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May 23, 2020

Getting real: Freshmen-created videos explore chemical engineering career paths

Written By: Jason Daley

Ever wondered exactly what a chemical engineer does? You’re not alone; even chemical engineering majors are not usually aware of the full array of opportunities available in the wide-ranging field.

That’s one reason chemical engineering freshmen at the University of Wisconsin-Madison take CBE 150: Introduction to Chemical Engineering. This one-credit course provides an early taste of chemical engineering, introducing students to concepts from process flow diagrams to dimensionless numbers to engineering ethics.

For a final project in spring 2020, Kreuz-Bascom Professor and R. Byron Bird Department Chair Regina Murphy asked her CBE 150 students to investigate the opportunities in chemical engineering and create videos explaining some of the career choices. The goal was to get students to think about their future early in their education, and to open their eyes to the wide range of career paths they might pursue.

Even though the class had pivoted from an in-person course to remote education midway through the spring semester, students were still able to collaborate, putting together some impressive and fun video presentations about what it’s like to work as a chemical engineer. Take a peek at a few of them below to learn what a pilot plant engineer at a biopharmaceutical company does, what it takes to be a process design engineer in the biomass industry, or what it’s like to supervise production at a food canning plant.