1st Quarter, 2006
Engineering Scholarship Winner
“I have strong interests in science and engineering and will enroll as an engineering student. My major could be chemical (CHE) or electrical and computer engineering (ECE), but at this point I lean more toward to the former. CHE offers diverse career opportunities ranging from petroleum, plastics, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, food processing, aerospace, biomedical, genetic engineering, electronics, to robotics.”
A Portion of Serena’s Winning Essay:
I have strong interests in science and engineering and will enroll as an engineering student. My major could be chemical (CHE) or electrical and computer engineering (ECE), but at this point I lean more toward the former. CHE offers diverse career opportunities ranging from petroleum, plastics, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, food processing, aerospace, biomedical, genetic engineering and electronics to robotics.
I expect ten years from now the CHE discipline will be even more dynamic due to changes in market demands at home and abroad. Three major areas that will receive the most attention in the world are anti-terrorist security systems, biomedical and genetic engineering and alternative fuels. Increasing numbers of engineers will be heavily involved in the development and commercialization in these areas. On the other side, fewer chemical engineers will be drawn into “traditional industries” such as fertilizer and petrochemical production.
Due to the 9/11 incident and bombings in the London transit system, more government funding will likely be devoted to security and defense. With the advancement of nanotechnology, integrated circuits and electronic devices many chemical engineers will be working on better explosive-detection devices, higher impact materials and control and monitoring systems (in conjunction with other engineers).
CHE has offered a significant contribution to the latest medical research and applications. With the aging of the population around the world, heath care has become a major business. It ranges from artificial heart, lungs and stem cell research to gene therapy. All these require some form of chemical engineering knowledge; say control of blood or fluid flow and pressure in man-made organs and regulation of temperature to facilitate the production of vaccines and drugs. In particular, when new medicine must be produced in bulk quantities, chemical engineers are often hired to do plant designs and production.
Energy demand is on the rise, thanks to the increasing popularity of gas-guzzling SUVs and rising consumption in China and India. The latest supply crunch of fossil fuel will not disappear in the future and ,as a matter of fact, oil availability will become a major geopolitical issue since most of the easily recoverable reserves are located in politically unstable regions. Research and development of non-traditional energy sources will become the top priority in developed and developing nations. Solar power, wind power, fuel cells, biomass, clean coal technology and even exotic nuclear fusion would be considered economically “viable” since some of the production costs will be below the economic barrier as oil prices move to a higher ground. Chemical engineers will again be called upon to lead in pursuit of alternative energy.
I am excited to see the changes in the chemical engineering field as technical challenges and market demand unfold in the coming decade. To capture the rapid technology advances, I have decided to extend my career path (I call it Act 2) to further pursue a degree in patent law after completing my chemical engineering degree. Since I was a kid, I have been fascinated by a story of how Albert Einstein benefited from his work as a technical expert in a Swiss patent office. Going through numerous patents enabled him to fulfill his curiosity in science and expand his exposure for higher knowledge. He must be in the “knowledge nirvana”. I hope I can do the same. Through my experience gathering eruditions based upon engineering I can contribute to society by finding innovations to create an alternate fuel source or even help heighten current designs in communication or agriculture.
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