I became interested in chemical engineering when I I attended a SWE meeting looking to learn more about various types of engineering and heard Professor Elizabeth Nance speak. She inspired me to pursue my passion regardless of what was expected of me. I came into UW thinking that I was going to pursue an AA degree however I quickly learned that I was far more passionate about medicine than about airplanes. Chemical Engineering was ultimately my final decision not because of its perfect track to medicine, but because of the variety of options it provides. I can work on something medicine focused, but I also will gain the knowledge to work on a variety of problems in a variety of fields. Furthermore, my decision was largely influenced by the people I met in ChemE. Many of the undergraduate students and graduate student in Professor Elizabeth Nance's lab were people I hoped to be like one day. Beyond the degree, I wanted to be a part of community that was inclusive, kind, and hard-working and Chemical Engineering fit the bill.
I am currently participating in research in Professor Elizabeth Nance's lab. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the brain and nanoparticles. I also work at the Lidstrom Lab in Benjamin Hall and although I am not learning nearly as much as I am in Professor Nance's lab, being in this environment has helped me see what life would be like as a graduate student/post doc and has reinforced the idea in my mind that I would like to pursue a graduate level degree. This summer I will be participating in a REU at the University of Colorado for Chemical Engineering and I am thrilled to see where this will take me and what I can learn.
My advice would be Talk to everyone you possibly can. Get to know your options and think about what is important to you. Other undergraduate students, graduate students and even professors can give you a good idea of a program before you commit to it. I would recommend seeking out these resources and making a choice that is right for you.