Former student aims to further initiatives through new role in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Foundation

YosufzaiS. Shariq Yosufzai, a former student in the Texas A&M University Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, has been named the chair of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Foundation.

Yosufzai, Class of ’74 and vice president of global diversity at Chevron Corporation, will lead strategic development for the foundation's initiatives, including the Doing a World of Good campaign, which funds projects that chemical engineers have identified as crucial to advancing the good work of the profession. Some of these projects include work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs.

Yosufzai said the foundation has the convening power to bring the best and brightest minds from academia, nongovernmental organizations and companies together to help create innovative solutions to address our world’s biggest problems. By doing so, the AIChE aims to develop sustainable solutions to problems the world faces, including the need for cleaner drinking water, nonproliferation of diseases and infrastructure development. 

One project Yosufzai would like to work on is expanding chemical engineers’ knowledge of process safety. According to him, more than 70 percent of chemical engineering graduates enter the workforce with minimal process safety education. The foundation works to bring together companies and hundreds of universities across the globe to promote expanding education in this area. Yosufzai said Texas A&M is one of few universities who has an advantage in this area with the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center.

“Our biggest priorities are to serve as a catalyst for collaboration in educating the next generation of chemical engineers, furthering diversity and inclusion in the chemical engineering profession, and of course, deepening our core commitment to process safety,” Yosufzai said. “Most faculty members do not have any process safety experience and/or background. We host boot camps where companies like Chevron train faculty members on the challenges of process.”

Another initiative through the AIChE Foundation is diversity and inclusion, which is also Yosufzai’s focus in his role at Chevron. He said it is imperative to attract and retain more underrepresented minorities and women into STEM fields like chemical engineering.

Chevron has worked with Texas A&M to increase diversity and inclusion through programs such as the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academies, which allows students to complete the first two years of their course work at a two-year college that can be closer to home. Yosufzai said since the program was established in 2015, the percentage of female students has increased to about 50 percent, the number of African American students has reached 12 percent and the number of Hispanic students sits at 29 percent.

“We found direct correlation between diversity of the leadership team and performance,” Yosufzai said. “Bringing the engineering approach and using data to articulate a winning value proposition is something that Chevron has done. We treasure what we measure. We create an ecosystem that basically attacks diversity and inclusion as a target just as we would safety or excellence.”

AIChE is a professional society of 53,000 chemical engineers in 110 countries. Through its programs, AIChE works to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontiers of chemical engineering research in such areas as energy, sustainability, biological and environmental engineering, nanotechnology and chemical plant safety and security. Yosufzai is a Fellow of AIChE and received AIChE's Industry Leadership Award, among numerous honors there.

He has been recognized by Texas A&M as a Distinguished Alumnus, Outstanding International Alumnus and Outstanding Engineering Alumnus. In 2016, he was recognized as among the "Top Executives in Corporate Diversity" by Black Enterprise Magazine, and one of the "Top 25 Champions of Diversity in STEM" by Diversity Global Magazine. He has also served as chairman of the board of The Association of Former Students.

While at Texas A&M, Yosufzai held leadership roles within the Corps of Cadets and served as Student Body Vice president and delegate for the SCONA program. He serves on the Texas A&M Chancellor’s Century Council, the Engineering Advisory Council of the College of Engineering and served as the 2010 Chair of the Board of the Association of Former Students.

“The biggest impact on my life is the notion of selfless service and excellence instilled in me while I was a student,” Yosufzai said. “The Aggie Core Values continue to be the guiding light in everything I do.”

He offered some advice for students as they complete their degree at Texas A&M and move on to their career.

“Embrace each opportunity with enthusiasm, be respectful of your colleagues, and always try to work out of your comfort zone, both professionally and geographically,” Yosufzai said. “Always try to leave your last position a bit better than when you found it.

For more information about the AIChE Foundation, visit