Meet the Grads, Gianna Mascio: Supported by a family of Mountaineers
For Gianna Mascio, the decision to come to West Virginia University was easy—and her entire family supported it.
Story by Adrianne Uphold, Multimedia Specialist
Mascio's long family legacy spans four decades at WVU from 1981 to 2022 earning degrees ranging from sales/finance to fine arts, psychology and biology to animal vet sciences and sports management. Four of Mascio's uncles graduated from the university and her father, Christopher Mascio, attended WVU from 1986 to 1989 before moving on to pursue a doctorate degree in dentistry. Most recently, Mascio's sister, Montana Mascio, graduated from the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Recourses in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering.
"I believe that WVU has shaped my family's careers and hugely influenced their lives," Mascio said. "It was the springboard to all of my family members' very successful careers, giving all of us the education and experiences to go on and pursue other ventures that may not have been possible without their years spent at WVU."
Mascio decided to study industrial engineering at Statler College because of the scholarships she had earned, WVU not being too far from her hometown of Weirton, West Virginia, and what she had learned about engineering in high school through her older sister Montana.
"All of my uncles, my father and my sister went here—they all had a familiarity with the school and the campus which was comforting to me," Mascio said. "I specifically wanted to go to the Statler College because of my sister's great recommendation and because WVU's industrial engineering program ranking is so high."
What initially intrigued Mascio in industrial engineering was that she felt this branch of engineering aligned exactly with the strengths and interests she had in high school, and this branch of engineering allowed her to challenge herself more than she thought was possible.
"I am a very organized person and have always been a logistical thinker even before realizing I could make that a career," Mascio said. "I liked how industrial engineering combines the scientific qualities of engineering with the actions and focus of the business world. I was drawn to industrial engineering because of how many doors it opens and how many different directions you can go."
Mascio enjoyed her major because every business or company relies heavily on industrial engineers, giving her the option to work almost anywhere she wanted.
"An industrial engineer can wear many different hats, which gives one with this degree many options of different job titles and initial positions to build from," Mascio said. "I have always had a passion for science and problem-solving. Industrial engineering seemed like the perfect combination between the two and seemed like a major and career that I would excel in."
Mascio started her real-world experience in engineering through three internships she held while as a student at Statler College. Her first internship followed her freshman year, where she was a safety intern at H.S. Newman Heating and Cooling in Wheeling, West Virginia.
"I participated in safety meetings, shadowed safety hazard inspections at various sites and partook in safety hazard reporting procedures and observed OSHA certification training," Mascio said. "It was my first time seeing a plant and the manufacturing side of business. It gave me a greater respect for the work done there and the dedication required to ensure procedures and operations are working properly and efficiently."
Following Mascio's sophomore year, she accepted her second internship at Evoqua Water Technologies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she served as an operations support intern. Mascio identified and corrected dollars from GR/IR postings among various vendors, worked on SAP software, interacted with corporate and manufacturing initiatives to encompass a more extensive understanding of the business and engaged in client interfacing to obtain information and settle inconsistencies.
"One of the biggest factors of this internship was that it took place during the first summer of COVID-19," Mascio said. "This pushed the internship to be entirely remote, which was something I did not initially anticipate. However, I felt this was a great experience because it opened my eyes on how to handle a remote position and see the ups and downs of that."
Because of Mascio's previous experience at Evoqua Water Technologies, she accepted another position as a lean management (eLM) intern in her junior year. She implemented and taught lean principles throughout the company alongside the eLM department. Mascio also assisted in leading tiered accountability meetings for multiple project teams. In addition, she completed assignments that required utilizing lean principles, such as creating a 5S Audit app, streamlining a blitz training tracking system and assisting in updating and proctoring lean training sessions.
"I used industrial engineering principles daily working in the lean management department," Mascio said. "I got to see how industrial engineering can be directly used in a corporate environment instead of what it would look like in a plant or manufacturing setting."
Mascio attributes a lot of her success to the Statler College, including helping her gain the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to do well in her future career. The Statler College always focused heavily on providing students the resources to successfully interview well and secure a job following graduation, which was something Mascio said she needed to feel more confident in.
Other aspects, like working on the challenging curriculum over the years and the support professors have given her has boosted her determination. Philomena Krosmico, career and professional mentor and adjunct instructor of industrial and management systems engineering, has mentored Mascio since her sophomore year. This personal connection has helped Mascio numerous times, from interview prep to answering any questions she had during her journey to become an engineer.
"There was one instance where I was feeling extremely overwhelmed the night before an exam, I reached out to Professor Krosmico around 1 a.m. and she actually got back to me," Mascio said. "She answered my questions and offered to meet me very early in the morning to go over my questions before my 8 a.m. exam."
"I will never forget that moment because that was a very tough semester for me. The kindness and genuine compassion she showed assured me of myself again and made me feel like there was someone in my corner to whom I could go whenever I needed during my time at WVU," Mascio continued.
Out of all Mascio's experiences at WVU, meeting her best friend and roommate, Abigail Roop, provided her with some of her favorite memories around campus. She also really enjoyed the engineering projects that gave her the chance to collaborate and work with other students.
"While the projects were difficult and a challenge for all of us, they brought us together and we were able to have fun while working on getting our projects completed," Mascio said. "Engineering is a hard major to commit to, and there are times when it gets overwhelming. However, the bonds formed during multiple engineering projects with different classmates reminded you that you're not in this alone; you're not the only one feeling this way."
She will join the long Mascio family legacy after graduation in May. In June, she will start a business analyst position with the Grant Street Group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“The friendships and relationships I've made, the education I received and the memories I am leaving with are irreplaceable,” Mascio said. “I will carry them with me for the rest of my life.”
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office: