ESC Portrait: Smriteek Dash
ESC Portraits offer insights into the lives and minds of our current members.
Smriteek Dash is the chairperson of the Sister Chapter (ESC 20-21) and International Relations Head, AIChE-VIT.
What got you interested in AICheE?
My name is Smriteek Dash and I am currently in my third year, pursuing chemical engineering at Vellore Institute of Technology, India. I was recruited into AIChE-VIT towards the middle of my first year. Being a classic Indian, what drew me most towards this chapter was the word ‘American’. When I heard that this chapter had international influence and we get to make contacts from abroad, I knew I had to get into this. The process to get recruited is quite an intensive one as you have to clear 3 rounds, which are the Aptitude Test, the Group Discussion and lastly the Personal Interview. This was my first taste of a GD as well as a PI. Thankfully, I have always had good communication skills and loved public speaking, hence it wasn’t extremely tough for me but this whole experience gave me an idea of what I had to prepare myself for.
Tell us about your work for AIChE?
I was initially put in the events team. That is how I got to handle and host my first event, it was a presentation for the Campaign Against Substance Abuse (CASA). Again, I had prior experience in public speaking at school but in college, the situation was completely different. It was an event that will forever be close to me because I learnt a lot from it, starting from teamwork, to the need to sharpen my presentation skills, to interacting with my super seniors. Fast forward a few months, our delegation travelled to Pune to attend the Regional Student Conference’19. That was the most perfect setup to meet AIChE Members from across the country. I learnt so much from that conference, and I also made many good friends.
My next step in the AIChE Community was sending out messages to all AIChE Student Chapter Facebook handles I could find. I did get quite a few responses but the most significant of them was from AIChE-University of California, Berkeley. I hosted meetings, with the invaluable guidance from my President Mr. Aviral Saha and my Vice-President, Mr. Mohammad Hafiz. We managed to reach an agreement with AIChE-UCB to establish a sisterhood with us. This made me understand the kind of professionalism that different people respect. This also helped me understand the process behind the enrollment to the Sister Chapter Program and the procedure to make a Sisterhood Official. On a personal level, this endeavor helped me increase my network-base as well.
AIChE-VIT’s flagship event is Chem-A-Thon, and the time had come that year to organize it. I was part of the Organizing Committee of Chem-A-Thon 4.0 where we, with the able supervision of our seniors and Faculty Coordinator, learnt how to organize such a huge event. Starting from sending out invites, to getting things ready for the event, to making sure everyone receives their certificates, it was a steep learning curve.
After that we had our leadership board elections, where I was elected as the International Relations Head. That point was where I learnt to handle disappointment and move on in life, as I had aimed for the President’s position. Sure, I needed some time and support from my friends but I did get through.
What would you have to say to new members?
AIChE has had a massive impact on my life. I believe this is my cocoon phase, one of the most prominent layers of my cocoon being AIChE.
I also understood to apply a very important skill, never mix your personal and professional life. Make sure there is a thick line separating them, it will help you keep your priorities clear and hence your path to success a little less treacherous.
Fast-forward 3 months, I had to fill out the application form for the Executive Student Committee of AIChE. I happened to be elected as the Chairperson of the Sister Chapter Subcommittee. Because of the ESC, I meet new people every other week, I work with people from half-way across the world and this not only helps my inter-personal communication but it also increases my Leadership skill.
I hope I can contribute more to the organization I am so very grateful towards.