When Paritosh Wattamwar began studying at the University of Kentucky he had a goal in mind and took every step in the right direction to get there.
“When I joined the department, I knew that I wanted to go into the industry after my Ph.D. I believe that guidance from Dr. Dziubla (my advisor) and other faculty members has helped me towards the career path of my choice,” he says.
However, that doesn’t mean the trek has been easy. For Wattamar, “new experiences” doesn’t even begin to define his time at the College of Engineering.
“Apart from all the technical knowledge and skills I have learned at UK, the graduate chemical engineering program has helped me improve my leadership skills, especially the collaborative nature of research in Chemical Engineering department and opportunity to mentor several undergraduate students in their research,” says Wattamar.
But skills and leadership aren’t the only things Wattamar is learning in the graduate program. In fact, Wattamar’s experience is quite different than those of his fellow classmates. While research was on his list of qualifications for graduate school Wattamar had never formally participated in a research experience before.
“I struggled a little initially to catch up with course work, trying to get the lab started and research. All the encouragement and motivation I received from Dr. Dziubla kept me going until I started to get a hold on things. Recently, my work was published in a renowned journal in its field and has received recognition at several research meetings.”
Now that Wattamar has gotten his foot in the door when it comes to research she/he isn’t stopping there. Instead, he is passing it on to undergraduates to give them a learning experience he never had.
“All these mentoring experiences have helped me a lot to develop my leadership skills. I am very proud of the fact that some of the undergraduates working with me have received awards in both local and national competitions,” he says.
Wattamar’s advice to his fellow undergraduates: Keep it fun.
“Our department has ongoing research projects in a variety of fields like energy, biomaterials/drug delivery, catalysis and many others. So a new graduate student has lot of options to choose a research area. There is a lot of help available in terms of resources and expertise both within the department (from faculty and other grad students in the department) as well as outside the department. We have a very dynamic/interactive group of graduate students, which also makes working here a lot of fun,” says Wattamar.