I sat down with a member of Galipatia’s upper-class leaders to have a talk about engineering, life on campus, and being a member of Hypatia as a second-year student.
Apara Manuja is a sophomore in Chemical Engineering with a Green Engineering minor. She is a mentor and a member of the service committee. She does research in her spare time as well as regularly attends group exercise classes. She is driven by her passion for chemical engineering but holds a love for theater and teaching. Apara leads two events as a service committee member: Green Your Gameday and the Moss Arts Center School Day Performances. For the Green Your Gameday event, she and a group of volunteers promote sustainability during tailgates before football games by handing out recycling bags and telling tailgaters what to recycle. She loves this event because promoting sustainability is important to her.
Apara loves being a chemical engineer. When asked what she wants to do with her engineering degree when she graduates, she said that she wasn't sure. She’s thinking about applying to a PhD program when she finishes her bachelor’s degree. She would want to do her PhD in Chemical Engineering or a more specific field like Nuclear Engineering because she loves working with energy. If she chooses this route, then she would want to be a professor, hopefully working at Virginia Tech, and doing her own research about nuclear fusion. Another route she’s thinking about is working in the energy field at a power plant or a solar farm. She wants to work with energy to make it more sustainable.
Apara also conducts research with an Environmental Engineering professor, Dr. Gabriel Isaacman-VanWertz. His research is focused on atmospheric chemistry, and Apara’s role in it includes analyzing air particles using a GCMS, looking at particles of interest, and looking up their composition. The air samples are currently sourced from Blacksburg, but Dr. Isaacman-VanWertz is looking to branch out and collect samples from Christiansburg as well.