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Tops in the lab and on the soccer pitch

May 8, 2019
Nik Angyal photographed in Hutchison HallNik Angyal ’19, who graduates with a degree in chemical engineering, was selected as a Google Cloud Academic All-America Team Member of the Year for men’s soccer, among other honors. (University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

Making Their Mark is a Newscenter series of profiles celebrating members of Rochester’s graduating class of 2019.

Three questions

Favorite class? “Chemical Reactor Design, taught by Wyatt Tenhaeff. The class is kind of a culmination of all the things we have learned in our previous chemical engineering classes, and it was really cool to finally put all of those things together and use the tools to manipulate chemical reactions to get the desired chemical products.”

Favorite tradition? “Dandelion Day.”

Favorite spot on campus? “Fauver Stadium. The memories I made on that field will stay with me for the rest of my life. And soccer practice was always a time I could escape from whatever else was going on in my life. I’ll always associate Fauver with that feeling. ”

Nik Angyal ’19 had two passions in high school: chemistry and soccer. He graduates from Rochester at the top of his class in both.

A native of East Fishkill in the Hudson Valley of New York, the chemical engineering major carries a 3.99 grade point average. Last fall, he helped lead the men’s soccer team to a berth in the NCAA Division III Final Four (a first for the program) while garnering two national academic awards.

Angyal (pronounced Angel) received the NCAA’s Elite 90 Award as the student-athlete at the Final Four with the highest GPA. The defender also was selected Google Cloud Academic All-America Team Member of the Year for men’s soccer—the third Rochester athlete to win that honor. “It was all very humbling,” he says. “I was speechless when I found out.”

Angyal was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior, served as a teaching assistant in fluid dynamics and organic chemistry, and participated in research for the chemical engineering department, developing an electrolyte for use in lithium-ion batteries. He’s also on the executive board for Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, and worked a summer internship for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, helping to mitigate petroleum leaks.

His interest in chemistry was sparked by a high school teacher whose passion inspired him. “She started me off, and I’ve been in love with chemistry ever since,” he says.

He heard about Rochester from his mother’s friend, who graduated from the University. After a visit, Angyal knew it was the place for him. But there was one piece missing. “I came here for academics,” he says, “but soccer was a big part of who I was.”

He unsuccessfully tried out for the soccer team his first year, then returned his sophomore year and made it. “I love the competitive atmosphere,” he says. “It wasn’t something I was going to give up easily.”

Next, Angyal will pursue his PhD at the University of Delaware. He’d like to work in the energy industry, dealing with problems that affect global warming and climate change. “I think global warming is going to be the biggest problem facing my generation,” he says. “I want to be part of the solution.”

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