Rasha Atwi

Rasha is a 2nd Year MS (Thesis Track) Student in Chemical Engineering

Brief introduction about you. What research group are you working for? What subjects did you take? Any previous work experiences?

I am a chemical engineering MS student doing research in the CoMoChEng lab under the supervision of Prof. Richard West. In my research, I study biofuel production using computational chemistry and reaction engineering principles. At NU, I took the four core graduate courses, i.e. Math, Kinetics, Transport Phenomena, and Thermodynamics, in addition to an elective graduate level safety class.
I worked previously as a research assistant in different schools and on different projects.

When did you start finding your co-op? What resources did you use for your co-op search?

I took the graduate level coop class in Spring 2017 and applied for different coop positions via NUCareers by the end of the same semester. I was interviewed in the beginning of the summer and got the offer immediately. I started my 6-month coop in the middle of the summer.
My coop advisor helped me a lot with all the required documents and by answering my questions during the process of applying.

Describe the company where you worked and your co-op experience. What were the roles/duties assigned to you?

I worked at an energy consulting company that provides expert advice to oil and gas companies to boost their performance and increase their profits. The chemical engineering expertise I have helped them a lot in building cost models for a variety of chemicals used in the oil and gas field. I had a variety of duties depending on customer requests, but the main ones included building cost models for specialty chemicals and equipment, maintaining a large database with thousands of cost indices, researching the commodity market, writing chemicals and metals foresights, and answering customer questions related to supply chain engineering. It was a great experience overall.

What did you gain from your co-op experience?

I had the opportunity through this experience to learn more about supply chain management in big oil and gas companies through interacting with people from these companies. I also improved my communication and time management skills.

Any advice to the incoming PhD and master’s students?

A lot of graduate students I know tell me they do not want to do a coop because they are worried their graduation might be delayed and they prefer to focus on research. The most important thing to put in mind in this regard is that with proper time management and dedication, they might be able to finish on time like I did, and that the great experience one gains from the coop is indispensable.

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