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Company foundation motivates, matches recent alumnus’ giving

Alex Nowak

Alex Nowak, who graduated in 2012, now works for BP and through his company’s foundation, the charitable gifts he gives back to Mizzou Engineering are matched.

When he graduated from MU with a degree in chemical engineering in May 2012, Alex Nowak was the first person in his immediate family to earn a college degree.

“I have an uncle who is an engineer at Boeing and one who is a chemistry teacher,” Nowak said. “They both had a big influence on my choice to be a chemical engineer.”

While at MU, Nowak got involved in Residential Life and also served on engineering’s student council, helping out with that group’s high school weekend recruiting event.

In addition to doing undergraduate research in Professor Stephen Lombardo’s lab, he worked an internship with Unilever in Jefferson City, after his senior year.

“It was a good kick start into an engineering career,” Nowak said.

Nowak, who is from O’Fallon, Ill., said he picked MU because of the scholarships he was offered. So when he went to work for BP in Naperville, Ill., he chose to make a gift to MU through the company’s Fabric of America program.

“The scholarships really helped me out. I want to help replenish that,” said Nowak about designating his gift for the scholarship program.

At BP, Nowak is doing research and development with the corrosion team.

“Depending on where the oil comes from, there are different impurities in it that make it corrosive. I’m looking at ways to remove them,” he said.

Nowak said he heard about BP’s community involvement program on his first day at work. Fabric of America makes donations to nonprofit organizations on the behalf of employees. Additionally, the company’s foundation matches employee’s contributions of money, gifts and time to charitable organizations.

“It’s great that BP gave me the opportunity,” Nowak said. “It’s a small amount now, but further along in my career, I can give more. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the MU College of Engineering.”