Schulich student interested in energy sustainability juggles offers from top schools
Graduating chemical engineering student Joseph Lagasca recently had a tough decision to make. Really tough. He knew he wanted to pursue graduate studies in petroleum engineering. He just didn’t know where. Many students could only hope for an offer from at least one prestigious school like Cambridge, MIT, Stanford or Yale. The trouble was Lagasca received offers from all four.
“It was a really hard decision to make,” Lagasca said, as he explained he was initially leaning towards MIT, but he later changed his mind based on his interests in a very specific niche of the petroleum industry. “At first, I didn’t really understand what the energy industry was all about. There’s an urgent need for sustainability in the energy sector. We need to be able to keep up with changes in the way we live, operate and do things. We need to be able to adapt,” Lagasca said. “I chose my school based on the opportunity to specialize in the area of energy sustainability because I wanted to make a difference.”
Striving for improvement is nothing new for Lagasca. He came to the Schulich School of Engineering as a recipient of a Schulich Scholarship—the largest engineering entrance scholarships in Canada—awarded for his academic achievements. And yet, he doesn’t always study. This year, Lagasca found time to be the president of the University of Calgary Petroleum and Energy Society, one of the largest energy clubs on campus. “Whatever your passion is, focus on that and stay true to yourself,” he advised. “Having goals outside of the classroom fosters friendships and leadership skills.”
So, where will he go? After much discussion, debate, and even some agony, Lagasca will hang his hat at Stanford this fall. Rest assured that hat will be to keep the sun off rather than keep the heat in. And if the warm climate didn’t provide Lagasca any additional incentive to move to California’s Silicon Valley, perhaps a familiar face did. Joseph’s older brother, John Lagasca—also a Schulich School of Engineering alumnus—began his graduate studies at Stanford last year.