2021 Scholarship Recipients


Juliana is a Senior majoring in Plastics and Composites Engineering and minoring in Material Science at Western Washington University. Her introduction to plastics began six years ago while working at IDEX Health & Science in Oak Harbor, WA. Last summer, she worked on a polymer mechanical recycling project with faculty, investigating the properties of 100% ocean plastic. This summer, she is working on a chemical recycling research project for JCATI in partnership with Toray. This research involves working with mild chemicals to depolymerize the matrix in aerospace grade carbon fiber composites to reclaim the valuable and energy intensive fibers for reuse. Juliana plans to continue to graduate school and is considering staying in the recycling and sustainability industries to promote and optimize circular economy efforts.

Hanna is a Senior at Penn State Behrend majoring in Plastics Engineering Technology and minoring in Operations and Supply Chain Management. After her first year of school, she interned at Beaumont Technologies in Erie, PA. where she helped create a safety manual and implement safety throughout the company. Last summer, she interned at Aptar in Maiden, NC as a quality intern and helped run tests and analyze data. This summer she is an intern at Entec in Orlando, FL, learning more about sales for plastic resins, and doing projects related to sales. She also does research with a professor during the school year, running and analyzing tests on different materials. She is involved in volleyball club, Society of Women Engineers, Circle K, and NOBE. She serves as a Penn State Behrend Engineering Ambassador, giving tours and helping with activities for kids to get more involved in engineering. Hanna hopes to get into technical sales when she graduates.

Elizabeth is a Senior at Rutgers University, studying Chemical Engineering. She completed an 8-month internship with LabCorp where she utilized 3-D printing to create a device that improved the efficiency of their infectious disease department. Using plastics gave her the flexibility and quick turn-around time that was necessary to be successful. She also worked at Phillips 66 as a Process Engineer, where she learned how plastic products are derived from crude oil components. She is a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers and has served as an Engineering Governing Council Representative, ensuring her club gets proper event funding from her school. She is President of the Society of Women Engineers collegiate section at Rutgers University for the upcoming school year. Elizabeth is excited to share her passions with current and prospective students throughout the school year.

Isabella is a Junior at Penn State University. She is a double-major in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with minors in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and IST for Aerospace Engineers. During Summer 2020, she worked as a Process and Quality Engineering Intern at Brentwood Industries, a plastics thermoforming company in Reading, PA. During Spring 2021, she interned as a Build Reliability Intern at SpaceX in Hawthorne, CA. She is interested in how thermoformed plastics can be used in Aerospace applications and hopes to use her experiences to positively impact both industries. During the school year, she is actively involved in the Society of Women Engineers, Women in Engineering Program Orientation, Phi Sigma Rho (engineering sorority), Engineering Ambassadors, and Undergraduate Research. Isabella is passionate about empowering women to pursue and stay in engineering.

Michaela is a combined bachelor’s/master’s Packaging Science major at Clemson University. She will graduate with her Bachelors in December 2021 and remain at Clemson to continue working on her Masters. Throughout her undergraduate career, Michaela has focused her studies on flexible packaging and has worked as a student research assistant at the flexible packaging lab on campus for three years. In 2020, she completed a co-op with Printpack in Atlanta, GA, where she assisted with trials focused on improving recyclability or compostability of existing packages. She plans to concentrate her future research on improving the mechanical properties of biodegradable films used for packaging. After completing school, Michaela hopes to work in a research and development-based role, focusing on biodegradable and compostable films.

Taylor is a Junior at Western Washington University, majoring in Plastics and
Composites Engineering and aims to complete a minor in both Materials Science and Environmental Science. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers where she has been meeting specialists in the plastics engineering field and keeping in touch with engineering students at her school while classes have been strictly online during the 2020 Pandemic. Taylor’s interest in engineering stems from the support of her three engineer brothers and her passion for environmental science. These two things have led her to materials engineering where she hopes to create a more sustainable system for plastics. When Taylor graduates, she hopes to work in research to advance recycling systems and develop new efficient, sustainable plastics

Zach is a Junior at South Dakota State University where he is majoring in Mechanical Engineering. During high school, he gained an interest in 3D printing and used it often while on the robotics team. He put his modeling skills to the test when he won the 2018 Ridgewater Drafting contest. During his sophomore year he assisted on research which explored the addition of left-over materials, specifically Distiller’s dried grains with solubles, to make a biobased plastic. Through this research he gained valuable experience in plastic extrusion and injection molding. Upon graduation, Zach would like to work in the plastics field exploring the use of biobased plastic in everyday life to have a positive impact on the environment.

Brooke is a Senior at Penn State Behrend, majoring in Plastics Engineering Technology. Outside of classes, she participates in Behrend’s SPE Student Chapter and the Northwestern Pennsylvania SPE Chapter, where she has helped with the annual golf outings. She has also participated in the Behrend Society of Women Engineers Student Chapter, including holding networking, fundraising, and presidential positions. Last year, she completed a co-op at Apple as a Manufacturing Design Intern where she worked on developing new standard operating procedures and assisted with the design and testing of new research molds. Brooke would like to focus her career on sustainability in plastics.

Wyatt is a Junior at Shawnee State University, majoring in Plastics Engineering Technology. He is an active member of the SSU chapter of SPE and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He is working a full-time Engineering Co-op at Norplas Industries, a division of Magna Exteriors and Interiors with the Group of Magna International Inc. and has had the opportunity to work in several departments ranging from line operator, maintenance, robotics, and engineering. He has also interned with Airable Research Lab as a lab technician, as well as Charter NEX films as a Production Technician. Wyatt’s goal is to obtain a degree in Plastics Engineering Technology and gain the level of knowledge where he can contribute significantly to various fields in the plastics industry.

Nazar is a Junior at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), majoring in Packaging Science. He is currently a lab manager at RIT’s plastics Lab, which is where he first gained hands-on experience with plastics manufacturing. At this position, he has learned how to operate and maintain equipment such as blown film lines and single screw extruders. He has held a Co-op position at American Packaging Corporation as the Technician in their analytical lab, where he used a wide range of machinery to determine if the film was within specifications and ready to ship. He is also an active member in the Institute of Packaging Professionals Student Chapter at RIT. Upon graduation, Nazar would like to begin his career as a Packaging Engineer and use his knowledge of plastics to improve people’s lives.

Kayla is a Senior at the University of Akron, majoring in Chemical Engineering and minoring in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. She has completed two semesters of independent research in the polymer engineering department, studying the shape memory properties of a thermoplastic elastomer. She is serving her second year as Vice President of the University of Akron’s student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. Her commitment to community service has been focused on charities that support cancer patients, including fundraising efforts for both Relay for Life and Mission4Maureen. In January, she began an engineering co-op at Peak Nano in Valley View, Ohio, working with the processing of microlayered and nanolayered polymer systems. Kayla plans to use her degree to work with polymers and their practical applications in order to improve the quality of people’s everyday lives.

Mackenzie is a Senior at Virginia Tech, majoring in Chemical Engineering. She has participated in undergraduate research (studying polymeric additives in engine oils and polymer foams using supercritical carbon dioxide), Chem-E-Car Team (a competitive shoebox-size car design team) and has had three co-op rotations with DuPont (Nomex®, Kevlar®, and the Water Solutions® business). She has also held campus leadership roles including Summer Orientation Leader, Task Coordinator for the largest service event on campus, and Facility Supervisor at the school gym. Passionate about science and community-building, she plans to begin her career as a manufacturing engineer in the polymer industry and progress into a leadership role, with the possibility of returning to graduate school. Mackenzie is determined to leave a mark on the world with her technical accomplishments as well as encourage the next set of engineers to “dream big” (as her parents always told her.)

Stephen is a Junior at Ferris State University majoring in Plastics Engineering Technology. He is the vice president of the FSU SPE Student Chapter of SPE. He interned the last three years at the tooling (CTD), automation (CGAF), and plastics (CGP) companies of Commercial Tool Group (CTG). At CTD, he joined the Moldflow team where he determined optimum gate locations for injection molded parts. He also worked with a toolmaker to better understand injection molds and mechanisms. Later, he worked with CGP engineers in the production of parts for PPE in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This past summer, he was a project engineering intern responsible for managing the tooling and molding feasibility and kick-off for a program to be run at CGP. In the future, Stephen hopes to put his knowledge to use creating innovative solutions in the automotive industry.

Mack Sowers is a transfer student at the University of California Berkeley, studying Materials Science and Engineering, with a focus on polymers. Materials Science is very cross-disciplinary, at least among the sciences, but it is important for science to be rooted in a broad foundation of cultural context. Mack endeavors to demystify science and help it to be more accessible, and has pursued this goal through volunteer tutoring, 1:1 community outreach, and as President of the Engineering Club and subsequently the Physics Club at Laney College, which booked female scientists for guest lectures and organized field trips. After completing a Ph.D., Mack hopes to engineer materials and processes that are safer and more sustainable for humans and the environment.

Ekram is a Senior Mechanical Engineering student at Kettering University. She serves as president of the International Club and as a mentor for high school students through the Kagle Leadership Initiative. Additionally, she is an active member of three honor societies: Tau Beta Pi, Kappa Mu Epsilon, and Pi Tau Sigma, as well as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Society of Plastics Engineers, and the Society of Automotive Engineers. She has previously conducted independent research in collaboration with the Center for Integrated Rural Development (CIRD) in Udaipur, India. She was also an undergraduate research assistant for a project examining the Solar Thermal Minto-Wheel as a component of an alternative energy microgrid. She is currently working as a Process Engineering Co-op student at Nestlé’s research and development center, where she is completing her thesis on Digiorno Pizza Crust Flashing. Ekram has big plans for the future and wants to get an MBA, as well as a degree in Macromolecular Science and Engineering, while continuing her research to help people.

Courtney is entering her 2nd year at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She hopes to obtain her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering, a minor in Economics, and a graduate degree in Engineering Management. At Rose-Hulman, Courtney is involved in Student Government, the Society of Women Engineers, Alpha Chi Sigma, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and Engineers Without Borders, along with other organizations on campus. She became interested in the plastics industry her senior year of high school during her internship at Praxair Surface Technologies, where she was able to do research on 3D Printed Plastics. Courtney hopes to continue to work in the plastics industry after graduation by working for a company that is environmentally conscious, and is finding new and innovative ways to utilize plastics to better the lives of those around us.

Ashley is a Senior at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, majoring in Chemical Engineering with minors in Biochemistry and Entrepreneurial Innovation. She has been in many clubs and societies, including the Plastics Engineers and the Chemical Engineering club, all while receiving honors in the Chemistry and Mathematics Honor societies. She has been a co-op at Lear Corporation on a rotational basis since 2018. Lear provides car seats to the major automotive OEMs. At Lear, she worked with the Foam, Trim and Comfort divisions on numerous, globally-impactful projects. Because of these rotations, she wants to continue working in the Foam and Plastics industry, to improve it through research. Later, Ashley may pursue a Masters in Business Administration and Environmental Consulting to help improve the environmental practices of the industry.

Christian is a Senior studying Plastics Engineering Technology for his final semester at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. He has had three internships during his time at Behrend. His first internship was as a Molding Intern at Mine Safety Appliances Company. He spent most of his time measuring and analyzing post molded shrinkage on the V-Gard hard hat to drive a potential cycle time reduction. He is currently working his second rotation with Arc Group Worldwide, where he works as a Process Engineering Intern conducting molding trials, developing an injection molding preventative maintenance program, and providing various support to the engineering team. Once Christian graduates, he plans to find a job that challenges all areas of being a plastics engineer and problem solver.