Besides excelling in the classroom, DeCrescenzo is a nationally ranked powerlifter. The Reading, Massachusetts, native took up the sport during her junior year at UML after learning about it from friends while working as a supervisor at the Campus Recreation Center
“It was just something I wanted to try, and I ended up being pretty good at it,” says DeCrescenzo, who competed at the USA Powerlifting Collegiate Nationals in Arlington, Texas, in April of her senior year.
Her performance at nationals — squatting 286.6 pounds, benching 159.8 and deadlifting 319.6 — ranked 36th in her weight class.
“The atmosphere was wild. There were so many people cheering and screaming, and you want to put on a show for them,” says DeCrescenzo, who qualified for nationals by doing well at her first-ever competition, a regional meet in Western Massachusetts during the fall of her senior year.
DeCrescenzo will always remember her trip to nationals for another reason: While there, she got a call from Symmons Industries, a plumbing manufacturer based in Braintree, Massachusetts, and was offered a job as a manufacturing engineer.
“It was a crazy week,” says DeCrescenzo, who started at Symmons just days after graduating.
A love of robotics in high school steered DeCrescenzo toward mechanical engineering at UML, where a first-year course with Assoc. Prof. David Willis
cemented her interest in the field. DeCrescenzo landed internships at UML’s New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE
) Center and Energetiq Technology, a photonics manufacturer based in Wilmington, Massachusetts. She also became a Francis College of Engineering Ambassador.
“It was a great way to meet people from other engineering disciplines, connect with alumni and be a part of the UMass Lowell community,” says DeCrescenzo, who served as president of the ambassador program during her senior year.
But it was at the Campus Recreation Center, where DeCrescenzo worked 10-15 hours a week, that she discovered a whole new community.
“As an engineering major, I was always around people in STEM on North Campus. But at the Rec Center, I got to meet people from outside my classes and found people with similar interests, like friends who really pushed me with powerlifting,” she says.
DeCrescenzo, who coaches herself in the sport but has a “handler” to take care of competition logistics, plans to continue with powerlifting for as long as she can.
“You leave the gym with such a good feeling because you’re like, ‘OK, I just accomplished that,’” she says. “Even if I had a really bad day of classes, it’s like, ‘OK, this is something for me, to make me feel good.’”
DeCrescenzo has found a new gym where she can train that’s closer to her job in Braintree, but she will always treasure her time at the Campus Recreation Center — and as an engineering student at UML.
“I’m sad to see my four years at UML come to an end,” she says. “It’s something that I’ll keep with me and cherish for the rest of my life.”