STEM Pursuit Leads to Healthcare Management Leadership Opportunity

August 21, 2020

As a child who was constantly taking things apart around the house it was no secret Oliver Santangelo (Purdue University, 2020) had an early interest in how things are designed and created. “Going into high school, I knew I was interested in pursuing a STEM field and I was able to take a variety of engineering classes that piqued my interested in the area, specifically mechanical engineering,” Santangelo said.

As he planned to pursue an engineering degree almost everyone he talked to recommended applying to Purdue because of the reputation and rigor of its engineering programs. “Although I grew up in Philadelphia and had never been to the Midwest when I visited Purdue and took a tour of the mechanical engineering building, I knew this is where I wanted to be,” he said.

Once on campus, Santangelo attended Purdue’s “Meet the Greeks” informational event where he and a few friends approached the Delta Tau Delta booth. He gladly accepted a bid from the Gamma Lambda Chapter after several recruitment events. “Being a member of Delta Tau Delta has had a profound impact on my time at Purdue. It has allowed me to meet countless great people who share a lot of my interests and allowed me to have more fun in college. Academically, I have been able to find equally motivated people in engineering as well, so we have been able to form large study groups,” said Santangelo.

Over the summer Santangelo completed his third summer with GE Healthcare’s Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP) and Early Identification (EID). The EID program allows university students to gain valuable work experience while creating a talent pipeline for new hires and GE’s leadership development programs. Santangelo was still able to work in the office throughout the summer since his engineering team supported medical systems.

Through his internships, he found development opportunities to grow his leadership potential while working on projects to improve the manufacturing process of anesthesia machines and PET detectors. In the summer after his freshman year, he worked in Madison, Wisc. on the planning side of manufacturing. The next summer he was also in Madison as a manufacturing engineer, and this past summer he was a lean engineer in Milwaukee. “This most recent summer I had the opportunity to work with PET detectors which are used to identify and track the progress of cancer,” Santangelo said.

While benefitting from leadership lessons and mentors through his internships, Santangelo has stepped up to help younger students. He volunteers with College Mentors for Kids, a student-run organization connecting college students with kids in the community to inspire growth, confidence and brighter futures. He has also mentored first-year engineering students at Purdue.

Though most of his classes will be online this semester except for a few labs, Santangelo will be on campus living with three pledge brothers after two years of living in the Gamma Lambda Shelter. He looks forward to seeing friends he has not seen since leaving campus in March and embarking on his last year of college.