Author: Becky Neely
Published: Tuesday, 31 Aug 2021
Catherine Dominic is a sophomore majoring in Aerospace engineering and pursuing a certificate in Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship. She works as the President and Project Manager of UT Austin’s Design Build and Fly, coordinating an unmanned air vehicle design and manufacturing process for the annual AIAA DBF competition. This summer, Catherine will be working as a Hardware Engineering Intern at Amazon Prime Air. She has a passion for social entrepreneurship and was newly inducted as a Junior Fellow to the Social Entrepreneurship Learning Lab based on her research on implementing drones in countries with physical barriers, such as natural disasters and war-torn areas. Recently she founded a social enterprise, Capsule, committed to developing a medical delivery drone for such countries.
Catherine was first introduced to Junior Achievement her freshman year of high school. She was amazed that a student organization could start its own company. She also loved that JA encourages high school students to volunteer to educate kids about financial literacy.
When asked what makes volunteering meaningful, Catherine stated, “Because I get to demonstrate how to develop an entrepreneurial spirit. I love seeing students express their creativity, demonstrate innovativeness, and pursue collaboration”. She shared that by being a JA volunteer, she was able to witness her friends and family discover their strengths and passions. Catherine’s younger sister and cousin are active members of JA and firmly believe that JA has allowed them to grow in their confidence and drive. She said, “It’s amazing how much a student’s perception about education and career can change within 5 hours of teaching. I love volunteering with kindergarteners because they are so young and willing to learn. It is incredibly rewarding when the students come up to you and share what they learned. My most memorable moment in the classroom was when a group of three girls came up to me and told me that they wanted to rule the world and donate all the money they made to puppies. I think I made them feel like they could do anything! I want young women to know that they shouldn’t shy away from any of their dreams”.
Catherine would like those unfamiliar with Junior Achievement to know that JA simultaneously trains students to be leaders and volunteers. JA encourages students to learn the essentials of entrepreneurship through the Company Program and educates the younger generation through JA in a day.
She is inspired to continue as a JA volunteer and recruit others because she has seen the power of JA shape passions and dreams. Through JA, she realized that she could combine her passion for aerospace engineering and social entrepreneurship. She said it had been an honor being a JA volunteer for six years.
This amazing young lady has a fantastic future ahead of her. As UT finalist for Fowler’s Global Innovation Challenge and recipient of seed funding, Catherine’s journey with Capsule has just begun. Catherine would describe Capsule as the most vital calling she has ever experienced and desires to dedicate her engineering and entrepreneurial skills to improving innocent lives. She plans to continue coordinating with Syrian nonprofits, developing a minimal viable product, and finalizing a financial model for Capsule within the following year.
Junior Achievement would like to wish Catherine the Best of luck in her future endeavors!