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Chemical Engineering opens doors into a wide range of professions

Kirsten Cherry graduated with an MEng in Chemical Engineering with a placement year and now works at Exxonmobil.

Kirsten Cherry sitting at a laboratory bench with chemical apparatus
Kirsten Cherry carries out experiments in fermentation in the laboratory

What made you decide to study Chemical Engineering at Bath?

I chose to study at Bath because of the opportunity to do a semester abroad and an integrated industrial placement with my studies. Chemical Engineering offered job prospects in a variety of industries and could also be used as a springboard into other professions.

What influenced your decision to pursue a career in engineering?

I did some work experience with two prominent engineering companies during the summer of Year 12 to find out what chemical engineering was like. This definitely influenced my decision to apply for an engineering subject.

Where have you previously worked and how did this lead to your current position?

During my placement year, I worked for Dow Corning, a leading silicone manufacturer in South Wales. My year in industry gave me perspective on what chemical engineers can do and allowed me to apply knowledge I'd learnt to the real world.

My placement also exposed me to situations I never would have encountered in lectures and these experiences have helped to enhance my skills, which has been invaluable when applying for graduate jobs. In September I joined the ExxonMobil graduate scheme as a contact engineer at their Ethylene plant in Fife.

What advice would you give to young women interested in studying engineering?

Firstly, I would say don't let the number of boys on the course put you off! If you are talented at maths, like problem-solving and would enjoy a course with a practical aspect, then engineering should be something you consider. Also, if you are unsure of what engineering entails then try to find yourself some relevant work experience in the discipline you are interested in. I did this and that's what convinced me to apply for a Chemical Engineering degree.

‘Chemical Engineering offered job prospects in a variety of industries and could also be used as a springboard into other professions.’
Kirsten Cherry, Contact Engineer at Exxonmobil


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