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Archana Verma (BS ‘21) | Alumni Spotlight

Archana Verma

Archana Verma

B.S. ‘21
Chemical Engineering
Academic advisor: Professor Stacey Bent

What have you been up to since Stanford?

Since graduating from Stanford in 2021, my academic journey has continued at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaigne (UIUC), where I am currently pursuing a PhD in Chemical Engineering in Prof. Nick Jackson’s research group. My research focuses on the development of a Monte Carlo model for doping in organic semiconductors, and I mentor an undergraduate student on machine learning approaches to develop molecular design rules for organic semiconductor dopant material pairs. Beyond the lab, I am highly involved in the vibrant campus community. I am a member of Zindaa UIUC, a non-competitive Bollywood dance team, and hold the role of weSTEM Speakers Co-Coordinator for the Graduate Society for Women in Engineering. Additionally, I contribute my time as a volunteer crisis counselor for the Crisis Text Line and am active in a number of other outreach and mentorship opportunities with teaching STEM concepts to elementary school students. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends, cooking, journaling, playing badminton, doing art, and frequenting local coffee shops and bookstores.

What’s your fondest memory about your time at Stanford?

While it may sound cliché, my fondest memories of Stanford revolve around the people. Beyond the realm of transport, kinetics, and thermodynamics, I have come to deeply value the relationships I have built with my peers, TAs, professors, and mentors in ChemE. The small class sizes enabled me to easily foster close relationships with my professors and TAs, by often going to their office hours and asking for their advice about internships, applying to graduate school, careers in ChemE, how to take advantage of resources in college, and more. Their generosity and accessibility created such a supportive environment. Equally, I am sincerely grateful to my peers for being not only brilliant, talented, and ambitious, but at the same time, humble, well-rounded, and collaborative. This community continually inspired me to better myself and provided me with a strong sense of belonging that continues to this day.

Can you share any advice with our current students or postdocs?

My advice to current students and postdocs is to recognize the importance of social and creative skills alongside technical expertise. For better or worse, science is done by people, and there will always be complexity to navigate because of that. More than providing engineering knowledge, classes serve as platforms for developing critical thinking, time management, and a collaborative network. Cultivate personal connections within the department, leveraging the wealth of kindness and talent present. It can be so easy to get lost in the depths of doing complex math for an upcoming problem set deadline, but pursuing hobbies, social skills, and creative interests outside of engineering is invaluable. I highly recommend getting involved in classes and organizations in fields that are not ChemE, not STEM, and are purely “for fun” – creative writing, pottery, PE, film studies, public speaking, languages/cultures, philosophy, etc. College campuses have so many unique resources, and I would encourage everyone to reflect on the specific skills that they hope to develop during their years at Stanford.

This article is part of the Department of Chemical Engineering Alumni Spotlight series designed to highlight the impact and trajectory of the work of our alumni. Stanford University does not endorse any non-Stanford entities, programs, products, or services listed in the article.

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