Cookeville, Tennessee (TN Tribune)- As Emily Rhoton, chemical engineering ’22, prepares to walk across the commencement stage at Tennessee Tech University, she already has a gauge on how she plans to fuel her passion.
With her concentration in biomolecular engineering, the Gray, Tennessee native is headed to work for Eastman Chemical Company as a process improvement chemical engineer, but this isn’t the end goal for Rhoton. Medical school and her passion for mission-minded work are where her desire is. She has adopted the term “physicianeer” to describe her future plans to serve others through engineering and medicine.
“I chose chemical engineering as a pathway to medical school because I want to be able to use a different approach to medical school rather than just a chemistry or biology background,” she said. “I want to be able to provide innovative and sustainable solutions to rural healthcare and public health disparities internationally and locally as well.”
Before Rhoton starts her process improvement position, she will be taking time to travel to Lagro, Philippines and Kampala, Uganda.
“I will be going to help with medical mission work. I will be working with Medical Missions Outreach to set up a health care clinic that will give free health care to the medically underserved community of Lagro,” she said. “In Uganda, I will be serving alongside my sister with Engineering Ministries International, where I will be able to apply both my engineering and medical experiences to serve the local community.”
Knowing that she wanted a different pathway to medical school was why Rhoton chose Tech to get her degree, but the other reason was her sister. Sarah Rhoton was getting her civil engineering degree at Tech and told Emily about the university.
“We both are very passionate about eventually working together as a team and using the degrees we received from Tech to go to rural areas around the world to provide clean water access and health care,” she said. “I have good ambitions for a career in the United States once I graduate, but my true passion is that mission to work with my sister.”
During Emily’s time at Tech, she interned for Nuclear Fuel Services and Edgewater Technical Associates while also being a student member of many organizations on campus. She also participated in two Remote Area Medical Clinics.
“The faculty here at Tech have been amazing; once I told them what I wanted to do, they always looked out for me and gave me different opportunities to help improve my academic experience and better prepare me for my future plans. So being able to learn from them and then also being able to provide my perspective on stuff has been amazing,” she said.