What makes Washington State University’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture stand out from the crowd for those looking to get a degree?

We ask chemical engineering major Mikayden Weise for her thoughts on what makes WSU such a special place.

Woman standing next to a research poster.

Name: Mikayden Weise

Expected Date of Graduation: Spring 2024

Major: Chemical Engineering

High School / Community College / Hometown: Laurel Springs Academy / Centralia College / Salkum, WA

Scholarships / Fellowship: Auvill Grady & Lillie Fellowship; Melvin & Ruth Smith Scholarship; Crimson Transfer Award Waiver Y1, Crimson Transfer Award Waiver Y2, Crimson Transfer Award Waiver Y3

Q: What made you decide to attend Washington State University? Why did you choose your major?

A: My mom attended Washington State University for her mechanical engineering degree. She inspired me to follow in her footsteps of becoming an engineer at a place that feels like home: WSU.

Q: Why would you recommend attending Washington State University? How have you benefitted by attending WSU?

A: Washington State University is an exceptional university to attend because it is truly a community. Being in the heart of farmland, your peers feel like close family and friends. Additionally, the professors support students in achieving an outstanding education while obtaining jobs after graduation.

Q: What have you learned during your time at WSU, that will help you most in your future?

A: The most important aspect of my education during my time at WSU has been learning how to solve complex problems. This is something I can take with me throughout my future career, no matter what career field I choose to partake in.

Q: Have you participated in any research projects on campus?

A: I have worked in multiple laboratories. One laboratory I have worked in for a little over a year now researches human immune system cells for use in a T-cell-based therapy called immunotherapy. Immunotherapy uses one’s own immune system cells to destroy blood cancer cells.

To perform immunotherapy, the growth of the patient’s T cells needs to happen fast and at a large density, but the process is inefficient and very expensive. Research and development in our lab have provided a solution: the continuous centrifugal bioreactor. Our group has created a model equation based on a line of human lymphoblastic leukemia T cells (CEM) to optimize cell growth in the bioreactor. Lactate and ammonium are byproducts in the bioreactor and can inhibit T cell growth.

The goal of my experiments was to find the concentrations of lactate and ammonium that would inhibit cell growth for the model. I determined several key ammonium and lactate values in our model, which will allow for the optimization of our bioreactor system and new solutions for patients undergoing treatment for leukemia and other blood cancers.

Q: Have you participated in any internships related to your field of study?

A: I am involved in a unique and growing program at WSU called CySER, or Northwest Institute for Cybersecurity Education and Research.

In this program, I attend seminars and workshops on cybersecurity topics. This program led me directly into an internship program as a cybersecurity research intern at the Griffiss Institute in New York. During my time at the Griffiss Institute this past summer, I published two research papers: one on the software flows and cyber vulnerabilities of a virtual reality system and another on Iridium NEXT Satellite cyber vulnerabilities.

I got to present this information to military and government officials from the Pentagon.

Woman being presented with an award.
Mikayden Weise receiving an award from Chester Maciag (the Director for Cyber Science and Technology Research; works in the Pentagon in Washington DC) for graduating as a VICEROY MAVEN intern at the Griffiss Institute in New York this past summer. This internship has a direct relationship to WSU’s CySER program available to students interested in cybersecurity.

Q: Have you received any scholarships, fellowships, or financial aid? If so, please share how they have impacted you as a student.

The scholarships and fellowships I have received at WSU have been so beneficial in my financial status.

As a student who is working while attending WSU full time, no aid I receive goes unnoticed. These fellowships and scholarships I have received directly reflect how involved I am in the opportunities present at WSU.

Last year I presented my undergraduate research at the Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA). This granted me a fellowship that has helped me afford tuition this semester.

Additionally, I have proceeded to work hard in all of my chemical engineering classes, which granted me a scholarship that also helps me afford tuition this semester. I am very thankful for the available fellowships and scholarships associated with the opportunities WSU offers.

Q: What do you want to do with your degree after you graduate?

A: Next fall I am attending law school. I want to use my law degree and chemical engineering degree to protect clients’ ownership of their inventions and designs.