Despite its academic challenges, this has truly been the most fulfilling and exciting school year yet. I have grown both personally and professionally and have even identified new passions of mine along the way. Although I have enjoyed my college experience thus far, I am anxious to see what the future holds post-graduation.
In terms of academics, I have completed two of the most rigorous chemical engineering courses; Thermodynamics and Mass & Heat Transfer. Although I cannot claim mastery of either of these topics, I believe I have achieved something much greater: the ability to learn new concepts. In the past, I frequently questioned my pursuit of chemical engineering as I lacked interest in many the courses I was enrolled in. However, my recent experience in industry has finally solidified my desire to continue on this path. I have come to understand that having a solid foundation in chemical engineering is important, but the ability to learn on the job is paramount.
This spring semester, I had the opportunity to co-op with Dow Chemical Company and assist the Hydrocarbons Supply Chain Improvement Team. This experience was transformative as it exposed me to the breadth of potential roles a chemical engineer can hold. Understanding that a traditional manufacturing position does not interest me, it was encouraging to witness fellow chemical engineers hold positions in all different areas such as supply chain, finance, and even sales. One project of mine involved working with an account manager to realign our production specifications with our customer needs. In doing so, I eliminated over $120,000 in unnecessary lab tests per year and created a detailed procedure to leverage this approach to other products in the future. In addition, I also led the development of the Hydrocarbons Supply Chain, Cost to Serve Dashboard – a visual representation of all supply chain costs used to analyze trends and detect anomalies. I am the proudest of this project, as my supervisor allowed me to take full ownership and make all my own decisions regarding content and layout. Due to the time change, I often collaborated with our international developers in India at 6 am CST to address any issues they were facing and to adapt the dashboard to the changing needs of the business. Once the dashboard was completed, I then created training videos and managed the roll out to the rest of the global supply chain team. This experience helped me refine valuable skills such as how to conduct meetings in a productive manner, delegate tasks to others, and navigate conflict between team members.
This past semester, I was also able to utilize one of my passions to help better the city that has become my second home. I, along with five other OSU students have founded Ascent Microfinance, an initiative to combat the predatory payday lending industry in Columbus. Our goal is to work with clients to provide safe and affordable loans, as well as provide access to free financial education. We are currently in the nascent stage of our business and hope to provide our first loan by December 2017.
This summer, I plan to join ExxonMobil in a Sales and Specialty Marketing role. Specifically, I will be working in their Fuels and Lubricants division, analyzing current market trends and identifying opportunities for expansion.