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Alumni Spotlight

  • Muna Saber

    Muna Saber

    Graduation Year:  2016
    Inspiration /Goals:  I enjoy doing research, particularly in alternative energy.  I suppose my goal would be for my research to have an impact on the future, however small.  Also, having a patent before 30 and starting up a business would be nice.
    Struggles/Obstacles: I'm going to be beginning graduate school soon and the biggest struggle with this is keeping determined.  Sometimes research can be disheartening and I sometimes get results that are contrary to what one would expect.  Because getting a PhD is a long process, one has to learn to stay enthustiastic despite the strange results (and experimental failures) that come their way.
    10 year plan / Future:  I would like to either be in a leadership role in R&D or founding a start-up off of the work of my PhD. 
    Hobbies/ Internship / Research Experience:  I have had a total of 7 research experiences and summer internships.  Notable experiences are the two times I did research at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Lithium sulfur batteries, and a summer internship at a startup, Navitas Advanced Solutions Group, on lithium ion batteries.  As for hobbies, I enjoy painting and writing, both of which I've gotten behind on due to school.
    Why AIChE:  I originally got involved with AIChE my freshmen year because I was impatient to begin doing activities in chemical engineering.  I wanted to get to know upperclassmen in chemical engineering so I could ask them questions in regards to career and classes.  It turned out to be very helpful as I found out that many who were involved in AIChE were passionate about chemical engineering. I later started to take on leadership roles in AIChE because the group used to be quite small and I wanted to help it grow and provide more opportunities to students.  
    Why UIC:  My family had an odd tradition of going to UIC no matter what.  My four older siblings went to UIC, for a mixture of family and financial reasons, so it was expected that I go, too.  I was accepted to UIUC as well so I became unsure whether or not I had made the correct decision.  As the years had gone by, I started making fond memories here.  I met quite a few close friends that I explored the city with, traveled the country for conferences and internships, and got into a fantastic graduate program at UCSB.  In the end, it turned out to be the right choice.
    Tips: If you are considering graudate school and are unsure, consider working in industry for a bit first to see if you enjoy it.  If you are sure about doing your PhD be aware that it is hard to get an academic position so you may need to do industry/postdoc.  Also, try applying to between 5-10 schools, consider applying for 1-2 graduate fellowships, and make sure to peform research and summer REUs.  Speak with current graduate students at a variety of institutions, as well. Most important, keep working hard and stay determined in your studies.  Good luck.