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Active Engineering Student Has Lofty Aspirations

April 13, 2018
Woman works on piece of chemical engineering equipment
Chemical engineering student Sarah Kamphaus has had a full college experience, staying busy with class work and occupying positions in student organizations.

Sarah Kamphaus doesn’t aim low when it comes to her goals. She studies chemical engineering at the University of Wyoming and preferred the field for a reason.

“Originally I chose it because of my love for chemistry and the wide range of career choices, but throughout the years, my desire to make a difference on a large scale has really grown, and I feel engineering has the potential to do that,” she says. “Chemical engineering has ignited my passion to solve the problem of the ever-present energy crisis and has given me the opportunity to change the world.”

Born and raised in Fort Collins, Kamphaus wanted to experience something new when she went to college. She began studying at the University of Colorado Boulder but found it wasn’t the right fit. Looking for a transfer opportunity in 2015, she was seeking an institution that was close, with nearby outdoor activities and an excellent chemical engineering program.

“Naturally, UW was the choice,” she says.

Kamphaus arrived and immediately began immersing herself in the culture of the college and university. She got involved with several UW recognized student organizations (RSO). In addition to her challenging studies, she serves as the American Institute of Chemical Engineers vice president, treasurer of the Joint Engineering Council, treasurer of the campus ministry Chi Alpha and the secretary of Society of Women Engineers.

“When I first started at UW as a transfer student, I really didn’t have a community or people to go to, so I figured why not start within my major and so I joined the UW chapters of SWE and AIChE,” she says. “The following year, I was on the executive board of SWE as a JEC representative and joined Chi Alpha through a friend in my engineering courses.

“The camaraderie, welcoming spirit and sense of home that I feel in each RSO is overwhelming. I just want to share that with each member and show them how much we care, which in turn leads to high involvement. The opportunities for travel to conferences for each RSO are also incredible and supply an avenue of personal, technical and professional growth.”

Being heavily involved with the RSOs and taking challenging courses hasn’t been easy, though. Each day, Kamphaus has large blocks of time dedicated for studying and class, and thanks to increased responsibility within the RSOs, she’s began using a planner this semester to keep all her tasks organized.

All the hard work has paid off, as Kamphaus has secured employment after graduation this spring. She has accepted an offer with the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, Calif. She hopes to go to graduate school in the future to continue the focus of her UW research in advancements in renewable energy.

Looking back on her college career, Kamphaus cites a specific reason for her success at UW.

“The people here are truly the greatest asset to the university,” she says. “They’re the reason why moving to a small town was bearable. They’re the reason for my success in engineering. They’re the reason why it’s going to be so incredibly hard to leave ‘Laradise.’”

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