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CHEMICAL ENGINEER: Building Large-Scale Simulations Of Meandering Rivers

About this video 

Samantha is in her 5th year as a Ph.D. student in Chemical Engineering, creating elaborate computer simulations of meandering rivers so that we'll be able to see exactly what will happen to rivers when we build around them. She says it's cool and unusual to be a Chemical Engineer working in the Geosciences, for the environment. Samantha advises: your academic record is very important. The better it is, the more opportunities you will have.

School: University of Illinois Urbana ; University of Illinois Urbana - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Degree: Chemical Engineering
Job Title: Chemical Engineer

Job Summary: Chemical Engineers

Job Description

Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, and physics to solve problems. These problems involve the production or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and many other products. They design processes and equipment for large-scale safe and sustainable manufacturing, plan and test methods of manufacturing products and treating byproducts, and supervise production.

On-the-Job Training

None

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
Confirm
$55,000 - $140,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
0 to 10 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Indoor, Home, Physically demanding, Travel, Hospital / Clinic, Office
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Analytical skills, Empathy, Mathematical skills, People skills, Problem solving skills, Teamwork

Educational Path

Education requirement
Education Requirement
Bachelor's degree
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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='290'>So</span> <span m='650'>I'm</span> <span m='950'>Samantha.</span> <span m='1240'>And</span> <span m='1690'>I'm</span> <span m='2029'>a</span> <span m='2070'>PhD</span> <span m='2460'>student</span> <span m='2940'>at</span> <span m='3180'>the</span> <span m='3240'>University</span> <span m='3800'>of</span> <span m='3850'>Illinois</span> <span m='4250'>in</span> <span m='4460'>Urbana-Champaign.</span> <span m='5780'>I'm</span> <span m='6135'>in my</span> <span m='6490'>fifth</span> <span m='6700'>year.</span> <span m='7440'>And</span> <span m='7760'>so what</span> <span m='8080'>I'm</span> <span m='8180'>working</span> <span m='8490'>on</span> <span m='8580'>is I do</span> <span m='9000'>these</span> <span m='9260'>large</span> <span m='9470'>scale</span> <span m='9700'>simulations</span> <span m='10150'>of</span> <span m='11390'>meandering</span> <span m='11850'>rivers.</span> </p><p><span m='13560'>So</span> <span m='14410'>what I</span> <span m='14550'>do</span> <span m='14810'>is</span> <span m='15280'>a</span> <span m='15450'>lot</span> <span m='15660'>of</span> <span m='16280'>going</span> <span m='16510'>into</span> <span m='16630'>the</span> <span m='16750'>office</span> <span m='17080'>in</span> <span m='17140'>the</span> <span m='17210'>morning,</span> <span m='18150'>and</span> <span m='18550'>working</span> <span m='18830'>in</span> <span m='18910'>a</span> <span m='18960'>computer</span> <span m='19340'>basically</span> <span m='19810'>all</span> <span m='19990'>day,</span> <span m='21420'>and</span> <span m='21730'>coming</span> <span m='21980'>up</span> <span m='22120'>very</span> <span m='22330'>pretty</span> <span m='22530'>picture</span> <span m='23090'>of</span> <span m='23650'>rivers</span> <span m='24070'>moving</span> <span m='24340'>around</span> <span m='24540'>a</span> <span m='24590'>screen.</span> <span m='25330'>One</span> <span m='25610'>of</span> <span m='25890'>the</span> <span m='26630'>reasons</span> <span m='27080'>that</span> <span m='27410'>the</span> <span m='28010'>meandering</span> <span m='28330'>river</span> <span m='28390'>models</span> <span m='29070'>is</span> <span m='29090'>useful</span> <span m='29450'>is</span> <span m='29960'>because</span> <span m='30670'>people</span> <span m='31060'>can use</span> <span m='31300'>it to</span> <span m='31510'>determine</span> <span m='32100'>what</span> <span m='32340'>will</span> <span m='32430'>happen</span> <span m='32990'>to</span> <span m='33130'>the</span> <span m='33360'>river</span> <span m='34800'>when</span> <span m='35040'>you</span> <span m='35130'>start</span> <span m='35350'>building</span> <span m='35600'>stuff</span> <span m='35850'>around</span> <span m='36200'>it.</span> </p><p><span m='37290'>I</span> <span m='37390'>mean,</span> <span m='37670'>I pretty</span> <span m='37800'>much</span> <span m='37980'>always</span> <span m='38360'>knew that I</span> <span m='38430'>wanted</span> <span m='38590'>to do</span> <span m='38930'>science</span> <span m='39380'>field,</span> <span m='40300'>so</span> <span m='40640'>I</span> <span m='40760'>went</span> <span m='41010'>from</span> <span m='41140'>high</span> <span m='41360'>school</span> <span m='42230'>to</span> <span m='42580'>MIT,</span> <span m='43760'>which</span> <span m='43960'>was</span> <span m='44070'>an</span> <span m='44150'>absolutely</span> <span m='44480'>delightful</span> <span m='44950'>experience.</span> <span m='45950'>And</span> <span m='46330'>then I</span> <span m='46370'>went</span> <span m='46570'>from</span> <span m='46800'>MIT</span> <span m='47880'>to</span> <span m='48550'>University</span> <span m='48840'>of Illinois,</span> <span m='49200'>Urbana-Champaign,</span> <span m='50130'>because</span> <span m='50620'>I</span> <span m='50670'>wanted</span> <span m='50820'>to</span> <span m='50870'>do</span> <span m='51000'>something</span> <span m='51310'>with</span> <span m='51670'>computational</span> <span m='52180'>fluid</span> <span m='52490'>dynamics,</span> <span m='52870'>which</span> <span m='53250'>was</span> <span m='53390'>my</span> <span m='53510'>favorite</span> <span m='54520'>subject</span> <span m='55330'>material</span> <span m='55670'>in</span> <span m='55740'>college.</span> </p><p><span m='56320'>So</span> <span m='56380'>I</span> <span m='56660'>got</span> <span m='56870'>my</span> <span m='56980'>degree</span> <span m='57280'>in</span> <span m='57360'>chemical</span> <span m='57720'>engineering.</span> <span m='59120'>So</span> <span m='59380'>actually,</span> <span m='59810'>it's</span> <span m='59950'>a</span> <span m='59990'>little bit</span> <span m='60310'>weird</span> <span m='60760'>for me</span> <span m='60870'>to be working on</span> <span m='61310'>geoscience</span> <span m='61950'>type</span> <span m='62200'>stuff.</span> <span m='63120'>Most</span> <span m='63580'>people</span> <span m='63845'>who</span> <span m='64110'>do</span> <span m='64400'>chemical</span> <span m='64750'>engineering</span> <span m='65880'>do--</span> <span m='66230'>actually,</span> <span m='66590'>our</span> <span m='66810'>department</span> <span m='66890'>is very</span> <span m='67060'>bio-oriented.</span> </p><p><span m='68742'>I</span> <span m='69160'>think</span> <span m='69340'>I'm the</span> <span m='69500'>only</span> <span m='69760'>person</span> <span m='70230'>in my department--</span> <span m='70460'>in</span> <span m='70640'>fact,</span> <span m='70800'>I</span> <span m='70880'>know</span> <span m='71060'>I'm the only</span> <span m='71310'>person</span> <span m='71720'>in</span> <span m='71860'>my</span> <span m='71940'>department</span> <span m='72470'>who's</span> <span m='72740'>here at</span> <span m='73010'>AGU,</span> <span m='76080'>attending</span> <span m='76400'>this</span> <span m='76530'>conference,</span> <span m='77150'>because</span> <span m='77860'>it's</span> <span m='78000'>just,</span> <span m='78800'>usually</span> <span m='79010'>you</span> <span m='79180'>just</span> <span m='79360'>don't</span> <span m='79570'>see</span> <span m='79650'>people</span> <span m='79900'>doing</span> <span m='80210'>climate</span> <span m='80730'>or</span> <span m='81980'>geophysics</span> <span m='82490'>type</span> <span m='82730'>research</span> <span m='83170'>in</span> <span m='83230'>my</span> <span m='83330'>field.</span> </p><p><span m='85260'>I guess</span> <span m='85675'>the</span> <span m='86230'>two</span> <span m='86460'>things</span> <span m='86860'>that</span> <span m='87030'>I</span> <span m='87680'>wish</span> <span m='87990'>I</span> <span m='88090'>knew</span> <span m='88350'>in</span> <span m='88390'>high school,</span> <span m='89730'>one</span> <span m='90130'>was</span> <span m='90760'>that</span> <span m='91640'>there</span> <span m='91990'>are</span> <span m='92760'>these</span> <span m='92950'>tremendous--</span> <span m='94350'>there's</span> <span m='94640'>this</span> <span m='94880'>tremendous</span> <span m='94920'>wealth</span> <span m='95110'>of</span> <span m='96050'>information</span> <span m='96540'>on</span> <span m='96640'>the</span> <span m='96690'>internet</span> <span m='97090'>now,</span> <span m='97950'>which</span> <span m='98100'>wasn't</span> <span m='98340'>there</span> <span m='98470'>before.</span> <span m='98780'>And</span> <span m='99020'>you can</span> <span m='99110'>learn</span> <span m='99240'>all those</span> <span m='99400'>really</span> <span m='99600'>cool</span> <span m='99860'>things</span> <span m='100320'>that</span> <span m='100450'>you really</span> <span m='100530'>couldn't</span> <span m='100800'>before.</span> <span m='101630'>Actually,</span> <span m='101910'>this</span> <span m='102120'>is</span> <span m='102760'>even</span> <span m='103490'>new</span> <span m='103690'>since</span> <span m='104510'>I have</span> <span m='104990'>graduated.</span> </p><p><span m='105520'>But</span> <span m='105830'>there's</span> <span m='105990'>stuff</span> <span m='106355'>like,</span> <span m='106720'>there's a</span> <span m='107020'>program</span> <span m='107190'>called</span> <span m='107550'>Udacity</span> <span m='108080'>online,</span> <span m='108740'>which</span> <span m='108900'>will</span> <span m='109140'>teach</span> <span m='109410'>you</span> <span m='109530'>to</span> <span m='110190'>make</span> <span m='110420'>self-driving</span> <span m='110890'>cars</span> <span m='111470'>and</span> <span m='112930'>your</span> <span m='113130'>own</span> <span m='113280'>search</span> <span m='113560'>engines--</span> <span m='113920'>even</span> <span m='114060'>if</span> <span m='114130'>you've</span> <span m='114300'>never</span> <span m='114570'>programmed</span> <span m='115030'>before</span> <span m='115290'>in</span> <span m='115380'>your</span> <span m='115490'>entire</span> <span m='115900'>life.</span> <span m='116680'>So</span> <span m='116980'>those are</span> <span m='117150'>just</span> <span m='117320'>stuff</span> <span m='117430'>that</span> <span m='117850'>you</span> <span m='118120'>can't</span> <span m='118400'>really</span> <span m='118570'>learn</span> <span m='118820'>at a</span> <span m='119050'>high school---</span> <span m='119550'>or you</span> <span m='119820'>usually</span> <span m='120130'>can't</span> <span m='120320'>learn</span> <span m='120460'>in a</span> <span m='120530'>high</span> <span m='120690'>school</span> <span m='120920'>setting--</span> <span m='121530'>that</span> <span m='121750'>you</span> <span m='122090'>can</span> <span m='122390'>get on the</span> <span m='122690'>internet.</span> <span m='122910'>That's</span> <span m='123110'>one</span> <span m='123240'>of</span> <span m='123280'>the</span> <span m='123340'>things</span> <span m='123580'>I</span> <span m='123630'>wish</span> <span m='123820'>I</span> <span m='123910'>knew.</span> </p><p><span m='124860'>And</span> <span m='124870'>the</span> <span m='124980'>other</span> <span m='125120'>thing</span> <span m='125310'>that</span> <span m='125530'>I</span> <span m='126000'>wish</span> <span m='126230'>I</span> <span m='126260'>knew</span> <span m='126420'>was</span> <span m='126560'>that</span> <span m='127090'>your</span> <span m='127250'>academic</span> <span m='127790'>record,</span> <span m='128740'>it</span> <span m='129270'>matters.</span> <span m='130080'>And</span> <span m='130460'>you</span> <span m='130539'>get</span> <span m='130680'>all</span> <span m='130870'>sorts</span> <span m='131050'>of</span> <span m='131230'>great</span> <span m='131500'>opportunities</span> <span m='133090'>that</span> <span m='133710'>you</span> <span m='133860'>wouldn't</span> <span m='134160'>otherwise</span> <span m='135540'>if</span> <span m='135760'>you</span> <span m='136210'>keep</span> <span m='136490'>your</span> <span m='136770'>grades</span> <span m='137020'>good,</span> <span m='137260'>which</span> <span m='137450'>seems</span> <span m='137720'>really</span> <span m='137940'>obvious.</span> </p><p><span m='138490'>But</span> <span m='139510'>I</span> <span m='140030'>sort</span> <span m='140230'>of</span> <span m='140310'>wish</span> <span m='140520'>I</span> <span m='140590'>had known</span> <span m='141000'>that.</span> <span m='142070'>I</span> <span m='142180'>really</span> <span m='142520'>understood</span> <span m='142870'>that</span> <span m='143010'>in</span> <span m='143070'>high</span> <span m='143230'>school,</span> <span m='143510'>because</span> <span m='143660'>I</span> <span m='143730'>know</span> <span m='144060'>there</span> <span m='144280'>are some</span> <span m='144510'>opportunities</span> <span m='145170'>that</span> <span m='145710'>definitely</span> <span m='146085'>I</span> <span m='146460'>could have taken</span> <span m='146680'>advantage</span> <span m='147050'>of</span> <span m='147220'>had</span> <span m='147330'>I</span> <span m='147460'>been</span> <span m='147660'>a</span> <span m='147730'>little</span> <span m='147910'>more</span> <span m='148570'>of</span> <span m='148690'>a</span> <span m='148750'>studious</span> <span m='149050'>type</span> <span m='149350'>of</span> <span m='149650'>student.</span> </p>","file":{"id":320731,"video_id":"2929823013001","name":"1617-Samantha-ChemicalEngineerRivers1","duration":151789,"thumbnail_url":null}});