The College of Engineering advances many successful engineers into industry each year, and they all have unique experiences and accomplishments from their time at Iowa State. Mechanical engineering senior and Mason City native Chloe Dedic is no exception.
In Dedic’s nearly four years at Iowa State, she has upheld a 3.99 GPA, participated in groundbreaking research, and participated in extracurricular programs. These activities ultimately led to her selection for prestigious honors such as the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and the Wallace E. Barron All-University Senior Award.
As a freshman, Dedic arrived on campus undecided as to what career path she wanted to take. Interested in science and math as a high school student, Dedic knew she wanted to pursue engineering but was stuck between the choice of the chemical and mechanical engineering disciplines.
“I initially considered chemistry as a major, but I was afraid that if I were to major in chemistry I would be doing something extremely theoretical, and I’m the type of person who really likes to know how my work applies to the real world,” explains Dedic.
She began working with the freshman Honors Program to find a research project that would give her that real-world application. When Dedic was selected to work in the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s (ME) Multiphase Reacting Flow Laboratory with assistant professor Terry Meyer, she found the work suited her interests. She subsequently selected ME as her major, pairing it with a minor in physics.
Dedic credits much of her ME success to her early involvement with the Honors Program.
“I learned how to apply for national scholarships through the Honors Program, which really paid off when applying for the Goldwater Scholarship,” she says. “Without the Honors Program, I would not have become as involved in research, and may not have found something I enjoyed so much.”
Dedic has enjoyed her position in the ME lab so much that she continues to work there today. She’s evaluating diagnostics for combustion processes with a hybrid femtosecond/picosecond coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering spectroscopy technique. The research relates to ongoing efforts aimed at producing and utilizing clean, renewable energy sources. In order to fully understand the chemical reactions governing clean energy processes, measurements of temperature and molecular concentration can help reduce or even eliminate the formation of pollutants such as carbon monoxide or nitrogen oxides.
“My favorite part about research is having the opportunity to be the first person to try something,” she explains. “There is no way to know without a doubt whether or not your experiment will work, giving you the chance to either be completely wrong or discover something new.”
Dedic furthered her engineering skills last summer as an intern at Kiewit Power Engineers in Lenexa, Kansas, where she assisted in several aspects of designing a combined cycle power plant.
“My internship provided me with a very realistic snapshot of engineering within an industrial setting. I enjoyed the projects I was assigned to, and I am glad I had the opportunity to experience engineering away from an academic setting,” she says.
In addition to her commitment to research and education, Dedic has made it a priority to participate and hold leadership positions in several organizations in the Iowa State community. These activities have included ISU Engineers Without Borders, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, ISU Wind Ensemble, ISU Water Polo Club, ISU Student Alumni Leadership Council, Dance Marathon, and several community service projects for which she has received the Silver Cord Volunteerism Award.
Dedic has also been honored with the ISU President’s Award for Competitive Excellence Scholarship; received ISU Scholars and Leaders recognition; won the Galen F. Smith Design Competition; was a semi-finalist for the Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation Scholarship, and won a Woman of Innovation Award.
Of all her activities, she is most enthusiastic about the opportunity to mentor others. Dedic is particularly proud of her involvement with Engineers Without Borders, peer mentoring for Women in Science and Engineering, and coaching the local children’s swimming club because they have allowed her to push others to succeed.
“I am so proud of the success of each of the swimmers I have coached in the past three years,” explains Dedic. “Motivating these children to push their personal boundaries and discover how much they can accomplish was a rewarding experience, and I look forward to finding other opportunities in the future to mentor and inspire individuals to succeed.”
While Dedic’s undergraduate studies at Iowa State are coming to a close, her excitement for learning will continue. She is currently working on a concurrent master’s in ME, and was recently awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship to support her graduate work. Following her master’s degree, she hopes to pursue a PhD at another institution.
Looking even further down the road, Dedic hopes to pursue a doctoral degree, and is considering a career in academia to continue her passions for research and mentoring.