Christopher Dromgoole, a chemical engineering alumnus, graduated with his B.S. in 2000 and M.S. in 2003. He is from Gloucester Township, NJ (Camden County). During his time at Rowan, he was an Undergraduate Lab Assistant and Graduate Assistant. He is a Staff Engineer at The Hershey Company’s Reese Plant.
What would you share with a future student interested in Chemical Engineering?
“There are many career opportunities and pathways to choose from for those with a Chemical Engineering degree such as: food and beverage, pharmaceutical, energy, medical, legal and sales. Don’t just focus on the word ‘chemical’!”
Did you ever have a moment of uncertainty within your major? How did you get through the challenge?
“Sure, Chemical Engineering was difficult and required a lot of hard work, which made me question whether I really wanted to be an engineer. The key for me to overcome this challenge was to maintain focus and persevere through the rough times knowing that graduation was right on the horizon.”
Did you feel supported throughout your college career by the Rowan community? If so, explain.
“Yes, I most definitely felt supported by the Rowan community, especially my professors and classmates. I was part of the first graduating engineering class, so at that time, the program was small and each semester only had one section per course due to the minimal amount of faculty. This forced our class to be together for every required course, and we became like a second family. If anyone had trouble understanding classwork, homework or projects, there was always someone willing to sit down and explain things differently in hopes of making you understand.”
Tell us about your transition into the work field and how you pushed through any challenges.
“I had a relatively smooth transition into the work field having been well prepared by learning how to work in teams during my various Rowan Engineering Clinic projects. As an engineer, one of the most important skills that you will need to learn is how to effectively troubleshoot an issue or a problem. This skill will greatly improve over time as you become immersed within your field of concentration or industry, but as a new engineer, you can’t be afraid or too proud to ask others for help or advice…”
What is your biggest career accomplishment so far?
“My biggest career accomplishment so far was the commercialization of the Hershey’s Air Delight Bars and Kisses. I worked together with the marketing and product development teams to create and scale up the production of aerated milk chocolate products in multiple plants that were located within different countries.”
How did you begin working for Hershey?
“I believe that working on one of my Senior Engineering Clinic projects, which was the reassembly of a donated, Specialty Chemical Pilot Plant, helped me to stand out from other Chemical Engineering candidates that applied for the entry level position of Associate Process Design Engineer. The clinic project had required me to learn how to read Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs) and Process & Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs), which was needed for the role at Hershey.”
Can you explain your duties for the External Advisory Board?
“I help to advise the Rowan University Chemical Engineering department on ways that they could improve their curriculum based on the skills that are needed and preferred for the Food & Beverage Industry.”
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Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major
Photos courtesy of Christopher Dromgoole.