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Gratitude shown, accolades given for ChE student video

A helping hand early in a person’s life can cause a ripple effect that continues to surface many years later. A Chicago Engineers Foundation video competition celebrates this phenomenon, allowing students to share short videos about how the foundation’s programs have affected their lives.

One student who submitted a passionate, articulate video was UIC chemical engineering undergraduate Daisaq Cyrilla. Her entry garnered high honors.

“I was so ecstatic when I found out I came in second place,” Cyrilla said. “Placing in the contest in any way was not my highest priority when I turned in my video. I simply did it to show my appreciation, and winning was a great bonus.”

Cyrilla became involved with the Chicago Engineers Foundation through a nonprofit organization called Chicago Scholars. At a scholarship workshop, she met the foundation’s executive director, Debbie Birrell, whom Cyrilla described as encouraging and kind.

Cyrilla, who was raised in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, moved to the United States when she was 7 and lives in Chicago. She will start her sophomore year this fall and is an active member of the UIC student community, participating in the Society of Women Engineers, the Muslim Student Association, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the Indonesian Student Association in Chicago.

“Chemistry was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and I also took some classes in an engineering curriculum,” she said. “What better way to choose a career path if not by combing two things that you are most passionate about? As I learned more about ChemE, I saw how broad the field was and how it catered to my interest in science, engineering, and medicine.”

In addition to her student organizations, Cyrilla has been active in gaining work experience, serving as an operations extern in AbbVie’s 2020 Externship program and completing a summer in the Guaranteed Paid Internship Program with Assistant Professor Meenesh Singh.

Moving forward, Cyrilla plans to gain as much knowledge and wisdom as she can during her college career, both in the classroom and through outside experience. She hopes to complete her undergraduate degree in four years and then work in industry before returning to school for a graduate degree.

“My ultimate goal is to use the knowledge and experience I acquire in college to help others around the world, and especially those in less developed countries, to obtain easier access to healthcare devices,” Cyrilla said.