There are two main experiences that really helped me decide to study Chemical Engineering. The first is my four-year involvement in LEGO Robotics. Initially I gravitated toward the robot programming side of things, but as the season progressed, I found myself working on the research component more and more. One year, the topic was Body Forward. My team had chosen to study diabetes and design an insulin pump that is better suited to fit patients’ needs. Our group researched and researched. We met with health professionals, sent out surveys to diabetics in our school, and used the internet. The whole process of designing this insulin pump was a lot of fun for me. We designed a product that made us all proud. This further invigorated my interest in science. As a result, I took all of the possible AP math and science courses that my schedule would allow. I loved every single one of them, especially AP Chemistry. My love of this class is what really caused me to choose Chemical Engineering as a major.
The second experience that lead me to study Chemical Engineering was my participation in an Ohio State Engineering summer camp. We learned about all different types of engineering and I just soaked up information about each and every one of them. I was trying to determine which field would be right for me. One of my favorite activities was when we were asked to program a robot to complete a certain number of tasks. My team ended up getting first place! We were the only team to complete all of the challenges successfully. This was both fun and rewarding, since I won a cool Ohio State hat. Another funny story from that camp occurred on circuit board day when my friend accidentally gave me a second-degree burn on my finger with a soldering iron. I have the scar to this day and I still bring it up to her when I want to razz her. It is a constant reminder of this camp memory and that, despite the mishap, I am excited to study engineering as my career field. This camp exposed me to all aspects of engineering and helped me to decide on Chemical Engineering. Also, it allowed me to spend a week at Ohio State where we did various activities in all of the engineering buildings across campus. It was at this camp that I thought to myself, ‘Yeah, I could totally see myself going to school here.’ From that point on, I was a Buckeye. Once I received my acceptance to Ohio State, I immediately accepted it and didn’t even consider the other schools where I was accepted. Now that I am into my schooling, I can definitely see that Ohio State was the right choice. I love being a Buckeye and I am excited to see what else my time at Ohio State has in store for me.
During my time at Ohio State, I joined two STEM-related organizations: The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Phi Sigma Rho Sorority. I joined SWE because of the outreach they do. They introduce younger girls to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, specifically engineering, through organizations like Girl Scouts. I’ve been a Girl Scout since I was in kindergarten and my troop did a lot of STEM-related activities. These experiences really helped me decide that I wanted to pursue engineering as a career field. I hope that I can have a similar influence on younger girls around Columbus through this organization. This year I held an Officer position in SWE; I was the Publicity Director. This means that I was in charge of all of our social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (follow us @osuswe 😉). I have traveled with our organization around the country to various conferences. I have learned a great deal as a result of being involved with SWE and I can’t wait to continue being a leader within this organization. This upcoming year I will be OSU SWE’s Big Little Coordinator and I am very excited to see what this new Officer position holds! I am also a member of Phi Sigma Rho, a social engineering sorority. I joined this organization because I like being surrounded by other girls who are also in engineering in social setting. Everyone in Phi Rho understands what all it takes to become an engineer, so we can all support each other through it. Also, I have gained a lot of friendships in my sorority which is nice because it provides me with some insights into the major and into possible co-ops and internships that are available for Chemical Engineers.
Right now, I co-opping with The J.M. Smucker company! It is a 7-month-long internship where I’m doing Research and Development on Smuckers’ coffee products. I’ve always wanted to do R&D for a consumer products company and I’m really loving getting to use my Chemical Engineering knowledge in this consumer-products setting.
As for the research aspect of Chemical Engineering, I have always been fascinated by the way that chemicals interact and influence the human body. Biology has always interested me and I think that I would enjoy developing nanoparticles or nanomaterials that could be used inside of the body in order to help a person with an illness. I’m also intrigued with the science behind cancer and all of the various causes and possible treatment methods. I’m a huge science nerd so the idea of studying cancer has always appealed to me. I saw a TED Talk that was done by a Chemical Engineering professor at MIT about a nanoparticle that she had designed to treat cancer and I was beside myself. It was so influential that it caused me to go meet with an Ohio State professor about her cancer research even before I was enrolled as a student here. A few years ago, my mom learned she had breast cancer so I took it upon myself to get a position in this professor’s lab so that I can help solve this disease that affects me so closely. I have been in this research position since June and have been steadily working on projects and experiments ever since. It has been challenging to manage all of my schoolwork with this position, but since it is about a subject that I care a lot about, it motivates me to dedicate my time to the research. The work that I am doing specifically analyzes the migration patterns of breast cancer cells. This way, we can see how they move and hopefully learn more about how exactly the cells move from the breast tissue into the brain to cause brain cancer. I can’t see where this research leads during the rest of my time at OSU.