Meet Stephanie Polgar – Featured Student for March

What school do you go to? What year are you? I am a fifth year at UMass Amherst. Do you hold any positions in your AIChE chapter or with AIChE nationally? I am currently the president of the UMass student chapter. I have previously held the position of academic chair at UMass and the Northeast Regional liaison to the Executive Student Committee, nationally. Describe an event in your chapter that you are most proud to have been involved with. Our chapter has done so many amazing things from volunteering to social events. Personally, I always love the dinners I host for the AIChE EBoard. However, this year I am most excited that I have been given the opportunity to host the Northeast Regional Conference both as a freshman and a senior! It's a great opportunity for any school and I'm thrilled we get to take on this challenge again! What are your plans after graduation? In what field are you most interested in having an impact? I really am hoping to work in the biologics/pharmaceutical side of chemical engineering. The health field has always interested me, but I never wanted to be a doctor. Being an engineer that makes medicine to help saves lives is just so cool! How do you blow off steam and keep your sanity between classes, homework and projects? I LOVE to cook! Making something delicious from a few ingredients is so satisfying. I also love to quilt and I am addicted to magazines! Yoga and lattes also help to keep me sane! Which of your undergraduate classes have you most enjoyed? This is a difficult question! I feel a teacher makes a class and I've had some incredible teachers! I think of the classes to date kinetics was probably my favorite. And currently, I'm taking this super interesting class: tissue engineering! It really makes me think of engineering in a different light and I always leave pondering something new!

Stephanie with the AIChE EBoard

How did you decide to pursue a degree in ChE? In grade school, I was really good at math and science so I decided to be an engineer. When it came time to apply for college, I just picked mechanical engineering because I had already taken numerous CAD classes. My first semester was not as interesting or challenging as I wanted so I decided to switch to ChemE. I knew it would be a great challenge and would open so many more doors because chemical engineering is such a broad field! What is the best kept secret on your campus? Not many people know but we have a bar on-campus. It's hidden next to a grad student study area. Also, the "Cave" isn't really a cave (I actually thought it was when I was a freshman! So gullible!) It's the dungeon that is the former ChemE computer lab. What are you most looking forward to after graduation? The feeling of accomplishment that comes with the degree! Also, finally having money to travel will be a treat. What will you be most saddened to leave behind at school when you move on? The feeling of community that is our chemical engineering department. ChemEs are so crazy busy! We spend so much time together and it's great! What is the most unexpected thing you have been asked in an interview? I don't remember any unconventional questions. Do you have any advice to incoming students and underclassmen ChEs around the world? The most important thing is to put yourself out there and make connections! I had an amazing co-op because of networking. I meet all kinds of awesome people when I go to conferences. And when I need help I have that support network. Even if you wanted to you cannot do everything by yourself. What's your first thought when you wake up in the morning? Usually, "I'm hungry!" If your initials stood for something othere than your name, what would it be? Strong Effervescent Personality. How would you like to be involved with AIChE after graduation? I'm considering joining the YP Committee. I would also love to take on the role of an alumni advisor to the UMass Chapter. You can contact Stephanie through her LinkedIn page.

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