Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Official blog of the Lehigh University Chemical Engineers


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Using Chemistry in Chemical Engineering

After the first couple of weeks and the first exam I was surprised at how often chemistry would be used. One of the main reason I wanted to major in Chemical Engineering was to apply chemistry into the concept. I looked into becoming a chemist but decided to go with chemical engineering. One of the basic system questions that comes up a lot is a combustion reaction. Professor McHugh sets up the question with some compound reacts with excess air and then gives us the mole percentage of the products. We have to set up both complete and incomplete combustion reactions ourselves. From there most of the problem is chemistry from finding out the limiting and excess reagent to using that to find the excess amount of air. One of the more recent chapters dealt with gas flow in a system.  Here the volume, pressure, and the temperatures are given but not the moles. To find the moles the Ideal Gas Law PV=nRT is used.  The system is usually given two different pressures or temperatures at the beginning and ending of it. One sort of system involves looking at the phase diagram to decipher the needed information. Chemistry is a useful concept that comes up a lot when solving Chemical Engineering.

 


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My Resume

Hello all. Since we’re in the midst of the Fall hiring season, I decided to upload my resume for y’all to look at. My advice would be that it’s never too late to start building your resume. It doesn’t matter if you’re a incoming freshman or a college upperclassman, and it’s always a good idea to have it ready. It’s also a good way to keep track your progress and activities that you’ve been doing. For my current resume, I’ve included my Co-op experience, Senior design project, and my current job, which is the ChE Department Social Media Assistant.

Yong Jin
School: Box 2412, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, 18015 | 484-707-6626 | yoj215@lehigh.edu
Home: 9 N Church St, Macungie, PA, 18062 | 610-967-5417

Objective
Seeking employment opportunity in the field of Chemical Engineering where my skills are implemented and
enhanced.

Education
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA Expected May 2015
Bachelor of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Related Courses: Physical Polymer Science, Process Control&Simulation, Process Design I, Unit Operations

Related Experience
Infineum Linden Business & Technology Center
Lubes Development West, Mktg & Tech. Co-op Student, Linden, NJ May 2014- August 2014
 Initiated in-depth studies of FTIR data for natural gas engines running over 10,000 hours.
 Laid groundwork for building a reference IR Library of Infineum components.
 Determined competitive marketing positions by exploiting database for North America motor oils.

Infineum Linden Business & Technology Center
Components, Mktg & Tech. Co-op Student, Linden, NJ August 2013- December 2013
 Facilitated the research for understanding the polymer degradation process under oxidative conditions.
 Evaluated chassis dyno vs. bench test parameters and their effects on polymer degradation.
 Examined competitor polymer oxidation behavior in terms of polymer architecture.

Ethylene Oxide Unit Design Team Project
Senior Process Design I, Lehigh University Fall 2014
 Optimized the operation of the EO process to produce 50,000 MT/yr to meet a contract.
 Collaborated with an industry consultant for detailed cost estimate and safety risk assessment.

Social Media Assistant for ChE Department
Iaccoca Computer Lab, Lehigh University September 2011 – Present
 Develop methods to recruit potential Chemical Engineering underclassmen.
 Utilize social media such as WordPress to make impact on future generations of Lehigh students.

Leadership
The Lehigh Chapter of Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers
Founder, Treasurer, and Global Union Rep., Lehigh University April 2014 – Present
 Manage club accounts and maintain accurate record of transactions.
 Establish organization culture while ensuring club activities adhere to the budget.

Southeast Asia at Lehigh
Secretary, Lehigh University August 2014 – Present
 Organize and coordinate campus-wide events to promote unity, culture and diversity.
 Oversee club progress in terms of event success and membership growth.

Activities
AlChE, Lehigh Ultimate Frisbee Team, LUEWB, Snowboard Club, Badminton Club
Skills
Software: Aspen Plus, MATLAB, JMP, MathCad, OMNIC, Microsoft Office
Language: Mandarin Chinese (native)


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Lab vs Lecture

Usually whenever a student mentions lab, it is accompanied by a groan or complain. This is to be expected, considering it is a three hour class where you have pre-work (usually timed quizzes), the actual lab to complete (super stressful), and post-lab work (like the report and follow-up questions.)

Even so, I love labs. I happen to be taking two this semester, one for chemistry and one for physics, and I am a teaching assistant for the first year chemical engineering lab. The thing about a lecture, is that even if you attend, there is no way to guarantee that you pay attention 100% of the time or retain everything that was said. In a lab, it is your job to know, or you could end up with bleached clothes and a solid zero for that report. Those reports can make or break your grade. The structure of having to read the lab prior, carrying it out, and following up on what was seen during that experiment truly solidifies what you have learned in lecture regarding the subject of that particular lab.

For example, my most recent physics lab was on waves, both pulse and standing. Measuring the period and wavelengths of the vibrations of a wire and graphing the wavelength vs. the period is a much more affective way of learning the relationship between these two elements than learning about it in a textbook, mainly because you get a visual representation. Furthermore, looking at the units (meters for the wavelength and seconds for the period), you are able to deduce that the slope of these values is the velocity of the wave. Through this one graph you discover numerous properties and relationships of waves. This also makes a connection to music, such as the affect of tuning an instrument, which was addressed in a post lab question. Not only did we draw the relationship conclusions on our own, but we were able to link them to every day things around us. This is one of the best ways of truly taking ownership of the information being presented to us.

Finally, one of my favorite things about lab, is that you cannot be wrong. I mean, you could potentially mess EVERYTHING up, but as long as you recognize it, address it in your conclusion, and show an understanding for what should have occurred had you not messed everything up, your grade remains virtually unharmed. I would say one of my personal talents is coming up with probable sources of error to discuss in my conclusion. For the lab I mentioned in the last paragraph, I think I discussed at least five.

In conclusion, I would say the best thing about labs is that they are a practical application of what you learn in lecture. Any time you aren’t sure of what to do for a lab, you have a specific topic that you can then read about in your textbook or seek help with. Labs are a great way to improve working with others, time management, and following directions. Does it sometimes get annoying to have 9 hours of my week dedicated to labs? Yes. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t numerous benefits that come with it.


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You Know I’m All About that Chemical Engineering

While Meghan Trainor is all about that base, you know I am all about that chemical engineering. In a major such as this, your schedule is pretty strict, as in, there are a large number of classes you are required to take. But even within that, throughout the four years, you will have over 30 credits out of the 128-134 you will receive for other classes of interest. You could even pursue a minor!

Some non-engineering classes I have taken so far include Psychology 001 (4 credits), Economics 001 (4 credits), English (011), and Journalism 001 (1 credit). These classes have been some of my favorites for the pure reason that they provide me with an opportunity to think differently than I do in my math or science classes. Sure, I may never need to know the parts of the brain and what functions they serve, but it is fascinating to know how people respond to positive and negative feedback. And sure I may never need to draw a supply and demand graph, but it is nice to know about inflation and its affect on the economy. And I know for a fact I will not ever need to remember anything about Ireland during the age of British Imperialism (the topic of my English class), but I am glad I learned how to express my thoughts more thoroughly in writing. Finally, I may never write an article for any newspaper, but is beneficial to know how to conduct interviews and think on my feet. In my humble opinion, I believe that having these classes is essential to the college experience. Even if you don’t love every one you take, you are still exposed to a wealth of new knowledge and a new discipline of study. Not only does it give you an appreciation for people pursuing other majors, but it also gives you valuable skills you may need later in life!

Personally, I will be applying for a business minor this semester. If I am accepted into that program, my elective credits will be pretty sparse, but business is a very large interest of mine. I highly encourage every student to look into minors. Not only do they give you a competitive edge by offering you knowledge in desirable areas that compliment your major, but they also allow you to pursue more than one interest. In my case, having a business minor will help with my goal of creating my own makeup line. The chemical engineering degree will give me the knowledge required to create the chemical makeup of the cosmetics, but the business minor will help to make the company a success. Aside from that, minors can be fun! If you love music or are artistically inclined (unlike myself), develop that further! You never know what possibilities could come from perfecting your craft!

I guess what I am ultimately trying to express is the following. Do not limit yourself to your major. Be open to the possibility that every class you take, club you join, or event you attend will have a significant impact on your college experience and your future! Who knows, that one economics class could have you switching from the engineering school to the business school! I have to remind myself of this frequently, especially because I have been set on chemical engineering for years, but you are at this university to discover who you are and who you are meant to be. The scary yet amazing thing is that you might not have discovered that yet, even if you think you do. Take advantage of all of the opportunities around you, because if you let them, each one will impact you in unforeseeable ways!


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Why Chemical Engineering?

Probably one of the most difficult choices in our lives is deciding how we want to spend our time. Our career path is huge in that regard because it encompasses 4+ years of education, followed by 50+ years of labor. Not only does this consume our time, but it also affects the type of life we lead. Furthermore, because this is how we will spend a majority of our lives, we need to pick something that we enjoy. With all of this riding on one single choice, how does an individual confidently settle on chemical engineering (or any major for that matter)?

Let’s look at chemical engineering from a statistical standpoint. What do they “do”? Chemical engineering is a compilation of chemistry, biology, physics, and math that is applied in the production of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and (my personal favorite), cosmetics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for chemical engineering majors with a Bachelor’s degree in 2012 was $43.36 an hour, totaling to $94,350 per year.

In a simple evaluation of the above information, chemical engineers can do a really wide range of things, but every facet gets paid well. Delving in a little bit deeper, the top five industries for chemical engineers include (also from the Bureau of Labor Statistics):

  • Petroleum and coal products manufacturing- $105,310
  • Basic chemical manufacturing- $99,510
  • Scientific research and development services- $97,880
  • Resin, synthetic rubber, and artificial synthetic fibers
    and filaments manufacturing-$94,810
  • Architectural, engineering, and related services-$93,390

Where would you fall in? That is a question I can’t answer for you, but I can share my personal story with you.

I have one older sister, and she was always more inclined towards English and literature, while I was always more inclined towards math and sciences. This was influencing factor number one. In 7th grade, I was invited to attend a “CHOICES” Program at Lehigh University which was sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers. This opened my eyes to what engineering could be for me and also introduced me to my future school. This was influencing factor number two. At this point, I knew engineering was a good option because I liked math and science and honestly, because it paid well, but I didn’t find the idea of doing math the rest of my particularly interesting. It wasn’t until I researched the different branches of engineering myself that I found the one thing that made everything fit for me.

An important sidebar to this story, I got really bad acne in 5th grade and had it for 9 years. I had been on countless pills and tried countless topical gels that all promised clear skin. My parents spent thousands of dollars on facial treatments and lasers, but nothing ever worked. Finally, I gave in and went on one risky treatment that was guaranteed to work. The thing about this pill, was that for a REALLY small group of people, it made their acne worse before it got better. Naturally, I was in that subset. My skin was a disaster. I cried about my appearance, I hated to go places, and I never slept at my friends’ houses for fear of taking my makeup off. Makeup was my saving grace. It helped give me confidence when I felt so low about myself. Senior year of high school, in the midst of all this, my biochemistry teacher assigned a project to research a compound in a product that we use everyday. Being the makeup lover that I am, I decided to research a compound in my foundation. I found that the main filler was an acne inflammatory agent, caused respiratory problems, and dried out the skin. I was disgusted. I was angry. And I knew that there needed to be makeup that did not destroy the skin I worked so long to make clear.

With all of this, I learned about chemical engineering and its link to the cosmetic industry, and I was sold. My career path was set. I plan to work for a makeup company on product development, and my ultimate goal is to have my own makeup line.

My love of makeup combined with my understanding of skin problems and its affect on self-esteem make me a perfect candidate for this type of work. I also work at Sephora, a cosmetic store, which gives me a unique understanding of consumer desires and trends in the cosmetic field.

Chemical engineering is so broad, that you have the ability to make it your own. All you need to do is find the one aspect unique to you and run with it! It is a difficult major, but the motivation that comes with having pre-established goals works wonders!


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Lehigh Career Fair Fall 2014

This past Thursday Lehigh had its very own Career Fair at the Rauch Field House up on Goodman Campus. There were a lot of companies attending including the ones that showed up the night before to the Chemical Engineering Career Night. The Lehigh Career Fair is the best opportunity in the fall semester for students and companies to get to know each other. So you basically have to be sociable and “put yourself out there” in order to get the most benefit out of it. I think the key of such events is that you want the company to be able to match your face or personality with your resume, so your chance of scoring a interview is boosted. It’s a booster also because if the company representative enjoys talking to you, they are more likely to offer you a position. At the same time if helps you to determine what you like or dislike about certain company and helps to choose where to apply.

I had done my preparation the night before when I received a listing of companies that are attending the Career Fair. It helps me to be more efficient during the fair because I had picked out the ones I’m most interested in and the ones I definitely don’t want to miss. I ended up speaking to a lot of the companies hiring Chemical Engineers. My boss from Infineum was also there too and I was very glad to see him. We spoke as he tried to give me some tips on my resume and how I should carry myself when speaking to other companies.

So I was quite productive. I was busy leaving positive impressions and handing out resumes while having a constant flow of free giveaways. I tried to be attentive and relevant by drawing tangents of my past experience with the qualities the companies were looking for. Making sure to hit the “buzzwords” once in a while and chuckle here and there. But mostly importantly I stayed confident and professional, and I think companies like that.

Lehigh does a very good job at organizing the Career Fair. So many companies showed up given Lehigh’s prestige and its long term collaboration with industrial companies. Here’s a snapshot of some of the companies that showed up who were looking for Arts & Science Majors.

Capture


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AIChE Career Night

Last week was a busy week for me. As a senior Chemical Engineering student, I’m anxious to finish school on time and trying to make sure I have something to do after I graduate. Thankfully, life is full of opportunities. This past Wednesday, the Lehigh Chemical Engineering Department had its very own Career Night, hosted by AIChE. It was a great opportunity for Chemical Engineering students across all grade levels whether you are looking for a internship or full time employment. You get to network with professionals and learn valuable information about their company. There was a total of six company who showed up at this event, in which they gave presentations that showed us what their companies are all about.

List of Companies:

ExxonMobil, Air Products, Linde, Infineum, Wacker and Gore.

What I really liked about this Career Night is that I get to talk to professional and learn about what they do and what they look for in new hires. I spoke to people from all six companies and learned a great deal about what each of them and how chemical engineering can be applied in countless ways. I personally think that this event is very unique because all of the companies who showed up are looking to hire Chemical Engineers exclusively, as opposed to the Lehigh Career Fair which was the next day where companies come and look for majors unrelated to ChE. It also nice to know the kind of rotational training programs some of the companies have to get new hires familiarized with work. For example, both Wacker and Linde have programs that let you rotate around different  job position within the companies to get a best picture of the business.

Also, there was a lot of Lehigh Alums who came to talk to us. Some of them just recently graduated within a year or two. I was really happy to see my boss who came to give a presentation about Infineum. I had a great time talking to him and we actually went out to grab wings afterwards.

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