Allie Masciana said she remembers the phone call from Professor Kevin Ryan like it was yesterday.
Masciana had applied to 12 colleges, and the senior at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology had plenty of offers to consider. However, she appreciated the personal touch from Stevens Institute of Technology and Dr. Ryan, who called after her acceptance letter went out to discuss research opportunities and offer to connect her to other faculty at the School of Business.
Four years later, Masciana now works the other side of the phone, calling accepted students to offer guidance as they consider whether Stevens is right for them. Like her many other responsibilities on campus, it’s a duty Masciana, the Class of 2017 valedictorian, takes seriously.
“I’ve talked to some current freshmen who I called last year, and they’ve said to me, ‘You’re part of the reason I came here,’” she said. “Helping others has always been a passion for me, which is why I’ve found my experiences as an RA (resident assistant) and as an ambassador for the business school to be so fulfilling."
Being an RA, she said, gave her a unique perspective on building relationships and solving problems, including helping students work through their own challenges. She is involved in the Gear and Triangle, Beta Gamma Sigma, Order of Omega and Rho Alpha Sigma honor societies; served on the cabinet of student government; and played on the varsity tennis team for three years after walking on as a freshman — the team captain saw her wearing tennis shoes in the dining hall and offered her a tryout.
A standout scholar, researcher
But it’s her academic work that’s most distinguished Masciana as a student. A member of the Stevens Scholar program who is majoring in Business & Technology, she’s worked with faculty as well as independently to take on a range of research projects, from helping to streamline the nursing application process at Monmouth Medical Center to studying what motivates corporate sales teams. She’ll graduate in May with a 4.0 GPA before heading to EY, where she interned last summer, as a consultant in the company’s Technology Advisory Program within its Financial Services Office.
“I felt connected to the faculty here right away — they helped me grow as a person and a scholar, challenged me as a researcher and advised me on my career.”
Her concentration in Information Systems helped prepare her for her work with EY, Masciana said.
“At Stevens, you really get the conceptual knowledge behind how information systems work, but also the technical knowledge — knowing different coding languages and how to use Excel,” she said, adding that she’s also teaching herself additional programming languages. “Technology will be a big part of my future, and Stevens has given me the grounding I needed to get this position.”
Faculty relationships made the difference
Her technology education positioned Masciana for success, but so did her relationships with faculty and staff at Stevens. A frequent visitor to the Student Support Center at the School of Business, she called its director, Michelle Crilly, “the friendly face you need to see from day to day.”
“I was nervous as a freshman about not finding a job, but she calmed me down, led me in the right direction, helped me every step of the way,” she said. “You can talk to her about literally anything. She’s a great role model — always calm, cool and collected.”
Stevens faculty also made a strong impression on Masciana, including Dr. Don Lombardi, who advised her on research projects, and Sara Garibaldi, an adjunct marketing professor.
Professor Garibaldi “really helped me refine my career search,” Masciana said. “Having a professor who would come to class right from her work in New York, and be able to tell us about how she used the same material she was teaching us, was incredible. I don’t think we’d be able to experience that if we were located anywhere else.”
Masciana also completed a concentration in Marketing, which meant working closely with Dr. Gaurav Sabnis. In fact, Dr. Sabnis helped Masciana choose EY when she had multiple offers on the table.
“Professor Sabnis encouraged me to take a step back and helped me to realize that working directly with clients was important to me," she said. "I was very lucky to have the opportunity to choose between them — but he really gave me the perspective I needed to make the right choice.”
'Much more than 100 percent to everything she does'
Dr. Sabnis’ research work in sales and marketing helped him build a large network that crosses industries, so he was happy to give Masciana some perspective.
“From the very first class she took with me, it was clear she was there more to learn than to get good grades,” Dr. Sabnis said. “She did a research project with me; I gave her a few advanced papers to read, and she was able to make sense of them and use them in her work. She just always seems to bring much more than 100 percent to everything she does.”
Masciana is excited about her career with EY, though it will be a transition from a small high school and small university to a Big Four firm that does business around the globe. But the opportunities she had at a smaller school have given her tools to ensure her success at work.
“I felt connected to the faculty here right away — they helped me grow as a person and a scholar, challenged me as a researcher and advised me on my career,” she said. “Being at Stevens helped me be very involved, make connections with faculty and give me everything I wanted.”