An Interview with the Head of the Department Andrei Iosifovich Yusevich
(The interview was taken by a Master’s degree student, a university scholarship holder, a winner of several competitions – K. I. Trusov)
Andrei Iosifovich, it is known from your biography that you studied at BSTU. When you were an applicant, what factors did you rely on when choosing a university and your future speciality?
I was equally good at chemistry and mathematics at school. Therefore, I wanted to choose a profession that would incorporate both of them. I did not want to be a teacher, and the profession of a chemical process engineer was ideal. Therefore, I chose BSTU, the speciality “Chemical technology of organic substances”.
Why did you decide to start teaching?
Studying at the university, I started to do research. I enjoyed this activity, and I decided to continue my education for a PhD. As a result, thanks to my interest in science, I was left at the university and gradually became involved in teaching.
What opportunities does the department have for research work?
The laboratories of the department are equipped with modern scientific research equipment, which allows studying the patterns of chemical reactions, the composition and properties of the products obtained. There is equipment for testing petroleum products, quite the same as in the laboratories of oil refineries and petrochemical enterprises. Our teachers use all these devices in their research activities, and students actively help them. Senior students can conduct research independently, including working on a graduation project.
What basic skills and knowledge do students at your department acquire?
Simply put, students learn how to obtain a variety of chemical products from petroleum, natural gas, coal, or plant biomass, ranging from motor fuels and lubricating oils to polymers, plant protection products, detergents, and even drugs. However, knowledge is not enough. A specialist should be able to organize the production of these products on a large scale to meet the needs of people and the economy. At the same time, production should cause minimal damage to the environment, be safe for workers and products should be of high quality and be cheaper than those of competitors. Our graduates can solve these problems.
What foreign universities does the department collaborate with? Do students have the opportunity to go on internships, get acquainted with the development and technologies of enterprises in different countries?
The department maintains contacts with scientists from Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas, Saint Petersburg State Technological Institute, Kazan National Research Technological University, University of Lisbon (Portugal), etc. Students and graduate students of the department participate in the academic mobility and "Youth Policy" programs and have the opportunity to go on internships to these and other universities and scientific organizations. As for internships at work, thanks to close contacts of the department with leading enterprises of the petrochemical industry of the republic, our students can study both unit and the most modern technological processes and equipment. By the way, foreign students are often deprived of this opportunity, so they tend to take internships at our enterprises.
What would you like to say to our future students and applicants?
When choosing a university and a speciality, remember that you will spend at least four years of your life studying, and the received speciality will largely determine your future fate. Therefore, choose what you want to do, and not where you can enter according to your admission score.
Why should future students choose BSTU and your department?
Engineering education is more relevant now than ever. And this is a global trend. Engineers and scientists create new technologies, materials, devices, machines and mechanisms. High-tech developments in the modern world form the basis of national wealth, provide an opportunity to survive and develop in a highly competitive environment. BSTU is the leading university in the field of chemical engineering education. Therefore, in my opinion, the choice is obvious.
What is the primary activity of the department: teaching or research? Why?
In the educational institution the educational process should, of course, rank first. However, at the university, it is closely intertwined with scientific activities, in which both teachers and students take part. Such a combination is necessary on the one hand for the professional updating of the faculty, on the other hand for the training of highly qualified specialists in accordance with the requirements of the modern labor market.
Please tell us about the scientific developments being conducted currently at the department.
The department conducts research in the following areas:
- improvement of the production technology of petroleum oils and paraffins;
- development of organic binders based on petroleum residues and bitumen;
- development of reagents to increase the service life of refinery equipment;
- development of catalysts for the basic organic and petrochemical synthesis.
What organizations does the department cooperate with?
The department cooperates with many industrial enterprises, design organizations and scientific institutions, among them OJSC “Mozyr Oil Refinery”, OJSC “Naftan”, OJSC “GrodnoAzot”, OJSC “Mineral Wax Plant”, Institute of Chemistry of New Materials of the NASB, Institute of Nature Management of the NASB, OJSC “Belgorhimprom”, etc.
What specialities are taught at the department?
The department trains specialists of the first degree of higher education in speciality 1-480102 "Chemical technology of organic substances, materials and products" (specialization 1-48010201 “Technology of Basic Organic and Petrochemical Synthesis”), as well as of the second degree of higher education (Master’s Degree Programme) in specialities 1-488003 “Technology of Organic Substances” and 1-488005 “Chemical Technology of Fuels and High-Energy Substances”.
What is the professional level of the faculty at the department?
The department currently employs 1 DSc and 5 PhDs, including 1 professor and 1 associate professor. Specialists of design organizations and manufacturing enterprises are also involved in teaching in order to strengthen the practical orientation of training.
What are the employment prospects for graduates of the department? What enterprises of the Republic of Belarus do they work at?
We train chemical process engineers for enterprises and organizations in the petrochemical industry, which includes the extraction and processing of oil and gas, the basic organic and petrochemical synthesis, the production of polymer materials. In the volume of industrial production of the Republic of Belarus, the share of petrochemical products exceeds 20%, and in the export structure is more than 30%, which indicates the decisive role of the industry in the country's economy. Therefore, it is paid the most careful attention from both the state and private business. Enterprises of the industry where our graduates work, including OJSC “Mozyr Oil Refinery”, OJSC “Naftan”, OJSC “GrodnoAzot”, OJSC “Mogilevhimvolokno”, are actively modernizing, introducing the latest technologies, increasing production capacity, starting new productions, expanding the products range. The implementation of these processes requires qualified personnel, which causes a constant demand for the specialists we train. Design organizations as well as private companies operating in the industry regularly contact us. Therefore, we employ all our graduates. I want to emphasize that guaranteed employment for a young specialist is very important, because allows you to get work experience in the speciality. And this is very much appreciated in the modern labor market.
Thanks for the interview.