Learning to lead: Gina Nasca discusses new position as SA vice president
Gina Nasca fell in love with engineering when she made paper airplanes in her high school introductory engineering class.
Nasca, the former Engineering Council coordinator, became vice president of the Student Association (SA) after Megan Glander stepped down from the position. Nasca, a senior mechanical engineering major, said the transition from Engineering Council coordinator to SA vice president has been “pretty seamless.” Whether she’s pursuing her passion of engineering or advocating for the student body as vice president, Nasca believes passion is the key to succeeding in a leadership role.
Nasca joined the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) during her freshman year and became vice president of SWE her junior year. She wanted to get more involved in the engineering community and later decided to run for Engineering Council coordinator.
Nasca’s fascination with engineering began at an early age.
She grew up in Williamsville, New York with her mother, father and older sister. Her grandfather was an aerospace engineer, which fueled her passion. She also enjoyed bowling as a child and played for a travel league.
She joined Project Lead the Way, an engineering program at her school, which piqued her interest in engineering even more.
Nasca said it is “empowering” being a woman in the primarily male-dominated field of engineering, but she also faces a lot of pressure.
“I always feel I need to go above and beyond to always prove to make a point,” she said. “But the female and male faculty and students here are accepting and encouraging.”
But Nasca still fears companies may want to hire her because she is a woman and not because of what she can bring to the table.
Nasca said that although she loves engineering, leadership is one of her “strong suits.” She looks to combine her love for engineering and leadership skills to be the boss of her own engineering company one day and hopes to receive her MBA next year.
Nasca also hopes to get involved with the Graduate Student Association next year.
She said her work as Engineering Council Coordinator helped prepare her for her role as vice president. She was already familiar with the professional staff and kept in contact with Glander.
“Engineering coordinator takes a lot of organization and a lot of working with different clubs and handling situations and that’s what a lot of being vice president entails too,” Nasca said. “It’s a lot about time, allocating, making sure there is enough time for not only classes but as well as the job that you’re hired for and all these different meetings, and that is something I definitely got a taste of when I was the coordinator.”
Nasca said the transition from Engineering Council Coordinator to SA vice president has been seamless because of the help from Glander and the SA professional and executive staff.
The vice president position has also broadened the way Nasca thinks.
“[Engineers] just kind of think one-two-three, and that’s what it is,” she said. “Everyone else likes to get a lot of background and history on everything.”
Joshua Abraham, Nasca’s boyfriend and senior mechanical engineering major, said Nasca did not “miss a step” when transitioning from Engineering Council Coordinator to vice president.
“Even when she became SA VP she still fulfilled her role as Engineering Council coordinator,” Abraham said. “She also gave [Engineering Week] the attention that is deserved. Even though she was VP, she still ensured that E-week was successful.”
Nasca said as vice president, she always has something to do. She is currently reviewing spring break trip proposal packets, banquets and ticket forms. She has also had meetings with Student Life Vice President Scott Weber and has been working on a proposal for the Academic Excellence Fee.
Nasca also works closely with SA Senate and Assembly as a form of “checks and balances” when allocating money to clubs and approving money adjustments.
“[Nasca] was the perfect person for that position and has proven this during these first months,” said Nasca’s friend Valerie Quebral, a senior exercise science major.
Quebral said Nasca is stressed like every other college student, but she is not one to complain about her busy schedule.
Nasca also has two part time jobs outside of school. She has been a soccer referee and coordinator for Middle School Nights in Amherst for the last eight years.
She said her jobs have very minimal pay, but she does them out of “passion.”
Nasca said she is handling her busy schedule better than she expected. The classes she is taking this semester are not as intense as previous semesters, so she has more time to focus on being vice president.
Victoria Hartwell is a news staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org