THS grad wins global engineering recognition
A Tonganoxie High School grad can add one more accomplishment to her list.
Kaitlyn King, formerly Kaitlyn Kelly, has just won two globally-recognized awards in chemical engineering. Her awards came just six moths after she graduated at the top of her class from the Kansas University School of Engineering with a bachelor’s in chemical and petroleum engineering.
“I really didn’t think I was going to win, “ she said about the awards.
King won two out of the five top design safety awards sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
The awards were for a month-long project in which she and 20 other students individually came up with a process to turn coal into ethanol.
The students not only had to make the conversion, but they had to make it economically viable and, more importantly, make it safe.
Colin Howat, associate professor for the university’s chemical and petroleum engineering department, said he wasn’t surprised that King’s design won some awards because she was such a good student in his design class.
“It was as a stellar performance on her part,” Howat said about her design. “She’s a phenomenal engineer.”
Each year Howat is able to submit two entries from the university for the award.
King’s parents, Keyta Kelly, Leavenworth County counselor-at-large, and Mike Kelly, Tonganoxie city attorney, were happy with her accomplishment.
“We’re very proud of her, but we’ve been proud of her for years,” Keyta said. “She’s always been one of those kids that puts her complete effort into something and makes sure she does it right.”
Howat said winning the award was great because it was recognized in the industry and it gives students the understanding that they are able to do the work well. But it also came with a few other bonuses.
“There’s a little bit of prize money.” King said. “And you have bragging rights. That’s also nice.”
After graduation, King began working for Trinity Consultants, Lenexa, as an environmental consultant.
She said her new company was excited about her accomplishment and would publish a story in their next newsletter.