By Juliana Palomino
As soon as she took high school chemistry, Ali Crupper knew it had to be a part of her future.
“It blew my mind how atoms that you can’t see make up everything you can see,” Ali says. “I knew that I wanted to understand the science behind what doctors do.”
That desire led her to the University of Kentucky, where she now pursues a B.S. in chemical engineering. As a first-generation student, she is grateful to her parents for their example of hard work.
“Engineering is all about solving a problem and solving it correctly,” she says. “My parents taught me the values of working hard and doing things the right way, and that’s what led me to engineering.
Her love for medicine has met its perfect match in the department’s specialized biopharmaceutical track, which allows students to take classes within the UK College of Pharmacy. Covering topics from drug discovery to commercialization processes, her courses have given her a new appreciation for engineering.
“It’s amazing how much chemical engineers touch. There’s not a process or product out there that they haven’t affected in some way,” she says.
From the annual career fair to resume review sessions to interview practice, Ali has taken full advantage of the career development services that the College of Engineering offers. She’s also the president of Phi Sigma Rho, a social sorority of female engineers.
“The support I’ve had has been incredible,” she says. “Professional guidance for interviews and resumes is essential. But you also need friends you can go get ice cream with. All of this makes a huge difference for your well-being and success.”
Through the fall Co-op and Internship Fair, Ali earned a co-op position with Thermo-Fisher Scientific. She had the opportunity to work in multiple roles: equipment engineering, business management, technical services and practical process improvement.
“I initially thought I wanted to go to graduate school since I liked research so much. My time in the industry changed this,” she says. “One of my favorite parts about research was constantly trying to make my experiment better. I learned that this process improvement mindset was crucial for industry as well.”
Upon graduating in May 2019, Ali will begin full-time work with Thermo Fisher in Greenville, North Carolina. She will work in validiation to ensure that all processes are designed with safety and quality in mind.
“When I’m out in the workforce, I know I’ll look back at UK and remember it as a place where I had the support I needed so I could go where I wanted,” Ali says.