When rising freshman ask me to define chemical engineering, I often find it hard to give an explicit answer because chemical engineering is such a diverse and rapidly expanding field. Externally, I think chemical engineering is the broadest of all the sciences. Whether a student is interested in working with 100,000 gallon reactors, designing drugs compounds, saving the environment, developing new nanotechnologies, or even considering medical school…they will find a home in the ChemE Department.

What I found most beneficial about the co-op program was that it helped to narrow a broad field that can often be intimidating. As a freshman, I thought…“There are so many options…How will I ever know which fits me best?” On my first co-op I realized that I loved research, but didn’t enjoy working in consumer goods. The guidance of my professors and student advisors, and their eagerness to teach both in and out of the classroom helped me develop an appreciation for how chemical engineers can apply their expertise to other research disciplines such as the health sciences, renewable energy and even homeland security.

There is no doubt that chemical engineering can be challenging…to say the least. I can recall many a night where I was tucked away in a corner of the library cramming for a test, trucking through complicated problem sets, downing Starbucks latte after Starbucks latte. I can say however, that without a doubt, the friendships I have made with my fellow students and the gratification that I get from solving a tough problem, whether it be on co-op or in the classroom, far surmounts any of trials and tribulations. You can ask (almost) any chemE and they will tell you the same thing. They wouldn’t do it if they didn’t love it, and the work is worth it in the long run.

“Research is hard, and it’s easy to get frus­trated, but it’s impos­sible to fail if you love what you do” Chory is one of more than a dozen under­grad­uate stu­dents from across the country par­tic­i­pating in the Steam­boat Foundation’s 10-​​week Summer Scholars Pro­gram. She received $12,000 from the foun­da­tion, which sup­ports stu­dents who show poten­tial for becoming leaders in their chosen field.

Chem­ical engi­neering asso­ciate pro­fessor Shashi Murthy, who runs the microflu­idics lab, praised the student-researcher’s work ethic.

“Emma is a very moti­vated stu­dent who made big con­tri­bu­tions to work in my lab, from data analysis to under­standing the bigger pic­ture of what she was doing,” he said. “It was very impressive.”

Academic Success: 
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (April 2012)
  • Jeffrey R. Pierce Outstanding Service Award (April 2012)
  • Steamboat Scholar of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (May 2011)
  • Outstanding Student in Chemical Engineering for the 2010-2011 Year (November 2011)
  • 1st Place Ribbon, AIChE Annual Student Poster Competition (October 2011)
  • AIChE Outstanding Chapter Award (November 2010)
  • Provost Undergraduate Research Award (October and February 2011)