Q&A with Suraj Mhatre, PhD

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Q&A with Suraj Mhatre, PhD

As a graduate student studying process control and optimization, Suraj Mhatre, PhD (GRS ‘95, ‘97, chemical engineering), worked closely with his advisor, Coleman B. Brosilow, now professor emeritus of chemical engineering at Case Western Reserve University.

Today, Mhatre is a managing partner of the company he founded in 2008, MySupplyChainGroup, and has more than 20 years of experience in supply chain management, with major clients such as Shell Chemicals and Chevron-Phillips Chemicals.

Mhatre attributes much of his success to Brosilow’s guidance, and is paying tribute to his mentor by establishing the Dr. Coleman Brosilow and Dr. Suraj Mhatre Graduate Fellowship. Mhatre hopes this fund will encourage research and ensure that passionate students can pursue their dreams at Case School of Engineering without financial barriers.

The inaugural fellowship was awarded in fall 2021 to chemical engineering graduate student Lianna Johnson, who is studying rare earth element recovery from phosphogypsum.

“Dr. Mhatre's kindness has given me the opportunity to pursue my passion for research and teaching,” said Johnson.” The fellowship allows me to work toward my dream without stressing over the cost."

We spoke with Mhatre to hear more about his support and CWRU experience.

What inspired you to give back to the Case School of Engineering with this generous gift?
Where I am in life today has a lot to do with the education I received at Case School of Engineering. As a student from India, there is no way I could have afforded any education in the U.S. without a full scholarship. My goal in giving back is to help students like me. I truly believe that no deserving student should have to give up on their dream of higher education for lack of finances. If the fellowship succeeds in attracting motivated graduate students to Case School of Engineering, it will help improve the school’s ranking among top research institutions—a win-win situation.

Tell us about the faculty advisor who inspired this gift. What made him special?
Dr. Brosilow is one of the best advisors I have ever had. He was kind, patient and caring. I applied to Case Western Reserve to pursue research in advanced process control, and Dr. Brosilow was one of the leading researchers in that area. My first graduate advisor left CWRU to pursue another career soon after I arrived, and Dr. Brosilow graciously accepted me as his student. I still follow much of the advice he gave me, which wasn’t just confined to academia.

How did your time at Case Western Reserve prepare you for your career?
CWRU gave me a different perspective in life. It was exciting to learn from some of the leading chemical engineering professors. It was even more exciting to learn life lessons from people all around the world. Case Western Reserve University gave me the knowledge, skills and experiences required to become the best in whatever I am doing.
What are your favorite memories from your years at CWRU?
My time at Case Western Reserve was among the best in my life. The school I attended in India was extremely competitive and everyone was stressed to maintain their grades. But once I came to CWRU, the atmosphere was more collaborative, relaxed and enjoyable. There were so many new things to learn outside of engineering—like softball, Nerf basketball and art from Cleveland Institute of Art Institute down the road.
What advice would you give our current engineering students?
The world is changing faster than ever. Don’t be afraid of change but embrace it and you will be successful in whatever you are doing. Keep your mind open to new trends, ideas and technologies. Keep your eyes on the goal and prepare yourself accordingly. Engineers are some of the smartest people in this world and there is nothing that you cannot achieve.

For more information on this fund or to support Case School of Engineering, please contact Anthony Pasiak at 216.368.0148 or anthony.pasiak@case.edu.