Luke Oetzel

Luke Oetzel's picture
Luke
Oetzel
Middleton, Wisconsin, USA
Honor Society Member
Wisconsin ( December-2016 )
Summary
I am a chemical engineering student at the University of Wisconsin - Madison with one year left to complete my undergraduate degree. I enjoy learning and finding hobbies that let me use what I learn to create something tangible that I can continuously improve on. For me, such hobbies include home-brewing beer, designing small electronic devices, and sailing, which I would recommend to anyone who has access to the equipment needed. I value my education highly, and I must give credit and my appreciation for all the mentors, committed students and staff, and coworkers that have helped me along my path through college. I have had the chance to assist with academic and professional research projects throughout my undergraduate career, and I believe that this hands-on experience has been very beneficial.
Intended Job Path
While studying at UW-Madison, I have tested various specializations to find those that interest me the most. At this point, I do not have one specific field of chemical engineering that I know I will end up working in, but rather there are a few that stand out as fields that I am passionate about. I would love to work in the polymer, semiconductor, or biofuel industry. There are several notable companies in the mid-Western United States, and even here in Madison, that develop processes to manufacture biofuels. Despite the large number of failed enterprises that this industry has seen in the past 30 years, I am confident that biofuels will play a large role in our future, so this is a possible path that I may follow in the near future. Polymers and semiconductors are classes of materials that are used widely, and there is great variation in the processes used to manufacture and modify them. The challenges and benefits to the world offered by these industries makes them especially interesting to me.
Grad School Interests
I have no plans to attend grad school in the near future. I have been an undergraduate student for six years due to a change in my chosen career path during my third year of school. As a result of this lengthy undergraduate career, I am eager to enter the workforce and begin learning and refining my skills outside of academia. I would love to earn an advanced degree at some point in the future, but it is not certain at this time whether or not that is the best path for me to take.
Honors & Awards
Physical Chemistry Student of the Year
An award given to one physical chemistry student each year that has been recognized by the chemistry department instructors as demonstrating an interest and aptitude for the subject.
Major
Chemical Engineering
Language Proficiency
English (US)
Advanced
Spanish
Intermediate
Volunteering
River Watch
Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity
November, 2009 to April, 2010
Hobbies
I love to occupy my time with hobbies that put knowledge and experience to use. The three major hobbies that I have pursued most avidly are all activities that I have broken into in the past five years, which include the following: * Home-brewing beer - One of my bosses introduced me to this hobby and I have found that there is no limit to how much you can learn about home-brewing. Through my studies in chemical engineering, I have gone from seeing home-brewing as a process akin to cooking a meal, to a complex chemical process where a student of limited financial means can experiment with all the unit operations involved in the manufacture of a refined product. Home-brewers quickly learn the importance of sterile techniques and thorough cleaning to maintain the integrity of each batch. Aspects like temperature, pH, yeast strain, fermentation time, oxygen deprivation, material transport, sugar choice, solid particle size, and carbonation must be considered, and there are many opportunities to change aspects of the process and see directly how it changes the final product. I didn't know it when I started, but I was dealing with a lot of the challenges of chemical processing before learning about them in the classroom. * Building electronic devices - This is an activity that I have only just started with. Most of my time thus far has been spent reading electronics textbooks and learning the theory that underlies this hobby. With digital components and integrated circuits readily available to consumers, the construction of electronic devices is a useful hobby that doesn't require a large money investment. * Sailing - I began taking sailing lessons with my wife, Millie, in the summer of 2015, and I have found that it can be as challenging and rewarding as you want to make it. Learning the basics of sailing, which are needed to launch, maneuver, and land a boat, can be accomplished with only a little instruction and practice. However, experienced sailors will tell you that they are always learning new ways to control the boat and understand the elements that influence its operation. There are many ways that a practiced sailor can get their boat to outperform others. I have enjoyed learning about the physics that influence a boat’s operation, and developing my abilities to judge natural conditions like wind speed and direction. I try to get better by learning how to fine tune the weight distribution of passengers, the optimum path of sail, and the manipulation of the many available control surfaces on the craft. I have found that sailing can be a tremendously rewarding experience whether you are pushing the boat to its limits in high winds, or leisurely cruising around the lake with friends.
Luke Oetzel - Wisconsin | HonorSociety.org
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