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Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

This fall, seven chemical engineering majors who had completed recent internships shared their experiences and projects with the Rutgers chemical engineering community -- including professors, students, and alumni – at the ChemE Interns Present Symposium. This event was organized jointly between the Rutgers student chapters of AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) and OXE (National Honors Society for Chemical Engineering). 

“The event provided a venue for these students to hone their scientific communications skills, as well as prepare for the Rutgers Engineering Annual Intern Present Competition during National Engineers Week in February,” says Ashley Guo, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and OXE faculty advisor. Starbucks gift certificates were awarded to top presenters by CBE alumni judges. 

Two chemical plant workers wearing blue hard hats and safety goggles review charts on a clipboard asthird male looks on.
Mykola Kunderevych at work at Axalta during his internship.

Students who had interned at a diverse group of companies including Axalta Coating Solutions; Merck; Mondelēz International; Naval Nuclear Laboratory; Phillips 66; Proctor & Gamble; and Sozio gave presentations detailing their experiences and responsibilities.

A Learning Experience

Young male student showing thumbs up next to a poster presentation on an easel.
Mykola Kunderevych shares a poster outlining his internship experience during CBE Interns Present event.

“I enjoyed the variety of projects that I worked on as a summer engineering and maintenance intern at Axalta,” says junior Mykola Kunderevych, who hopes to go into the coating manufacturing field in a company like Axalta after he graduates. “Throughout the summer, I was able to see more of the plant than some people would see in years, as I experienced the day-to-day life of an engineer at a chemical plant.”

Kunderevych was tasked with helping the maintenance department with projects that let him learn from people from varying backgrounds. “While some projects I worked on involved auditing current process units, others required that I design new piping and transfer lines,” he recalls. “I interacted with everyone from operators working the product to vendors who supplied equipment to the plant management decision-makers. This variety kept me engaged and constantly learning new things.”

While he took part in the symposium to share his experience with fellow students and faculty, receiving third prize for his presentation made him feel especially appreciated. “The fact that I was able to help someone get a better understanding of the industry is the most satisfying prize,” he insists.

A Strong Sense of Ownership

Young white female wearing a black short sleeve pullover and white pants with a river in the background.
Sophia-Ling Jorgensen

Second place winner Sophia-Ling Jorgensen especially valued the trust and freedom she experienced as a manufacturing intern at Proctor & Gamble working on the lines producing Bounty paper towels last summer. “It really ensured that I had a strong sense of ownership over the work and the projects I was doing,” she explains. 

“It was a lot of responsibility, and no one ever treated me like ‘the intern,’” she adds. “I hosted meetings and obtained business quotes from partner companies and gained a lot of experience in how to conduct myself and be effective in an industry and corporate setting, which I really value.”

As an intern, Jorgensen particularly enjoyed the people and the P&G culture. “Every last person I interacted with was so willing to put time aside to help me with my projects and were more helpful beyond anything I could have expected,” she enthuses.

The ChemE Interns Present event was equally rewarding for her in terms of receiving a prize. “While the work itself was already very rewarding it was nice that people appreciated my presentation and shared in my enthusiasm.”