Incredible Breakthrough! A Young Woman Discovers Her True Calling on the Grand Stage of Carnegie Hall!
It was a life-changing moment for Jennea Katic, an ambitious student from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. While performing at the prestigious Carnegie Hall, she felt an undeniable pull towards a different path. This unexpected realization set her on a thrilling journey that led to her becoming the President of Embry-Riddle’s Formula SAE team and a data engineering intern for the renowned Jr III Racing team.
The story begins with a young Jennea, born in South Africa, who had dreams of becoming a world-class vocalist. She had already proven her talent by competing against 200 singers from all corners of the world to earn a chance to perform at Carnegie Hall. However, her voice began to strain, and her academic performance started to suffer. Determined to find her true calling, she made a promise that this would be her final voice competition, regardless of whether she secured a ticket to the grand stage or not.
Jennea Katic has always been driven to be the best and constantly challenge herself. Her commitment to personal growth eventually led her to Embry-Riddle, where she is currently pursuing a Mechanical Engineering degree. One may wonder, what does engineering have to do with the theater? According to Jennea, the answer lies in discipline. She explains that both disciplines require preparation, rehearsal, and practice. Surprisingly, math has also played a significant role in her journey, as it intertwines with music structure and artistic movements. Although seemingly unrelated, Jennea has discovered a unique connection between these two realms, which has greatly helped her along the way.
Apart from her role as the President of Embry-Riddle’s Formula SAE team, Jennea also works as a data engineering intern for the Jr III Racing team. In this position, she travels around the country to various races and monitors crucial factors such as engine and oil temperature, water pressure, and fuel consumption per lap. She then formulates improvement recommendations for the drivers, making her an integral part of the race engineering process.
Jennea’s dedication to her field is unwavering. She sees every test as a competition and has fully committed herself to the world of motorsports. Her passion knows no bounds.
Jennea’s journey to the United States commenced when she emigrated with her family at the tender age of 8. Middle school marked the point when she became aware of her differences, such as her accent and her family’s thrifty lifestyle. While her friends enjoyed new things and fun-filled weekends, Jennea spent her time working in her parents’ laundromat, folding clothes. Her upbringing instilled in her the belief that if she were to pursue something, she must strive to be the best.
Her initial passion for musical theater soon expanded to engineering through high school STEAM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics). Following graduation, she landed an internship at Lockheed Martin, where her previous experience working in her dad’s automotive business proved valuable. Being hands-on, building, and manufacturing became her true calling, paving the way for a career in Mechanical Engineering.
As she nears graduation, Jennea’s future shines bright. With an impressive employment rate of over 99% for ERAU Motorsports students, her prospects are exceedingly promising. Dr. Gaetano Sterlacci, the assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering and the faculty advisor for the club, attributes this success to the team’s visibility within the industry. Members of ERAU Motorsports gain invaluable experience in car design, fabrication, data analysis, and business management. They regularly collaborate with real-world companies, and as the President of the organization, Jennea epitomizes their mission.
Dr. Rafael Rodriguez, the former faculty advisor of Embry-Riddle’s Formula SAE team, and the current associate professor and chair of Mechanical Engineering, explains that Jennea’s preference for hands-on learning is not uncommon amongst Embry-Riddle students. The university prides itself on equipping students like Jennea with occupational skills that directly translate into successful careers post-graduation. Through their “experiential learning” approach, students have the opportunity to practice engineering before entering the field. From requirements to assembly and testing, they experience the full product-development process.
Jennea Katic understands that singing from a songbook will not enhance her voice, just as reading textbooks alone will not help her understand the music hidden within machinery. Some lessons can only be learned through practical experience.
In conclusion, Jennea Katic’s extraordinary journey from the grand stage of Carnegie Hall to her impactful roles in motorsports is a testament to her resilience, determination, and unwavering pursuit of excellence. Her story inspires us to follow our passions, embrace unexpected opportunities, and never be afraid to chase our dreams. And as Jennea prepares to embark on the next chapter of her life, both her emigration story and her incredible achievements serve as beautiful tributes to the sacrifices made by her loving parents, who paved the way for her remarkable success.