Catherine Gumm, '07

Catie GummMajor:Chemistry


Hometown: Seattle, Wash.

Further degrees: Pursuing PhD in Chemical Engineering and Biorenewable Resources and Technology, Minor in Soil Science

Current employer and job: Graduate Research Assistant, Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies, Iowa State University

Most enhancing experiences while at IUP:Study abroad at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland (2004-2005); NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Mississippi State University (Summer 2006)

About my major: Chemistry is not an easy major with its hands-on lab experiences and analytical skills development process. It does, however, provide a fundamental understanding of the sciences and access to faculty and undergraduate research that prepared me well to jump right into the fray of interdisciplinary engineering research.

The HC's impact: The Honors College taught me how to make my own opportunities: If there is something I want to do or something I think could be changed for the better, I know how to find out what resources are available, who to talk to, and how to ask to make it happen.

For example, there were few options for science majors to study abroad, so two friends and I worked with the administration to start one with AMU in Poland. In graduate school, there was no funding for a biochar research program, so I applied for an NSF graduate research fellowship to support my work, and developed collaborations with scientists around campus.

Core taught me that I can contribute: I know how to break down and understand an argument, how to evaluate assumptions, and how to form a logical presentation of my ideas such that I can hold my own in any discussion, regardless of the advanced degrees or intimidating titles my discussion partners might have.