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Gibran Hashmi: Engineering a future

Graduate Commencement 7pm, Thursday, May 10, 2012, Romano Gymnasium, UMD
Undergraduate Commencement 12 noon, Saturday, May 12, 2012, Amsoil Arena, Duluth

Gibran Hashmi
Gibran Hashmi, 2012 UMD graduate

Taking advantage of a great opportunity, UMD Chemical Engineering student Gibran Hashmi will graduate this spring and attend Texas A&M graduate school this fall. Texas A&M is one of the best schools in the nation for petroleum engineering research, and merely being accepted is an achievement.

Part of Hashmi’s success came from the research and hands on experience he gained while a student at UMD. Over one summer he worked with Schell’s Brewery in New Ulm to find creative ways to process their wastewater. “A significant problem for Schell’s was what to do with their leftover beer; they were sending a significant amount of waste beer and root beer down the drain, which was a huge cost in terms of organic contaminants in waste water,” Hashmi said. “Through research, we discovered that the waste beer in the wastewater can actually function as cattle feed; cows can digest it well, and it contains nutrients for them. At first the local farmers were somewhat suspicious that it would be dangerous for the cattle, but research showed otherwise; no drunken cows. This bodes well for the future for Schell’s as the company can potentially sell their waste to the local farmers; it was a successful project.”

Starting last July, Hashmi is also an intern at Sappi paper mill in Cloquet. There he works with a team of chemical engineers from many different backgrounds. ““There are some people I work with who have worked at the mill for 30 years; it was intimidating at first, but everyone has been helpful, and they encourage people to contribute to the projects. It’s a great environment to work in, and I’ve learned a lot,” Hashmi said.

He credits, in part, a professor he had while at UMD for his acceptance. “I wasn’t going to apply at first, I didn’t think they would accept me,” he said. “Then I was contacted by a former professor that I had and worked as a teaching assistant for. He said that I should apply, that I had a shot. He used to be a professor at UMD who was offered a faculty position at A&M. He wasn’t on the admissions committee but felt that I was good enough to try.”

When asked about his plans after graduation from his masters and PhD programs, Hashmi said that "Oddly enough, having a PhD limits your options for employment, because your knowledge is so specific. I really like teaching, and I've been a teacher's assistant before, but I would really like to stay in touch with research, maybe working in research and development." Hashmi has 4 to 5 years of school left, after which he will be one step closer to his research goal.

Written by Zach Lunderberg, April 2012

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