to take advantage of the network of Lamar alumni. By reaching out to Lamar graduates that worked at companies that sparked my interest, I was able to get some interviews and multiple offers which led me to my number one option, American Structurepoint. 

What are you most excited about with your organization?

I started three weeks ago at my company, and I can say that I already feel part of a new family. I love that I’m able to work closely with people that are very dedicated and willing to help me grow in my career. I love the size of my office (around 20 people), which allows you to create closer professional bonds. This job doesn’t perfectly match with my degree, and I have a lot to learn, but I am very thankful that people around me are already taking my ideas into consideration.

Tell us about your future goals and aspirations and how this role fits in your journey.

This job is the perfect fit for becoming project manager in my future. I think that my industrial background with a lot of management and logistics skills, combined with the civil and technical expertise that I’ll gain in the next few years, is the perfect combination for becoming a project manager. 

Would you like to shoutout any professors or mentors at LU that helped you along your journey?

Yes definitely, I want to thank Dr. Li for following me closely during my master’s, Dr. Liu for guiding me in my thesis, Dr. Curry for helping with my resume and my job search, and Dr. Zaloom for selecting me as a candidate for academic scholarship. 

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or a job at this time? 

I would advise getting some experience before graduating by doing a summer internship, and to create connections with recent graduates, professors or anyone you get to meet at events like career fairs.  

Anything else you would like to add?

I would like to thank Lamar for these five years that I’ve been here. They have been a big part of my life and I would love one day to give back and help the school in any shape or form.