Christine Frazier-Hollins

Christine Frazier-Hollins

Ops Engineer
Pearland, TX, United States
Christine Frazier-Hollins
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My name is Christine and I am a Chemical Engineer. Being an engineer has allowed me to live in all across the country from the Northeast to Mountaineer Country to The Deep South, the Wild West and then Deep in the Heart of Texas. The first few years of my career were in the glass industry. I was first a Shift Supervisor and then a Process Engineer for the plant that made Corning Ware and Visions Cookware. It was really exciting to see the complexity behind how glass is made to be used in your home. I was on the production team that put into production the pad printer used to imprint the Martha Stewart co-branded line of Corning Ware and ran the validation experiments for equipment used to fire the dishes. Later I moved to a site that produced high purity fused silica - which is a fancy name for a very pure glass used in telescopes, microscopes, and with lasers to etch microchips. After several years in glass I moved along to the world of Industrial Gases. Examples of Industrial Gases are Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Argon they are used in a variety of industries from hospitals, to chemical plants, refineries, and even in welding. I worked not only in plants but also in pipeline operations. There is a vast network of pipelines all across the United States - and I worked for 4 years as a Pipeline Controller, those are the people who are responsible for safely directing the flow of product through the pipes. I used my engineering background and served on projects to improve operational efficiency, training, and ensure regulatory compliance. That skill set enabled me to become a Pipeline Optimization Manager and later a Six Sigma Black Belt. Currently, I work as an Operations Engineer for a major oil company. In my job I get to build tools used by both the operations and business side to safely and efficiently deliver products to their intended destination. I am also a mom of two, an advocate for children with special needs, and a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
BS in Chemical Engineering
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to serve as science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.
  • I am willing to be contacted about potential job shadowing by interested students.
  • I am willing to be interviewed by interested students via email.
Answers by Christine Frazier-Hollins

All branches of Engineering have their pluses and minuses. Often you won't get a true feel for what a discipline offers until you've experienced the coursework and even more so when completing internships. Without knowing you and your skills specifically it is nearly impossible for me to recommend a discipline to you (although I am partial to Chemical). My suggestion would be to try out one or two classes from each discipline. If that is not possible meet with an advisor for each of the disciplines and talk to students in each of the disciplines to gather enough information to make your decision. Both disciplines offer a variety of career paths and growth. The choice is up to you. 

 Hello Tremanye – Thank you for your question!
Engineering is the application of the pure sciences. Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc., all work together to form the various forms and facets of Engineering.  Although we say “Chemical” Engineering that does not mean that field is exclusively Chemistry and Mathematics – instead it is a field which more heavily leans on and utilizes principles from Chemistry and Mathematics while also incorporating facets of the other pure sciences.  
Each Engineering program is different; however, most will require a fundamental base in Physics – don’t worry you probably won’t end up solving complex, advanced theoretical physics problems – but without an understanding of physics you will have a challenge mastering key Chemical Engineering principles such as Thermodynamics and Fluid Dynamics to name a few. Since you love math I think you will find Physics interesting – you may even fall in love with it – I know I found  topics on Electricity and Magnetism enlightening and although while I was in school I never thought I’d use it - surprisingly enough I use principles of F=ma in my career today. I encourage you to give Physics a chance – you never know where it might take you…

First time posting on here, and hopefully some of you will respond.Here is some back round: I just transferred into a top 25 public university from a technical college. I am currently enrolled in their general engineering program, and have had plans (up until now?) to major in ChemE. I transferred in with a near 3.9, having taken Calc 1-3, Chem 1 and 2, and some other gen eds. As far as the ChemE curriculum goes at my new school, I am a few engineering classes, and 2 physics classes short from officially declaring my major. This semester however, I have been STRUGGLING. I am ashamed to admit it, but I just bombed my first physics with cal 1 test (made a 69), and failed my engineering skills class (which is only a quarter class) with a 68. The engineering skills class is the one that I am most concerned about, as it is basically just dimensional analysis and unit conversions, yet somehow I managed to the butcher my grade. I have really enjoyed math and science subjects my whole life, but there seems to be a disconnect when it comes to application. Is this a bad sign of things to come? If I cant grasp the very basic fundamentals, do I stand a chance when it comes to the more rigorous materials like thermo?On the other hand, my current grades in both Ochem and Calc 4 are great, so its not that I cant do the harder stuff necessarily. I initially thought that I would be willing to retake as many classes as I need to in order to finish my degree, but now I am having doubts. Has anyone been through a similar situation? Some advise would be much MUCH appreciated!

Dear Savana:
In my experience Engineering school has been a test of perseverance.  It is not a curriculum for the faint of heart, nor is it for those who cannot accept failure or learn from their mistakes.  Being an Engineer is about solving problems – the ones we know about and more often solving the problems no one has thought of yet.  When I was a freshman Chem E student I failed the first test of my Intro to Engineering class.  Our professor asked those who made below a certain grade to stay after class. He told us that we needed to decide if we were going to become Engineers.  He gave us 24 hours to retake the test or to drop the class and change our major.  This was devastating for me, a girl who had a nearly perfect GPA through high school to be confronted with such a harsh reality.  I recognized that my actions or inactions had contributed to my failing grade and that I needed to make a change in study habits if I was going to pass the class and continue in my chosen course of study.   That pivotal moment was the first of many in the four years I was studying to be a ChemE  - and through it all I learned to study with others, get help from my Professors, TA’s and others.  In our first two years my class size was cut in half and by the time we graduated was maybe a fourth of what it had been when we entered four years prior.  There were friends, who are practicing Engineers today, who graduated after I did because they stuck it out and retook classes in order to achieve their goal of becoming an Engineer.  As I said before Engineering school is a test of perseverance and you are the only one who can decide if 1) it is the right fit for you and 2) if it is then are you willing to preserver through some tough times to earn the prize?  Failing something for me was probably one of the most pivotal and valuable lessons I have had in my life.  In your career as an Engineer there will be things you cannot solve on the first time, second time, or even hundredth time – but that does not mean you give up. It means you go back collect more data, examine your process, and try again until you are able to find a solution.  I hope that these events will not deter you from engineering as a career and that you will give careful consideration to what you do next.   I hope this helps you in your journey.  Take care. 

Hello Tameez, thank you for writing in. Chemical Engineering is alive and well and more important than ever in today's world. Chemical Engineering is applied in Oil & Gas, Chemicals Manufacturing, Food Processing, Medicine, and Automobile Design to name a few. In fact the need for Chemical Engineers is so high that some employers offer incentives just for those holding a degree in it.  

Many Chemical Engineering programs (especially in the US) sprang up around industry - so you may tend to see a larger concentration in one geographical area vs. another. Due to its vast nature and field of application Chemical Engineering has given birth to other engineering subsets that are now their own stand alone programs - e.g. Environmental (combo of Chemical and Civil); Biomedical (combo of Mechanical and Chemical); Biochemical, Petroleum, Pharmaceutical, and the list goes on and on.  Some universities have opted to offer only the four core Engineering fields (ChemE, EE, CivE, and ME) and allow their students to choose concentrations with electives.  Other schools offer a broader range of programs.   Chemical Engineers often work as Process Engineers and many shift into other roles over their careers in part due to the doors opened up by having a foundation in Chemical Engineering. 

If Chemical Engineering is something you are truly interested in pursuing or knowing more about consider contacting some of the professional organizations such as American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). They can connect you with a local chapter where you can find out more about opportunities in your area and perhaps even offer some mentoring.  It's a great profession and it's great time to be a Chemical Engineer. 

Hi Rayhana! Congratulations on both of your achievements you should be very proud.  Making decisions like this is very personal. When I was a senior I faced a similar decision. A professor I trusted suggested that I go work for a few years to be able to really understand and experience what I had just spent the past 4 years studying and to help me narrow my focus if I did return to school later.  I can say that I have not gone back to school and have been very successful with just my Bachelors. Everyone will have a different career path and for me it took going into the workforce to truly discover what I was passionate about and where I wanted to focus my career.  Engineering in the classroom is often very different from engineering in the workplace. You may or may not be performing rigorous calculations – often you are putting together simple solutions to address a need or working to make something perform just a little bit better than it had been. There are lots of things to learn from books; however, I have found that hands on experience and interaction with end users to be invaluable.  Management Training programs are an excellent way to get to know a company and gain exposure to many types of positions in a safe and structured environment – companies are investing in you to become their leaders of tomorrow.  If you choose the work route you will also have the potential advantage of your employer picking up some or all of your costs to get your masters. In terms of taking a break and ease of jumping back all I can say is: If you are determined, you will succeed.  Will it be different? Yes. Will it be more stressful? Probably. Will you succeed? Absolutely, if you are determined.  As you make your decision consult others (who have your best interest at heart), weigh the advice you’ve been given and trust your gut. Don’t be fearful and take comfort in knowing there is no wrong choice here. You can and will be successful whichever avenue you choose at this fork in the road.