Chemical Engineering: The ins and outs

frankie-2017 Chemical, Frankie, Viterbi Life Leave a Comment

I entered into college declared as a chemical engineer with a focus in petroleum not really knowing much about the field except that 1) they work with chemistry; check 2) they have to use math at some point; check 3) they make the most money right out of college; 100,000 checks. The money tag on chemical engineering pulled me into the field; I just got lucky, in that once I started my first intro class, I knew I would stay and love the various aspects of chemical engineering like separations, systems, math and chemistry. To give you a little info on ChemE, a simple way to think of chemical engineering is you turn lots of cheap things (chemicals) into expensive things (polymers): for example, crude oil is a relatively cheap mixture of compounds that has to be separated, or distilled, in order to give the liquid gold we put into our cars. The reason I truly enjoy chemical engineering is the fact that it combines chemistry, math, critical thinking and problem solving  into one major: math is probably my favorite subject and chemistry is probably my second. Chemical engineering, while it is different than simply math and chemistry, it uses both subjects as tools in solving various problems and systems. When I refer to a system, think about an engine, you put gas in and then you get exhaust out; it is a little more complicated than that, but that is a good example. While this is what I learn in class, there are so many options with a chemical engineering degree: petroleum industry, doctor, research, finance, and even a lawyer.

After college, I plan on taking my degree a little farther and working in the oil industry either downstream or upstream. Downstream implies that I would be working at a refinery, where I would be turning crude oil into useable fuel and resources. Upstream is the process of pulling oil from the ground; that is actively drilling into the ground to pull oil from under the crust of the earth. After I pay back a couple loans and put some money in my pocket, I would either like to go back to school and get my MBA so that I can either start my own company, move up in a company, or pursue a career in finance. Finance might seem slightly random, but you will be surprised how many engineers pursue a career in finance, plus it was an early high school dream. As you can see, engineering in general really opens a lot of doors for you in the future. Companies love to hire hard workers and being an engineer is a great way of showing them.

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