BS chemical engineering '10
(MS chemical engineering '12, Widener University)
Occupation: Process safety and fire protection engineer at Jacobs in Philadelphia (formerly process safety consultant with Siemens -- see below)
Residence: Philadelphia, PA
Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?
I chose the University of Rochester because of the flexibility of the schedule. The unique curriculum allowed me to pursue some other academic interests. To my knowledge, in engineering programs at other universities there is not as much autonomy in choosing your electives. It was also a great school with a science bent.
When and how did you choose your major(s)?
My father suggested that I pursue chemical engineering. I was not sure if I would continue with the major, but I ended up liking the courses and my peers in the program. Without their support, I probably would've switched. It was also continually challenging, and when I graduated I felt that I earned the degree with a lot of hard work.
What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?
I started in the top 9 of the varsity squash team for my freshman and sophomore years. My junior year, Martin Heath (the coach), brought in a lot of great talent so I ended up not making the top 9 and did not travel with the team; however, Martin had introduced me to so many local players that I ended up playing in the MedSchool League and for the University's Club Team. It was pretty cool because I got to meet a lot of other players from local clubs and played some great squash.
What resources did you use on campus that you recommend current students use?
The library. Carlson is great to study in because – at least they used to – make free coffee.
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?
After graduation I attempted to gain an entry-level position within chemical engineering. I applied to a bunch of places, and had a few interviews, and one offer. The position did not interest me, so even in the tough economy I turned it down. Instead of spending more time looking for a job, I reached out to a couple of local universities with master's programs in chemical engineering. I ended up attending Widener University outside of Philadelphia. There, I was able to refine my skills in chemical engineering, and obtained a local internship that turned into my first professional job.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career?
I work for Siemens Energy. My title is process safety consultant. Essentially, I perform safety audits for oil and gas companies to validate the relief devices on their pressure vessels are adequately sized and are within API and ASME code. Companies will hire us to perform these checks to make sure their designs are within OSHA guidelines. I also have experience in performing a similar analysis for flare headers. I enjoy the continuous exposure to different refining processes, and find it rewarding to complete a project after months of work.
How are you still connected with the University?
I attend social events set up by the University of Rochester Young Alumni Committee in Philadelphia. I also went to see the squash team play at nationals. I caught up with Martin Heath and a couple of guys that used to be on the team.