Chemical engineering students bring varied talents to BYU

With packed schedules and many credit hours to complete, it may seem like engineering students don’t have time for any activities other than school. But three BYU chemical engineering students show that it can be done.

Carl Prince, Shelly McRoberts and Sarah Chambers have diverse backgrounds with different talents. All three are chemical engineering students and all three pursue different interests outside of school.

Chemical engineering is considered a challenging, time consuming and highly technical major. Even though being an engineering student is tough, Prince is able to perform as the bassist for Vocal Point, McRoberts finds time to compete in Miss Teen USA beauty pageants, and Chambers is still able to participate on the BYU women’s soccer team.

When he was in high school, Prince started an a cappella group with Matt Newman, who is now Vocal Point’s beatboxer. When he arrived at BYU, Prince still had a passion for a cappella so he tried out for Vocal Point as a freshman. He didn’t make it at the time and he left on his mission shortly after.

When he returned, he was consumed by school and work. As a chemical engineering student, he thought that he didn’t have time for another extracurricular activity until he was convinced by a friend to try out for Vocal Point again. Today, Prince is the bass for the group and is able to manage both his time with Vocal Point and his school work.

“I feel like Vocal Point and chemical engineering are two different sides of me,” Prince said. “One side is a singing, dancing performer, while the other side is a reserved, analytical scientist.”

Upon graduation, Prince hopes to either continue on to graduate school in a field related to bioengineering or to pursue medical school.

In September, McRoberts was crowned Miss Wyoming Teen USA 2016. She is also an engineering student interested in food science. She wants to help others that have similar food allergies as her.

“As one who has an allergy to artificial food dyes I want to work to help develop natural dyes so that they can be as cheap and effective as the artificial ones,” McRoberts said.

Being an engineering student helps McRoberts separate herself from other contestants as she prepares to compete in the Miss Teen USA 2016 national pageant later this year. She explained that her studies helped her to stand out as a contestant that likes a challenge. She said that pursuing a career in a male-dominated field has given her a platform from which she can be an example to other women and encourage them to follow their dreams.  

“The goal of every engineer is to improve the world around them and contribute in solving the problems of the world,” she explained. “I want to be a chemical engineer so that I can be a part of that and be an influence for good.”

For Chambers, being in the chemical engineering program has helped her learn how to focus. As a member of the BYU women’s soccer team, she has earned a number of honors including WCC All-Academic Team, CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team, and tied for the second most assists in game in BYU history.  According to Chambers, being able to think critically and problem solve is essential when she’s on the field.

“On the field, players are problem solving all the time,” Chambers said. “You need to know when to step to the ball or drop back. The best players are always thinking.”

Chambers explained that having a lot of homework helped her to learn how to be productive at home, which also helped her on the field. The work ethic that is needed in the chemical engineering major helped her to make sure that she was always working hard when she is given time on the field.

Brad Bundy, associate professor of chemical engineering, encourages students to pursue both their academic and personal goals.

"Students who have apprehensions about doing engineering because they feel that they can’t be involved in other activities will realize that, if they put in the effort, they can find a way to do both and still thrive in the engineering programs," he said. 

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