Abstract: The career path I have taken since earning my Ph.D. has included positions in government, consulting, the national laboratories, and academia. The constant theme throughout my work experiences has been my interest in conservation, environmental quality, and sustainability. I have been fortunate to explore these interests in multiple sectors, learning along the way the pros and cons of working in different environments and what work environments work best for me. In this presentation, I’ll review some of my lessons learned and address your questions about starting and navigating your career.
Bio: Jennifer Dunn is an associate professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University. She holds a courtesy appointment in Mechanical Engineering. Jennifer is Associate Director of the Northwestern-Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering and the Associate Director of Northwestern’s Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience. Jennifer studies emerging technologies, their energy and environmental impacts, and their potential to influence greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions, water consumption, and energy consumption at the economy-wide level. Particular technologies of interest include biofuels and bioproducts, automotive lithium-ion batteries, waste plastics recycling and utilization, advanced manufacturing, and fuels and chemicals made from natural gas liquids. Techno-economic, life cycle, and material flow analyses are primary tools in her research. Furthermore, she applies machine learning techniques to gain insights into land use and land use change, which drive the sustainability debate surrounding biofuels. Jennifer holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan where she was introduced to life cycle analysis through earning her Master’s degree in Sustainable Chemical Engineering Systems. Her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering is from Purdue University. Prior to joining Northwestern, she led the Biofuels Analysis group at Argonne National Laboratory and managed Argonne’s relationship with DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office. She has also worked at URS Corporation (now AECOM) including a one-year secondment in Brussels, Belgium and at U.S. EPA Region 5 in Chicago. She is raising her two sons with her husband near where she grew up; her eldest son is now attending the high school that is her alma mater.