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Words of wisdom from a GT Professor, Aspiring Chemical Engineer - November 2018

This month's Indonesian showcase features a ChemE duo; Adhika Retnanto and Prof. Yonathan Thio. Come check out our featured picks for this month’s showcase!

Adhika Retnanto

Major: Chemical Engineering


I am currently majoring in chemical engineering (and I do not have plans to change my major - at least for now). There’s something special about chemical engineering that’s hard to put into words, but I will try my best to explain it. What I find beautiful and rather poetic about ChemE is its ability to create something out of nothing, no matter what it is. With all the products that are made, at least one process is used that involves fundamental chemical engineering concepts. This includes the energy industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and perhaps will feature in industries that don’t even exist today. Today, we seek an innovative society revolving around sustainability, and we have the inspiration from the best chemical engineer in the world: nature. I don’t know what job I will have in the future, but I believe chemical engineering will provide the knowledge and skill set to create a sustainable future.

Why Georgia Tech:

Simple, Georgia Tech is an incredible institution. You have schools that produce students at high quantities like Texas A&M. And then you have schools that produce students with high qualities like MIT and Stanford. Georgia Tech is one of the few universities that has both. It being public institution of such quality allows it to fulfill its mission of providing the best engineers that the world desperately needs. There is also many things to do around this city like concerts, sports games, and cultural activities. I believe Georgia Tech and Atlanta offer the best opportunities to grow as a learner and a person. It has been a struggle so far, and the worst is yet to come, but I know it will be worth it in the end.

Biggest Achievement in Life:

My biggest achievement has to be my high school career. It was such an incredible experience from start to finish. I was fortunate enough to have been selected to travel for many sports teams and band on top of doing well academically. As a result, I was the recipient of the best athlete award, the best musician award, and the valedictorian of my class. These experiences have shaped me so much throughout my high school years, and I only hope that university will allow me grow more! What I do know, however, is that my current GPA is a fraction of what it was in high school hahaha.


Add me on facebook, snap, and insta @adhika.retnanto – I would like to get to know you guys!

Yonathan Thio

Field: Chemical engineering and education.


I chose chemical engineering because I was interested in engineering that deals with materials at the molecular level. I had also always been interested in teaching since early on - middle school or so - because I was inspired by the good teachers that had a big impact on my life. In college and in graduate school, I saw a good way to combine these two interests.

Advice for Students:

It's OK to make mistakes and to fail, as long as you learn from the experience. You are at a phase of your life where most choices are not final, and mistakes are not irreparable or irreversible. It's much better to explore and attempt many things and thus have the richer experience than to pick the safe paths. When looking back to my own college days, I tend to not remember the times when things had gone smoothly, but instead I remember (fondly now) the hardships and missteps that had shaped my thoughts and personality.

Why Georgia Tech: Because it was the best school among the choices my wife and I had when we were both looking for faculty positions. One very appealing aspect of the culture in Georgia Tech is the balance between fundamentals and practical applications here, which seems to align with what I consider an ideal balance for engineering education.

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