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Workshops Recap: 2015 AIChE Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 8-13

Posted by Heather Emady on

Women Undergraduates in Chemical Engineering: Graduate School Panel and Industrial Career Opportunities

Salt Palace Convention Center, November 8, 2015

·       Perspectives from a Recruiter: During this event, Padma Narayan from The Dow Chemical Company provided insider knowledge on the recruiting process to share strategies for obtaining a position in chemical engineering. Dr. Narayan is the Senior R&D Manager of Dow Industrial Solutions at The Dow Chemical Company. She received her Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Drexel University in 1999, and her Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering at Villanova University in 1994. Dr. Narayan is currently a Senior Research & Development Leader for the Industrial Solutions Portfolio at The Dow Chemical Company in Freeport, Texas. She is an active member of the Society of Women Engineers and American Institute of Chemical Engineers. She is active in the Sigma Alpha Iota music philanthropic society and as a volunteer in local STEM efforts in the Houston area.

·       Graduate School Panel: Current female graduate students shared their experiences and perspectives on graduate school. This interactive panel allowed undergraduate students to network and ask questions about what graduate school is really like. We would like to thank Amy Mantz (University of Nebraska, Lincoln), Danielle Jamie Mai (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Cara Rose Touretzky (University of Texas, Austin), and Kayla Sprenger (University of Washington) for their participation on the panel.

·       Academic vs. Industrial Careers: This discussion featured women with careers in academic and industrial fields. We would like to thank Rashi Tiwari (The Dow Chemical Company), Rena Bizios (University of Texas) and Manasa Gudheti, (Vutara/Bruker) for their participation on the panel.

Women Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows in Chemical Engineering: Developing your Career

Salt Palace Convention Center, November 8, 2015


·       R&D Hiring in Industry – “What are they looking for?”: This workshop focused on strategies for finding that perfect industrial position in research and development. Our featured speaker, Narayan Ramesh, is the Material Science & New Business Development Director for Packaging and Specialty Plastics R&D business at The Dow Chemical Company. Dr. Ramesh received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Osmania University in India, his Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rhode Island, and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Penn State University. Narayan is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Industrial Progress Award, Penn State Alumni Early Career Recognition Award and Diamond Award for the Dow Powerhouse Shingle Development at Dow. 

·       Thoughts on Starting a Career in Chemical Engineering: During this workshop, our featured speaker, Alan Nelson from Johnson Matthey, provided insider knowledge on the soft skills needed to be successful in whatever career you pursue. Dr. Nelson is the Chief Technology Officer for Johnson Matthey, where he is responsible for establishing the company’s innovation portfolio and leading all aspects of technology development. He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and his Bachelor’s degree from University of Minnesota Duluth. He was awarded Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council/Imperial Oil Associate Industrial Research Chair in Oil Sands Upgrading and was principal investigator for the Centre for Oil Sands Innovation and Alberta Centre for Surface Engineering and Science. Alan is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the Industrial Advisory Committee for University of Minnesota Duluth.

·       Academic vs. Industrial Careers: See above for description of this session.

·       COACh - Strong Women/Strategic Performance: This workshop focused on how to be more effective in meetings and negotiations, how to be strategic rather than reactive, and how to negotiate with multiple tactics and connect positively with your meeting or negotiation partners. Our featured speaker, Pushpa Murthy, is Professor of Chemistry at Michigan Technological University. She is currently the Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Michigan Tech. She has served as Chair of the Department of Chemistry at Michigan Tech and as Program Director at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Graduate Education. Dr. Murthy has been actively involved with activities aimed at professional and career development of women faculty in STEM fields for many years. She has conducted numerous COACh workshops.  She served as Director of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) at Michigan Tech and focused on increasing the number of women faculty through increased recruitment, retention and career advancement. She was awarded the Faculty Distinguished Service Award in 2011. 

Women Assistant Professors in Chemical Engineering: Developing your Career

Salt Palace Convention Center, November 8, 2015

·       COACh - Strong Women/Strategic Performance: See above for description of this session.

·       Round Table Discussion: This interactive discussion focused on managing research groups, obtaining funding, preparing for tenure, etc. We would like to thank Dr. Arthi Jayaraman (University of Delaware), Dr. Amy Karlsson (University of Maryland) and Dr. Shelley Anna (Carnegie Mellon University) for their participation.