The College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering is organized for teaching and research at the graduate level, granting M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in either Polymer Science or Polymer Engineering. The organization includes complementary research centers and facilities with instrumentation and support staff, which generally provides a research focus for the department faculty and graduate students.
The following features offer perspectives from students in the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering describing why they chose to come to The University of Akron and their future plans after graduation.
"When I was a chemical engineering undergraduate student seeking a summer research project, I found polymer materials very intriguing because of their versatile properties which are widely used in the real world—from the rubber band around lettuce to the o-ring in the space shuttle. I knew how plastics have drastically changed our lifestyle from the past, and that’s why in my future career I want to keep researching them to continue elevating our quality of life."
Tzu-Yu Lai, Ph.D. candidate in Polymer Engineering
"I chose The University of Akron because of its reputation in the field of polymers. I knew that I wanted to attend a program with a focus on polymeric materials. My criteria for picking a program was finding a place where there were a number of professors doing work that I would like to do. To narrow down my choices from there, I spoke with some of my undergraduate professors who focused on polymeric materials, and they recommended The University of Akron."
Michael Wilson, Ph.D. candidate in Polymer Science
"During my undergraduate research, I realized that I was much more interested in the final properties of a material than in synthesizing that material. This led me to focus on a graduate degree in chemical engineering. I ultimately chose The University of Akron because of the prestige of the polymer program and the ability to work in multi-disciplinary and collaborative environment."
Brittany Pellegrene, Ph.D. candidate in Polymer Engineering
"During my undergraduate years, I took a class on Polymer Chemistry and the Environment, which opened my eyes to the importance of polymers. I was amazed by polymers and what they’re capable of. Then, I came to the college as an undergraduate REU intern and worked on functionalization of poly(lactic acid) in Dr. Pugh’s group. I gained a great deal of experience and knowledge during the internship. It was a no brainer after that to come back as a graduate student."
Abdala Bashir, Ph.D. candidate in Polymer Science
"After graduation, I want to go into industry and work for a company that tests and develops medical devices. I have always been interested in the idea of studying and working on biomedical materials, as they have the potential to better the condition of people’s lives. Working in a R&D department improving these devices would be very fulfilling for me."
Kaitlyn Mawhinney, Ph.D. candidate in Polymer Engineering
"I would like to pursue a career in academia, perhaps industry would suit me as well. The training here gives me confidence wherever my career may take me."
Kewei Liu, Ph.D. candidate in Polymer Science
"Upon graduation I would like to go into industry and work for a large multi-disciplinary corporation. I would like to do R&D for the first 5-10 years of my career and eventually earn my MBA degree to slowly move into management. I also look forward to being part of affinity groups within my company and becoming involved in my local community by mentoring the youth and encouraging them to pursue careers in STEM."
Marcos Pantoja, Ph.D. candidate in Polymer Engineering
"What attracted me to the polymer program in Akron is the well-rounded research areas and the fully equipped facilities for polymer research in CPSPE. There are remarkable faculty members and research groups in CPSPE with a wide range of interests and backgrounds. Such diversity allows me to broaden my knowledge and choose a research group that I’m interested in. My strong interest in polymer chemistry drove me to join Dr. Abraham Joy’s research group, working on functionalized polymers for antimicrobial applications."
Chao Peng, Ph.D. candidate in Polymer Science