Kaelee Novich, a Junior in the department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, recently won 1st place in Discussion Debate and 2nd place in Public Forum Debate at the 2019 National Speech and Debate Championship, in New York City. In addition to her long list of other accomplishments, Kaelee is an exemplar of cross-disciplinary education, and what it means to be a Bronco.
Following her recent wins, we were able to catch up with
Kaelee to answer a few questions about the motivations and inspirations that
drive her to the top.
When asked how Kaelee got started in debate, her answer was surprising. “When I was a freshman in high school, I wanted to complete classes quickly as possible so I could take more AP classes during my junior and senior year. I signed up for my high school speech and debate team because I could earn my required speech credit sooner. However, after I went to my first tournament, I was instantly hooked.” Kaelee’s newfound passion for debate then set her on a long and successful high school debate career, which eventually cascaded over in to her College life. Since that fateful tournament as a freshman in high school, Kaelee has amassed a mountain of accolades including some 50-plus awards, honors, and recognitions, and as of this February, 3 national championships with the Boise State Talkin’ Broncos Speech and Debate Team. Although Kaelee has been extremely successful in her speech and debate career, she has also challenged herself in her normal coursework, and now, has her eyes set on the future.
Talking about her future, Kaelee explained to us how it is
that she, a Mechanical Engineering major, involved in Speech and Debate at the
highest levels, would want to work in the Materials Science department.
Similarly to how she found debate, the spurring moment came about almost unexpectedly.
It was a while back when Kaelee took Introduction to
Materials with Dr. Amy Moll and then decided to join the Micron School of
Materials Science and Engineering as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the
Advanced Materials Lab (AML) for Dr. Brian Jaques. These two experiences,
Kaelee said, are what led her to have an interest in Materials Science, and
have set her on her next journey – to become a materials scientist.
In the AML, Kaelee helps analyze dry cask methods for mixing nuclear fuels in order to help innovate novel storage systems for spent fuels. “I plan on pursuing a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering,” Kaelee said, “to utilize both my engineering and communication background to work on policy regarding nuclear energy.”
To add to Kaelee’s accomplishments in the classroom and in
the forum, Kaelee is a National Science Foundation Scholar, and was recently
awarded the Nuclear Energy University Program scholarship from the Department
of Energy. In her limited free time, Kaelee participates as a member of the
Society of Women Engineers, the American Nuclear Society club and is poised to
be inducted in to Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, this month.
From all of us in the Micron School of Materials Science and
Engineering, congratulations, Kaelee!
For more information on Kaelee’s research in the AML, you can attend the Boise State Undergraduate Research Conference next week where she will be presenting on her current research.