Chemical Engineering, Class of 2016
“Look around the room, at the products you use every day,” says Rachel Kumar. “Have you ever considered how much thought went into making them?” That’s an engineer at work, specifically a chemical engineer— committed to understanding the process behind a product so as to create a better one, especially one that makes a difference in people’s lives. Rachel chose chemical engineering for that very reason. She knew she’d chosen well when she joined other UVA engineers on a tour of a nearby manufacturing plant—awed at the sheer size and complexity of everything and the process involved in creating the finished product.
Rachel is equally passionate about getting more women involved in engineering and other STEM fields, starting with the very young. Since her own teen years, she has volunteered to help spark that interest in middle-school girls—the time when many stop pursuing an interest in the sciences. “I want to be part of that crucial moment in their lives.”