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Women in Engineering: Emily Beagle

June 17, 2013

UW College of Engineering & Applied Science

“Dare to strike out and find new ground.” – Henry David Thoreau

Originally from Sheridan, WY, Emily Beagle has finished her first year as a Mechanical Engineering graduate student.  In 2012, she finished her B.S. with dual majors in Mechanical Engineering and Energy Systems Engineering (ESE).  The unique ESE program integrates courses from outside of the CEAS.  This encourages students to look beyond the confines of the engineering field while simultaneously incorporating schools of thought from environmental law, environmental politics, and natural resource ethics, while also working alongside the stakeholders of land usage.   This includes direct work with environmental policy. 

This summer Emily was selected as an intern for the Washington Internship for Students of Engineering (WISE).  The WISE Program is sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has been ranked as one of the top internship opportunities in the United States by the Princeton Review.  Each summer a group of top-performing engineering students are selected for the 9-week internship program.  The purpose of the program is to provide students with real-world learning applications of the public policy process, how government officials make decisions on complex technological issues, and how engineers can contribute to legislative and regulatory public policy decisions.  As a part of the internship Emily has weekly meetings with individuals from Congress, the Executive Branch, and government relations professionals from the business community in Washington D.C.  Her work is supervised by faculty-member-in-residence (FMR) Dr. Gail Marcus.  The FMR is an engineer with a background in public policy, or a public policy professor hired to run each year's program.  Dr. Marcus is a nuclear engineer who has worked with various nuclear agencies around the world, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

In addition to her visits and interaction with the FMR and her society mentors, Emily spends a significant portion of her time independently researching, writing, and presenting a policy paper that looks at the feasibility of various renewable technologies in the transportation sector (bio-fuels, ethanol, electric vehicles, improved efficiency, etc). 

Emily has a keen sense and appreciation for the sociological influences that shape and direct the evolution of the engineering field.  This includes how engineering affects people, societies, and cultures.  She hopes in the future that more emphasis will be placed on these factors in undergraduate engineering curricula.   

Upon returning to UW in the fall Emily will complete her graduate thesis throughout the duration of the 2013-’14 academic year.  The working title for her thesis is “Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass Using Concentrated Solar Radiation.”  The purpose of this research is to optimize conditions that maximize bio-oil production.  This is primarily achieved by maximizing the volume of by-products from the thermal decomposition process.  This involves the heating of bio-mass in the absence of oxygen, decomposing the matter to char gases and bio-oil. 

During her undergraduate education Emily spent a semester abroad at the University of Queensland, Australia.  She has also been an active participant in the Energy and Sustainability Club, Engineers without Borders, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Mortar Board Honorary.  Emily has also been awarded the most prestigious graduate fellowship available in the U.S., the National Science Foundation Research Fellowship.

Emily continues to serve as a member of the University of Wyoming chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB).  This organization provides students with a unique opportunity to apply their engineering knowledge directly in real-world environments while being exposed to varying economical and sociological demographics.  Emily is currently working on the Guatemala project team whose task is to provide safe drinking water for a village. 

In her free time, Emily competes on UW’s club fencing team.  She also enjoys the coed intramural soccer league on campus, continues to play piano, and is an experimental cook. 

After completion of her graduate degree, Emily looks forward to applying her engineering background to the public policy arena.  Ideally, she would like to obtain a position in Washington D.C. advising policy writers in technical matters related to energy. 



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