Alumnus uses military as springboard for engineering career

From securing convoys in Iraq to earning a bachelor’s degree in Upper Burrell, Pa., to designing automated controls in Washington Township, Pa., Branden Citeroni drew upon global and local resources, and extracted valuable experiences.

Citeroni, a U.S. Army veteran and Penn State New Kensington alumnus, parlayed his knack for learning and passion for knowledge into a career as an automation engineer for Industrial Automation and Control Inc. His military service as a mechanic charted the course for his degree in engineering. His bachelor of science in electro-mechanical engineering technology was complemented by an internship in his chosen discipline. The internship morphed into a full-time position. Throughout the three-pronged career process -- military, college, vocation – Citeroni utilized experiences in each endeavor to lay the foundation for his vocation.

Citeroni served in the Army for four years, including a one-year tour in Iraq in 2005. His unit was in charge of convoy security for base supplies. He rose to the rank of specialist, or E-4 in Army parlance, and was honorably discharged in 2007.

“My military experience prepared me for an engineering career,” said Citeroni, a mechanic who worked on the unit’s Humvees and 5-ton pickup trucks. “The military teaches attention to detail, and I have found that to be a very valuable trait with engineering.”

Armed with the Montgomery G.I. Bill and the Post 9/11 G.I Bill along with an interest in electro-mechanical engineering, Citeroni enrolled at Penn State New Kensington. He chose the New Kensington campus for its small classes, easy access to faculty, and the “real-world” educational opportunities, espoused by campus faculty, which included taking the lessons in the classroom out into the workforce.

“I benefited from a very hands-on education that prepared me for working very closely with other engineers,” said Citeroni, a native of Latrobe, Pa. “I met a lot of working professionals as well as sales and manufacturing professionals.”

Citeroni also availed himself of the learning resources at the campus, such as Math 97, a one-credit class that provided tutoring and mentoring for all levels of mathematics classes. Mathematics is a staple of engineering classes. In Math 97, Citeroni was given an opportunity to ask questions about concepts from earlier levels of math that were crucial to succeeding in higher-level engineering courses.

“I took the class because I had been out of school for a few years and wanted to brush up on my skills,” said Citeroni, who twice earned the College of Engineering award at the annual Academic and Student Achievement Awards ceremony. “I learned a lot, built a solid mathematical foundation, and finished with the confidence I needed to move forward in the engineering program. Also, the class allowed me to work very closely with my professors and earn their respect.”

"Branden’s perseverance for learning was clearly manifested through the math courses he took with me, including Math 97,” said Javier Gomez-Calderon, professor of mathematics.

His engineering acumen landed him an internship with Industrial Automation and Control, which hired him after he graduated with distinction in May. Located in the Westmoreland County Business and Research Park, Industrial Automation and Control is a consulting firm provides engineering solutions for control system problems.

Citeroni resides in Pittsburgh with his wife, Janice. They have been married for six years and are active in the community, volunteering at Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley.


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Last Updated November 05, 2012