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Headshot of Whitney Mantooth
Whitney Mantooth ‘16 has joined the doctoral program offered by the multidisciplinary engineering department at Texas A&M University to accelerate her career in industry. | Image: Courtesy of Whitney Mantooth

After obtaining a graduate degree, Whitney Mantooth ’16 began working in industry. A bachelor’s degree in applied exercise physiology and a master’s degree in occupational health and public safety from Texas A&M have served her well throughout her career. Still, she realized her desire to delve into engineering and decided to join the Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering at Texas A&M University.  

“A doctoral degree in interdisciplinary engineering is open-ended in many ways, and there are many possibilities with the degree plan,” said Mantooth. “Whether it’s reliability, chemical or industrial engineering, you can tailor your degree to your needs, which is enticing to people like me who work in industry.”

Mantooth has worked in several industry positions, beginning with paper production and then transferring to an ammonia production facility. She currently works as a health and safety manager at a methanol production facility for Koch Industries. In this role, she develops and implements employee process safety measures and programs.

“There’s definitely a heavy emphasis on engineering in my field, from understanding facilities to the cyber safety realm,” said Mantooth. “I want not only to understand regulations but also to know how the system works, so I can help develop and improve our processes.”

Recently, Mantooth was accepted into the Advanced Study Course on Optical Chemical Sensors (ASCOS) in Obergurgl, Austria. An alternative to traditional conferences, ASCOS is an initiative that brings together researchers from around the world to unveil discoveries concerning optical and chemical sensors. Sponsored by Fran and George Ligler, professors at Texas A&M, Mantooth will travel to Austria for the conference in October.

“I thought the conference was a long shot, but now I am going to Austria in just a few months,” she said. “It’s truly amazing to be accepted, and it’s an honor to travel outside of the United States for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Although Mantooth says she enjoys the fast-paced environment in industry, she would eventually like to obtain a role in academia, where she could focus on research. She would like to be a mentor to students and relay the insights she’s gathered throughout her career.

Dr. Mark Benden, an affiliate of the multidisciplinary engineering department and the Wm Michael Barnes ’64 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, works closely with Mantooth. Like Mantooth, he worked in industry and received his doctoral degree in interdisciplinary engineering from Texas A&M. As Mantooth goes through the doctoral program, Benden serves as her advisor and mentor.