What to Expect
Chemical engineering students have a dazzling array of options when it
comes to the field in which they work.
"Just look at the water you drink, the body of the cars you drive, the
heating system in your home and fuel used to power engines. We are at the
top of the engineering pyramid," says Chika Okere. He studied chemical
"Before a project like building a process plant can be started, a chemical
engineer is the first person to be contacted and the last to leave the project
after all the other engineering disciplines have finished their part."
Okere says the program was a blast.
"I have always been fascinated by how things work -- like how refineries
operate, how complex solutions of different materials can be separated and
how mass and energy are transferred from one object to another," says
The chemical engineering program helped Okere find answers to these and
many other previously puzzling questions. But that meant taking several
challenging courses, including calculus, equations and physical chemistry.
"It's a demanding program because they want the best out of the
students," says Okere. "One has to always be on top of the game all the time
or be left behind."
Zena Yasir also majored in chemical engineering. She says graduate studies
are definitely a plus in this career.
"I do recommend graduate work because chemical engineering is such a wide
field and there are many areas to specialize in," she says.
How to Prepare
Okere warns against burying your nose in chemistry, physics, biology and
math books. Get involved in extracurricular activities that build teamwork
and leadership and communication skills.