ChemE Future Leaders: Samantha Kim

Samantha Kim (ChemE 2T0 + PEY) is in the 3rd year of her degree in Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry at U of T. When she’s not in class, she can usually be found volunteering or working in one of her numerous roles on clubs throughout campus. In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading and spending time with good friends, and she places a great deal of importance in making time for herself. “In order to be able to do good work for others, sometimes you need to put your own health and happiness first,” she explains. Samantha is taking the Bioengineering Minor, and is particularly interested in Engineering Biology, and Reaction Kinetics.

Outside of school and making sure to take some time for herself to relax, Samantha is an active volunteer and club leader. She is the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) High School Mentorship Director, where she manages a team of mentors, pairing them with high school students across the GTA. In her role with the WISE mentorship program, Samantha is also responsible for planning and running monthly events that bring mentors and mentees together in fun and engaging ways.Samantha is also the Vice-President Finance for the Bioengineering Student Association, the ChemClub Webmaster, and a Child Life Volunteer at SickKids Hospital.

Samantha has also worked as a Research Assistant for Professor Ya-Huei (Cathy) Chin (ChemE), studying phenol adsorptive properties on the catalyst Zeolite Socony Mobil (HZSM-5) in order to understand hydrodeoxygenation reactions for the purposes of upgrading bio-oil to biofuel.Samantha is open to all the possibilities that chemical engineering has to offer, with particular interest in pharmaceuticals. She can also one day see herself as a business consultant or strategist, employing the analytical and time management skills she’s developed over the course of her degree. She is excited for the chance to explore her options to find the best fit possible during her upcoming PEY Co-op.

Q: What are your biggest strengths?

My biggest strengths are my ability to maintain a well-balanced life, and my ability to manage my time effectively. I am able to balance being heavily involved in numerous clubs while still keeping up with my schoolwork and maintaining strong grades. I love to help other people, but it takes a lot of work and commitment to always deliver my best on time. That’s why I think finding the right balance between school, work, volunteering, and my personal life is incredibly important. I don’t think you can help other people if you’re not also helping yourself. I try to always make sure to leave time after all of my other obligations for things that make me happy, like going to spin class, or simply just hanging out with friends and family.

Q: What are your weaknesses?

My desire to help others often leads me to avoid conflict wherever possible. This can have its benefits when working in groups, but it can also prevent me from being assertive with others at times. Strong leaders need to be confident and assertive to get the best out of the people around them, and this is an area I’m working hard to be better in.

Q: How would your friends describe you?

My friends would describe me as someone who is organized and responsible. They see me handling many responsibilities and being able to balance them all with my school life. They might also say that I am well-spoken and able to communicate my thoughts thoroughly and clearly. I think this really helps me to maintain strong relationships because it means the people around me know they can count on me, and they know they always have somebody they can talk to.

Q: How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?

I would really like to improve my ability to network effectively. Once people get a chance to know me, they realize how hardworking, caring, and reliable I am, but I can have a hard time making professional contacts at times. I want to become more assertive and confident in reaching out to people in industry and in academics, because I understand how important good relationships are to achieving my goals.

Q: Where would you like to be five years after graduation?

I have always dreamed of being a professor, especially here at U of T. I would love to work in the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) to continue pursuing my interest in bioengineering, so in five years I hope to be nearing the end of my PhD and working toward becoming an academic.

Q: Describe your ideal PEY Co-op?

My ideal PEY Co-op is one that will allow me to do many things and one that keeps on providing opportunities to learn. I also think it’s important for me to work with people because I enjoy and value creating interpersonal relationships.

Q: Why should somebody hire you for a PEY Co-op?

I have a proven ability to handle many things at once. I am organized and able to manage my time well, and I am also able to communicate both on technical issues and interpersonally. I am also open-minded and versatile, and open to trying new things. I always put in my best effort possible, and I think I’m really easy to work with because I’m dependable and easy to get along with.


Interested in hiring a Professional Experience Year Co-op student? Learn more about U of T’s PEY Co-op program HERE

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