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Diego Bustamante | Student Spotlight

B.S. Candidate in Chemical Engineering
Diego Bustamante

Diego Bustamante

BS Candidate
Chemical Engineering

“During my first year at Stanford, I enrolled in the foundational chemistry, computer science, and math courses that are typical for incoming STEM-focused freshmen. Unsure of my academic path but driven by a lifelong passion for the sciences, I saw these classes as a starting point to explore potential fields of study.

The following summer, I was introduced to Stanford's chemical engineering program through their REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program. During the program, I discovered that chemical engineering perfectly aligned with my diverse academic interests in chemistry, physics, mathematics and coding. My fellow REU peers were performing research on a wide array of fascinating topics, ranging from resource recovery from wastewater to biophysics, carbon capture and nanotechnology.

Beyond research, what struck me most about the department was its strong sense of community, which I hadn't encountered elsewhere on campus. This community spirit persisted throughout the school year, thanks to events organized by the Stanford AIChE chapter. They facilitated social gatherings, professional development opportunities, mentoring programs and outreach initiatives among undergraduate chemical engineering students.

Nearly two years after declaring ChemE, my involvement with AIChE and Stanford's ChemE Car team, alongside deepening relationships with faculty members and completing core coursework, has profoundly shaped my Stanford experience. The chemical engineering community has become a cornerstone of my time here, providing invaluable support and opportunities for growth.

While my career aspirations remain fluid, my research focus has evolved from experimental resource recovery and environmental concerns to a more computational approach to transport problems. I'm excited to apply the modeling skills acquired through computer science courses to tackle new challenges in chemical engineering. Although my future industry path is still uncertain, I am confident that my experiences in Stanford's chemical engineering program have equipped me to tackle whatever lies ahead.”

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