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Tourist 1618 samantha2
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CHEMICAL ENGINEER, IN-DEPTH: Loves Working On Environmental Puzzles

About this video 

Samantha, a Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student who is creating elaborate computer simulations of meandering rivers so that we can better understand the impact of development on nature, describes what she loves most about her work, its challenges, her key decision in choosing this field, and what she's hoping to accomplish with these computer models.

School: University of Illinois Urbana ; Massachusetts Institute of Technology - University of Illinois Urbana
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='468'>I think</span> <span m='936'>the thing</span> <span m='1404'>that I love</span> <span m='1872'>the most</span> <span m='2340'>is</span> <span m='3276'>the</span> <span m='3750'>math</span> <span m='4360'>and</span> <span m='4610'>the</span> <span m='4700'>programing.</span> <span m='6540'>I</span> <span m='6640'>love</span> <span m='8360'>working</span> <span m='8650'>on</span> <span m='8720'>a</span> <span m='8770'>problem</span> <span m='10080'>for</span> <span m='10530'>a</span> <span m='10620'>long period of</span> <span m='10960'>time.</span> <span m='11330'>And</span> <span m='11760'>when</span> <span m='12080'>I</span> <span m='12550'>have</span> <span m='12810'>these</span> <span m='13010'>simulations</span> <span m='13780'>and</span> <span m='14600'>I</span> <span m='14750'>know</span> <span m='14900'>what</span> <span m='15040'>the</span> <span m='15110'>simulations</span> <span m='15780'>used--</span> <span m='18890'>is</span> <span m='19320'>what</span> <span m='19450'>they're</span> <span m='19540'>supposed</span> <span m='19810'>to</span> <span m='19850'>be</span> <span m='19930'>doing,</span> <span m='20250'>it's</span> <span m='20500'>very</span> <span m='20640'>exciting</span> <span m='21370'>and</span> <span m='21850'>it's very</span> <span m='22140'>rewarding.</span> <span m='25680'>That</span> <span m='26010'>to</span> <span m='26340'>me--</span> <span m='26890'>just</span> <span m='27080'>the</span> <span m='27180'>process</span> <span m='27880'>of</span> <span m='29620'>working</span> <span m='29820'>on</span> <span m='29930'>the</span> <span m='30000'>puzzles--</span> <span m='30410'>is</span> <span m='31260'>real</span> <span m='31360'>exciting.</span> </p><p><span m='32296'>I</span> <span m='32662'>think</span> <span m='33030'>the thing</span> <span m='33380'>that</span> <span m='34370'>I</span> <span m='34490'>find</span> <span m='34840'>most</span> <span m='35080'>difficult</span> <span m='36390'>is</span> <span m='36580'>when</span> <span m='36710'>I</span> <span m='36770'>run</span> <span m='36980'>into</span> <span m='37160'>the</span> <span m='37260'>math</span> <span m='37570'>that's</span> <span m='37960'>really, really</span> <span m='38180'>intimidating.</span> <span m='39860'>And I don't know</span> <span m='40160'>where to</span> <span m='40460'>start.</span> <span m='40800'>And</span> <span m='41140'>because</span> <span m='41430'>it's a</span> <span m='41540'>very</span> <span m='41690'>specific</span> <span m='42100'>field,</span> <span m='42700'>there</span> <span m='42900'>may</span> <span m='43100'>not</span> <span m='43380'>be</span> <span m='44520'>the</span> <span m='44650'>general</span> <span m='45420'>type</span> <span m='45990'>math</span> <span m='46260'>books</span> <span m='46770'>where</span> <span m='46870'>you</span> <span m='47020'>can</span> <span m='47290'>go</span> <span m='47640'>and</span> <span m='48210'>are</span> <span m='48290'>looking</span> <span m='48600'>at</span> <span m='48690'>people's</span> <span m='49030'>papers,</span> <span m='49570'>which</span> <span m='49780'>aren't</span> <span m='50100'>all</span> <span m='50330'>that--</span> </p><p><span m='52340'>For</span> <span m='52660'>example,</span> <span m='54000'>I</span> <span m='54310'>was</span> <span m='54730'>looking</span> <span m='54980'>at a</span> <span m='55090'>paper</span> <span m='55880'>and</span> <span m='56290'>trying</span> <span m='56580'>to</span> <span m='56690'>understand</span> <span m='57005'>how to</span> <span m='57320'>get</span> <span m='58230'>from</span> <span m='58570'>this</span> <span m='58810'>equation</span> <span m='59200'>to</span> <span m='59310'>this</span> <span m='59490'>equation.</span> <span m='59870'>There</span> <span m='60060'>are about</span> <span m='62330'>four</span> <span m='62520'>lines</span> <span m='62740'>of text</span> <span m='63240'>between</span> <span m='63620'>equation</span> <span m='63820'>A and</span> <span m='64120'>equation</span> <span m='64495'>B.</span> <span m='65200'>And</span> <span m='65940'>I</span> <span m='66750'>was</span> <span m='66920'>working</span> <span m='67018'>on</span> <span m='67116'>it</span> <span m='67214'>for</span> <span m='68260'>two</span> <span m='68570'>weeks,</span> <span m='68830'>or</span> <span m='69000'>something</span> <span m='69290'>like</span> <span m='69490'>this.</span> <span m='69690'>Couldn't</span> <span m='69990'>figure it</span> <span m='70290'>out.</span> <span m='70840'>I</span> <span m='71010'>went</span> <span m='71190'>to</span> <span m='71250'>my</span> <span m='71370'>adviser</span> <span m='72685'>who</span> <span m='73080'>kind of</span> <span m='73250'>shrugged.</span> </p><p><span m='74310'>And</span> <span m='74500'>then</span> <span m='74610'>eventually,</span> <span m='75100'>I ended up</span> <span m='75410'>contacting</span> <span m='75990'>the</span> <span m='76270'>author</span> <span m='76640'>of</span> <span m='76780'>the</span> <span m='77250'>paper.</span> <span m='77640'>And</span> <span m='77940'>he</span> <span m='78100'>was</span> <span m='78230'>so</span> <span m='78860'>incredibly</span> <span m='79350'>generous</span> <span m='79790'>with his time</span> <span m='80065'>and sat</span> <span m='80340'>down</span> <span m='80450'>with</span> <span m='80660'>me for--</span> <span m='81380'>it was</span> <span m='81480'>like</span> <span m='81750'>six</span> <span m='81830'>hours</span> <span m='82290'>over</span> <span m='82390'>the</span> <span m='82460'>period</span> <span m='82720'>of</span> <span m='82790'>two or</span> <span m='83270'>three days.</span> <span m='85540'>And</span> <span m='85840'>when</span> <span m='86050'>I had</span> <span m='86260'>finished</span> <span m='86690'>typing</span> <span m='87130'>up</span> <span m='87870'>these</span> <span m='88080'>equations</span> <span m='88940'>in</span> <span m='89340'>something</span> <span m='89610'>called</span> <span m='89880'>[? LaTeX, ?]</span> <span m='90740'>it</span> <span m='90920'>was</span> <span m='91060'>27</span> <span m='91890'>pages.</span> <span m='93130'>And</span> <span m='93360'>so</span> <span m='93520'>sometimes,</span> <span m='94690'>the</span> <span m='95000'>information</span> <span m='95710'>isn't</span> <span m='96190'>readily</span> <span m='96630'>available.</span> </p><p><span m='98530'>When I</span> <span m='98840'>graduated</span> <span m='99170'>college,</span> <span m='99590'>I</span> <span m='99730'>actually</span> <span m='100050'>got a</span> <span m='100370'>job</span> <span m='100960'>working</span> <span m='103280'>as</span> <span m='103410'>a</span> <span m='103460'>paralegal</span> <span m='104255'>in</span> <span m='104520'>a</span> <span m='104785'>law</span> <span m='105050'>firm</span> <span m='105160'>in</span> <span m='105350'>New York</span> <span m='105630'>City</span> <span m='105780'>and I</span> <span m='105840'>was going to do</span> <span m='106240'>patent</span> <span m='106540'>law.</span> <span m='107410'>And</span> <span m='108370'>this</span> <span m='108490'>seem</span> <span m='108760'>like</span> <span m='108900'>this</span> <span m='109050'>really</span> <span m='109250'>obvious</span> <span m='109600'>career</span> <span m='109850'>path</span> <span m='110180'>to me, so I</span> <span m='110380'>did</span> <span m='110890'>competitive</span> <span m='112180'>writing.</span> <span m='113520'>Actually it</span> <span m='113750'>was</span> <span m='113870'>mostly</span> <span m='114160'>fiction,</span> <span m='114710'>so</span> <span m='114870'>it</span> <span m='115050'>didn't</span> <span m='115340'>have</span> <span m='115440'>anything</span> <span m='115690'>to</span> <span m='115830'>do with patents.</span> <span m='118020'>It</span> <span m='118730'>brought</span> <span m='118890'>together</span> <span m='119130'>the</span> <span m='119210'>science</span> <span m='119630'>that I loved</span> <span m='119730'>and the</span> <span m='120170'>writing</span> <span m='120450'>that</span> <span m='120570'>I</span> <span m='120600'>loved</span> <span m='121080'>so this</span> <span m='121300'>seemed</span> <span m='121460'>like</span> <span m='121640'>a</span> <span m='121740'>great,</span> <span m='122010'>obvious</span> <span m='122450'>career</span> <span m='122690'>path.</span> <span m='124890'>And then</span> <span m='125040'>I</span> <span m='125110'>did</span> <span m='125290'>an</span> <span m='125380'>internship</span> <span m='125880'>in</span> <span m='126010'>south</span> <span m='126270'>India.</span> <span m='127050'>And</span> <span m='127170'>I</span> <span m='127210'>was</span> <span m='127360'>working</span> <span m='127880'>with</span> <span m='128220'>some</span> <span m='128400'>of</span> <span m='128509'>the</span> <span m='128590'>most</span> <span m='128800'>amazing</span> <span m='129250'>engineers I</span> <span m='129660'>ever</span> <span m='129900'>met in</span> <span m='130139'>my</span> <span m='130250'>life--</span> <span m='130500'>it was</span> <span m='130720'>fantastic--</span> <span m='131920'>in</span> <span m='132670'>Dr. Reddy's</span> <span m='133100'>Laboratories</span> <span m='133810'>and</span> <span m='134160'>Meerpet,</span> <span m='134790'>which</span> <span m='135090'>is</span> <span m='135230'>in</span> <span m='135460'>Hyderabad.</span> </p><p><span m='137200'>So</span> <span m='137830'>I</span> <span m='138240'>sort</span> <span m='138390'>of</span> <span m='138680'>had</span> <span m='139020'>this</span> <span m='139210'>realization</span> <span m='140130'>as</span> <span m='140360'>I</span> <span m='140440'>was</span> <span m='140720'>looking</span> <span m='141040'>at</span> <span m='141200'>taking</span> <span m='141520'>the</span> <span m='141600'>patent</span> <span m='142040'>bar</span> <span m='144060'>and</span> <span m='144450'>learning</span> <span m='144760'>more</span> <span m='144930'>and</span> <span m='144990'>more</span> <span m='145120'>about</span> <span m='145820'>that</span> <span m='146180'>sort</span> <span m='146320'>of</span> <span m='146400'>thing.</span> <span m='147130'>It</span> <span m='147420'>just</span> <span m='147640'>seemed</span> <span m='147980'>totally</span> <span m='148420'>uninteresting</span> <span m='148690'>to</span> <span m='148960'>me</span> <span m='149660'>and</span> <span m='150160'>I</span> <span m='150460'>just</span> <span m='151220'>dreaded</span> <span m='151620'>the</span> <span m='151740'>idea</span> <span m='152010'>of</span> <span m='152090'>going</span> <span m='152340'>back</span> <span m='152560'>to New York</span> <span m='152950'>City</span> <span m='153180'>to</span> <span m='153280'>do</span> <span m='153430'>this.</span> <span m='154240'>At</span> <span m='154420'>which</span> <span m='154630'>point,</span> <span m='154960'>I</span> <span m='155610'>called</span> <span m='155940'>them</span> <span m='156080'>and</span> <span m='157270'>apologized</span> <span m='158040'>and</span> <span m='158740'>then</span> <span m='158930'>applied</span> <span m='159510'>at</span> <span m='159640'>the</span> <span m='159990'>very</span> <span m='160280'>last</span> <span m='160600'>minute</span> <span m='160780'>to</span> <span m='160860'>grad</span> <span m='161200'>school.</span> <span m='162230'>Which,</span> <span m='162880'>as</span> <span m='163120'>soon as I</span> <span m='163190'>made</span> <span m='163380'>the</span> <span m='163430'>decision,</span> <span m='163820'>felt</span> <span m='164100'>like the</span> <span m='164180'>weight</span> <span m='164350'>of</span> <span m='164400'>the</span> <span m='164470'>world</span> <span m='164780'>had been</span> <span m='164970'>taken</span> <span m='165070'>off</span> <span m='165140'>my</span> <span m='165220'>shoulders</span> <span m='165700'>because I</span> <span m='165900'>knew</span> <span m='166230'>it was going to be</span> <span m='166380'>something I</span> <span m='166660'>was</span> <span m='166770'>really</span> <span m='166960'>happy</span> <span m='167390'>with.</span> <span m='168990'>Yeah,</span> <span m='169590'>it's</span> <span m='170350'>like</span> <span m='170620'>listening to</span> <span m='171100'>one's</span> <span m='171350'>instincts.</span> </p><p><span m='172170'>Our</span> <span m='172280'>model</span> <span m='172530'>is</span> <span m='172620'>nowhere</span> <span m='172830'>near</span> <span m='172990'>advanced</span> <span m='173070'>enough</span> <span m='173460'>to do</span> <span m='173580'>this.</span> <span m='173870'>But</span> <span m='174020'>hopefully,</span> <span m='174580'>one</span> <span m='174790'>day,</span> <span m='174950'>what it</span> <span m='175230'>will</span> <span m='175420'>do</span> <span m='176280'>is</span> <span m='176890'>do</span> <span m='177040'>things</span> <span m='177340'>such</span> <span m='177590'>as</span> <span m='177880'>say,</span> <span m='180451'>if</span> <span m='180910'>someone</span> <span m='181050'>goes</span> <span m='181290'>and</span> <span m='181370'>wants to</span> <span m='181640'>build</span> <span m='181800'>a</span> <span m='181830'>bridge,</span> <span m='183060'>how</span> <span m='183350'>will</span> <span m='183450'>this</span> <span m='183530'>affect</span> <span m='184650'>the</span> <span m='185470'>river?</span> <span m='186110'>If</span> <span m='186230'>someone wants to</span> <span m='186590'>go</span> <span m='186770'>in</span> <span m='186940'>and</span> <span m='187180'>build</span> <span m='188070'>a</span> <span m='188640'>dam,</span> <span m='189050'>how</span> <span m='189330'>is</span> <span m='189420'>this</span> <span m='189580'>going</span> <span m='189740'>to affect the</span> <span m='190140'>river?</span> </p><p><span m='191170'>So</span> <span m='191390'>for</span> <span m='191570'>example,</span> <span m='192780'>when</span> <span m='193990'>Hurricane</span> <span m='194360'>Katrina</span> <span m='194710'>hit,</span> <span m='196310'>the</span> <span m='196610'>storm</span> <span m='197020'>hit</span> <span m='197420'>something</span> <span m='197770'>like</span> <span m='198680'>six</span> <span m='198970'>or</span> <span m='199150'>seven feet</span> <span m='199560'>per second,</span> <span m='199950'>maybe</span> <span m='200120'>six feet</span> <span m='200520'>per second.</span> <span m='201780'>And</span> <span m='201970'>then,</span> <span m='202470'>there</span> <span m='202680'>was</span> <span m='202790'>this</span> <span m='202940'>marshland</span> <span m='203730'>that</span> <span m='204000'>was</span> <span m='204200'>protecting</span> <span m='204550'>the</span> <span m='204900'>coast</span> <span m='205810'>from</span> <span m='206310'>the</span> <span m='206520'>coastal</span> <span m='206860'>surge.</span> <span m='207690'>And</span> <span m='208200'>wherever</span> <span m='208690'>the</span> <span m='208800'>marches</span> <span m='209210'>were</span> <span m='209330'>intact,</span> <span m='209960'>it</span> <span m='210290'>slowed</span> <span m='210680'>down</span> <span m='210910'>that</span> <span m='211110'>storm</span> <span m='211410'>so</span> <span m='211500'>the</span> <span m='211600'>winds</span> <span m='211870'>hit at</span> <span m='212080'>something</span> <span m='212300'>like</span> <span m='212550'>three</span> <span m='212760'>feet</span> <span m='212950'>per</span> <span m='213270'>second.</span> </p><p><span m='214100'>Where</span> <span m='214210'>the</span> <span m='214370'>Army</span> <span m='214620'>Corps</span> <span m='214890'>had</span> <span m='215020'>built the</span> <span m='215460'>MRGO</span> <span m='216070'>channel,</span> <span m='217500'>what</span> <span m='217690'>happened</span> <span m='218060'>was</span> <span m='220440'>the</span> <span m='220850'>power</span> <span m='221140'>from</span> <span m='221200'>the</span> <span m='221330'>storm</span> <span m='222610'>funneled</span> <span m='223120'>into</span> <span m='223380'>this</span> <span m='223750'>channel.</span> <span m='224590'>It</span> <span m='224860'>hit at</span> <span m='225040'>something</span> <span m='225330'>closer</span> <span m='225750'>to</span> <span m='226110'>eight or</span> <span m='226450'>nine feet</span> <span m='226750'>per second.</span> <span m='227050'>And</span> <span m='227500'>so</span> <span m='227960'>a</span> <span m='228040'>lot</span> <span m='228200'>of</span> <span m='228240'>the</span> <span m='228310'>death</span> <span m='228620'>and</span> <span m='228720'>destruction</span> <span m='229260'>that</span> <span m='229360'>happened</span> <span m='229800'>during</span> <span m='230260'>Katrina</span> <span m='230340'>was</span> <span m='230700'>attributed</span> <span m='231250'>to</span> <span m='231420'>this</span> <span m='231800'>channel.</span> <span m='233760'>So</span> <span m='234050'>one</span> <span m='234260'>of</span> <span m='234320'>the</span> <span m='234420'>things</span> <span m='234720'>that</span> <span m='234800'>we</span> <span m='234910'>seek</span> <span m='235130'>to</span> <span m='235210'>do</span> <span m='235390'>with</span> <span m='235720'>these</span> <span m='235910'>computational</span> <span m='236480'>models</span> <span m='236980'>is</span> <span m='237120'>be</span> <span m='237310'>able</span> <span m='237510'>to</span> <span m='238860'>build</span> <span m='239230'>things</span> <span m='239830'>without</span> <span m='240620'>destroying</span> <span m='241110'>the</span> <span m='241190'>marshlands</span> <span m='242590'>or</span> <span m='242920'>without</span> <span m='243220'>affecting</span> <span m='243720'>the river</span> <span m='243990'>in</span> <span m='244110'>ways that are</span> <span m='244520'>detrimental.</span> </p><p><span m='245730'>As</span> <span m='245950'>it</span> <span m='246040'>stands</span> <span m='246290'>right</span> <span m='246430'>now,</span> <span m='246550'>we</span> <span m='246660'>have</span> <span m='246910'>nothing</span> <span m='248550'>that</span> <span m='248790'>protects</span> <span m='249190'>us</span> <span m='249260'>from</span> <span m='249460'>storm</span> <span m='249720'>surges</span> <span m='250100'>as</span> <span m='250230'>well</span> <span m='250740'>as</span> <span m='251000'>the</span> <span m='251080'>marshes do.</span> <span m='251560'>So</span> <span m='251950'>keeping</span> <span m='252260'>them</span> <span m='252420'>intact</span> <span m='252770'>is</span> <span m='252910'>really</span> <span m='253160'>really</span> <span m='253380'>important.</span> </p>","file":{"id":320740,"video_id":"2930040155001","name":"1618-Samantha-ChemicalEngineerRivers2","duration":255002,"thumbnail_url":null}});