“You can make so much of any opportunity… if you want to.”
It’s a personal statement self-professed “small town girl and bookworm” Brittany Chalfant puts into practice every day, and it has paid off handsomely. The YSU honors student, University Scholar and graduating senior has received an offer of full financial support from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the highest-ranked engineering school in the world.
She will pursue a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Practice Degree, a unique course of study combining standard coursework with intensive industrial experience in place of the typical research thesis.
“I know it’s going to be very challenging; I’m nervous, but excited at the same time.”
Chalfant, a chemical engineering major, was awarded the Professional Promise Award from the Pittsburgh Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and is a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honorary Society.
She is an YSU chapter member of AIChE, Tau Beta Pi, where she holds the position of secretary, The Society of Women Engineers and the Phi Sigma Rho Engineering Sorority, where she held the position of secretary from 2008 to 2011.
She spent her last two summers in internships, one after her sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh where she conducted materials research, and one in the summer of her junior year, where she worked at the NASA Glenn Research Facility on potential insulation for next-generation space suits—suits which could well protect the next generation of astronauts on their journey to Mars.
“The next goal for NASA is to reach Mars where it is significantly colder. I was working with a type of aerogel; which is a good insulator and very heat resistant, but not very flexible; I was working to increase flexibility.”
When she has spare time, Chalfant says she enjoys painting and drawing. She also shared that she is taking a fencing class with her boyfriend of six years, Nick, a junior in the electrical engineering program.
“It’s a lot of fun; we get to rough each other up a bit.”