AIChE student chapter wins Western Region title

November 19, 2020

2019-2020 executive board AIChE student chapter

AIChE UC Berkeley Student Chapter leadership pose during their weekly ZOOM meeting to discuss club events. Members include Jeremy Murphy-Ortega, Ashutosh Bhadouria, Julia Glasser, Stephen Chang, Esther Leem, Sancialita Sathiyamoorthy, Andrea Chen, Samantha Yang, Meagan Macavinta, Ariana Dunlap, Selina Lo, and Victoria Venardi. Not pictured are Joyce Guo and Ashley Were. Photo courtesy of Ashutosh Bhadouria.

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) is pleased to announce that the AIChE UC Berkeley Student Chapter (Chapter) is the recipient of the 2019-20 Outstanding Student Chapter Award. The announcement was made during the American Institute of Chemical Engineers annual conference held virtually earlier this month. The UC Berkeley Chapter is being recognized for its role in providing exceptional professional, academic, and social help to all College of Chemistry undergraduates. They were one of only 37 organizations chosen from 150+ student chapters across the world to receive the accolade.

Susan Muller, Professor of CBE and Director of Undergraduate Education said of the acknowledgement, “The CBE department is fortunate to have extraordinary undergraduates, many of whom are committed to community-building through our student AIChE chapter.  Our student chapter attracts our best, most promising, and most empathetic students.  They go out of their way to provide peer counseling and advice, professional development activities, social events, and feedback to the faculty on behalf of all our undergraduates.  It has been an enormous pleasure to interact with them this year as chapter advisor.” 

Throughout the academic year, the Chapter organizes a range of events such as company info sessions, resume and interview workshops, community outreach events, social meetups, and plant tours. The Chapter also encourages member participation in local, regional, and global AIChE programs. 

The Chapter worked hard this year to make up for the lack of in-person meetings by scheduling all their events virtually. Despite the challenges, club members have come together to continue working on events that help all College undergraduate students develop professional and personal skills, network with industry representatives, and virtually socialize with their peers.

Student organization President Ashutosh Bhadouria said of his experience this year, "Being an international student from India, I was unable to go back home when the shelter-in-place order was announced earlier this year. I was elected Chapter President in May amid the pandemic and started planning with my fellow officers to effectively transition to a virtual semester. As an organization that prides itself on connecting students, we were faced with the challenge of providing the same benefits virtually. We had to figure out how to create an effective virtual presence during these unprecedented times along with helping the incoming freshman and junior transfer class to transition to Cal."

The College's students are currently attending classes from around the world depending on where they wound up for the school year. The Chapter has embraced this and has a large, 47-member, team handling various roles and activities within the organization. The Chapter welcomes students to partake in their events and plans accordingly.

"The whole AIChE Team has been phenomenal in their efforts to help fellow students. Our students are going through tough times. As an organization, we are constantly working to create a supportive community for our Cal Bears. We've become kind of a 24-7 operation given the wide number of locations that everyone is coming from for meetings and events. It’s definitely been a learning experience," Ashutosh said. 

He continues, "We are working hard to help students by finding ways to increase the resources that we offer. We successfully hosted a series of events this fall, including virtual game nights, resume workshops, and virtual 'coffee chats'. Also, our organization is focused on raising awareness around mental health and inequalities in STEM.”

A list of the Chapter’s upcoming events can be found on their social media. Follow @aiche_ucberkeley for updates and news!