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TRANSFORM MATTER INTO SOLUTIONS FOR SOCIETY’S GREATEST CHALLENGES. CREATE YOUR FUTURE ONE MOLECULE AT A TIME.

Chemical Engineering (ChE)

chem·i·cal en·gi·neer·ing

The application of the natural sciences, math, and sometimes coding to develop cost-effective and environmentally-friendly ways to develop materials and energy that can improve the world.

Also Known As: Process Engineer, Food Scientist, Petroleum Engineer, Semiconductor Developer, Pharmaceutical Engineer, Biotechnologist, Manufacturing Engineer, Worker Safety Advocate, Medical Researcher, Nuclear Energy Process Engineer, Alternative Energy Researcher, Human Tissue Engineer, Data Scientist, Consultant, +10,000 more

A beaker filled with blue and yellow dye and surrounded by mounds of soap bubbles

WHY ChE AT MICHIGAN?

  • No. 7

    US News and World Report

  • 7200+

    Alumni

  • 80+

    awards received by faculty

  • 43%

    female (Winter 2019)

  • 10+

    companies founded by faculty since 2000

Two professors in the background face a whiteboard. In the foreground, a colorful array of models of molecules

What do Chemical Engineers do?

We can do just about anything, from large scale production and management to microscopic research. We design and manage all types of processes that involve chemically and physically transforming matter to make products environmentally friendly and economically viable. We innovate biotechnology and engineer microorganisms to synthesize new drugs, novel protein therapeutics, biocompatible materials, and whole cell biocatalysts. We develop more sustainable energy resources or solve challenging global problems, and use supercomputers and computational modeling and data science to redefine the frontiers of chemical engineering.

ACADEMIC CONCENTRATIONS

  • BioPharmaceutical Engineering

    Learn how to develop and manufacture medicine. Decide the best method of drug delivery; whether it be capsule, injection, time-release, or a new technology that you create, to best treat a patient.

    Courses: BioPharm Science & Engineering, Applied Statistics & Math, Regulatory Science

  • Electrical Engineering

    If you’re interested in Electrical Engineering you can focus in one of two areas:

    Electronic Devices – Learn how to make semiconductor devices – How to purify the silicone, develop the best materials to encourage electron flow and create the voltage potential that is vital for thousands of applications of semiconductors. Shrink to the microscopic level and figure out how to make semiconductors even smaller for newer technologies such as computers on a chip.

    Process Controls – Develop the process controls in a process engineering plant. If a compressor must remain at a certain temperature, for example, you can design and implement the devices used to not only measure the temperature, but that recognize that it’s not where it should be and react accordingly to return it to the operating temperature.

    Courses: Electrical Circuits, Semiconductor Devices, Electrical Engineering Technical Elective

  • Environmental Engineering

    Develop sustainable practices to ensure chemical engineering processes have the smallest environmental footprint possible, and to clean up past mistakes. Become familiar with the environmental laws and policies that influence environmental decisions.

    Courses: Environmental Engineering Technical Electives, Policy/Law/Economics course

  • Energy Systems Engineering

    Be a part of the solution to our energy crisis by improving the efficiency and efficacy of traditional energy sources and developing reliable and sustainable alternative energy sources.

    Courses: Energy Systems Technical Electives, Policy/Law course

  • Materials Science and Engineering

    Develop new materials that can be used in various novel applications such as alternative energies, medical devices, or consumer products.

    Courses: Materials Science & Engineering Technical Electives

  • Petroleum and Gas Exploration

    While sustainable energy avenues are being explored there is still a need for fossil fuels for transportation and other needs. We need engineers who can find them and remove them from the earth with the smallest environmental impact.

    Courses: Earth Course, Civil & Environmental Engineering Course

  • Life Sciences

    Go into the business of saving lives. Medicine is waiting for chemical engineers who know the fundamental sciences and how they apply to patient care – Prepare for medical school and research in medicine and biomedical engineering.

    Courses: Biochemistry, Technical Electives in Biology &/or Biomedical or Chemical Engineering

  • Mechanical Engineering

    If you work as a process engineer in a plant, you’ll do a better job if you can not only design and operate the equipment, but also communicate with those who are building that equipment and understand the forces acting upon your equipment and your manufacturing process.

    Courses: Solid Mechanics, Dynamics & Vibrations, Mechanical Engineering Technical Electives

  • Nuclear Engineering

    Explore the most complex forms of alternative energy, nuclear energy. While the heart of a nuclear plant is the reactor, typically operated by a nuclear engineer, chemical engineers are needed to manage the process as a whole, maintaining the reactor temperature with cooling water, and then managing the processing of the heated water in those cooling towers you might have seen off the highway. Learn how nuclear energy is processed in a plant and about the reactors that hold this raw energy.

    Courses: Fundamentals of Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences (NERS), Elements of NERS I & II, NERS Technical Electives

  • Concentrations are optional for ChE, but if you do declare one it will be indicated on your transcript. In addition to these formal concentrations, you can take advantage of many courses available at Michigan to focus in areas such as food science and data science.

Concentrations are optional for ChE, but if you do declare one it will be indicated on your transcript. In addition to these formal concentrations, you can take advantage of many courses available at Michigan to focus in areas such as food science and data science.

Graduate receiving hood during ceremony

Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Studies Program (SUGS)

Complete your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in only five years with SUGS by taking some graduate-level classes during your undergraduate years, so you can save yourself one semester and complete the masters with only two additional semesters.

LEARN MORE

Sample Course List

First-Year

First-Year

  • Fall Semester
    • CoE Core Calculus I (Math 115)
    • CoE Core Engineering 100
    • CoE Core Chemistry (125/126 and 130 or 210 and 211)
    • Elective Intellectual Breadth Elective
  • Winter Semester
    • CoE Core Calculus II (Math 116)
    • CoE Core Engineering 101
    • CoE Core Physics (140 and 141)
    • Major Requirement Structure and Reactivity I (Chemistry 210)

Sophomore Year

Sophomore Year

  • Fall Semester
    • CoE Core Calculus III (Math 215)
    • CoE Core Physics 240/241
    • Major Requirement Structure & Reactivity II (Chemistry 215)
    • Major Requirement Material and Energy Balances (CHE 230)
  • Winter Semester
    • CoE Core Differential Equations (Math 216)
    • Major Requirement Thermodynamics (CHE 330)
    • Major Requirement Fluid Mechanics (CHE 341)
    • Elective General Electives

Junior Year

Junior Year

  • Fall Semester
    • Major Requirement Quantum Chemistry (Chemistry 261)
    • Major Requirement Mass and Heat Transfer (CHE 342)
    • Major Requirement Separation Processes (CHE 343)
    • Elective General Elective
    • Elective Intellectual Breadth
  • Winter Semester
    • Major Requirement Reaction Engineering and Design (CHE 344)
    • Major Requirement Chemical Engineering Lab I (CHE 360)
    • Major Requirement Chemical Engineering Process Economics (CHE 485)
    • Major Requirement Biology 172 or 174
    • Elective General Elective

Senior Year

Senior Year

  • Fall Semester
    • Major Requirement Materials Elective
    • Major Requirement Process Dynamics and Control (CHE 466)
    • Elective General Electives
    • Elective Intellectual Breadth
  • Winter Semester
    • Major Requirement Engineering Elective
    • Major Requirement Chemical Engineering Lab II (CHE 460)
    • Major Requirement Process Simulation & Design (CHE 487) or Product Design (CHE 488 in Fall/ CHE 489 in Winter)
    • Elective Intellectual Breadth

Individualized schedules will be made by students in consultation with an advisor who will tailor their classes to better fit the student's needs.

Practice Your Purpose

Apply the skills you are learning in class to the real world.

Student Design Teams

An aerial view of two students in lab coats in goggles bent over a workbench connecting wires to a metal sheet.
ChE Car
Concrete Canoe Logo
MCCT - Michigan Concrete Canoe Team
A student with a facial welding shield stands behind a metal sheet smiling and giving a thumbs up.
MPEDD - Michigan Process Equipment Design & Demonstration

Professional Development

AIChe Logo
AIChE - American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Omega Chi Epsilon
Omega Chi Epsilon - Honor Society
Alpha Chi Sigma Logo
Alpha Chi Sigma - Co-Ed Professional Chemistry Fraternity
FISA Logo
FISA - Food Industry Student Association
American Chemical Society Logo
American Chemical Society Polymer Division

Research

Sunitha Nagrath headshot
Sunitha Nagrath: Wearable Device That Collects Live Cancer Cells From Blood
READ MORE
Joerg Lahann headshot
Joerg Lahann: Gecko-inspired High-tech Sticky & Insulating Surfaces
READ MORE
Greg Thurber headshot
Greg Thurber: Diagnosing Breast Cancer with a Pill That Makes Tumors Glow
READ MORE
MAX SHTEIN headshot
Max Shtein: Implantable Solar Cells Inspired by Electric Eels
READ MORE
Nicholas A. Kotov headshot
Nicholas Kotov: Artificial Cartilage
READ MORE
Lola Eniola-Adefeso headshot
Lola Eniola-Adefeso: Bioengineered Blood Vessels
READ MORE
STEPHEN FORREST headshot
Andrej Lenert & Stephen Forrest - Mesoscale Conversion & Energy Transport
READ MORE

Alumni Biographies

Each of these alumni are real people who were once in your shoes, deciding a major. Explore their path and how a Michigan education set their life in motion.

  • Alon Mandel headshot
    • Alon Mandel
    • Noble Energy
  • Darren Goetz headshot
    • Darren Goetz
    • 3M Company - Advanced Materials Division
  • David Harwood Headshot
    • David B. Harwood
    • DTE Energy
  • Deanna Thompson headshot
    • Deanna M. Thompson
    • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Debbie Mielewski headshot
    • Debbie Mielewski
    • Ford Motor Company Research
  • Eric Roeder headshot
    • Eric Roeder
    • Kite Pharma
  • Kevin Lewis headshot
    • Kevin DaJuan Lewis Jr.
    • Ecolab
  • Leroy Covington headshot
    • Leroy Covington Jr.
    • Air Products
  • Ryan Moody headshot
    • Ryan Moody
    • Shell
  • Terrence Clare headshot
    • Terrence Clare
    • Pfizer Inc.
Alon Mandel headshot

    Alon Mandel

    Noble Energy

Darren Goetz headshot

    Darren Goetz

    3M Company - Advanced Materials Division

David Harwood Headshot

    David B. Harwood

    DTE Energy

Deanna Thompson headshot

    Deanna M. Thompson

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Debbie Mielewski headshot

    Debbie Mielewski

    Ford Motor Company Research

Eric Roeder headshot

    Eric Roeder

    Kite Pharma

Kevin Lewis headshot

    Kevin DaJuan Lewis Jr.

    Ecolab

Leroy Covington headshot

    Leroy Covington Jr.

    Air Products

Ryan Moody headshot

    Ryan Moody

    Shell

Terrence Clare headshot

    Terrence Clare

    Pfizer Inc.

Not sure what major to choose?

Tap into our network of 85k+ engineering alumni. Do you have questions you’d like answered? Our alumni are always eager to talk about engineering.
(Current and admitted UM students only.)

Speak to an Alum
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Industries & Occupations

  • Academia and education
  • Biomedical industry
  • Biotech industry
  • Business management
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Consumer products
  • Federal government
  • Graduate/PhD Programs
  • Medical School
  • Petroleum products manufacturing
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Safety procedure development and consulting
  • Scientific research and development
  • Synthetic materials manufacturing
A student holds a glass slide with a red sample in front of a black box emitting a blue light

Companies

  • 3M
  • BASF
  • Chevron
  • Dow Chemical
  • Exxon/Mobil
  • General Mills
  • L’Oreal
  • Lilly
  • Pfizer, Inc
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Schlumberger
  • Shell Chemical Company
  • Unilever

Find salary information at the Bureau of Labor Statistics

$73,547- U-M Chemical Engineering graduates’ average starting salaries (ECRC 2017-2018 Annual Report)

LEARN MORE

LEARN MORE

Alon Mandel headshot

Alon Mandel

  • Noble Energy
  • Production Engineer

University of Michigan, BSE Chemical Engineering 2010
Tel Aviv University, MA Political Sciences, 2013
Tel Aviv University, MSc Environmental Engineering, 2014
HAZOP certified leader- Process Hazards Analysis for Team Leaders
Career Summary

I worked at the Center for Risk Analysis in Tel Aviv, Israel, performing quantitative risk analyses involving multiple differing categories: air pollution, blast effect, toxicology, and process safety. In 2014, I began working for Noble Energy in Denver, CO, estimating VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions in oil and gas production facilities and developed recommendations for best practices to improve the procedures used to collect and pressurize hydrocarbons.

I have served as a facilities engineer of two cryogenic gas processing plants, a production engineer for an offshore gas platform and has worked on a variety of projects and an environmental engineer using modeling to perform risk analysis. I have worked designing vapor control systems and blast-proof control rooms, validating Pressure-Safety-Valves, optimizing natural gas liquids recovery, and performing technical analysis at a gas platform offshore in Israel.

My career highlight is the fact that one of the research projects I was working on was fully endorsed by the EPA on a national scale, which is applied already today throughout the entire oil and gas industry (2017).

Career Timeline
  • Noble Energy
  • Center for Risk Analysis at Tel Aviv, Israel
What excites you about your career?

The ability to work on projects all the way from the theoretical level to the actual implementation.

To develop new empirical correlations that have the ability to challenge old ones.

Reflection on Time spent at U-M

I liked the fact that most classes give emphasis on group work. Suggestions to improve include the increase of exposure to the oil and gas industry throughout the core ChE courses given its global importance – from environmental aspect to improved design and enhanced process safety.

Favorite Student Orgs

Varsity men’s swimming and diving team (2006-2010)

Favorite Classes

Thermodynamics (330) and senior design project (487), since I was able to integrate all I have learned together.

Favorite Events

Athletically, winning the Big Ten team title in swimming in Ann Arbor was one of the best moments of my life while at U of M.

Advice to Students

Don’t aim for a specific class grade, but rather try to understand the class concepts, boil every subject down to terminology that you can understand using real-life examples. If you are able to clearly explain yourself to your colleagues in a few minutes, you know the material better than memorizing equations.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Spend time with my wife and daughter, swim in the pool and the ocean (completed the swim from Spain to Morocco in 2015).

Darren Goetz headshot

Darren Goetz

  • 3M Company - Advanced Materials Division
  • Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

University of Michigan, BSE Chemical Engineering
University of Michigan, BA American Cultures
University of Michigan, MSE Manufacturing Engineering
Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Certified 2010, Master Black Belt 2019
Career Summary

I’m currently a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt (MBB) within 3M’s Advanced Materials Division (AdMD), where we manufacture a wide array of products, in both chemical and article form, that perform within incredibly challenging environments. Previously, I was a Global Manufacturing Operations Manager in the Automotive/Aerospace industry and later in touch screen technologies in Singapore. I’ve had many factory product management experiences, including a factory that produced reflective traffic signs and precision films. I have worked as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt in high-precision optical films and privacy filters in California and China, although my initial roles after graduation were in environmental and process engineering. Overall, I’ve been able to gain a myriad of global experiences, focusing on a very broad set of products and technologies.

Awards
  • 3M Golden Step Award- Patterned Advance ITO Film (Touch Screens)
  • 3M Golden Step Award – Acrylic Plus Foam Tape Products
  • 3M Chairman’s EHS Award
  • 3M Pollution Prevention Pays (3P) – 14 total awards from 2001-2014
What excites you about your career?

The most exciting aspect of my career has been, overwhelmingly, the ability to learn and transform my career at a pace to my liking, which has been enabled by the diversity of my company, 3M. In eighteen years, I’ve moved between nearly twelve distinct roles, all of which fall into a broad spectrum of products and technologies. I’ve had the luxury of working with products ranging from sandpaper to high-end electronics and am currently working in specialty chemicals and composite materials. Soon, I’ll be moving into yet another role, this time in business and marketing, a completely foreign area for me, but the multitude of experiences I’ve gained allows me to enter such a role with high confidence.

Reflection on Time spent at U-M

When I attended UM, the Chemical Engineering department was small (<100 students total), and because I straddled two different graduating classes, i made a lot of close friends in my academic area, and knew professors and GSIs quite well, some of which are still close friends.  Significant dislike was that it didn’t last long enough, despite spending seven years completing various degrees!

Favorite Student Orgs

Mortar Board Honor Society, as it allowed me to interact with other students in organizations that I was not familiar with, and that allowed us to have a broader activity impact.

Favorite Classes

Chemical Reactions (CHE 344) and the project-based classes (CHE 486/7). I’ve used learning from those classes many times over the course of my career. I also received a degree in liberal arts, which admittedly offered a nice break from numbers and technical problem solving, and many classes in those areas were memorable, and provided me with advanced communication skills.

Advice to Students

Spend as much time exploring areas of technical interest, even if you know very little, prior to graduation. When I was attending UM, we didn’t have the breadth of focus areas, or minors for that matter, so you are very fortunate. Also, do not under-emphasize or underappreciate the importance of “softer” skills you learn while in Ann Arbor, such as written and verbal communications. The technical knowledge will only get you so far in your area of expertise, the softer skills will help you go that extra mile, especially in the corporate world.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Avid music listener, collector (vinyl), and live show attendee. Significant amount of time traveling globally, outside of work, focusing on visiting as many countries as possible over my lifetime. Summer months involve a lot of hiking, both locally and in the National Parks system. In the winter months, snowboarding and nordic skiing reign as activities.

David Harwood Headshot

David B. Harwood

  • DTE Energy
  • Director - Renewable Energy

University of Michigan, BSE Chemical Engineering, 1983
Baker College, MBA, 2001
Career Summary

I have been with DTE Energy since 1982. Prior to Renewable Energy, I held lead positions in Fossil Generation Mergers & Acquisitions, Generation Optimization, Strategy & Planning, Nuclear Development, and Major Enterprise Projects. Within these roles I was responsible for Integrated Resource Planning, Merchant Power Operations, Generation and Environmental Strategy, Wholesale Power Supply and Reliability Planning, development of a Combined License for a new nuclear power plant, and oversight of DTE’s Project Management Organization. I spent my early career in power plant engineering and operations.

I am currently responsible for Renewable Energy strategy, project development, vendor agreements, regulatory compliance, purchase power contracts and renewable energy operations. Current operating portfolio includes seven utility scale wind parks and 31 large solar arrays in Michigan, with over $1B of new projects currently under construction

What excites you about your career?

Throughout my career, I have been able to change roles many times and in fairly significant ways. The ability to learn and the challenge of change excites me. I have been an engineer and manager in a production environment, led corporate strategy and M&A teams, created new organizations for commercial optimization of power generation portfolios and licensing of nuclear power plants, and led a project management organization responsible for a $2B/year project portfolio. Currently I am leading a great team of professionals that are passionate about our purpose to create a clean energy future for Michigan.

Reflection on Time spent at U-M

Likes: Athletic events, intermural sports, concerts, fraternity life, Angelo’s for breakfast
Dislikes ChE230!

Favorite Student Orgs

Four year member of the Michigan Marching Band, as well as Hockey and Basketball Pep Bands. Also a member of the Theta Delta Chi Fraternity.

Advice to Students

Work hard and don’t get discouraged – never give up. Take full advantage of all Ann Arbor and UofM has to offer. Attend sporting events, concerts, whatever interests you. Achieve a balance of study and other interests that keeps you engaged.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I am a French Horn player in the International Symphony Orchestra as well as a member of a Brass Quintet. I play golf whenever possible. I remain an avid Michigan Fan and have been a football season ticket holder since 1983, missing only five home games in 35 years.

Deanna Thompson headshot

Deanna M. Thompson

  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of Biomedical Engineering

University of Michigan, BSE Chemical Engineering, 1993
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, MS Chemical Engineering, 1999
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, PhD Chemical Engineering, 2001
Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Shriners Hospital, Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 2001-04
Career Summary

I run a small business which is my research program where I have to raise and manage funds for my research program in neural engineering and disease and employ students to train them for careers in academia and industry. I also oversee the graduate program in BME to recruit and admit students, I participate as training faculty in two NIH training programs at RPI, and I am the director of a training program for New York State High School and Middle School Teachers to be Trained in Stem Cell Biology and Bioengineering. As faculty, we wear many hats and do many different jobs in a university.

In the past, I have been a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and have performed research in interdisciplinary biotechnology, cardiovascular pharmacology, and environmental medicine. I have also had experience in academia as a lecturer of mathematics, chemical engineering, and biomedical engineering.

Career Timeline
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Shriners Hospital
  • Rutgers University
  • National Institute of Health
  • Parke-Davis Research
  • University of Michigan
What excites you about your career?

I get excited to work and train new students both graduate and undergraduates in biomedical research. I love working with collaborators locally and beyond to ask and solve new questions. I love doing something new every day from teaching, to service at the Institute, service to the greater scientific community, and outreach programs. As a professor, I am engaged in both research and training of students.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

Likes: Road tripping for Away Football Games, Hanging out with Friends, Open-ended Projects, Faculty, Regional AIChE meetings, Internship, SWE, softball games with the graduate students in the summer, Late night Euchre Tournaments and Undergraduate Research

Dislikes: 8:30 AM classes on North Campus, All nighters, Broken Computers/Wait times at the Computer lab (yes — we had to wait in a queue to use a computer), forgetting a bluebook for an exam, just missing a bus to north campus.

Favorite Classes: All labs even ChE 460 (I learned tons), Mass and Heat Transport, Reaction Engineering and Design.

Favorite Events: Parking Cars for Alum at Football games, Football and Hockey games, AIChE and SWE, Acappela concerts, Art Fair in the Summer (for a day — after that the lack of parking was irritating), Top of the Park

Advice to Students

Don’t be afraid to Fail! If you don’t fail and play it safe, you will never grow. If you fail, ask for help — if you are willing to put in the work there are lots of classmates, TAs and Faculty willing to help you be successful.
Try new things and be a life-long learner. Attend a lecture at least once a term — take advantage of all that the university life offers from speaker that come of campus as well as time away from your studies to soak in college life at Michigan. Take a class that you think might be interesting – Go to a lecture. I attended a lecture on an artificial pancreas which motivated me to consider graduate school and research.
After School, try to make time for a trip/travel/see the world – as you get older you have more money but less time. During your time in Ann Arbor, explore the town as there are a lot of non-college things worth trying and doing.

What do I like doing outside of work?

Before kids, I mountain biked, skied, golfed, traveled and briefly sailed during my time in Boston, and picked up rowing in upstate NY. After kids, My husband and I like to spend weekends during the summer/fall in the Adirondacks on Upper Saranac Lake with family. The rest of the time is spent in hockey rinks, soccer/lacrosse fields and baseball fields rooting for our two sons. I am happy to report I can, work the time clock, keep score, run the penalty box, sharpen skates, work concession and chalk a baseball field. I am hopeful that someday I can drive the zamboni. In the winter, I maintain our outdoor backyard rink.

Debbie Mielewski headshot

Debbie Mielewski

  • Ford Motor Company Research
  • Senior Technical Leader, Sustainable & Advanced Materials & Additive Manufacturing

University of Michigan, BSE Chemical Engineering, 1986
University of Michigan, MSE Chemical Engineering, 1993
University of Michigan, Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, 1998
Career Summary

I went from chemistry measurements, to polymer processing, to polymer material development, to sustainable plastics. Recently, I’ve worked with nano particles such as graphene and even 3d printing. I have been able to create the best job in the world at Ford Motor Company Research! My current job is to research, develop and implement more sustainable plastic materials on our vehicles. We have been successful over the past 20 years, replacing a dozen plastics with alternatives that have less impact on the environment and use plants instead of petroleum.

Now, all North American built vehicles from Ford have soy seat cushions, backs and headrests. The technology saves over 15M pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted annually. That’s just one technology. Now we have a dozen bio-based materials on our vehicles, many of which are “waste” products of agriculture such as wheat straw and agave fiber. The materials pass all durability and performance requirements. Many times, they are better than the petroleum based plastics that they replace!

Awards

The Dr. Haren Gandhi Research Award- highest level of recognition for technical accomplishment at Ford. I won it several years ago for pioneering the sustainable materials program at Ford Research.
Launched the first soy-based foam in 2007 on the Ford Mustang. I interviewed with media outlets like CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, etc. It was really exciting!
One last career highlight was giving a TED Talk. I was really nervous!

What excites you about your career?

I am excited to be contributing to a future better world and I am proud to work for a company (Ford) that invests in the future. I have really found a career that is satisfying to me, fun and where I can make real contributions. You don’t have to work in sustainability directly to practice it in every job you have–so join me! Very recently, we have begun working toward reducing ocean plastic and finding uses for it in automotives.

We always dream big! Working with other major companies like John Deere and Coca Cola in the sustainability realm is also one of our favorite ways to make a larger impact.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I married a PhD ChemE (Kevin Ellwood) from UM (Go Blue again!) that I met at Ford Research, and we live near the stadium. We have football tickets and host tailgates all fall for our UM friends. I have 2 kids, Tate (20) and Tara (17). We love to hike in Canada and the US. Funny thing, our daughter just started working at Ford Research on an internship. She is very interested in Chemical Engineering and the environment, as well.

Reflection on Time spent at U-M

My time at UM was spent making friends and hitting the books far more often than I ever thought I would have to. Many Friday (yes, Friday) nights were spent in the grad library doing homework or preparing for exams. I enjoyed dorm life, however, and when I returned home after studying, the parties would still be going on. Yes–I joined them!
I loved the first taste of independence and living away from home. I am more of a “camaraderie-loving” person, so I didn’t like that performance was so intense and competitive. Once, I even got 12% on an exam! Shhh…..Maybe that has changed a bit over the years.

Favorite Classes

This will likely reveal how nerdy I am, but my favorite class was a fractals grad course taught by Professor Ziff. Even though my later thesis had nothing to do with fractals, I asked Bob to be my advisor. He is a smart and fantastic person! I love when I still get to see him around town!

Advice to Students

Many students think that they aren’t smart enough to be a great Chemical Engineer. They are tempted to move to another degree where they can get really high grades. I tell them that ChemE is really the best engineering degree you can get, and UM is one of the best places to get it. You can do almost any kind of work with a ChemE degree. I advise them to put the effort in and they will be really glad they did.

Eric Roeder headshot

Eric Roeder

  • Kite Pharma
  • Associate Director, Business Operations Support

University of Michigan, BSE Chemical Engineering, 2003
Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business, MBA, 2011
GMAT, 2008
ASQ Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification, 2014
Career Summary

Eric has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for nearly twenty years, experiencing the intricacies of life as a Process Engineer, as well as the high-level business management side of the industry. As a Process Engineer, Eric worked on downstream purification processes for drug substances, automated chilled water and high pressure steam systems, and performed process validation for three new drug substance purification processes. Eric worked in various high-up management positions for several companies, with responsibilities ranging from planning special projects and analyzing risk management to coordinating global functions and ensuring operational excellence at drug substance production facilities.

Career Timeline
  • Kite Pharma
  • Genentech
  • Pacira Pharmaceuticals
  • Amylin Pharmaceuticals
  • Wyeth Biotech
  • Eli Lilly
What excites you about your career?

I love being on the cutting edge of gene therapy and biotechnology to help people live happier, healthier lives. I’m also driven to help grow the number of good manufacturing jobs in the USA.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Running, volunteering, and gardening

Reflection on Time spent at U-M

Likes: The variety of Central and North Campus, all of the amazing students on campus, Concerts at Hill Auditorium, Spring and Fall in Ann Arbor. UM is a very special place and I feel very fortunate to have learned so much while tons of fun and meeting so many great people!

Dislikes: Winter in Ann Arbor, parking tickets

Favorite Student Orgs: Marching Band, Habitat for Humanity, Pi Kappa Phi

Favorite Events: Hockey games at Yost, Ann Arbor Art Fair

Favorite Classes: Organic Chemistry, Differential Equations, ChemE 341 (Fluid Mechanics), ChemE 360 & 460 (Labs), ChemE 466 (Process Controls), IOE 425 (Lean Manufacturing)

Advice to Students

Take advantage of every minute you have on campus, there are so many great things to do!

To be effective, engineers need to be able to translate technical, complex information into “plain English.” Give your tech comm lectures and lab presentations their due attention.

If you test into the honors sections of the required LSA courses (calculus, chemistry, physics), don’t hesitate to take them. The classes are smaller, instructors are better, and the curve is much more forgiving.

Kevin Lewis headshot

Kevin DaJuan Lewis Jr.

  • Ecolab
  • Principal Chemical Engineer

University of Michigan, BSE Chemical Engineering, 2012
Fundamentals of Chemical Engineering Exam Michigan, 2015
Licensed Professional Chemical Engineer Minnesota, 2017
CPI- Certified Professional Innovator, University of Michigan Ross School of Business
Career Summary

After graduating in 2012, I started working for A123Systems in Romulus, MI as a Research and Development Process Engineer, making lithium ion batteries. My role was to help develop the mixing, milling, spray drying, and firing process for the next generation of lithium iron phosphate powder and to run the pilot manufacturing lab. I then moved on to Henkel in Warren, MI as a Corporate Process Engineer, where I was part of a small team of engineers that travelled to help plants with process design work for new equipment installation and for safety improvements.

In 2016, I moved to Minnesota to help a friend with his church and I worked at Tapemark where I was a Research and Development Process Engineer. I worked with pharmaceutical companies to scale up manufacturing processes for thin-film drug patches in order to provide samples for FDA submission. In 2017, I began my current role at Ecolab in Eagan, MN as a Chemical Engineer. Here, I develop processes for new and existing cleaning and water treatment chemicals for industrial customers. More recently, I began a role within Ecolab that is focused on process engineering innovation that is focused more on the next generation methods of manufacturing our products.

Career Timeline
  • A123Systems
  • Henkel
  • Tapemark
  • Ecolab
What excites you about your career?

What keeps me excited about my career are the opportunities to learn new chemical processes in different industries and I love knowing that the things I am working on every day are out in the world making a difference in people’s lives. I also like the opportunity that my career has given me to affect change in the lives of others through volunteering and supporting our local community in various ways.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

My time spent at U-M was largely successful due to the M-STEM summer program I was a part of before starting school. I was able to make many friends in the program which provided a great support network throughout my time at college.

I enjoyed leading the B-FAM multi-cultural council as President, which provided a means for me and other students to attend the inauguration of President Obama in Washington, D.C.

Advice to Students

Join as many different groups and organizations in school as you can to help expand your network. Your network will help you later and allow you to be of help to others as well.

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Leroy Covington Jr.

  • Air Products
  • Account Manager

University of Michigan, BSE Chemical Engineering, 2003
North Carolina A&T State University, MS Chemical Engineering, 2005
Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
Career Summary

In my current role, I am accountable for all commercial aspects of the account, including customer service, revenue generation, profitability and resource allocation. I am responsible for the strategic direction, creation and submission of customer project proposals.

My previous experience includes serving as the project engineer for largest air separation unit (by capacity) Air Products has supplied in North America. In this role, I was able to develop significant team leadership skills by co-managing a $120M project and to develop substantial technical acumen as a global plant commissioning and start-up engineer. In this role I was fortunate to travel to destinations I never thought I would visit, including China, Japan, UAE, Qatar and Peru. As a project development engineer in Air Products’ Cryogenic Systems Division, I led engineering bid and proposal teams to help win new business for the company, including various continuous improvement projects to enhance air separation plant performance, maximize productivity, minimize cost, and eliminate waste from our internal work processes.

What excites you about your career?

I am excited to work with a company where I have the flexibility to experience a variety of different roles and opportunities based on my interests. As a grad student, I read the book “It’s Not Luck” by Eliyahu Goldratt. As an engineer, one of the most foundational themes of the book was this fact, “All for-profit companies are in business to do one thing, that is to make a profit”. With Air Products and Chemicals, I have had the opportunity to hone my technical skills and develop effective leadership traits. I am excited that I currently contribute directly to my company’s bottom line in support of our mission to be “the safest, most profitable, and most diverse industrial gas company in the world, providing excellent service to our customers.” As a commercial account manager and diversity ambassador I can directly measure my impact. I find it exciting to be apart of helping my company reach and exceed our goals.

Honors and Awards

In October 2017, while participating in a leadership development luncheon, I made a suggestion to our CEO that Air Products add “most diverse” to our corporate goal. A couple days later, I received a call directly from the CEO. He stated that he would be announcing the addition of “most diverse” to our company’s goal during the earnings call to be held the very next day. Helping to influence the positive growth of our company’s diversity and inclusion culture is a career highlight I will never forget.

Reflection on Time spent at U-M

Overall, my time at U-M was the best 5 years of my life. I learned many valuable lessons about perseverance and choosing to be my own hero, rather than being a victim. I can honestly say that I matured over the course of my time at U-M. I went from staying up late, playing video games, missing classes and finding myself on academic probation for one semester to developing good study habits, finding excellent study partners and eventually making the Dean’s List twice. I am grateful for the relationships I made during undergrad. Many of which I still have to this day.

Likes: Many people in my circle couldn’t wait to move off-campus. I enjoyed dorm life and loved the opportunity to live on central campus as an RA at West Quad my last 3 years. Susan Montgomery was a great advisor and coach. I thank her immensely for her support, especially during my sophomore year. I recall the “mini-victory” when a couple friends and I secured great football season tickets by writing a letter to the ticket office with our ticket request forms my senior year.

My worst experience while at Michigan came on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. I heard about the first plane while on central campus. I will never forget Susan Montgomery informing our lecture room about the second plane and the subsequent cancelation of classes for the rest of the day. #NEVERFORGET!

Favorite Class

In hindsight, I’d have to say that Chem 130 was my favorite class, because that’s where I met my future wife.

Favorite Student Orgs

I continued active participation in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), building on my 4-year participation in high school. I enjoyed the many leadership development opportunities, comradery and diversity of backgrounds of all the students who were dedicated to one day serve their country in the military. I was mainly involved with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) were I was able to develop socially and further refine leadership and team building skills.

Advice to Students

My advice to students is to think of their college academic career like a job, with the primary goal being to graduate with the highest GPA possible, ethically, legally and morally. Working hard, asking questions, going to office hours, and developing good study habits in the first two years is key. Many more opportunities are available to individuals with a strong academic record. It is a lot easier to maintain a good GPA than it is to try to bring up a poor GPA. I want students to enjoy the experience and everything college has to offer, but don’t forget the goal. I would also encourage students not to be afraid to seek help if needed. I struggled mightily while trying to concentrate on exams during my first 3 semesters. I could not understand why I found myself very “wound up” while simultaneously “freezing” when taking exams, even when I was very comfortable with the material. It took the help student services to help me realize that I had severe test anxiety. Working with their team gave me the tools I needed to remain calm and perform better.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I like to spend time recharging with family and friends. My wife (Janicca) and I are very involved in our local church. We have two children, Bella (5) and Maxwell (2) and 2 goldfish. I love keeping up with Michigan sports, especially football and basketball. Most family activities in the fall are planned around the Michigan football schedule…although my wife may have a different opinion about that 😊

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Ryan Moody

  • Shell
  • Senior Operations Support Engineer

University of Michigan, BSE Chemical Engineering
University of Michigan, M.S.E Energy Systems Engineering
Tropical Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (T-HUET)
Career Summary

My current home address is in Houston, Texas, but my work location is a platform called “Ursa” that sits about 100 miles off of the coast of Louisiana in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. I work what’s called a 14/14 rotation, which is 14 days working on the platform and then 14 days of vacation. Because I live in Houston, Texas but work on a platform in the middle of the GoM, my commute to work looks like a plane ride from the Houston airport to the New Orleans airport, a drive from the New Orleans airport to the Shell heliport, and a helicopter ride to the platform, where I begin my 14 days of work!

The platform I work on is the largest producing oil and gas platform in the western hemisphere, so it’s a significant contributor to our bottom line! “Supporting operations” is a catch-all term used to describe the bucket of things I do, which includes anything that comes up in the day-to-day operation of the platform that could impact safety or production. The reason we need an engineer to support operations is because something comes up – disrupting the platform from just running along without our help – often enough that it’s worthwhile to have someone full-time on standby ready to help address these uncertainties, and to help plan for the future in hopes that less of these uncertainties will continue.

I previously worked on deepwater projects doing things similar to what we did in school, but with less hand-written calculations. Because deepwater has large temperature and pressure differentials (ex – the ocean floor is very cold, but the oil coming out of the ground is very hot) and incredibly high pressures, there’s a lot of unique engineering work that needed to be done to get oil out of the ground safely. After that, I helped deliver new technology – a multiphase pump that now sits on the ocean floor – for the deepest oil and gas project in the world (Stones). As the Stones team’s project engineer, I integrated across disciplines to support effective management of risk, schedule, cost/benefit tradeoffs, and project assurance.

Though I am a Shell employee, I’m not speaking on behalf of Shell. My views are my own and don’t necessarily reflect those of Shell.

What excites you about your career?

I have 6 months of vacation each year, because I work the 14-day rotation. I travel a lot on my two weeks off, so I’ve been abroad a bit and have also caught up with my college friends who are spread throughout the country. I like that I have the opportunity to use what I learned in school. At Shell you can be almost anywhere on the spectrum from technical number cruncher to broad strategist, and I liked the flexibility. I also like that we have a development program for new hires that let you see different areas and work on different things – hence why I’ve had three jobs in three years!

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

I like that as a ChE I can be hired at pretty much any company I’m interested in and that Michigan prepared me well for technical and leadership roles. Michigan is well-respected in the recruitment circuit, so it made it easier for me to be choosy with where I worked instead of feeling like I had to take the first role offered to me.

I loved being on Resstaff and being involved with the Program for Intergroup Relations – it was probably my most helpful course I took and prepared me well for interacting with people who are different than me.

Favorite Student Orgs

I was a Managing Editor at the Michigan Daily. I love writing (great non-technical outlet that allowed me to express myself!) and have continued that passion to this day, though in a different form.

Advice to Students

Lift as you climb. I think it’s easy for us engineers to always chase the next shiny object be it a promotion or a penthouse – we are very privileged to generally be well-paid and well-respected for our contributions to society. But others aren’t always so lucky. I think most of us have the capacity to give back and help make the world a little easier on those who come alongside and after us. I’d encourage everyone who has privilege to use it to help create the world you want to see in every area that you can.

Join one (or several) student org that you know very little about – and join it in a meaningful sense. Don’t just go to one meeting and then leave. When I was in school, I joined the Indian American Students Association and was in their annual IASA show, I was in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, I went to Malaysian Culture shows, volunteered through the Detroit Partnership, participated in #UMDIVEST and more. It was uncomfortable at first, because everyone else seemed to know each other and I was the odd person out with no visible or easy-to-articulate similarity with everyone else. But these were my most growth inducing experiences and prepared me incredibly well to work at a large, diverse company like Shell.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I compete in Story Slams and love NPR’s the Moth, belong to a gym, am currently preparing for my first-ever back-country camping trip where I’ll have to carry all of my food, water, and shelter on my back as we attempt a 30+ mile hike over several days, and like to tutor middle/high school students in math. Given my schedule and all the vacation I have, I also travel a lot!

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Terrence Clare

  • Pfizer Inc.
  • Director/ Team Leader API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) Operations

University of Michigan, BSE Chemical Engineering, 1988
Western Michigan University, MBA, 1994
Career Summary

I have been with Pfizer since 1989, where I worked in various engineering roles supporting manufacturing operations, including: environmental, project management, process support, automation, new product introductions, process safety management, cGMP systems. In 2001, I transitioned into various operations management roles with responsibilities for fermentation isolation, particle sizing, beta-lactams, high energy chemistry, formulation, filling, freeze dry, inspection and packaging.

I currently lead the organic synthesis half of one of the largest and most complex API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) manufacturing plants in the world, with responsibility for 275 colleagues, seven manufacturing buildings, a $100M expense budget, and most importantly, to deliver billions of quality doses of API to over 300 million patients each year, globally.

What excites you about your career?

I have the distinct honor to be part of a team making life saving medicines for people and animals. Working in manufacturing and the concrete nature of physically making something has always been the key driver in my career. Being able to apply many of the technical learnings from my chemical engineering training, and the operational management learnings from my MBA, has been especially gratifying.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

Likes: Lifelong friendships and the knowledge and credentials to pursue my desired career

Favorite Student Org: AIChE

Favorite Events: Football Saturday (Go Blue!)

Favorite ChE Class: Unit Operations (closest class to manufacturing)

Favorite Non-ChE Class: Modern US History with Sidney Fine

Advice to Students

Put integrity first in all you do; respect and value everyone you work with whether they have no degree, a humanities degree, or a degree from Ohio State (as painful as that might be 😊)- each brings a unique perspective and knowledge that will help you to grow and your team to achieve the best possible outcomes.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Play in recreational softball, volleyball and curling leagues; support my children’s marching band and FIRST robotics (Strykeforce 2x World Champions!) activities; Boy Scout leader; United Way volunteer (currently serving on the Board of Directors); national park vacations; craft beer; Marvel movies

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