Fermenting Biotech Studies
"Fermentation process design" may sound like a euphemism for a brewmaster's work, but it's actually the engineering effort required for the biomedical development of polyketides needed to produce pharmaceuticals that treat cancer and infectious diseases. Philippa Reeder, Pip for short, wants to enter the field of fermentation process design when she graduates from the University of California-Berkeley with a degree in chemical engineering this year. While at Berkeley, she led the American Institute of Chemical Engineers as president.
Reeder's next stop is probably graduate school, but she may put off that decision to spend time at Kosan Biosciences in Hayward, CA. "Kosan is where I got my direction," says Reeder, who spent an internship at the biotech company. "I want to do research, process development, process design, and product development in industry."
Reeder's initial interest in engineering came from her dad, an aerospace engineer. "That's what I wanted to do at first," says Reeder. But as she pursued her engineering studies, she found she was also good at chemistry.
E-mail Reeder at email@example.com
Hunt for Electrified Biomechanical Materials
Scott Gallagher wants to make artificial organs. According to Gallagher, his ideal employment would bring together his interests in biomaterials, biomechanics and electro-mechanics. "I'd like to work with a bio-device company to see which of my interests is strongest," notes Gallagher.
In the meantime, Gallagher is finishing up a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, where he also serves as president of the Biomedical Engineering Society.
Gallagher's interests in bioscience go back to his high school years in Gross Pointe Farms, MI. "I've always been interested in math, science, and medicine," explains Gallagher. "But it was the technology applications that really attracted me. I see engineering as a way of being creative."
Gallagher realizes that work in the biosciences will likely necessitate graduate work, but first he intends to take a break from school and enter the working world. "I want to see what kind of position I can get with a bachelor's degree," says Gallagher.
E-mail Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org
For the Love of Aerospace History
Does a student go to engineering school to learn history and writing? It depends on what topic you want to cover. Before Jessica McDonald moved up to the University of California—Berkeley to chase a degree in mechanical engineering, she worked at the San Diego Aerospace Museum because "I've always liked airplanes and rockets." At the Museum, McDonald had the task of introducing students to the history of airplanes and aerospace.
When she finishes her engineering degree in May of 2004, McDonald wants to turn to writing. "When I'm part of a group, I always do the lab write-ups," notes McDonald. "I'm surprised by how many engineering people don't want to write." McDonald discovered her knack for writing at Berkeley. "I took a tech writing course and fell in love with writing," she explains. Since McDonald is the rare engineer who actually enjoys writing, she is considering a career in science history or journalism.
McDonald is currently president of the Society of Women Engineers, and she's also a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. But one of her favorite experiences was an internship on the staff of California Engineer magazine. McDonald says her dream job would bring all her interests together. "I'd like to work for NASA," says McDonald. "I would like to do education and outreach for them."
E-mail McDonald at email@example.com