Meet Colin Young – Featured YP for May 2016

Where are you from?

Salt Lake City, Utah

What company/institution do you work for?

University of Utah

Where did you complete your chemical engineering education?

University of Utah

How many years have you been a member of AIChE?


Describe a recent challenge you managed, notable achievement, or obstacle you overcame at your job or in your work as an AIChE member.

I just recently submitted a paper for publication on a method to determine and control the separation distance between a 90 nanometer thick magnetic address and a magnetic sensor for a new-age detection platform for diagnosing pancreatic cancer. Essentially, by analyzing the frequency of the signal that is read out from the sensor, we can determine how far away the sensor is from the address. This is really important for our application, as we immobilize potential pancreatic cancer markers on a surface and label them with magnetic nanoparticles. Magnetic fields decay as the separation distance increases, so being reproducibly close helps to quantify the number of markers we have bound. This method can determine separation distances down to micrometers and has sub-micron resolution and is hopefully an important stepping stone to developing a routine, cost-effective test for one of the world’s deadliest diseases.

What do you do to meet people in your field?

As a graduate student, I routinely attend seminars and talks by visiting speakers and faculty. This is an excellent way to get to know people in your field and make connections. I also have had a lot of success at Annual Conferences. Being involved in the Young Professionals Committee (YPC) during the 2015 Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City was a blast and I met a lot of new people who do many different types of things than I do, which was an incredible opportunity.

Fill in the blanks: there are chemical engineers who _____ and who ______. 

Solve problems, make problems.


If you weren’t a ChE, what would you most want to be?

I played soccer in high school and still, to this day, fantasize that I'll be discovered as a diamond-in-the-rough talent.

How many ChEs does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Four. One to screw it in, and three to double check the safety and design of the operation.

Do you have any advice for current or future young professionals reading ChEnected?

Take any and all opportunities you can to get to know new people! Meeting new people reminds you what you like about what you do now, what you'd like to do in the future, and a chance to make some connections that can help you down the road.

You can contact Colin through his LinkedIn profile or on Twitter @colyou.