Employment, Research and Student Projects
Where are PME graduates working?
Approximately 70-80% of our graduates get a job in industry. They are employed locally, regionally and across the country by a diverse pool of industries, including aerospace, marine, automotive, defense, biomedical, consumer goods, and clean energy.
Process Engineer at Nike
Product Development at Ascend Performance Materials
Applications Engineer at Samson Rope
Design Engineer at Hexcel Corporation
Materials Process & Physics Engineer at Boeing
Research & Development Engineer at Quatro Composites
Process Engineer at R & D Plastics
Structures Engineer at Systima Technologies
Research and Student Projects
PME majors are able to participate in research projects as undergraduate students. They also have the opportunity to work with industry partners on year-long projects.
Click on the link below to learn more about what our faculty and students are working on!
Questions about how to get involved?
Contact: Sean Ryan, Research Associate
Learn more about the North American Ocean Plastics Recycling program and research in WWU's Polymer Materials Engineering program.
Ocean Plastics Recovery
Students and faculty have gone to Alaska to help clean up beaches. They bring items back to the labs and reuse them for new products. This video was made by a WWU alum.
Waste to Product
The Waste to Product research team replicates best practices from recycling facilities at a smaller scale. This work allows students to turn hard-to-recycle plastics into useful products. The primary goal of the team is to promote a circular economy within the university’s campus by collecting “waste” FROM students to be engineered into new products FOR students. The team has also used community outreach to educate others on how post-consumer plastics are valuable materials that are not always utilized. The scope of the project continues to grow as more inspiring areas of improvement are identified.
JCATI - Toray Project 2022
Funded by a JCATI award, WWU and Toray Composites America have been collaborating to investigate possible chemical recycling methods for scrap carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites. Currently a high boiling temperature solvent and catalyst system are being employed. Current work aims to understand the impacts of recycling parameters on recovered fiber and resin properties and the challenges of scaling the process.
Sponsor a Senior Project
Our Polymer Materials Engineering students are required to have a year-long senior project before they can graduate. Often times these research projects are industry-partnered. Becoming an industry sponsor is a mutually beneficial opportunity for companies, industry professionals, and Western students.
You can get involved with two approaches depending on the scope of the project:
1) R&D partnerships and other long-term projects (typically involving grant funding) are administered through WWU's Office of Research and Sponsored Projects.
2) Projects of limited scope and duration are handled directly by the TDC.
We welcome you to contact us for any of the following:
- Requesting more information about the TDC
- Providing more information about potential projects
To learn more about becoming a sponsor click the "Become and Industry Sponsor" button below.
Polymer Materials Engineering Equipment
- Injection Molding
- Vacuum Thermoforming
- Rotational Molding
- Blow Molding
- Walk-in Freezer
- Accelerated Weathering Unit
Composite and Thermoset Processing
- Compression Molding
- Reaction Injection Molding
- Vacuum Ovens
- Pneumatic Ski Press
- Filament Winder