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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Q&A with Chemical Engineering Alumna Emma Wong
Alumna Emma Wong (MS Chemical Engineering '04) works in the Spent Fuel Alternative Strategies
Division of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC featured Wong in a recent post on their blog. One of the questions is excerpted below. But before we get there, here are a few insights from Wong, via a conversation with her on LinkedIn.
The whole MS curriculum [in chemical engineering at UC San Diego] proved to be most useful in my current job. Incompressible flow, numerical methods, reaction engineering all help in my understanding of current methods, modeling, and concepts for systems I am reviewing.
The most interesting thing about chemical engineering is that it can be used, in my perception, in many different fields. I have worked in electrical areas, energy sectors, processing, materials.... and many of my chemical engineering friends have branched out with their degree and have succeeded.
What advice would you give to girls/young women considering a career as an engineer?
I have mentored many young women about the career path to becoming an engineer. While it can prove to be challenging, it is an area where women can thrive. Here is some of the advice I have provided to others:
Don’t be afraid to try new things, such as different types of engineering majors, internships. Keep trying until you find what fits best. Besides knowing what you want to do, it is also good to know what you don’t want to do.
Have multiple mentors and advisors. As you grow, don’t be afraid to find new mentors who fit your current needs. Besides, it’s always nice to have someone to talk to.
Engineering and science are not scary. All the numbers, symbols, and complex equations may make it seem that way, but all engineers and scientists had to start somewhere — one equation and theory at a time.
Being an engineer is a good career path. But if you find out later that something else fits better, an engineering education is a good foundation for many other careers, including medicine, law, business and regulation.