Learning Undefeated’s STEM Spotlight series features young professionals from diverse backgrounds who are working to make a difference in science, business, medicine, engineering, and technology fields. Each short video includes a profile of the job role and information about how they came to be interested in STEM.
STEM Spotlight, Travis Dennis
Travis Dennis is a chemical engineer for W.R. Grace, a leading chemical company. As a kid Travis wanted to become a professional soccer player, but knew that he also wanted to pursue a degree in chemical engineering. Through hard work and determination, Travis was able to fulfill both dreams by continuing to play soccer while he studied engineering. He credits curiosity as a main spark for knowledge and encourages others to continue asking questions in order to keep learning.
Hi I’m Travis Dennis and I am a chemical engineer at W.R. Grace. Our company makes a catalyst that is used in refineries to break down crude oil into oil that can go into your car so that you can get to soccer practice or school safely.
There’s a lot of different types of engineers. There’s mechanical engineers, electrical engineers. A chemical engineer takes an idea, something that maybe somebody in research and development has come up with and brings it into real life. That may be determining the right equipment to produce a certain product, how we might make that product. We bring the littlest idea into reality.
At first I actually wanted to be a pro soccer player, but I also decided that I should have a major in chemical engineering. I had people who suggested that I should either choose soccer and an easier major or choose chemical engineering and not play soccer anymore. And that just fueled the fire. I am a bit stubborn so that just made me want to do it even more.
Do the best you can at everything that you do. Find something that you enjoy and go for it. And ask questions, question everything because that is a great way to learn.