Longtime Phillips 66 support helps students thrive in and out of class

For more than 15 years, Phillips 66 has partnered with the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Illinois to equip students with the support and educational opportunities to prosper in college and beyond.

“We greatly appreciate the continued support of Phillips 66,” said department head Paul Kenis, the Elio Eliakim Tarika Endowed Chair. “Their contribution to a variety of programs allows us to deliver on our commitment to our students’ success.”

In 2017, Phillips 66 created a merit-based scholarship program to support high-achieving women and students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). They have awarded 15 scholarships so far, including six recipients just this year.

"This scholarship served as a great financial relief for my preparation and relocation to my upcoming co-op, where I'll be able to learn and gain hands-on experiences about practical chemical processes,” said 2021 recipient Anh Nguyen, a junior in ChBE. “I really appreciate Phillips 66's generosity in making this scholarship available."

“I am so honored to have been selected as a recipient of the Phillips 66 scholarship,” said Megan Shamsi, another 2021 recipient and ChBE sophomore. “This award will help me over the course of my studies while serving as a reminder that I am capable of success in ChBE.”

Phillips 66 is also investing in the department’s cross-curricular design, a concept where team-based engineering design projects are threaded through several courses: Principles of Chemical Engineering; Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics; Momentum and Heat Transfer; and Chemical Reaction Engineering.

Through these team-based projects, students learn how to apply fundamental concepts and how to cooperate and delegate to solve problems and create successful designs—even in challenging circumstances—much like they will in industry.

"We can’t underestimate the value of teamwork, leadership, and communication skills that are just as vital as their understanding of chemistry or mathematics to be successful,” said Uzoma Monye, a teaching assistant professor who is implementing design projects in several courses in the department.

Students have reported increased confidence in their engineering, design, and teamwork skills.

Unrestricted support from Phillips 66 allows the department to allocate funds to timely needs and forward-thinking projects. Their contribution is kick-starting a new campaign to revamp the department’s undergraduate laboratory facilities and capstone lab-based courses.

Part of the Phillips 66 gift also supports the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) at Illinois.

“We are thankful for what Phillips 66 has done for Illinois AIChE,” said Jonathan Gong, a ChBE senior currently serving as AIChE president. “Illinois AIChE aims to prepare students for their chemical engineering careers, and the contributions of Phillips 66 have gone a long way toward helping us facilitate that goal.”