The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Giving women a voice to create change

Photo by Provided

Chemical engineering Ph.D. candidate Prerna Jain leads WOMEN, an organization designed to empower Aggies.

Since she first arrived at Texas A&M in 2013, chemical engineering Ph.D. candidate Prerna Jain has dedicated her time to helping her fellow Aggies, particularly by promoting the voices of women across campus.
Wanting to do more for the women of A&M, Jain decided to create and lead the Women’s Organization for Motivation, Expression and Nurturing. WOMEN is an organization that advocates for and promotes the needs of women through education, expression, dancing and learning, according the group’s mission statement.
“I felt there was a need for this platform where women from all ages, disciplines, whether faculty or staff or students, both undergraduate and graduate, can meet together in a safe environment,” Jain said. “This platform would empower them to come together and discuss relevant issues and have free expression through dancing, acting and even other forms.”
When she started WOMEN, Jain wasn’t familiar with running an organization, but she soon became a strong leader by going out of her comfort zone, former U.S. Navy Captain James Pettigrew said. As director of the Ocean Energy and Safety Institute, Pettigrew met Jain during a research project exploring safer, environmentally-responsible ocean energy operations for offshore oil and gas industries.
“As Prerna developed the idea for the WOMEN organization, it was with the desire to raise others up — to create an increased sense of worth in her fellow women Aggies,” Pettigrew said.
As a woman working on a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, Jain wanted to create and train more female leaders, especially in the engineering field. While this career path doesn’t directly relate to WOMEN, it does indirectly help other women on the engineering track, Jain said.
“If they do choose [engineering], there are very few [women] who continue in that pipeline and further their career,” Jain said. “Hence, in my role as an engineer, I would like to work for the development of a program to celebrate the achievements of the few women we have in senior roles today and establish channels to transition their knowledge.”
Jain inspires many through her work inside and outside of WOMEN, according to treasurer and information technology senior Sania Shetty.
“Prerna is very good at everything she does; she balances school, work and organizations,” Shetty said. “Her commitment to society is exceptional. Her enthusiasm is infectious. Her confidence has inspired me to take challenging coursework and spend time by contributing to the society and give my 100 percent at everything.”
Jain has made efforts to contribute to the community through other leadership roles as well, including her position as Society of Women Engineers chair, which gives her the opportunity to mentor undergraduate and graduate students. Jain said she has also enjoyed working to strengthen diversity and inclusion on campus as the diversity chair in the Graduate and Professional Student Council.
“I have happily shared my Aggie experience and its impact on me with fellow Aggies and other students,” Jain said. “I am proud to be an Aggie and understand what it means to be an Aggie and will live our core values for the rest of my life.”
For Pettigrew, meeting Jain and other international students through their graduate research group showed him that the Aggie Spirit is “truly a global phenomenon.” He said Jain embodies everything an Aggie should be.
“From her first ‘Howdy’ when we met, to her asking me to present her Aggie Ring to her, with tears in both our eyes, she has been the epitome of that undying Aggie Spirit,” Pettigrew said. “Prerna makes me a better Aggie, she makes us all better Aggies, and she will make our world a better place.”

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