Peter Trearchis, Chemical Engineering
“Studying in Wales was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
An honors student and valedictorian of his high school class, Peter arrived at UMass Lowell determined to get the most from his college experience. That included getting involved in research
and spending a semester abroad in Wales. “I had an amazing experience,” he says. Swansea University is three hours from London on the Gower Peninsula, known for its spectacular beaches. Peter lived on campus with peers from around the world, visited local sights and traveled throughout Europe. “I learned about European culture by experiencing it,” he says. Through planning expeditions and meeting new people, he also became more independent.
In Wales, final exams and projects, not homework, were the basis for most grades. Some assignments assumed a familiarity with engineering concepts that are encountered later in U.S. programs. In order to succeed, Peter and his project teammates — students from Nigeria and Mongolia — had to adapt to their respective educational differences and make use of their respective strengths. “That helped my teamwork skills,” Peter says, adding that it gave him valuable experience in working as part of a global team.
Back at UMass Lowell, Peter was interested in biotechnology
and enjoyed solving the increasingly complex problems in fluid mechanics and thermodynamics for his major. He’s grateful for multiple opportunities to conduct research.
The summer following his freshman year, Peter did research in a physics lab at the Center for High Rate Nanomanufacturing
, working on the development of more efficient fuel cells. During his junior year, he worked with a professor at the Massachusetts BioManufacturing Center
at UMass Lowell, collecting data he could use to create a model of variability among lots of a medium that is commonly used to grow cell cultures. “The biggest takeaways for me have been exposure to research in a University setting and developing strong presentation skills,” Peter says of his research experience.