Home grown leader builds a people-oriented industrial engineering career
Laura Discavage will stay local after graduation and join L3Harris Technologies
Laura Discavage originally wanted to go to an out-of-state college, but RIT’s engineering program intrigued her. She learned about RIT while growing up from her mom, Maria Burgio ’87 (computer science). And after a conversation with a family friend about his work as an industrial engineer, she applied to RIT, and found the community she was seeking.
“He told me about the work and I was sold. I like seeing the big picture—and also working with the details,” said Discavage, who is from nearby Gates, N.Y., and will graduate from RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. “Industrial and Systems Engineering is very people-oriented. You’re a liaison between fields, between people and interests. The key is to understand the people and the problems; taking what is existing and building upon it, what can be done better?”
While at RIT, she’d find a niche in the RIT Honors Program, participating as a peer mentor and on its leadership council.
“It’s less about the title, more about a space where you can grow. There are like-minded students, but all with different experiences, skills and backgrounds, and I found that a lot at RIT. This is such a large school with so many communities. You get the space to do what you want and to be heard,” she said.
A. Sue Weisler
Discavage joined many RIT communities. She was as comfortable playing trumpet with the Pep Band at campus sporting events, as she was as president of RIT’s chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society. She sought advice from her Honors friends about calculus homework and how to succeed at the university’s annual Career Fair. She joined friends during Alternative Spring Break working with Habitat for Humanity and volunteered at RIT’s Margaret’s House.
Outside of RIT, her co-ops were varied. She helped develop and install an ERP inventory management system at Bausch + Lomb. At Penske, she assisted in streamlining repair order cycle times and produced some of the associated training materials for employees. These systems and materials are being used at both companies today.
Discavage will receive a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering as well as a master’s degree in engineering management. She will begin work shortly after graduation at L3Harris Technologies’ Rochester office as a procurement senior associate.
Her degrees combined her interest in technical systems, problem-solving and working with people.
“Engineers are always excited about what they are doing,” she said. “They get caught up the details; it is about the experience. We like to see how different parts of a problem are connected. But to do that, you have to understand people.”
She’ll continue learning about people in her hometown.