As promised, we are going to feature students who are active in the Penn State community beyond their education, making the world around them a better place. Our first post in this series profiles one of the three THON Overalls who are engineering students. Let’s begin with the THON Overall Hospitality Chairperson, John Mazzochette.
Mazzochette is a fifth-year senior from Cherry Hill, N.J., majoring in civil engineering. When deciding on what he wanted to study once he got to Penn State, Mazzochette chose civil engineering because of his fascination with buildings and structures that make up urban areas.
“I always knew I wanted to be a civil engineer. When I was younger, my favorite activity was playing with Legos and Kinects. I would build towers as high as a possibly could and showcase them to my family. I was also pretty decent at math and science so engineering seemed like a good fit,” says Mazzochette. He chose Penn State after applying on a whim from the suggestions of friends. After being accepted, Mazzochette made the final decision of Penn State because of their prestigious engineering program.
Mazzochette got involved with THON his sophomore year as a Hospitality Committee Member, was a Special Events Committee Member his junior year, a Hospitality Captain his senior year and is now the Overall Hospitality Chairperson. With a challenging work load and all of the responsibilities that come with his duties in THON, some may wonder how it is all possible. He has also been involved with the American Society of Civil Engineers, Engineers Without Borders, Penn State Snowboarding Club as well as intramural basketball and soccer.
As the Hospitality Overall, Mazzochette works with donors to secure all food and beverage donations at all THON events including THON weekend. He also leads 20 hospitality captains and 220 committee members to assist in serving food during THON weekend and pre-THON events.
“Time management was a tool that I learned the first semester I was in University Park. My main tool with time management is my organization. I carry around my planner like is my bible. Every morning when I wake up, I like to create a task list for the day and make sure that everything is prioritized,” explains Mazzochette. He also says that using his time efficiently is extremely important to him. His family and friends are just as important to him as work and helps him to be sure that he is making time for people and all of his responsibilities.
We then asked Mazzochette if his engineering education has helped him in his roles with THON and vice versa:
“Of course! My time at Penn State has definitely been a holistic experience. Everything ties together and helps me accomplish everything that I want to. I would like to go into project management after I graduate and the lessons I have learned from THON has helped me determine how to efficiently lead a group and complete tasks. Also, the lessons from my entrepreneurship classes have taught me how to think outside the box and tackle problems creatively,” says Mazzochette.
Being involved in THON throughout his years at Penn State has left Mazzochette with countless memories to last a lifetime. His favorite memory comes from his experience in a Mini-THON near York, Pa., where he was able to spend time talking with a Four Diamonds family. The families son was three years old and undergoing treatment but was healthy enough to be playing with the older kids, having the time of his life.
“I was touched by their openness,” says Mazzochette. “At the end of our discussion he turned to me and told me that his son would not be where he is now without the support of students like myself.” The dad explained that the Four Diamonds Fund had enabled him to be there to support his son and didn’t have to work day and night to pay for the medical bills. The comment blew Mazzochette away and he realized that the efforts of Penn State students enabled this family to have an easier fight.
The Four Diamonds — courage, honesty, strength and wisdom — come from the story that Christopher Millard wrote during his fight against pediatric cancer. We asked Mazzochette which diamond is the most important for an engineer to have:
“I believe that strength is the most important quality for engineers. The work load that engineers face requires strength and dedication. Additionally, many engineers face challenging decisions and they need to have strength in the face of adversity.”
THON Weekend 2013 is 80 days away and Mazzochette is most looking forward to being able to connect with many of the Four Diamonds families on a personal level. He is also really excited about the new initiatives set out by the hospitality committee.
Following graduation, Mazzochette plans to start his career as a project engineer for a construction company and will eventually get his master’s in business.
“I would tell future students that Penn State Engineering not only offers a world quality education but also the ability to engage other students outside the classroom and easily secure positions after graduation,” says Mazzochette. “In my time at Penn State, I have gained an incredible amount of information from my studies as well as my extra-curricular activities.”