Carolyn Stansell, Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering Alum (B.S. 2014) was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. While in high school, she was active in musicals, choir, and the swim team. Growing up in a city where music is prominent, Carolyn developed a fondness for the arts. When considering higher education, she focused on selecting a university that offered great academics and an excellent music program where she could stay immersed in one of her favorite endeavors. Carolyn discovered that Boise State met those criteria and offered even more than she expected. Being a Seattle resident, Carolyn was an out-of-state student at Boise State. As is typical at most universities, out-of-state tuition fees can be high. Carolyn was grateful to learn that Boise State offers merit-based scholarships for non-resident students. Receiving a Gem scholarship saved Carolyn more than $12,000 per year on tuition fees!
Materials science and engineering is a multidisciplinary field that spans many fields like mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, physics, and chemistry. The opportunity arose for Carolyn to experience this multidisciplinary approach by joining Electrical Engineering Professor Kris Campbell’s research group. Projects included synthesizing bulk chalcogenide glass, evaluating titanium-doped germanium and selenide thin films using Raman spectroscopy, and analyzing the Raman spectra using IGOR software.
Carolyn graduated in 2014 with Magna Cum Laude honors, a Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering, a Minor in Physics, and valuable hands-on multidisciplinary research experience. She also graduated with numerous job opportunities and a solid resume. Carolyn accomplished these impressive endeavors while still developing her interest in the arts. She was a member of the Boise State choir for four years and was happy to find balance between music and engineering throughout her time at Boise State.
Life After a Great College Experience
Carolyn’s first job after graduating was with AECOM, a global network that helps develop and implement innovative solutions like building skyscrapers, planning new cities, and restoring damaged environments. This was a fabulous career opportunity; however, Carolyn was truly interested in the nuclear sector. She credits her Boise State senior project class experience for sparking that interest. In senior project, students form work groups to solve engineering problems. Carolyn’s group collaborated with the Idaho National Laboratory on their project which involved finding a ceramic material compatible with a corrosive metal/salt mixture and finding a method of extracting the salt from the metal. The overall goal of the project was to develop a process to separate and purify electro-refined uranium fuel rods from ternary salt solutions via liquid vapor separation methods.
While browsing job opportunities at the Idaho National Laboratory, Carolyn found an opportunity at the Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation in Summerville, SC. She is currently serving as a crew training engineer and is responsible for training naval personnel to operate nuclear reactors on nuclear submarines and warships.
Boise State Memories
Carolyn fondly remembers her Kinetics class with Dr. Megan Frary. She worked with Dr. Frary on creating Jeopardy videos for extra credit. Students used these videos to study for the final exam. Carolyn looks back on the many learning opportunities offered in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering with great pride and gratitude. “Engineering can seem like a more rigid field,” says Carolyn; however, she was able to blend her engineering education with other experiences like music and laboratory research. “The Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering undergraduate program is a great corner stone and building block to start creating a meaningful foundation for your future.”
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