Neha Manohar began her career at UMass Lowell before she even became a student. Participating in a summer internship in a chemical engineering lab prior to her freshman year “was a great experience,” says Manohar. “I enjoy the hands-on experience and seeing results firsthand. I want to follow the footsteps of my dad.” Her dad is chemical engineering Prof. Sanjeev Manohar.
Manohar credits the internship at UMass Lowell with strengthening her desire to become a chemical engineer. "My internship at the Nano/Green lab gave me a wonderfully hands-on introduction to chemical engineering that was vastly different from the equally important one I received through courses and lectures. The experience cemented my decision to become a chemical engineer by introducing me to the incredibly diverse research aspect of the field.”
Manohar and fellow undergraduate student, Mark Lalli conducted numerous studies during the internship, including those on electrically conducting polymers. They had the chance to attend and present their findings to an audience of 13,000 at the national meeting for the American Chemical Society in August 2010. "One of my favorite parts about the internship was attending the national meeting in Boston. I had the opportunity to present my research to real professionals in the field and attend lectures by some of the most prominent chemists in the country!"
Manohar’s decision to attend UMass Lowell can be attributed in part to the students and faculty she got to know during that internship. “I met and spoke with several of the professors who were very nice,” she says. Manohar applied only to UMass Lowell, looking forward to learning and conducting research in one of the “biggest and best funded engineering departments.”
She plans to attend graduate school and continue on to receive her Ph.D. When she's done, she would “love to come back and work for UMass Lowell as a professor in chemical engineering.” Her involvement on the mock trial team – of which she is the only engineer – has Manohar considering patent law, in the event that she is unable to obtain a faculty position at the University.
The aspiring engineer already has four published research papers to her credit.