What do chemical engineers do? Here’s one answer: “Chemists can tell you how to make a substance,” explains Nicole. “Chemical engineers can scale it from the lab to the plant.” Her most memorable undergraduate project involved creating a theoretical build of an entire plant, from parking lot, to funding, to the chemical engineering requirements.

As a sophomore, Nicole worked during summer and winter breaks at the Shaw Group’s Stone & Webster, a nuclear consulting firm. “I got some really good hands-on managerial experience,” she says, “and I also learned that nuclear engineering wasn’t quite right for me.” Following that valuable lesson, Nicole shifted her focus to chemical engineering.

After finishing her associate's degree at Middlesex Community College, Nicole decided to broaden her areas of expertise by transferring and eventually enrolling in the Master of Science in Innovation and Technological Entrepreneurship (MSITE) program at UMass Lowell. “It was too soon to be doing an M.B.A., but I’ve always been interested in business and in developing new products,” she says. Nicole is enjoying working on small teams on challenges such as creating a business plan for an innovative optical pressure sensor being developed by a UMass Lowell professor and designing new products around existing patents.

While an undergraduate, Nicole served as president of the Society of Women Engineers and the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers student chapters, and was active in the Alternative Spring Break club. She was awarded a Dean’s medal for student service and a University medal for community service.