Jessica Austriaco




Naperville, IL

Executive Positions:
  • President
  • On-Campus Exec.

Other extracurricular activities:

  • CARE Tutor
  • Leader for a BMES EOH Project

Research/Internship/Co-op experience:

  • Abbvie
    Clinical Trials Operations Intern
    (SUMMER 2018)
  • HistoGeneX
    (SUMMER 2017)
  • FONA International
    Product Safety and Quality Intern
    (SUMMER 2016)

Why Illinois?

Besides the fact that my parents and three uncles/aunts are Illinois Alumni, Illinois is a huge school with immense opportunity. I visited twice before confirming my acceptance, and both times I could feel the innovation and community on campus! The students here are really focused on growth and aren't afraid to try new ideas. No matter your major, location, or age, you'll find a space that you fit on this campus. And if you're a busy-bee like me, you'll never be bored! So far, I have never regretted my decision to come to Illinois.

What has been your best experience at Illinois?

My best experience at Illinois has been the LeaderShape Institute program. It's a 6-day program hosted at a mansion during the last week of winter break that encourages leadership development, inclusion, and community impact. Not only do they help you define your visions for the future, you grow close "summer-camp" type relationships with 60 other students from unique and diverse parts of the school! It's a blast, and I highly recommend it.

Favorite part about being an engineering student?

My favorite part of being an engineering student is the opportunity. When you're an engineer at Illinois, you are set up do anything you want--whether that's research, design, management, etc. Engineering not only allows you to utilize a variety of strengths (like creativity, collaboration, and determination), but it exposes you to new fields and encourages you to think in unique ways. Here, there are endless places to get involved as an engineer, and as a junior, I still find myself discovering new skill-development opportunities and learning environments on campus.

Why did you join EA?

I joined EA because I have a passion for communication and STEM. I want as many people as possible to be exposed to the joy in problem-solving and cutting-edge discovery. I love presentations too! Also, the group is full of kind and passionate people, including Dean Brunet and Dr. Amos who really want the best for us. EA is probably one of the most fantastic opportunities on campus!

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a STEM degree?

When you're choosing a STEM major, research your programs and find the area that is the most interesting to you. For me, I had always been interested in healthcare, and I got very lucky that bioengineering at Illinois was a perfect program for my interests. That said, sometimes people apply to a major without doing their research and end up going through the huge hassle of transferring later. If you're unsure about STEM, don't be! There is a place for every single person in STEM. Do you like art? Well, there are computer scientists who program animations. Do you like music? Many of my electrical engineering friends build guitar pedals and synthesize sound itself! Do you like people? Then you're like me...and I work with people everyday and will continue throughout my career!

What do you plan on doing post-graduation?

I'm planning to dive into a biotechnology company and do my best to change healthcare around the globe. Regardless if that's pharmaceuticals or medical devices or another related field, I am ready to work and strive to better healthcare and our communities, using my strengths as a technical communicator and skills as an engineer. And, who knows, maybe grad school is down the road!