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Belinda Garana '18

I became interested in chemical engineering after I heard a professor speak about the breadth of the field, and more specifically about its importance for the future of energy production on a global scale. With further research, it became clear that chemical engineering is a revolutionary, growing field with many applications. In particular, I hope to use my chemical engineering education to improve drug delivery technology and increase access to quality health care.

I chose the University of Washington for my education because of its emphasis on research. In high school, I came to understand that research is an opportunity to target a relevant issue in society in order to contribute to progress. Naturally, since I am passionate about community service and giving back, research became my top interest and priority. UW, the top-funded public school for research, is the perfect place for me to pursue my research interests.

I am an undergraduate research assistant in the Nance Lab. I am currently researching live imaging of microglia in the rat brain microenvironment in an mGluR5 model. Previously, I also established a brain slice platform for the evaluation of therapeutics and disease pathologies. This opportunity has been key in helping me identify my interest in clinically-relevant, chemical engineering research and my post-graduate goal of pursuing a Ph.D. In fall 2018, I will continue modeling biological systems as a Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student at the Graham Lab of the University of Southern California with the Annenberg Fellowship.

My advice would be to identify and prioritize your key interests early. Chemical engineering can be a very rigorous, but highly rewarding field to pursue. If you manage your time well, you can accomplish your academic and extracurricular goals—while growing a lot as a budding chemical engineer along the way. UW ChemE is a tight-knit department that is full of very supportive people ready to help you get where you want to be!