Chemical Engineering Majors Study at University of Edinburgh

Michael McMillan and Caleb Hern attended through the Study Abroad program

Chemical engineering majors Michael McMillan (left) and Caleb Hern display their Ole Miss pride on the Isle of Skye during their study abroad experience at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Submitted photo

A pair of University of Mississippi chemical engineering majors recently took advantage of an opportunity to expand their horizons by studying abroad in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh.

Neither Michael McMillan of Long Beach nor Caleb Hern of Germantown, Tennessee, had traveled abroad before, but they saw this as the perfect opportunity to experience another country and a different culture.

“I knew that Ole Miss offered a variety of programs and that the Office of Study Abroad was a great source of information,” Hern said. “However, I assumed that it would be too difficult to make it happen if I wanted to graduate on time.”

Hern said he learned about the direct exchange program from McMillan.

“When I realized the courses would transfer, I was on board,” Hern said.

McMillan knew he wanted to study abroad even before enrolling at the university. After some research, he found the program at the University of Edinburgh was the perfect fit with his academic program.

“My mom studied abroad twice while she was in college, and I grew up listening to her stories about living in Mexico and France,” McMillan said. “After looking into some of the exchange programs that Ole Miss offered, I was able to find a program that closely matched the third year of the chemical engineering curriculum.”

Both Hern and McMillan took courses that directly related to their major in chemical engineering. These courses included Thermodynamics & Unit Operations, Fluid Mechanics, Kinetics & Catalysis, Transport Phenomena, Reactor Design and Engineering Analysis. McMillan also took an intermediate-level Spanish course. Although they were taking a demanding course load while studying abroad, both students made time to have meaningful experiences outside the classroom.

McMillan reflected that he enjoyed meeting lots of different people and stepping out of his comfort zone. Hern said his favorite experience while abroad was skiing the French Alps in Chamonix. Impressed by the scenery, he hopes to return there one day.

While McMillan is still studying in Scotland, Hern has returned to Oxford and said he found the study abroad experience to be beneficial.

“I learned how to be adaptive because I had to study under a completely different academic structure,” Hern said. “There were many differences compared to my life back at Ole Miss, but my professors were excellent while at Edinburgh. I truly got a lot out of my classes as well, and they benefited me upon my return to our chemical engineering department.”

Both students have been involved in various aspects of life in Oxford. McMillan is a member of the Center for Manufacturing Excellence and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. He is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He has also completed a co-op with SABIC Innovative Plastics and participated in research with Adam Smith, associate professor of chemical engineering.

Hern has completed a co-op with Cooperative Energy in Batesville and has been a member of the Engineering Student Body Leadership Council, AIChE and worked as an undergraduate research assistant last summer. He has also worked as an orientation counselor for the School of Engineering and as a student manager for the Ole Miss football team.

McMillan and Hern, who are both juniors, said they are certain that professional development opportunities such as studying abroad and completing co-op experiences will benefit them as they pursue plans after graduation.