Investing in the Next Generation of ChemEs

The AIChE Foundation Board of Trustees gathered on Zoom for their bi-annual business meeting. They were joined by two stellar undergraduates and past grant beneficiaries, Leonardo Santos Barbosa and Abidemi Awojuyigbe. Leonardo and Abidemi expressed gratitude to the Trustees, the Grant Committee and all of AIChE’s donors for investing in the next generation and shared how receiving an AIChE International Student Chapter Leadership travel grant and Minority Affairs Committee (MAC) Scholarship Award for College Students made a difference on their path to earning a chemical engineering degree.

Leonardo was awarded a travel grant for his leadership as President of Centro Universitário SENAI CIMATEC, an AIChE student chapter in Brazil. The grant enabled him the opportunity to attend the 2018 AIChE Annual Student Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. During the conference, he was inspired by the remarks of Eric S. Reiner, AIChE Trustee at the inaugural AIChE LGBTQ+ & Allies Ice Cream Social. After the event, Leonardo reached out to the Foundation to discuss how to bring this social to his student chapter in Brazil. On June 14, 2019, seventy people including students, professors, industry professionals, and university collaborators came together to celebrate pride with ice cream. Although there was a public transportation strike, students pulled together and carpooled to get to the event, making it a historic moment for the chapter. The chapter has been a trailblazer in creating awareness around diversity and inclusion, not only for LGBTQ+ students and their allies, but also for their fellow AIChE student chapters to follow suit.

Abidemi Awojuyigbe, chemical engineering student at Prairie View A&M University received the MAC Scholarship Award in 2019. As a MAC scholar, she enhanced her technical knowledge by attending sessions, and was able to meet and network with industry professionals at the AIChE Annual Meeting. The scholarship supported her education and helped Abidemi “to realize that the sky is not a limit but a stepping stone into space where I can be all that I can be. I recommend all students to take full advantage of this scholarship, in addition to all programs AIChE has to offer.”

The AIChE Foundation is grateful to its community of 6,000+ dedicated supporters for igniting young minds, providing scholarships to underrepresented students and solving society’s most pressing challenges. Together, we are advancing, evolving and transforming the profession to do more good.

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