Mechanical engineering alumna honored with Early Career Engineering Award

March 15, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Brianne Santarelli, business improvement lead at Air Products, has been awarded the 2019 Penn State Mechanical Engineering Society (PSMES) Early Career Award.

In her current role at Air Products, she combines data mining, financial management, and change management fundamentals.

She returned to Penn State on March 13, where she addressed students, faculty, and staff in the E-Knowledge Commons and spoke about her career trajectory and offered key pieces of advice.

“This is not your end, this is your beginning,” she said to students. She went on to detail her work at Air Products, where she began a career development program in 2009 after graduating from Penn State.  

“A degree in mechanical engineering is so versatile,” she said. “Even if you go down one path, having that experience can set you up for so many options.” 

In her first rotation at Air Products, she improved the design of a newly acquired technology and focused on making the equipment better and safer to manufacture. The range of technology she has worked on has included designing equipment to withstand some of the hottest engineering processes, more than 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, to globally shipping one of the coldest things on Earth.

After the career development program, she began focusing on project development at Air Products, spanning replacement or additional components on existing large-sized plants to new core technology and processes. She transitioned to a supply chain role in the business area, where she negotiated and managed some of Air Product’s global and domestic logistics vendors and worked internally with management and operations of global supply and the end user network.

She also earned a master of business with a concentration in corporate finance from Lehigh University in 2012.

Santarelli lives in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter. Whether it is jogging in the local area, Tough Mudders, or Relay Teams, she also enjoys running.

Before concluding her speech, she implored the students to advocate for themselves in their career and personal lives. “Make your ambitions known. As I reflected on my career for this speech, I realized things happened because I mentioned it to someone. Your boss can’t read your mind!” she said.

Photos from the event can be found on the College of Engineering Flickr page.


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Erin Cassidy Hendrick,



With more than 60 faculty members, 330 graduate students, and 800 undergraduate students, the Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering embraces a culture that welcomes individuals with a diversity of backgrounds and expertise. Our faculty and students are innovating today what will impact tomorrow’s solutions to meeting our energy needs, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems. We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S.) graduate degrees in mechanical engineering. See how we’re inspiring change and impacting tomorrow at

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