To be a successful engineer, you need to be intuitive, curious, tenacious and almost dogged as you search for solutions.
Driven By Powerful Curiosity
Rebekah Feist can’t remember an exact moment that led her to a career in science, but she’s always been inquisitive by nature. She credits her family for supporting her curiosity in a positive way.
“Trips to the Science Museum of Minnesota were also a regular occurrence for our family. In school, I always enjoyed math and science classes and I would even find myself reading ahead, looking for more.”
Rebekah’s strong desire to learn has served her well, even if it has taken her down a path less traveled.
“After high school, I went to the University of Minnesota to pursue a degree in biochemistry and shortly thereafter I transferred into chemical engineering,” Rebekah said. “During an internship at Sandia National Labs, my mentor at that time gave me a great opportunity to work in a clean room studying different polymers and small molecules as detectors. I was really fortunate to have this experience at Sandia as it solidified my desire to go on to grad school and to focus my studies on semiconductor materials and thin film device fabrication.
“Upon returning to the University of Minnesota, I met Professor Steve Campbell, who gave me a job studying Permalloy Transformers in the then named Micro Fabrication Center. When it was time to apply for graduate school later that year, Steve was a huge supporter of mine and he helped me secure a NSF NanoIGERT Fellowship that enabled my pursuit of a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, and thereafter ultimately my career at Dow.
“I’m indebted to my family, teachers, and many mentors and the support they have given me throughout my life. I would not be where I am today without them.”
Since joining Dow in 2007, Rebekah’s interdisciplinary background and interests have provided her the opportunity to develop energy solutions.
“When I joined Dow, the company had just started a photovoltaics program to develop the DowTM POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle System. I remember when I first saw the shingle concept as a drawing on a piece of paper. And then a few years later, in 2011, after countless experiments were conducted and risks were retired, our team successfully commercialized it. Deployment of renewable energy sources for our world is vital,” she said.
“Our solar shingle system has given the world a new renewable energy option that can make a real difference. I’m proud of the Dow team that developed and commercialized this technology.”
Looking Ahead, Encouraging Others
Within her work at Dow, Rebekah encourages others to embrace challenge and risk.
“A huge part of what we do at Dow involves innovating at the intersections of different sciences, which means we work in interdisciplinary and cross-functional teams to solve relevant technical challenges. I encourage young scientists to follow their interests and to seek out great people to work with, people you can learn from and that want to help you learn, wherever they reside.”
In addition to developing new energy solutions, Rebekah truly enjoys mentoring young scientists.
“Helping others is one of the favorite parts of my job at Dow,” Rebekah said. “I work with amazing, talented people, and it is truly rewarding to see them be excited about their work and dominating it. When we are doing that, and we are aligned, I know we can solve any challenge.”
Minnesota American Council of Engineering Companies Scholarship, 2001
University of Minnesota Junior Chemical Engineering Student Scholarship, 2001
University of Minnesota Iron Range Scholarship, 1997-1999
Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Member of Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
Associate Editor of the Journal of Photovoltaics, 2013-present
Coach to Midland High School FIRST Robotics Team, 2010
Member HKN Honor Society
Member TBP Engineering Honor Society
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