Women of Distinction

2011
2012

Megan Ketchum (Right)

Liang, Vu and Ketchum

Honors/achievements:

  • Engineering Expo Co-Coordinator, 2010-‘11
  • Student Senate School of Engineering Senator, 2009-‘11
  • Most Outstanding Sophomore in Chemical Engineering, Spring 2011
  • President Tau Beta Pi – 2011-2012
  • Property Manager of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority – 2009-2010
  • Jayhawk Motorsports – Powertrain Team 2011
    • 4th Place Sales Team at Formula SAE California 2010
  • Student Ambassador – 2008-2010
  • Engineering Ambassador – 2010-2012
  • Watkins-Berger Scholar
  • Alpha Delta Pi Sorority Recruitment Information Manager 2010-2011

How I became interested in my field:

I think my interest stems from the fact that I love math, science and problem-solving. Both of my parents have engineering degrees and they pushed me to learn math and science when I was little. At a certain point, they did not need to force me to do it anymore because I loved it. When I started looking at majors, the one that combined math, science and problem-solving was engineering. It also had the extra bonus that it was hands-on. If you wanted to, you could design and build a concrete canoe, Formula SAE race car, a chemical car or a solar panel.

An honor, achievement or accomplishment that is most meaningful to me:

Being a co-coordinator for Engineering Expo for two years has been my most meaningful accomplishment. I went to a school district that did not emphasize math or science. Every school board meeting, my parents would push for more emphasis on these and it is still a work in progress there to improve it. Engineering Expo gives young students an opportunity to become interested in math and science with competitions and activities that they might find interesting. This event is an opportunity for teachers to have a hands-on math and science project for their students to complete, promoting engineering towards students at a younger age and a wider array of students.

Someone who has been a role model for me and why:

I would have to say that my dad is my biggest role model. From a time when I was little, I can remember that I would ask him how to spell words and he would spell the word ‘dictionary’ back to me. It was also fun to watch things break in our house because it meant that my dad was able to take it apart without my mom yelling at him. Almost everything that broke in our house was fixed by my dad because he found it interesting. By the time I was ten, he had already taught me how to build a circuit with a switch. He wanted to instill in his kids that there are other resources available where you can find an answer and that we needed to be independent and self-teach ourselves. I view him as my role model because he has integrity in everything that he does and the fact that he has made me a better person.

Someone who has been influential or had a significant impact on my life:

This person would probably never know that he made an impact on my life, but it was my chemistry teacher in high school, Mr. Peters. I took chemistry as a sophomore when it was a junior class. I was extremely quiet in class, but I had the best grade in the class and my homework answers would work their way through at least three different class periods because I would help one person and that person would help someone else and so on and so forth. If he had not been as passionate about chemistry and made it an enjoyable class, I probably would not have chosen chemical engineering as my major in college.

My favorite KU memory:

At 4 am, the morning before Engineering Expo 2011, one of the other coordinators and I were trying to do all of the finishing touches on the hallways before we left for the night. We needed to remove the handles for the safety showers because during the previous year, visiting students had pulled the handles releasing gallons of water into the hallways. As we were trying to remove the handle, we accidentally set off the shower on ourselves. The other coordinator ran off to find help at 4 am and I had to try to stop the shower. My efforts failed as all I did was successfully drench myself in chemical wash water. The other coordinator could only find a physics student who was still at the building trying to finish his display for the Expo. He figured out how to shut off the shower, but water was still all over the hallway.

An important life lesson I have learned:

Nothing will ever go as you planned no matter what it is. You need to learn to be able to adapt to every situation and not become flustered when things do not go as planned. The best ideas come when others have gone wrong and you need to think of something on the fly. As long as you have a smile on your face, no one will ever think that anything went wrong.

If I had a sister just entering college, I would want her to know…

I have an older sister so I can remember what she told me before I attended college. Get involved in something on campus, and get involved early. The best times that I have had in college are the results of what I have become involved in. Also, you only get out what you put in. If you’re going to be a part of something, be a part of it and do not sell yourself short because then you will not actually receive something from it.

A favorite quote or saying and why it is meaningful to me:

“It’s genetic.” My family always says this whenever we describe ourselves and it has sort of become the family motto about life in general.