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Connor Ganley

As simple as it sounds, I was inspired to choose chemical engineering at UMBC because I really enjoyed chemistry and math in high school. Without knowing much about what I wanted to do for a career, I figured chemical engineering was a good mix of those two subjects. However, while getting my degree at UMBC, it was the extraordinary professors and strong relationships with friends that convinced me chemical engineering was the right choice for me.

The best part of the program for me was the electives I took (ENCH 470 and ENCH 486) as well as the friendships I made along the way. The electives were the first time I felt I was able to use my chemical engineering knowledge in real-world applications. The professors were actively working with students in these electives to develop our problem solving skills and esoteric thinking. These courses also helped me realize the multitude of pathways I can take with a background in chemical engineering.

I was on the varsity swim team during my time at UMBC. My team won our conference
championship every year I was there. Being on an athletic team was a positive experience because it gave me a lot of perspective in my studies. It taught me how to find a balance among all the things I love.

I am currently a first-year PhD student at Johns Hopkins University. I use the chemical engineering principles I learned at UMBC every single day in my coursework, which includes Advanced Transport Phenomena, Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics, Metabolic Systems Biotechnology, and Interfacial Science with Applications to Nanoscale Systems. In my research, I use the same algorithmic thinking that I learned at UMBC applied to different problems, such as using machine learning to design 2D perovskite materials for applications in renewable energy.

If I could speak to myself going into college, I would emphasize the importance of getting to know your cohort of students. At the university level, learning is no longer an individual task. Surrounding yourself with driven classmates makes the work so much more enjoyable. I would also tell myself that the road will be long and not always comfortable, but that it will be worth it. Take it one day at a time and do not give up.

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