ChBE Undergrads Win Prestigious Industrial Internships from SCI Program

Five of the Clark School's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) undergraduates have earned summer internships at top companies through a program offered by the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), the America International Group (AIG), the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Lauren Dorsey, Boheng Ma, Zachary Rom, Yoon Shin, and Isaac Zaydens were selected from a nationwide field of "exceptional sophomores and juniors" majoring in chemistry and chemical engineering to receive five of the thirty-seven positions offered by the SCI Scholars program. SCI Scholars receive $6000–$10,000 for a ten-week industrial internship and $1000 in discretionary funding.

Dorsey, a junior, will join DuPont’s Research and Development Division as a laboratory assistant in Newark, Del. Dorsey already has substantial research experience. In addition to being a current member of ChBE assistant professor Ganesh Sriram's Metabolic Engineering Laboratory, where she studies the metabolic pathways of nitrogen in poplar trees, in 2012 she was a research intern at the University of Virginia, where she studied the production of renewable commodity chemicals from biomass. "I have not worked in industry before and am excited to see how it compares with my research experience in an academic setting," she says. "…this internship will provide me with perspective that I will look back upon in years to come as crucial in determining the engineer I will become." Dorsey plans to pursue a Ph.D. in renewable energy, and would ultimately like to join a company in which she can explore making traditional energy sources more sustainable or create renewable energy technologies.

Ma, a junior, will also head to DuPont, to a position as an associate investigator in the company's Department of Materials Science and Engineering in Wilmington, Del. There, he will be part of a team working with photovoltaics. Ma is preparing for a career in the energy industry. He has previously worked at the UMD Sustainability Office, where he collected and analyzed greenhouse gas data, and he is a member of a Gemstone team utilizing piezoelectric materials to harness and store vibrational energy from wind. "I specifically want to…[develop] innovative and sustainable solutions to provide reliable energy sources for future generations," he says. "I'm excited about this particular internship because I will be applying my knowledge from the classroom to a…project that will allow me to gain insight into the design, manufacture, [and] testing solar photovoltaic cells." After graduation, Ma plans to work in industry before returning to school for a M.B.A or Ph.D.

Rom, a junior, will serve as an Integrated Supply Chain Intern at Honeywell PMT's division of Performance Materials and Technologies in Chesterfield, Va. Rom chose to become a chemical engineer because of his interest in a career in either the pharmaceutical or healthcare industries. During his sophomore year, he got his start in lab work and the research process in Fischell Department of Bioengineering professor John Fisher's Tissue Engineering & Biomaterials Laboratory, where he studied chondrocyte adhesion to a hydrogels. Last summer, he was an intern at the National Eye Institute (part of the National Institute of Health), where he helped develop an image processing algorithm to noninvasively measure antioxidant concentrations in the retinas. He's looking forward to his first industry experience, and is weighing whether to pursue a career in industry or medicine. Outside of class and the lab, he plays hockey and golf, and is an avid snowboarder.

Shin, a junior, will travel to Freemont, Ca. for an internship at Air Liquide. He's excited about the chance to live and work in on the West Coast. While he has been active in research since his freshman year through his participation in the Gemstone program, in an internship at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and as a member of ChBE professor and chair Sheryl Ehrman's research group, P2OWDER, the SCI internship will be his first industrial experience. "I face a big decision [about] whether I will attend graduate school or work at an engineering company after college," he says. "This chance to work at Air Liquide allows me to test the waters and get a feel for what it's like to be a working engineer." Shin, who enjoyed chemistry in high school, chose to pursue a degree in ChBE because of the many career opportunities it would provide. "I mainly want to study renewable energy, and chemical engineering definitely provides me with a solid foundation to succeed in the field," he says.

Zaydens, a sophomore, is headed to Allentown, Pa. to work in the Global Engineering and Manufacturing department of Air Products' Hyco Product Engineering division. Zaydens chose to major in chemical engineering because it combined his three favorite subjects–chemistry, physics, and mathematics–and offered a broad range of career options. Zaydens is excited about his internship, which will provide him with his first opportunity to apply what he's learned in class to real-world problems. "I am hoping that this job opportunity will help me understand what I want to do in the future," he says, adding that he would like to attend graduate school after some time in the workforce. Outside of class, Zaydens is a member of the University of Maryland Chem-E Car team, whose chemical reaction-powered model vehicle is headed to the national competition this fall. Zaydens also serves as the treasurer of the Clark School's student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

In 2012, ChBE senior Karen Dunford was one of five ChBE undergraduates who earned SCI Scholarships. She spent her summer at DuPont's Chamers Work Site in Deepwater, N.J. "The SCI Program was a wonderful opportunity to apply what I learned at UMD to actual projects, meet incredible people—including Ellen Kullman, the CEO of DuPont—and be inspired for future career paths after graduation," she says. ChBE junior Justin Owens, another 2012 SCI Scholar who worked at Air Products' Division of Manufacturing and Operations Engineering, describes his internship as a rewarding experience. "I met new friends from around the country, traveled to places I've never been, and worked with responsibility never given to me before," he says. "I would definitely recommend it for all ChBE undergrads."

ChBE and the Clark School extend their congratulations to all of these excellent young engineers!

Learn more about the SCI Scholars program »

Published April 16, 2013