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Separation and Its Opposite

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Talk with Emily Capek about her time at Clarkson and you’ll hear about separation. It’s at the heart of her work as a chemical engineering major. Now a senior working with Professor Ross Taylor, she uses advanced software that simulates chemical separation processes.

“It’s absolutely vital that we get accurate simulations,” she says. “But that’s only half of it: we also need a detailed analysis of the chemical systems we’re researching.”

This information is crucial, she says, to improving the accuracy and efficacy of ChemSep, the increasingly popular simulation software.

“We work with actual problems that other users are facing,” she says. “So far, we’ve compared ChemSep to experimental data creating validations, which helped Dr. Taylor make changes that emphasize the software’s reliability.”

But amid her work on separation, Capek has observed Clarkson’s culture of collaboration.

“This campus is a unique place,” she says. “I can walk through the Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP) and talk with every one of my professors. That’s a surprising phenomenon in a college setting.”

That’s because CAMP is a 26,000-square-foot research facility dotted with immense labs and small classrooms.

“Clarkson’s small classes make it easier to interact with professors and students,” Capek says. “My chemical engineering class has become very close after working on a series of challenging projects.”

She credits Clarkson’s academic environment — and the team building it encourages — for her four internships

“I’ve worked at ExxonMobil and Corning,” she says. “My internships helped me solidify problem-solving skills I learned at Clarkson. I’ve also seen how all my skills can be applied in a lot of different ways, from engineering to manufacturing and even business.” 

At Clarkson, Capek has learned a lot about separation, but she also knows more now about collaboration. She isn’t simply working with multi-national companies, she’s contributing to their future success. Ultimately, her time at Clarkson has helped her become part of something bigger and she’s learned to make it even better.

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Emily Capek '15