College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Mary Thatcher: Prepared for what’s next 

Portrait of Mary Thatcher in a lab.
Portrait of Mary Thatcher in a lab.

For many students, it can be challenging to determine what path to take. Iowa State’s Chemical and Biological Systems Engineering department helps students explore countless paths before they walk across the stage at graduation.  

Students across the department have access to resources with peers and faculty, encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone, explore new opportunities, and make the most of their time here at Iowa State. And senior Mary Thatcher has taken full advantage.  

When describing the encouragement from the entire department, Thatcher said, “There’s a saying in Sweeney Hall that says ‘chemical engineers can solve all the world’s problems, ‘ and that’s hard to see just in the classroom. But once you get into the lab work and those experiences, you can see how that can happen.

“It’s so easy to get lost and confused and just caught up in the numbers and the equations that you’re learning in class or that you’re seeing on the whiteboard. But once you see the physical application of those, you can see how that impacts engineers and our society as a whole,” explained Thatcher.

“I’m interested in many different things, including food, chemistry, biomedical applications, pharmaceuticals, and many different things. And within chemical engineering, you get opportunities to explore all of those, and it also sets you up well for many post-grad opportunities.”