An aptitude for leadership: Kemm earns degree in chemical engineering

May 06, 2024

A first-generation student from a small town in Southwest Missouri, Ashley Kemm is proud to be a Tiger. She grew up coming to Mizzou for Missouri State High School Activities Association Solo & Small Ensemble as an active member of the Webb City band program and fell in love with campus. And while here, she says she’s never felt unsupported thanks to the Tiger community.

After some encouragement from her high school chemistry teacher, Kemm chose to study chemical engineering at Mizzou. After graduating she plans to become a process engineer at Exxon Mobile.

Read on for a Q&A with Kemm about her Mizzou Engineering experience.

How did you get involved at Mizzou?

I started my time at Mizzou in Fall 2020. With most of my classes being online, I went out of my way to join as many clubs as possible during my freshman year to meet new people and make some friends because I was away from home.

Thanks to the New Student BBQ, I was able to learn about and join many student orgs within the College of Engineering, including Alpha Omega Epsilon (AOE), Mizzou Engineering Student Council (MESC), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), ChemE Car and St. Patrick’s Board. My leadership experience was jumpstarted in AOE where I served as the merchandise chair my freshman year. Since then, I have served as a member of an exec board or been a committee chair for each of the orgs I am involved in.

I have also utilized MU Engage and other Mizzou resources to participate in organizations outside the College of Engineering, including being a site leader for Mizzou Alternative Breaks and playing on an intramural volleyball team throughout my college career. 

What’s your favorite thing about chemical engineering?

The faculty in the chemical engineering department is unmatched. From the moment we are welcomed to the program as “padawans” by Dr. Patrick Pinhero to the moment we say goodbye to the program with Dr. Scott Christensen, we are given the utmost support and encouragement. Office hours are personalized, the doors are always open and lectures are an engaging experience.

Chemical engineering is a tough degree to pursue, but the professors who guide us through it make it a surprisingly enjoyable struggle. Through our professors we are not only learning the technical side of engineering, but the human qualities it takes to work as a team and be a truly successful engineer.

How has Mizzou Engineering helped you achieve your goals?

Mizzou Engineering has been monumental in shaping my future as a chemical engineer. I received both my sophomore and junior year internships as a result of the Career Fair hosted by the college. This experience gave me the technical aptitude needed to interview and work for Exxon after graduation.

The College of Engineering has also been the home for most of my leadership development opportunities through different organizations I am a part of within the college. This built my people skills up alongside the technical, overall shaping me into a much better and well-rounded engineer. 

What would you tell someone who’s interested in coming to Mizzou?

Do it! Choosing to go to Mizzou has been one of the best decisions of my life thus far. The community and college experience here is truly unbeatable for a woman in engineering. I have been able to gain a sound technical understanding of my degree while also not being consumed by my studies. Thanks to the multitude of resources available, it is possible to maintain a high GPA, be an active member of clubs, see your friends and indulge in hobbies all at the same time here at Mizzou. 

What’s next for you after graduation?

After graduation I will be moving down to Beaumont, Texas, to work for Exxon Mobil as a process engineer at their oil refinery and petrochemicals plant. Additionally, I will be working towards earning my Professional Engineering license and possibly returning to school to earn my MBA.