Graduate student awarded for outstanding contributions

Prerna Jain is a go-getter.

The graduate student in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University was recently selected for the Lawrence F. Guseman Award for her outstanding contributions to the success and prosperity of the Graduate and Professional Student Council and the graduate student body. 

She also won second place for her research in the engineering and architecture subject area during Student Research Week 2016. Her research focuses on “Resilience Analysis Framework for Process Design and Operations.”

Prerna

Jain is involved in multiple organizations, including the Women in Engineering Program (WE), the Society of Women Engineers and she serves as Chair of Multicultural and Diversity Committee for the Graduate and Professional Student Council. She has also contributed toward establishment of the Texas A&M Energy Research Society, for which she currently serves as vice president.

Jain received her undergraduate degree in civil engineering in her home country of India and has a post graduate diploma in health, safety and environmental law. She’s worked for about five years in the oil and gas industry for Reliance Industries Limited.

“During this time, I have worked as an environmental engineer and primarily as process safety and risk manager,” she said. “I witnessed the significance of this industry and its products for society, and also appreciate the fact that controlling and reducing the associated risk is so critical.”

That’s why Jain decided to return to Texas A&M for her graduate degree and work with Dr. Sam Mannan, director of the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center, holder of the Regents Professorship and the T. Michael O’Connor Chair I in the Department of Chemical Engineering. 

Getting involved

Jain said getting involved in programs and extracurricular activities greatly enriches an engineering student’s academic experience and can help pave the way for a future in leadership.

“I am a people’s person and like to meet and work with new people,” she said. “I believe working with others on disparate subjects in various student organizations helps me to look at things from a different angle and hence provides an immense learning platform.”

Jain said her involvement with programs and student organizations has also helped her gain team building and leadership skills.

“I feel accomplished when I see that I have grown with every role while being involved in all of these activities,” she said.

Women in Engineering

Jain is an active member of Women in Engineering, a college-wide program that focuses on fostering an environment of inclusivity in engineering activities.

“WE has given me a unique platform to voice my concerns, interact with other women engineers, learn about both technical and social aspects and seek guidance when required,” she said.

Shawna Fletcher, Director of Women in Engineering, said Jain is a leader among graduate students because she is so involved with Women in Engineering as well as other activities.

“The more students become involved, the more they feel a sense of community as a member of the Aggie family,” Fletcher said. “I admire students like Prerna that are able to balance her education and research while gaining other skills that will assist her in developing as a professional.” 

Fletcher said those attributes will set Jain up for future success.

Looking to the future

Jain hopes to one day work for a company that challenges her.

“I want to develop my skills and work with people,” she said. “I am driven to deliver my best and would like to have a career in research and engineering in industry. 

To future engineering students, Jain has a little advice.

“Network. Be innovative and keep it simple,” she said.