Alumni Profile

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Abel Cortinas (Floydada, Texas - Pumpkin Capital of the US!)

Chemical Engineering, Masters
Texas Tech University
Current Position: MIT (PhD)

Research Interests:

My research interests and focuses include flow processing and property characterization of novel graphene/polyvinyl alcohol nanocomposites. I think in graduate school I would like to explore opportunities in drug delivery, especially in regard to novel biocompatible nanomaterials as the delivery system.

Interests outside of school/research:

I really enjoy playing the guitar, running, and cycling.

How did you hear about the ACCESS program? Why did you apply?

I heard about the ACCESS program through my undergraduate research advisor at Texas Tech University, Dr. Micah J. Green. I applied to this program because I saw it as an opportunity to further explore the option of pursuing a Ph.D. in chemical engineering as well as the opportunities that MIT offered in that pursuit.

What were some interesting/fun things you did at ACCESS and/or people you met?

I believe the most interesting thing the ACCESS participants got to do was meet Dr. Langer and tour his lab facilities. It was also interesting that we were able to tour other chemical engineering labs as well as the Department of Chemical Engineering and MIT in general.

What was your favorite part of the weekend and why?

I really enjoyed the part of the program where we went out to eat and just socialized with the graduate students as well as with the directors of MIT ACCESS. I was able to get to know everyone who participated really well and made some new friends.

Do you think you benefitted from the program – did it help you in any way? Why or why not?

I believe I really benefited from the program because it reinforced my motivations to go to graduate school. The MIT ACCESS Symposium really introduced me to all the benefits that graduate school has to offer, especially at MIT.

Prior to attending ACCESS, did you have plans to apply for graduate school? How did ACCESS impact your decision?

Before attending ACCESS, I did have plans to go to graduate school. The most helpful takeaways were the points of view from the graduate students, faculty and staff from the Department of Chemical Engineering. I really learned a lot about the benefits of going to graduate school and it drove me to apply even more.

Are you planning on applying to attending graduate school now? If so, where?

In my application to graduate schools I applied to seven chemical engineering programs in the United States. These schools included MIT, UT Austin, UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Princeton, and Purdue.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

Hopefully in 5 years I will be getting towards the end of my time in graduate school. In 10 years I hope to be involved in industry, perhaps the chemical processes industry in terms of oil and gas or in the chemical/pharmaceutical industry.

Anything else I want to share?

ACCESS is a great program and the people involved with it are even better. I just want to thank again Suzanne, Katie, Fran and everyone else who helped make MIT ACCESS the amazing program it was.

What’s new with you?

I will be graduating from Texas Tech University this coming May 2012 with a Bachelor’s in Science in Chemical Engineering. Over the summer I will be working with Dow Chemical Company in an Engineering and Manufacturing Internship in Freeport, Texas. Starting in the fall of 2012 I will be attending MIT as a graduate student in chemical engineering working towards a Ph.D.