Throughout his time at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Chevy Chen has always made the most of each day. Coming to campus freshman year, he jumped in feet first — embracing every opportunity he had to get involved in the community.
A born leader, Chen ran for student government his freshman year, and was elected president of the Class of 2022. “I think it is so important for everyone to find their community here,” he said. “It’s that community that you can depend on that is such an integral part of the Rensselaer experience.” It was promoting class unity that kept him motivated as president, especially in the face of a global pandemic, which began the second semester of his class’ sophomore year.
In addition to serving as class president, Chen participated in a wide array of campus activities. He is a proud member of the oldest a cappella group on campus, the Rensselyrics (watch one of his performances here). He is also vice president of philanthropy for the Red & White student ambassador organization; treasurer of Phalanx Honor Society, the Rensselaer service and leadership honor society; and president of the Rensselaer chapter of Alpha Pi Mu, a national industrial engineering honor society. “I am passionate about what I do and the activities I get involved in,” Chen said. “Coming to RPI, I wanted to be able to graduate knowing that I’ve made my mark on campus.”
In addition to his roles as an industrial engineering student and an active student leader, Chen also pursued several professional experiences during his time as an undergraduate. For his away experience for The Arch, he made the journey to Louisville, Kentucky, where he participated in a co-op with GE Appliances. After discovering his supervisor was going on military leave just days before starting the position, Chen assumed a leadership role right away, supervising more than 60 employees working on the wire racks of GE dishwashers. “I think I rose to the challenge pretty well,” he said. “I really honed in on and developed my leadership skills there.”
Instead of returning home for the summer, Chen hopped over to North Carolina to pursue a second away opportunity — this time, an internship with Corning Optical Communications, which manufactures the fiber optic cables used by telecommunication companies in the implementation of 5G cellular networks. Again, his leadership skills shined as he took the initiative in identifying areas of waste in the company’s manufacturing efforts, using the analytical skills he learned in his classes at Rensselaer.
Last fall, as a senior, Chen opted for a third internship experience with United Airlines in Chicago, Illinois. “I loved every second of it,” he said. “The team, the people, and the work I was doing.” As part of the organization’s Continuous Improvement and Enterprise Optimization team, one of the main projects he worked on was investigating the ways planes are loaded and the impact of those methods on baggage delivery time for customers.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and management engineering this month, Chen will relocate to “the Windy City,” returning to United Airlines as member of its Analytics & Innovation team.