LUMS is one of the most prestigious institutes of Pakistan. With tough entry criteria and high fees, this university remains at the top of the wish list of students. Not only in management and administrative degrees that are marked as its trademark, but its science schools also are not less than any top institutes of the country.
Established in 2008, the contributions of Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering are amazing in the field. The school has six departments working under its umbrella and Chemistry and Chemical Engineering department is one of them. Equipped with cutting-edge equipment, it provides many opportunities to pursue highly intensive research work for its students. Along with that, different seminars and conferences keep happening in the department that adds to the productive educational environment that it has constantly maintained thus far
Though not very old, it has managed to come into the limelight in a very short span. Credit goes to the laboratories, latest equipment, other state-of-the-art research, and teaching facilities that it has provided its students.
Despite all the efforts that institutions and students put to develop this area of education and practical work in it, the job market for chemistry and chemical engineering is disappointing in Pakistan. But, does being a LUMS student make you any different or increase the chances of your career growth? We will get to know about it from the current students of the department.
Independent Researchers at Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Department
Talking about research facilities, this is what this department is known for. But even better than that is their method of providing students with every facility at hand. ‘Unlike other institutes, we just have to learn an instrumental technique. After that, we can use that instrument and apply a procedure on our own whenever we want,’ Amna Tabassum a third-semester MS student told. She added, ‘Being an Alumnus of Punjab University’s chemistry department, I feel a huge difference between LUMS and other institutes. There, only operators can use the instruments and apply techniques for us. We do not have that access.’
Another master’s student while talking about the research facilities said, ‘the best about this department is that every single student has access to all the equipment. It adds independent research skills into us which we could not learn in other institutes.’
This marks a clear difference between the LUMS department of chemical engineering and chemistry and other ones. In Pakistani institutes, particularly public universities, students can use lab facilities in a very controlled environment. Moreover, they cannot carry out any research independently. This results in little development of new ideas and discouragement of creative interest in the field.
Outstanding Professionals and a limited Job Market
There is nothing hidden about the opportunities that young researchers of our country have. There are a few industries and research institutes that have very few vacancies. Also, they are not very highly paid positions.
But students are not disappointed about that. They think they can use their professional skills to make a difference all over the world. A last-year bachelor’s student talking about this issue said, ‘I am so lucky to be a part of this great institute because if not Pakistan, I feel equipped enough to work and study anywhere in the world.’
This hopefulness about the future was found in every student we talked to.
‘LUMS help you to direct your future. They guide us about every opportunity through webinars and seminars,’ Tabassum talking about this point said, adding, ‘they prepare us for everything by developing professional skills in us.’
Teaching Faculty and Student-Teacher Relationships
A teacher’s attitude is one of the biggest influences on a student’s growth. LUMS’ Chemistry and Chemical Engineering department has made sure to keep it positive and productive. ‘They are not only highly qualified researchers and lecturers but also amazing mentors for their students,’ a bachelor’s student said. She added, ‘we are often fascinated by the research areas of our professors and get motivated by them.’
Moreover, the head of the department carries a very good reputation among students. Tabassum is doing her final year research under his supervision. While talking about him, she said, ‘along with being an amazing professor and the only one of his name in the field, he is a very humble and generous man. He supports me in every decision that I take while conducting the research and encourages me to come up with new and more creative ideas.’
Along with the academic benefits that students receive, they are very happy about the committees that are there to deal with student issues. ‘There is a committee for everything. Whether it is our physical health, mental health, a harassment issue, or anything, we get it resolved by the respective management team very smoothly,’ a master’s student said.
This department offers all bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs in Chemistry and Chemical engineering. We did not hear any negative views about the facilities or management of this institute. We believe every university should try to provide its students with this research and teaching environment.