Meet a Chemical Engineering Major

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Adriana Chiulli ’14

Extra-curricular activities: 

  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
  • Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
  • Intramural Soccer
  • Slice of New York City (SoNYC)

Read about why Adriana chose her major [+]

 

Why did you choose your major? 

I chose to study chemical engineering because I always liked math and science. When I looked into chemical engineering, I realized that majoring in this field would offer me a wide variety of career options and that I was not limited to just one thing.

What has been your favorite class? 

My favorite class thus far would be Computer Simulation and Design (CHML 316). I found this course to be really interesting since I was able to solve everyday problems that arise in the industry through a simulation program. I was able to work on projects that not only took into account the reactions that take place, but also the economic factors and consequences that can arise. From this course I was able to take away a set of specialized skills.

Have you done any internships?

Last summer I worked as a production engineering intern for Estee Lauder Companies. As an intern here, I gained real world experience that I would not have been able to learn in the classroom. I was involved in the day-to-day business activities working on things such as creating a new template for Equipment Line Validation. This template is now used to ensure that each production line does what it is intended to do. With the help of the production department, I began to validate each line by completing fill weights and torque tests on various beauty products. I also created an index for all the procedures at the plant. Working on my individual project allowed me to gain better time management skills, build collaborative relationships, and expand my horizons. It is immensely rewarding to know that my work is being passed on to Estee Lauder production employees and used as a confirmed process for the future.

What are your plans after graduation?

Once I graduate I hope to start a career working in the consumer product industry. I hope to work in product development, production or a package engineering department.

What are the faculty like?

The faculty members in the Chemical Engineering department truly care about the students. Each faculty member is very supportive, knowledgeable and provides a unique learning environment. The Chemical Engineering department as a whole has a strong family-like feel. The faculty members are not only concerned about each student in the classroom but are also invested in your personal and professional future.

What’s your favorite thing about this major?

My favorite thing about my major is the people that I am surrounded by each day. Our department is small so you really get that one-on-one classroom learning environment with the professors, and you are able to establish a personal relationship. I also have most of my classes with the other chemical engineers in my grade, which provides a strong support network and friendships. This makes working on assignments and studying for exams easier.

What’s the most difficult thing about this major?

The most difficult thing about my major would be getting used to the different thought process. Instead of solving a problem systematically with a single set of steps, as chemical engineers, we often face open-ended problems that can have multiple solutions. You really have to dive into the work and understand the problem conceptually and then apply your problem-solving skills. I would also say that balancing both school and a job has been difficult at times but is not impossible. I had to learn to prioritize my time accordingly in order to meet the demands of being a chemical engineering major.

What advice would you give to new students trying to select a major?

New students who are trying to choose a major should pick something they are passionate about. If a major is known to be “hard” don’t necessarily eliminate that major as an option, but instead consider the challenge and be open to learning new things. I would also suggest that if you are undecided about a major, you should sit in on some classes and get a feel for the department’s atmosphere and the type of work they do to see if it is a good fit.

 

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Kevin Swenson ’14

Extra-curricular activities: 

  • ISPE (International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers)
  • LOVE Namibia
  • Alpha Phi Delta Fraternity 

Read about Kevin’s favorite class [+]

 

What has been your favorite class? 

Process Calculations (CHML 207) Has been my favorite. It is one of the first chemical engineering classes that you take in your sophomore year. It is the basis of most of what I have done for the rest of my time at Manhattan College and involved a lot of problem solving, which I really enjoy.

Why did you choose your major? 

I always enjoyed working with my dad throughout high school and he helped me understand the necessity and importance of engineering. I just had to chose which type of engineering. I chose chemical because it is a very diverse field and it applies chemistry, a class I loved in high school.

Have you done any internships?

I am currently doing my second internship at a fortune 500 company called Air Products. Last summer, I worked there with two computer programs that are used in many manufacturing companies, IP.21 and Aspen. This summer, I am working in the automation and security system of the chemical plants run by Air Products.

What are your plans after graduation?

My goal would be to get a job that would help me understand how chemical processes are carried out in industry. A job at a plant would be ideal for this.

What are the faculty like?

They are all extremely approachable and willing to talk to any of their students about school or anything in life. During class they all get the class involved and are able to capture everyone's attention.

What’s your favorite thing about this major?

The number of possibilities it gives me. Chemical engineers have a part in so many different consumer products and it allows me to look for a job at so many different companies. I know if I am not happy in my career in my future I am not stuck, there are so many companies I can move into.

What’s the most difficult thing about this major?

The most difficult thing is that it is not always easy to visualize exactly what is going on. In other engineering disciplines it can be easier because they are often building tangible objects. In chemical engineering however, things can be happening inside substance that is as fine as powder.

What advice would you give to new students trying to select a major?

Talk to people who have been exposed to what you are thinking of studying. Do not let them tell you what to do, but make sure you educate yourself about they liked and disliked so you know what to expect.