Chemical Engineering MS Candidate
Hi! I'm Vlad and I recently moved to Tucson from Transylvania, Romania.
Initially I was going for a master's degree, but my work with associate professor Don Gervasio with molten salts is so interesting, challenging and satisfying, I’ve decided to apply to the PhD program. We’re making great progress in the fight for green energy.
I studied chemical engineering at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, and I fell in love with the U.S. after participating in a research internship at Northern Kentucky University, where I studied how various hormones affect water sources and how to break them down using non-invasive methods.
Moving your whole life to another country isn’t as easy as they make it seem in the movies. The whole process is kind of scary for a fresh graduate. I looked for an engineering job for a few months with no luck. U.S. companies are not big fans of hiring fresh graduates from universities with no ABET accreditation.
Finances became a problem and I took a great job selling cars. Some of my colleagues were making $300,000 a year, and while you might think that selling cars is an easy job, it is quite the opposite. It takes a very different skill set than an immigrant chemical engineer might possess, but I drew on my years of volunteer experience and communication skills and I made it work for a while.
After a few years, I decided I wanted more from life -- I wanted to continue with my studies and maybe even make a little change for the better in this world.
The University of Arizona was my top pick, and I joined the CHEE department this fall. After a few weeks, it hit me hard: Taking a break from studying for two years had affected my capacity to understand and learn new things, and that's not even considering the things I forgot. It was difficult, learning in another language, with a lot of missing information. It’s a scary feeling, realizing how much you lost and how hard it is to get back on the learning horse.
On a positive note, a few months have passed and I am back on track. Everyone has been extremely helpful and kind. I really appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to study at the University of Arizona.