Heather Meiring - Doctorate: Chemical Engineering, 2005
I entered the graduate chemical engineering program with some trepidation – I was a single mother with two job offers on the table after getting my B.S. ChE from Texas in 2001. Putting off taking a job meant putting more pressure for support on my parents, although we all felt in the long run that I would be more intellectually satisfied as well as more able to provide care for my daughter (who has special needs) for the rest of her life. I never regret that decision. I learned more about resourcefulness, humility, self-confidence, problem-solving and enjoying my curiosity in graduate school than anywhere else. It has also given me strength to deal with life challenges I’ve faced both in school and afterward that I don’t feel I would have had otherwise. I conducted research under the guidance of a wonderful professor and with great peers, met my future husband, discovered and dealt with a second diagnosis of a learning/intellectual disability in my daughter (she has both Down’s and Autism), taught some great future engineers through my teaching assistantship, and expanded my knowledge of the range of areas chemical engineering encompasses in the process. My 4 1/2 years in graduate school at UT are among my most cherished, and always will be.