“Through the College of Engineering I received an internship with NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.,” says chemical engineering major Chelsie Bottom, class of 2011. Over the summer of 2010, Bottom will work with a NASA engineering mentor, gaining hands-on engineering experience while collaborating with other engineering and science disciplines.
“I’ll earn invaluable work experience, get to experience teamwork building, and receive leadership training that will undoubtedly propel me into a career after graduation,” Bottom says.
Bottom says that the engineering program at UK offers many of the perks of a big university while providing the community feeling of a small school.”UK has a lot to offer undergraduate students from numerous organizations and activities to exciting sports,” Bottom says. “At the same time, you will get a strong education and be well prepared for your plans after graduation, whether in graduate school, professional school or industry.”
In addition to her internship with NASA, interdisciplinary research has been part of Bottom’s experience at UK. She has taken classes in the university’s College of Pharmacy, broadening her understanding of chemical processes by adding a medically-based perspective. “Professors have given me the knowledge and skills I need to succeed not only in the classroom but also in real world situations, which has set me apart from other students,” she says.
With her faculty adviser Dr. J. Zach Hilt, Bottom has researched biochemical engineering applications, including a thermosensitive material that can be used as a remote-control method for releasing drugs. Remotely controlled drug release is a growing area of research for its biomedical applications and ability to alter drug releasing therapy after implantation. Bottom helped author a paper which she presented at the American Institute of Chemical Engineer (AIChE) Southern Regional Conference. The paper won a prize. Bottom was also later selected as the Outstanding Chemical Engineering Junior by the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering.
“The professors and advisors are very supportive and have worked hard to help me reach my individual goals,” Bottom says. “The smaller classes have given me an opportunity to become good friends with the other students and develop close relationships with my professors, allowing me to learn with and from my peers as well as being strengthened as a student and individual.”