I can bring an experience I had on the soccer field to my fraternity, bring something from my fraternity to music, and bring something from music to engineering. I think I'm involved in so much because Bucknell's culture is so open to doing.
"I was first exposed to Professor Wakabayashi (Kat) in the first chemical engineering class that ChemE's take, Chemical Engineering Principles. When I realized that he was doing polymer processing research, it just kind of made sense for me to pursue research with him. It's something I've been interested in for most of my life since plastics are all around us, so I wanted to learn how they were made, how different plastics were chosen to go into different products, and so on.
"Sophomore year I worked on recycling plastics and seeing how we could improve material properties to make recycled plastics better than they are now. We got really good results, but we also received a lot of criticism. So my honor's thesis is really based on quantitatively analyzing the heat transfer, momentum transfer, and everything else that's going on in the extruder in order to figure out if what we're claiming is true — really backing up and looking at the process as a whole versus just one aspect of recyclability.
"Writing the paper on my research was a lot different from writing a normal school paper, because it's going out for peer review from other serious academics who really know what they're talking about. It was a lesson in independence. Kat was great about being hands-off about the project and letting me take it where I wanted to go.
"Kat has probably become one of my best friends on this campus. I've had dinner at his house and I've met his family. His kids are awesome — they call me "Big Evan." While he's away on sabbatical he's entrusted me with his entire office and with his lab. I'm running experiments on my own and taking the lead on things. Kat has really gone out of his way for me and taken an interest in my own personal, professional and academic development, which I can never thank him enough for.
"I like being involved in so much — it just lets me have so many different experiences and interact with such a variety of people with their own unique perspectives. I get to draw on those interactions and bring them to the other aspects of my life. I can bring an experience I had on the soccer field to my fraternity, bring something from my fraternity to music, and bring something from music to engineering. I think I'm involved in so much because Bucknell's culture is so open to doing. Students here are involved in so many different organizations and clubs. I talk to my friends at other universities and they don't have that.
"Before coming to Bucknell, I didn't have the desire to be so widely involved. It didn't really hit me until I was in band, joined the soccer team, had the opportunity to join a fraternity sophomore year, and got more involved in chemical engineering particularly during my junior year. All of a sudden, the world was spinning so quickly around me, but I just felt at home. Everything being so hectic is a lot more fun for me than just sitting around and not doing anything."
Evan is from Chester, N.J.
Posted November 19, 2015
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