Meet Alexa Lowman
In high school, Alexa Lowman was really focused on the arts, participating in musical theatre and competitive a cappella, but also enjoyed her AP chemistry class. When she came to college, she prayed to know which major she should choose and she received a very strong prompting to go into chemical engineering. Despite worrying about the difficult required math classes, she did it and hasn’t regretted it since. She enjoys chemical engineering for several reasons such as broadening her mind, increasing her ability to problem solve, and enhancing her understanding and appreciation of Heavenly Father’s creations.
One of Alexa’s most influential experiences was the research mentorship program sponsored by the BYU Engineering Together program. This hands-on experience and the opportunity to take on her own project set the course for her time at BYU. “Learning things in classes helps, but it’s equally important to know how they apply in research or industry. That has been really important.” Her perspective and research mentorship helped her feel confident and developed her engineering capabilities. She worked with the Mechanical Engineering Department doing heat transfer research across super hydrophobic surfaces with another student under Drs. Maynes and Crockett. Neither student had any experience in the subject, yet learned a lot and even designed and performed their own experiments.
Sophomore year, she worked in a research group under Dr. Fry, helping a grad student create a new measurement instrument capable of recording accurate temperature readings in the high heat of the combustion chamber. She worked in that lab for several years. Though the research groups she has been a part of have been more male dominated, they never treated her like she didn’t know anything. Because they were really supportive and gave her a voice during discussions, she was able to learn more and feel as though she had a place in the Chemical Engineering Department.
One of Alexa’s favorite resources are her professors. She goes to them for personal mentoring advice, career mentoring, or just to receive help for her classes or for the club that she leads. Her professors have helped her feel valued as an individual and a woman in engineering.
Alexa has interned at Chevron and Cummins. She did petroleum engineering at Chevron, specifically dealing with upstream oil and gas. Her internship ended up being virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it allowed her to work on projects at several different facilities. She worked with an international team and the most fulfilling part of that internship was seeing how her teammates, who were in different branches of engineering, came together to tackle a problem. At Cummins, she was a material science engineering chemist. One of the most memorable parts of her internship was when she completely took apart a Cummins 6.7-liter diesel engine and put it back together again in three days. She’ll be returning to work at Cummins in January where she’ll be doing simulation-based product development for eight months.
Outside of school, she loves playing racquetball with her husband, hiking, being out in nature, and food prepping. She enjoys taking advantage of the ballroom dance classes at BYU where she can explore her artistic side and meet people outside of engineering.
The American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) has been one of the key factors in Alexa sticking with engineering when classes get hard and overwhelming. This club has helped ground her and became a place where she found upperclassman mentors who are not only successful in their leadership roles, but their classes, internships, and jobs. Alexa has been a part of the AIChE since her first week of freshman year and is now the president. “I want to be able to set that example and I want to be able to help people in our department succeed.” Through AIChE, she has been able to interact with different chapters around the globe, which has provided a diversity of opinions as well as learning how chemical engineering applies all over the world.
While it’s hard to say what Alexa’s most admirable characteristic is, one that really stands out is her dedication to help lift those around her. “When I became president, I decided it was really important to me that we work to establish a culture where we’re all working together to serve the needs of the students and the department while trying to collect the people from the margins and help them feel involved and cared for.” Alexa said that one of the highlights of her time at BYU and as a part of AIChE has been helping students get internships and helping them succeed in the fields they want to be in, despite any limitations. Her influence has impacted more students than she knows. In a span of two weeks, she had at least twenty students tell her that because of her help and efforts, they were able to get internships and employment offers. Alexa pointed out that, “You’re not going to be successful if you don’t have a support group.” Through her work and dedication to the students in her major, she has created one of the biggest support groups in the College of Engineering.
She’s recently been hired by the Sorenson Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership, which is a new organization on campus. It’s a place where anyone can receive leadership training and is partnering with the Weidman Center here in the BYU College of Engineering. Alexa believes that this will be a great resource for engineering students. “BYU is an environment where a lot of us have leadership qualities inside of us where we can be these great ethical leaders at whatever company we go to and have a positive impact on the sphere we work within. But I realized that a lot of students don’t know that they have that potential.” The Sorenson Center will be helping students reach their potential and she urges all students to check out this great resource.
We’re beyond grateful to have Alexa as part of the BYU College of Engineering.