Hello blog! My name is Brenda Rea, and I am a rising junior at the University of Pittsburgh. I am a Pittsburgh native, so home is only about twenty-five minutes from campus. At Pitt, I am pursuing a chemical engineering degree at the Swanson School of Engineering along with a minor in chemistry. Within ChemE, I am specifically interested in the research and development behind consumer goods. It is my hope to work for a company in the cosmetics, food & drug, or household cleaners’ industry to revolutionize the way that consumers interact with their favorite products. In pursuit of this passion, I am embarking on my first co-op rotation with The Lubrizol Corporation this summer in their product development pilot plant. There I will be working with engineers to aid the development of their various additive products that are seen in fuels, detergents, plastics, etc. I am eager to get hands on experience and get a glimpse of what my future may look like.
In my spare time at Pitt, I work as an engineering peer advisor where I co-teach the freshman ENGR-0081 seminar course that is a requirement for all first-year engineering students. Through this course, I share my experience as an engineering student during my freshman year in hopes of encouraging them to continue through any uncertainties that the first semester of college may bring. Furthermore, I am a peer advisor for the SSoE global experiences and engagement office. In this role, I hold drop-in hours for students planning a global experience, coordinate on-campus events, and create marketing material. I became involved with the SSoE global office after returning from my first study abroad program, Plus 3: Cyprus. Participating in this program was such an eye-opening experience for me as it was my first time ever abroad. Through Plus3, I learned how to problem solve and adapt to a new environment. The program united me with close friends, taught me key engineering principles, and improved my decision-making skills. Between my overwhelmingly positive experience in Cyprus and my involvement working with different engineering study abroad programs, I knew that I had to go abroad again! I selected the SSoE Transfer Plus program in Prague because it best suited my desire for professional development. In this program, there were designated events held for the purpose of networking and connecting with professional engineers. I was certain that this experience would allow me to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to be successful in any job setting.