UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State chemical engineering senior Joshua Pezzulo recently received the 2020 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Outstanding Senior Award.
The award, granted by the Central Pennsylvania Local Section of AIChE, annually recognizes a chemical engineering senior who has had outstanding scholastic, leadership and service achievements.
“Josh was an outstanding student-leader who has a passion for helping others,” said Esther Gomez, associate professor of chemical engineering. “At Penn State, not only has he achieved academic excellence, but he has also participated in undergraduate research, served as a teaching assistant, led the Penn State AIChE chapter and volunteered his time assisting and supporting others.”
As president of the student AIChE chapter, Pezzulo coordinated an executive board of 22 officers across a wide range of activities.
“One of my proudest moments as AIChE student chapter president was being able to bring 11 students to Orlando, Florida, for the national 2019 AIChE Meeting and receive the Outstanding Student Chapter Award on behalf of Penn State AIChE,” Pezzulo said.
Along with this role, Pezzulo was the founder and president of the Breath of Life Club, a student organization seeking to better the lives of those suffering from chronic ailments or facing terminal conditions. He was a head mentor with the College of Engineering’s Engineering Orientation Network for incoming first year students. He served as an undergraduate research assistant in Gomez’s lab and the lab of Xin Zhang, Paul Berg Early Career Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and of Molecular Biology, and was a tutor for student athletes with the Morgan Academic Center. He also worked as an organic chemistry grader, chemical engineering teaching assistant and as a facility attendant with campus recreation.
“I would tell people thinking of coming to Penn State that the best aspect of the University is the available resources,” Pezzulo said. “I realized that at Penn State, you get out what you put in. If you invest in yourself with the resources available to you, there isn’t anywhere you can’t go.”
Pezzulo has received multiple accolades during his time at Penn State. This includes the SEDTAPP Best Design Communication Award, the Parsons Scholarship, the Phillips Family Honors Scholarship, the Baynard & Ethel Kunkle Scholarship, the H. Stethers Scholarship in Chemical Engineering, the USG Scholarship, the Whitman Fund Scholarship, the Fick Honors Scholarship in Engineering and the Brokloff Fund for Innovation and Excellence Scholarship.
Pezzulo held two internships, one with Merck & Co. and one with Custom Prescriptions of Lancaster. He will enter medical school at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.
“I served as his honors thesis adviser and course instructor, and I was impressed with his success in formulating his own thesis project, intellectual independence, motivation and drive,” Gomez said. “I am confident that Josh will be successful in his future endeavors and that he will continue to have a positive impact on others.”