Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another "First" For Tennessee Tech

Nigerian grad student Chi Chi Mbachu
The first female graduate student from Africa to receive a master's of science degree in chemical engineering at TTU plans to graduate this December. Chinyere Mbachu has been studying biotechnology and energy, as well as environmental and engineering education. She says that she chose to pursue chemical engineering "with an environmental option focused on using pulsed corona discharges to degrade contaminants from drinking water." In other words, taking pollutants out of the drinking water in areas where the lack of potable water threatens health and lives, including her native land of Nigeria or in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico. She has received several awards, but says the awards pale in comparison to the rewards she anticipates experiencing by returning to Nigeria to teach at a university and bringing awareness to women.

"Because women are most often directed to study education, law or business, they don't understand the implication of environmental pollution," she said.  "In this highly populated rural area, we need to create awareness about sustainable solutions to these issues. My main goal is to use my education and position to teach and motivate young women. I want to develop leadership seminars and make women aware of the ways they can empower themselves through engineering education."