Meet Kaitlin Keller – Featured YP for June 2016

Where are you from?

Chandler, Arizona

What company/institution do you work for?

Merck

Where did you complete your chemical engineering education?

Lehigh University

How many years have you been a member of AIChE?

Five

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 got a promotion at work! I’ve learned so much in the last two years, but didn’t realize how much experience I actually gained. Now that I’m leading a project group I can really see what I’ve learned and get to apply it. I’m a big believer in luck favors the prepared and hard work pays off.

What do you do to meet people in your field?

I’ve joined AIChE both at the national and local section. With the local section involvement, the networking is more immediate. There are events monthly that I can go to and meet new people. It’s amazing how “small” the network is that everyone knows everyone from local to national. It helps with that personal connection when talking with someone new. At work, I was able to find colleagues who went to the national conference that I didn’t know, but was able to connect just by mentioning AIChE.

What is it about chemical engineering that you're most passionate about?

It never ends and is applied everywhere! There’s so much that wasn’t taught in school, but is still chemical engineering. I’ve applied core principles, but that barely scratches the surface. Chemical engineering is a way of thinking that can be used in anything. I’m definitely growing even more of an appreciation for the diversity.

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

It's definitely not possible to split them into two types, that's why we are chemical engineers!

If your college had offered a class on real-life skills for the aspiring ChE, what would you want them to teach?

How to drive results while working with others. You have to take into account everyone's schedule, work style, and priorities in order to meet your own deadlines.

 

What are you working on that you think could change the world someday?

In my job every day I get to apply what I learn in the lab to the manufacturing process of vaccines/antibiotics/biologics. We then file those processes to regulatory agencies. I have a direct impact on medicine to cure diseases, infections, and viruses. A product which I’ve worked on for two years was just filed this month so I’m looking forward to when that is approved and can be supplied to emerging markets!

How has your relationship with AIChE helped you to fulfill your professional and personal goals?

AIChE helps keep me connected to the heart of chemical engineering. It’s a subject I really love and AIChE connects me to others who also feel that passion. It’s very rewarding to be a part of a community that values hard work and networking like I do. I honestly just love networking and helping others so AIChE is a perfect place for that. Plus, I’ve gained a whole new group of friends who have similar professional values and who I can depend on at any time and we have a ton of fun together!

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

Teaching about working with different personalities in leadership development.

What don’t most people know about you?

I was a nerd in middle school and rode the bus to the high school for a Spanish class. I can read/write/speak Spanish and continue to read books in Spanish to keep up with it.

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

Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and reach out to people. If you want something go for it! Sure opportunities could be handed to you, but be in charge of your own future. And don't forget to sit back and enjoy every moment in life. Success is better when you have people to share it with and take it all in.

You can contact Kaitlin through her LinkedIn profile.