Giving back through funding educational opportunities

Mubashir Ansari at 2017 ChEGSA Symposium
Mubashir Ansari speaking at the 2017 ChEGSA Symposium

Mubashir Ansari’s story is a shining example of how different perspectives and life experiences enrich our university community.

Growing up in central India, there was little hope that Mubashir would ever attend college. But with the encouragement and support of family friends and teachers, he made it to one of India’s most prestigious engineering institutes, the Indian Institute of Technology, where he became the first in his family to earn a four-year degree. Upon graduation, he took a job in an oil refinery in Mumbai where he worked for two years raising money to sponsor the education of his siblings. He came to Virginia Tech in 2014 for graduate school in chemical engineering. He excels in his studies but is always seeking to give back and “pay forward” the kindness shown to him by helping others.

While taking rigorous classes and conducting research, Mubashir volunteered as a Global Ambassador for Cranwell International Center. He participated in the interdisciplinary Academy for Graduate Teaching Assistant Excellence. He served on the Career and Professional Development student advisory board.

Mubashir said, “Generally, Ph.D. students are more involved with research than anything else. When I started at Virginia Tech, I was overwhelmed by the opportunities for engagement. Through such participation, I got to interact with many people from diverse backgrounds. Being part of those groups taught me that a lot can be gained by interacting with energetic and fresh minds. That not only helps people but also lets you grow.”

Mubashir has mentored undergraduate students, not only in his research, but also working with them on entrepreneurial projects. In his role as teacher, Mubashir grooms his students to think differently to solve problems. He said, “If you can find fascination in the process of finding solutions – not just the solution itself – then you can do anything.”

His nominator wrote, “Mubashir has reached out to those who are vulnerable, marginalized, and in need. He is a courageous leader who is challenging the lack of access to college education in India and is giving a helping hand to others along the way so that there is a ripple effect of educating those who normally would not have access to college. Mubashir mentors students and creates new technology in hopes of creating a more humane and just world.”

Mubashir is co-inventor of an important new invention for improving 3-D printing. With his expertise in polymer processing and rheology, he has presented at more than 25 conferences, seminars, symposiums, and entrepreneurial events.

Mubashir will graduate in December 2018 with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. He has accepted an offer with Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan, and will start next March as Senior Engineer in Core Research and Development. He plans to take advantage of the company’s outreach and community engagement opportunities. His ambition is to do fundraising for the education of minorities in India.