Sister Chapter Spotlight – July 2018

Members of the AIChE Student Chapter of Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan
Members of the AIChE Student Chapter of Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan

During this month’s Sister Chapter Spotlight, the Executive Student Committee (ESC) is pleased to introduce you to the Sister Chapter duo made up of the Student Chapters from Nazarbayev University from Kazakhstan and Texas A&M University - College Station from Texas, USA.

With an 11- or 12-hour time difference, depending on the time of year, the AIChE Student Chapters at Nazarbayev University and Texas A&M University take advantage of social media to keep in touch. The Sister Chapters recently created a shared Instagram account which they will use to share event pictures and ideas. Additionally, Nazarbayev University AIChE produced a fun campus tour video for its Sister Chapter. We asked each chapter to answer a different set of questions about their experiences as Sister Chapters and what future plans they have for the Sister Chapter Program.

How many miles separate your Student Chapter from the Texas A&M University Student Chapter and how do you keep in touch with your Sister Chapter from afar?

Nazarbayev University: Despite the fact that our universities are located on different continents and separated by about 6,700 miles, we always keep in touch. We usually communicate via email which really helps to shorten the duration between us exchanging experiences. Even though most of our Chapters' members haven't had an opportunity to meet in person, we schedule Skype meetings where we share ideas about activities that we have and about our universities. We even have a shared Instagram account where we post pictures from events that were organized by our Chapters. These types of communications are really helpful to become acquainted with the life of two different universities and cultures.

Do your Chapters have any shared goals or projects that you’re working on as a team?

Texas A&M: Our Chapters are implementing a recipe exchange for all of our students. The TAMU Chapter is gathering as a large student group to cook the recipe we received, and we hope our Sister Chapter is able to do the same!

How has being a part of the Sister Chapter Program brought you closer to AIChE?

Texas A&M: Being a part of the Sister Chapter Program has allowed us to gain a great understanding of the world-wide prevalence of AIChE. It has been incredibly neat to sit down on video calls with our Sister Chapter and discuss the dramatic differences and similarities of our geographical locations and cultures. 

What is your Chapter’s biggest challenge or opportunity for improvement, and how will your partnership with the Texas A&M University Student Chapter help you to tackle that challenge?

Nazarbayev University: Our Chapter struggles with industry networking since there are few chemical plants nearby, which leaves our students with limited access to industry. However, to travel to industry sites in surrounding regions, we need funding. Our Sister Chapter has sufficient experience in that field and they can really help us to find methods for fundraising. Also, during a Skype conversation they expressed their thoughts and experiences from their industrial trips which is very beneficial to know for foreign industry networking. Our cooperation with our Sister Chapter is a good opportunity to tackle these challenges.

What has been the most rewarding part of your Sister Chapter partnership with Nazarbayev University so far?

Texas A&M: The most rewarding part of the partnership has been the open, spoken conversation between the Chapters via video chat. As mentioned earlier, speaking with our Sister Chapter members has brought great personal value to the global prevalence of the organization. 

What advice do you have for Student Chapters that are thinking about getting involved in the Sister Chapter Program?

Nazarbayev University: Don’t waste your time — be a part of Sister Chapter Program! Why? First, there are networking opportunities with amazing and enthusiastic students. Second, you can share new ideas with each other. Third, you can discuss your future Chapter plans and get involved in your Sister Chapter's activities. It is really beneficial. Join us!

Have your Chapter members ever met in person? Do you have plans to do so in the future?

Texas A&M: Yes! Last year at the 2017 Annual Student Conference, some of our students were able to meet a student from our Sister Chapter. This was definitely one of the highlights of the conference. We had so much fun interacting with him and forming a bond to continue on throughout the rest of the year and into the next. We hope to meet more representatives from our Sister Chapter again this year at the 2018 Annual Student Conference.

For more information on the Sister Chapter Program, check out the website here. Questions can be sent to