Angela Kimber '17
Why UW ChemE? I chose UW ChemE because of the amazing research opportunities, the small, close-knit class cohort, and the fantastic resources for women and underrepresented minorities within the College of Engineering. As someone coming back to school after a career, I also wanted a degree that would give me an expanded 'tool box' for solving just about any problem.
What is one cool opportunity you've had as a ChemE? Being a founding member of Women in Chemical Engineering (WChE) has been a phenomenal experience. Through WChE, I helped establish a mentorship platform, which connected me with not only other undergraduates in ChemE, but also graduate students. which has been a defining factor of my continued success here at UW. The department staff and faculty have been wonderfully supportive as well. I feel incredibly fortunate to be an integral part of the ChemE program.
My advice to students considering ChemE: Chemical Engineering is an arduous and challenging major. Persistence and determination are key to independent success, but accessing all the incredible resources (like your professors and classmates!) are vital to maximizing your experience. In addition, the problem solving and process engineering skills you develop within the curriculum are applicable to almost any field--it is a great major whether you plan on going into industry or continuing onto grad school.
Since graduating in June 2017, I started the University of Michigan's Aerospace Engineering Graduate program in the fall of this year, and was awarded the Rackham Merit Fellowship. Changing disciplines has been a unique challenge, along with the first semester's heavy coursework, but the rigor of my undergraduate degree in ChemE from UW has prepared me to be able to solve many new and 'chewy' problems in fluid mechanics, dynamics and plasma physics. I am currently working with Dr. Benjamin Jorns in the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory (PEPL), where I am learning to assemble NASA and PEPL's legacy workhorse, the X-3 Nested Hall-Effect Ion Thruster, as well as starting a new branch of research on electrospray thrusters for breakthrough in-space propulsion systems. This employs a lot of microfluidics, material knowledge, and scaling systems, all skills from my chemical engineering tool kit! I also look forward to developing new outreach and mentorship programs while I seek my doctorate here at the University of Michigan, and I am excited to make an impact on a larger scale through my graduate networks.
Last words: Don't be afraid to try new things and make your own path in ChemE. It is the kind of department that can provide the assistance wherever your goals and aspirations may take you--even if they are considered "untraditional." For example, I do rocket propulsion research (I do research within Electrical Engineering, Earth & Space Sciences, as well as the Aeronautics & Astronautics department) but I'm a Chemical Engineer to the core!