For some people, an interest in chemical engineering and a love of English Romantic writer Samuel Taylor Coleridge would seem paradoxical, but it was Steven's graduate Paul Sanzone's proficiency in these topics that contributed to his being named the top in his class.
Thursday, Sanzone, from Goshen N.Y., and 400 undergraduates and 800 graduate students from the Stevens Institute of Technology, wore caps and gowns to become the newest alumni of the noted engineering school. Sanzone received double undergraduate degrees: A Bachelor of Arts in Literature, and a Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering. He completed these two degrees and an impressive 184 course credits while remarkably maintaining the highest GPA in his class.
His research interests are diverse, including Chemical Engineering Separation Technologies and Mass Transfer Operations as well as English Romanticism, with an emphasis on Coleridge.
For his senior design project, he worked with his team on a project titled "Design Principles and Scale-up Procedures for Karr Reciprocating Plate Liquid-Liquid Extractors." He also wrote a Literature Senior Thesis titled "Coleridgean Thought and Its Influence on the Oxford Movement."
Sanzone said that, to him, the marriage of topics makes perfect sense.
"Stevens exposed me to areas I'd never thought I'd grow to have such interest in," he said. "My work in the humanities department has been extremely informative and exposed me to modes of thought that were before unrealized. My nascent interests in the field of the chemical sciences were fostered and developed through my experiences and studies at Stevens."
He also said that at Stevens he was exposed to a variety of cultures and people that made him more aware of life outside the United States and led him to explore interests in those areas.
The son of Frances and Anthony Sanzone of Goshen, Sanzone is a first-generation college student who has been on the Stevens Honor Roll each semester since fall 1997, said Stevens officials. He was nominated to the National Dean's List in 2001. He is the recipient of the Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer National Scholarship Award, given by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).
"My brother and I were the first members of our family to embark on an advanced degree," said Sanzone. "My parents, brother, and friends have all been incredibly supportive throughout this whole experience and I am eternally grateful for their guidance and wisdom. I also have been blessed with amazing advisors and faculty members that have too lent their advice and wisdom and have been my guiding light throughout this stage of my life. For these people I am thankful."
According to Stevens officials, while at Stevens, Sanzone served as AIChE Student Chapter President in 2002 to 2003, and he was the organization's vice president in 2001 to 2002. In Stevens' Cooperative Education Program, he finished four co-op assignments at Warner-Lambert/Pfizer Inc. He has also been active in The Newman Association at Stevens.
During his internships and co-op assignments, he worked in Process Development in the Gastrointestinal Division. His projects for Warner-Lambert included Process Optimization and Scale-up, and Rolaids Brand Support Studies. At Pfizer his projects were Drug Taste Masking Technologies, and Novel Drug Delivery Systems.
The commencement address for the undergraduate ceremony was delivered by Patricia A. Russo, chairperson and chief executive officer of Lucent Technologies, Inc., one of the largest suppliers of communications hardware, software, and services to the world's communications service providers. She is a member of the board at Lucent Technologies, Schering-Plough Corporation, and Georgetown University. Russo received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Stevens as part of the ceremony.
In her speech, Russo talked about the opportunities that awaited the graduating seniors. "I would suppose that there is a lot going through your mind on this very important day," said Russo. She said that some might have jobs lined up, some may still be looking, some may be preparing for graduate school, while others might decide to backpack through Europe throughout the summer. "Today, for you, everything is possible. The opportunities in front of you today are only limited by your own imagination."
She closed by discussing the lessons that she has learned since leaving school. "What is the one most important lesson that I have learned in my career?" she asked. "Balance," she said. She said that professional advancement and having a passion for what you do are important, but, "what really counts is that you leave time for yourself and your family."