Monday, December 7, 2020
Brittney workman in the lab

By. Elizabeth Jackson

Brittany Workman is a senior studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Iowa. Brittany has been a very active student in the department and has had many experiences exploring her interests in the ChemE field. Learn more about Brittany’s story as a ChemE student at the UI!

How did you choose the University of Iowa?

I chose the UI partly because it is close to home and also because of the size of the Chemical Engineering Department. The class size within the department is quite small compared to other schools, typically class sizes are around 50. The smaller size allows for a much more personalized experience. In a smaller class size, students can interact with classmates and get to know them and build friendships. Smaller class sizes also allow for more direct interactions with the professors. I have noticed that the UI ChemE Department is very supportive rather than competitive.

What area of Chemical Engineering interests you?

I find several areas of ChemE interesting especially polymers, fluid dynamics, process safety, and controls. I hope to work in one or many of these areas someday.

What have you been involved in outside of your studies? 

I have been a teaching assistant or TA for three semesters now with many professors within the department. I was a TA for Professor Rundlett in Process Calculations and then a TA for Professor Fiegel in Fluid Flow. Currently, I am a TA for Professor Murhammer in Chemical Process Safety which has a lab component.

In addition to being a TA, I serve as Vice President for our chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and for our chapter of the chemical engineering honor society Omega Chi Epsilon (OXE). I also had an internship and currently a co-op with DuPont in Fort Madison, Iowa.

What are your post-graduation plans?

After graduating in the spring, I plan to start working in the industry. I hope to find a company in the area and a position in which I can grow and move into a management position.

What advice do you want to share with first year students?

My main piece of advice is to not be afraid to ask for help whether it be from the professors, classmates, tutors, or teaching assistants. Engineering is tough, especially ChemE, but you can succeed if you are willing to put in the time and effort. There are several people and resources available to help you reach your goals. Also, do not worry about being the only person struggling. I can guarantee that you are not alone in that so do not hesitate to reach and get your questions answered.

What is your favorite thing about Iowa City?

My favorite thing about Iowa City is the layout and proximity to the University. I enjoy the atmosphere of so close to downtown even when technically being on campus. There is an abundance of restaurants and stores within walking distance from most of the University buildings. It’s lame to say, but I really like the Seamans Center. Out of all my time in Iowa City I have spent over half of it in the engineering building. The computer labs and commons are great places for study groups to meet. I’ve had most of my favorite college memories in that building.