By Katie Malatino 

Delana Bonci, a graduate of Taconic Hills Central School District, elected to stay close to home for college when she chose Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which is about 45 minutes away from her hometown. However, after she graduates in May with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, she is headed to California to start her career at Edwards Lifesciences, which produces medical innovations for structural heart disease.

“Growing up, I knew that I wanted to help others and was fascinated by the medical field,” Bonci said. “I also had a strong interest in science and math, which led to my desire to be an engineer. For me, biomedical engineering was the perfect combination.”

If her experience at Rensselaer is any indication, Bonci will excel at her work; make valuable, lifelong connections; and stay active through her love of sports. Not only did Bonci take only three years to earn her bachelor’s degree at Rensselaer, but she packed a lot of valuable experiences into that time.

Bonci was on the Dean’s Honor List each semester, and she was recently inducted into the Phalanx Honor Society. The Phalanx Honor Society was established in 1912 “to recognize Rensselaer students who have distinguished themselves among their peers in the areas of leadership, service, and devotion to the alma mater.”

Bonci was a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and she served on the e-board as membership director and corporate relations director. “SWE is a fantastic group of driven women on campus with tremendous professional and social networking opportunities,” said Bonci.

She was also a member of Pi Beta Phi, served as a chemistry mentor to peers, and helped local elementary students with math and reading.

An attacker on the field hockey team, Bonci made the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division III National Academic Squad, which honors student-athletes who have achieved a GPA of 3.5 or higher, each season. She was recently inducted into Olympia, Rensselaer’s student-athlete honor society, and she served as team captain during her senior season.

“My most memorable experience at Rensselaer is definitely the camaraderie and experience of athletics, as well as meeting and learning from a great group of professors who truly expanded my knowledge,” said Bonci.

Considering all of her activities, it is not surprising that Bonci advises incoming freshmen to challenge themselves, but also cautions them to be wary of taking on too much.

“Try to get involved as early as possible in campus life, because it truly shapes your time for the better,” said Bonci. “My biggest tip, however, is learn about as many organizations and clubs as you can during freshman year. When you decide to fully involve yourself, don’t spread yourself too thin! What you put in is what you get out, and that is true for your academic success and social experience.”