Meet Nathan Hinkle — Featured Student for December 2014

What is your name?

Nathan Hinkle

Where are you from?

Portland, OR

What school do you go to? What year are you?

Oregon State University. I’m currently in the middle of a six-month co-op, but will return in January to finish my fifth and final year.

Do you hold any positions in your AIChE chapter or with AIChE nationally?

I held various officer positions within the OSU chapter over the past four years, including a class representative and website developer.

Describe an event in your chapter that you are most proud to have been involved with.

Our AIChE local section (the Columbia Pacific Section) had been inactive for several years, but is starting up again. I worked with the local section leadership and our student chapter to bring chemical engineering students to local section plant tours. 

What are your plans after graduation? In what field are you most interested in having an impact?

I’d like to work in industry in a field related to sustainable energy. I’m particularly interested in applying chemical engineering principles to save energy by improving industrial process efficiency.

How do you blow off steam and keep your sanity between classes, homework and projects?

When it’s time to blow off steam tables, there are a lot of opportunities to get outdoors in Oregon. I spend most of my free time outside, hiking, biking, skiing, paddling, etc. It’s also fun to get together with friends, cook some good food, and watch a movie or play some games.

Which of your undergraduate classes have you most enjoyed?

I took an honors colloquium on energy issues my freshman year which really focused my interest in sustainable energy. That class led to my honors thesis on energy education, and I now TA the class. Our senior lab sequence was also very rewarding. It has a (valid) reputation for being very difficult and a lot of work, but it was really cool to see the theoretical concepts I learned in previous classes actually taking place in real life.

What is the best kept secret on your campus?

Well if I told you, then it wouldn’t be secret anymore! Seriously though, the weather. Oregon has a reputation for being rainy, and that’s true, but it’s not as bad as you think. We usually have beautiful weather from July through October and often into November. Fall is possibly the best time of year in Corvallis.

What are you most looking forward to after graduation?

The ability to actually be done with work when I come home at the end of the day. It’s hard to find time for recreation and hobbies in college. During the two six-month co-ops I’ve done, the freedom of being able to do anything I want when I get home - whether that’s sit on my couch and read a book, go kayaking, or just take a nap - has been amazing.

Do you have any advice to incoming students and underclassmen ChEs around the world?

Make time for extra-curricular activities - some related to your studies, but also just for fun. I met some of my best friends in college by joining clubs, and if you just sit in the library studying all day, you’ll never find those people. And, much as I love being an engineer and spending time with engineers, branching out and participating in non-engineering clubs has introduced me to new viewpoints, more diversity, and amazing people I never would have met otherwise.

How would you like to be involved with AIChE after graduation?

I plan to join the Young Professionals Committee after graduation, and hope to attend future AIChE conferences to network and learn from my peers.

You can contact Nathan through his site, his LinkedIn account, or through Twitter.