Chemical engineering is intensive, multidisciplinary, and one of the best investments that you can make in yourself as a young person.
It prepares you for such an incredible variety of high-impact fields that it’s no mistake that notable chemical engineering majors include:
Linus Pauling, winner of both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (and the only person to ever win two unshared Nobel Prizes)
Liza Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Jack Welch, Chairman and CEO of General Electric
Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau, designer of the first commercial penicillin plant
Nitin Nohria, dean of Harvard Business School
John von Neumann, one of the greatest mathematicians in history and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Dolph Lundgren, best known for playing Ivan Drago in the Rocky film series
Ashton Kutcher, Actor and Investor
Andy Grove, CEO of Intel and author of High Output Management
Mae Jemison, NASA Astronaut and the first African-American woman in space
Roberto Goizueta, CEO and Chairman of Coca Cola
From entrepreneurship to technology to medicine and more, the intense rigor of a chemical engineering degree prepares you to excel in whichever field you choose to pursue.
The Breanden Beneschott Grant for Chemical Engineers is designed to support those future high achievers.
An ideal applicant is an aspiring, current, or graduated chemical engineering major who embraces this challenging field as a way to prepare for bold and ambitious things in life, whether they plan to go into engineering, medicine, entrepreneurship, or something else.
I know I have been judged for my appearance or gender, rather than what I am capable of, but I have also been endowed with advantages that put me in a position to make a big difference. I don't not want to take for granted the opportunities I have been given, and I know all too well of the adversity that students face, just twenty minutes from my home in Detroit.
My high school was huge. The campus was cleverly nicknamed the “educational park.” At the time I was enrolled, I was one among seven thousand students from all over the metro Detroit area. Initially, thriving in that environment was challenging for me because I am petite, which influenced people’s perception of my personality and character. My high school golf coach told me I was too small to play at the college level; later, as a college athlete, my college coach teased I was so small that he could “fit me in his pocket.” Likewise, my peers tend to mistakenly assume that I am reserved and timid. What I lack in size, I compensate with my copious and eloquent communication skills, and a genuine fervor for speaking in front of an audience. To establish a rapport with the teachers, I depended on my work ethic and intellect. It wasn’t until junior year that I realized I wanted to become a chemical engineer, for the simple reason that I had a passion for chemistry, math, programming, and human health. The FDA’s website was the default homepage on my Internet browser, long before I decided to pursue a chemical engineering degree; and while other kids spent their iTunes gift cards on music, I spent mine on an app subscription to educate myself about the chemicals in foods. I aspired to a career at a national lab, where my work could have far-reaching and positive impacts on my community and society. At the time, I did not know that these aspirations would lead me to graduate school at one of the top research universities in the country, but in the Fall of 2014, I began my engineering studies at Wayne State University.
Two years into my undergraduate studies, I began research in the lab of Dr. Jeffrey Potoff. The lab group was unique in that it conducted purely computational research and, thereby, combined all my academic interests. Prior to my involvement, my project had been abandoned in pursuit of other research goals. With my diligence and self-motivation, however, I resurrected the project and procured over four thousand dollars in research scholarships. After two years of hard work and countless hours spent in the lab behind the computer screen, my perseverance and success helped me prove, to myself, that I am equipped for a career in research.
Around the time I began conducting research, I was recruited as a peer mentor by the engineering department’s Bridge Program at Wayne State University, which has since been rebranded as the EOS Program. The EOS Program was established to provide mentorship and additional guidance in STEM studies to first-year students who expressed aspirations to earn engineering degrees, yet they had an inadequate background in STEM fields. The majority of these students had survived the Detroit school system and, likely, made the decision to get a college degree, in spite of all the factors working against them. I find great pleasure in mentoring because it gives me a platform to use my advantageous circumstances for the benefit of others and I, in turn, learn from them. I spent at least ten hours per week, face-to-face with the approximately 10 students under my mentorship. This time was allocated among teaching a course designed to supplement their core courses twice per week, holding office hours, organizing and attending social events for the students.
Embracing these successful mentorships at the college level, I sought to engage younger generations in STEM through a Detroit-based, non-profit organization called Life Remodeled. I was one of many volunteers to aid in the renovation of the abandoned Durfee elementary school, to be repurposed as a career-oriented community center for Detroit-area students. Many of the company partners who rent space in the building are companies that recruit engineers and encourage local youth to sharpen their STEM scholarship. At the University of Michigan, I mentor engineering undergraduates who are interested in pursuing research. I intend to continue to share my passions in similar capacities in my future career.
In 2019, I experienced my first great loss. At 91-years-old, my grandmother passed away. Despite her age, it was sudden because she had not suffered from any serious health issues. During her hospitalization, she contracted bacterial infection after bacterial infection from all the respiratory and feeding tubes, and urinary catheter. The infections prevented her immune system from recovering and kept her body working so hard to maintain whatever homeostasis was left that, when she passed, she had already been unresponsive for days. Bacterial infections are a nefarious issue in medical environments, even more so with the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria into biofilm. In fact, more than half of infections contracted in hospitals are associated with biofilm formation on implanted medical devices in hospitals, much like my grandmother’s situation. My personal exposure to the dangers of bacteria, combined with my longtime passion for biochemistry, human health, and computer programming, has motivated me to employ computational methods to explore the evasive, resilient structural profile of biofilm, and to screen for compounds that have the potential to exhibit anti-biofilm properties.
Six years since my undergraduate studies began, I still strive to work in a national lab, with access to state-of-the-art technology and resources. At a national lab, I would be in the position to contribute to research efforts in a translatable and practical way. I know I am on the right path and the research I have proposed for my PhD thesis will have far-reaching impacts.
The application deadline is Apr 1, 2021. Winners will be announced on May 3, 2021.
How will scholarship application information be used?
What is the scholarship award?
The scholarship award is $1,000.
When will the scholarship winner be chosen? How will they be notified?
The winner will be publicly announced on May 3, 2021. Prior to the announcement date, we may contact finalists with additional questions about their application. We will work with donors to review all applications according to the scholarship criteria. Winners will be chosen based on the merit of their application.
How will the scholarship award be paid?
We will send the award check to the winner’s academic institution in their name, and in the name of their institution (depending on the school’s requirements).
How will my scholarship application be verified?
Before we award the scholarship, the winner will be required to verify their academic enrollment status by providing a copy of their most recent transcript.
How should I get in touch with questions?
If you have any questions about this scholarship or the Bold.org platform, just email email@example.com and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.
Does the scholarship have terms and conditions?
Yes. The terms and conditions for this scholarship can be found here.