UA’s Polymer College Strengthens International Partnership with French IFP School



Pictured left to right: Clarissa Biscainho, Praduman Arora, Alexandre VanDame, Tatiana Torrico, Nichapa Chatree

The College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering continues to uphold its renowned past and is making great strides in its promising future through cutting edge research, industry partnerships, and important connections with other programs and universities around the world.

This is the second year of a graduate student exchange program with the polymers program of IFP School (French Institute of Petroleum) in Rueil-Malmaison, France. Last year the first graduate students from CPSPE went to IFP School for six weeks, working with IFP faculty and staff, learning about supply chain issues and the connections of the oil and gas industry with the polymer industry.

This year, five students from IFP School are visiting CPSPE, and will spend six weeks here working with our graduate students and faculty departments. The purpose of the program is to leverage the complementary strengths of the IFP School and the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. Another ambition of the program is to enhance graduate education and to heighten awareness in Europe about CPSPE’s program as well as heighten awareness in the United States about IFP’s program.

The IFP School offers applied graduate programs and has outstanding industrial ties with companies in Europe and their students are sponsored by companies in their studies. IFP also provides students and young professionals from various countries with an education in aspects of the energy industry with a particular emphasis on sustainable development and innovation.

One of CPSPE’s graduate students took advantage of the program last year and found it very beneficial. Polymer engineering student Kaitlyn Mawhinney who visited the IFP School says, “The IFP School exchange program was a great opportunity for me. Not only did I learn a lot about the petrochemical industry that wouldn't have been possible otherwise, I also gained a new appreciation for the experience of being immersed in a foreign culture, which has helped me better understand and relate to my research group members.”

The students visiting CPSPE from France have equally incredible experiences. IFP student Clarissa Biscainho says “I am really enjoying the experience at The University of Akron. I have only been here for one week and a half and my experience so far is great. I hope also to get to know more about some research areas in the next few weeks.” Another student, Tatiana Torrico Capriles, says “My time here so far has been amazing”. Nichapa Na Chatree shares her favorite part about visiting the college by saying “I like how the research here is running. It is so amazing to have a chance to speak with several professors, to enter their labs, and to learn the innovative research in polymers as this is another aspect of our possible career paths which is different from the industrial orientation at IFP School.” “Getting to know about current research affairs by different faculty at the university has helped me greatly to understand the present level of R&D in the area of polymers. All in all, it’s a great program for us to get an idea about the current research which will definitely help us in future endeavors” says Praduman Arora.

Such extraordinary programs and partnerships are exceptional opportunities in our continuing mission of excellence. “Ohio is home to the largest polymer industry cluster in America, and many Akron-area businesses are part of this industry” says The University of Akron president, Matthew Wilson. The college holds a strong and historic legacy, and we are persevering toward a phenomenal future.