Penn State Engineering Ambassador Ben Thoma width=
Ben Thoma

Chemical Engineering
Class of 2020

Hometown: Saxonburg, PA

High School: Knoch High School

Extracurricular Activities: Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Running, and Golfing

Internship/Co-op/Research Experience: I've interned at II-VI Incorporated (Saxonburg, PA) the last three years. This fall, I will be joining Dr. Andrew Zydney's reserach in bioseparations for vaccine production.

Why did you choose to come to Penn State? Since I was a little kid watching college football on Saturday afternoons, I always found myself rooting for Penn State despite none of my family being PSU alum. I chose this school not only for its outstanding reputation in academia and research, but also the deep connection that I felt with the University.

What has been your best memory as an engineering student? Building a cell-phone prop for the Theater Department in my EDSGN 100 class!

What advice would you give a first-year engineer? Settle for more! At first, the size of Penn State may seem overwhelming, but do not worry, that's good for you. There are so many resources here for your classes, professional development, and personal interests, all of which are for you. Make the most of not only your education, but your life here at Penn State.

What do you plan to do after graduation? I am planning on going into industry in either a process development or production role. I would like to start in either the oil & gas or pharmaceutical industries

What has been your best experience outside of engineering at Penn State? I would have to say it's a tie between studying abroad and my involvement with THON. I studied abroad in Ronda, Spain in Summer 2017 to pursue a Spanish minor. It was always a dream of mine to study in the Andalusian region and I'm so grateful for the support the College of Engineering gave me to make this dream come true. For THON, I have served as a Captain on the Development Committee, which looks to expand THON's donor base and build good relationships with previous donors. THON has definitely been one of the many highlights of my time here at Penn State that I will never forget.