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Ken Foo

Foo, Ken-place“The faculty have been outstanding because they know our names before the first day of class and go out of their way to acquaint each of us individually.”



Major: Chemical Engineering

Hometown: Gaithersburg, MD

Campus Activities:  President of Tau Beta Pi (engineering honor society), Active member of AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), STEM Tutor, Member of CWEA (Chesapeake Water Environment Association)

Why did you choose UMBC?
I chose UMBC because of its close knit community, rich diversity, academics, and the countless opportunities for anyone to succeed.

What do you love about UMBC?
I thoroughly enjoy working along with the best community of chemical engineering friends and acquaintances–they have motivated me to produce the highest quality work and given me direction in life. In addition, the faculty have been outstanding because they know our names before the first day of class and go out of their way to acquaint each of us individually.

What would you say to a prospective student?
My philosophy is that hard work never betrays you. Regardless of your past, resources, and circumstances, if you have an impeccable work ethic and good intentions, you will be successful propagating through all aspects of your life. Although I may not be the sharpest student in any of my classes, I strive to be wiser: studying a few days before an exam, getting as many perspectives as possible (books, students, teachers, and online) for classes, living a balanced life, eating healthy, exercising, and going the extra mile or two for everyone. Lastly, market yourself with the utmost confidence and charisma; be genuine, and you will live life with no regrets especially at UMBC.

What has been your favorite class at UMBC?
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Philosophy 100 with Dr. James Thomas transcends all my classes. One of the most quintessential part of being a UMBC student is taking his class. Not only is he a world class comedian and story-teller, but he is also an expert teacher and philosopher. In addition, he has been named the top ten professors on RateMyProfessors, so sign up quickly!

What are you researching?
I performed batch activity tests, researched the threshold of flocculation, and maintained a daily database for the wastewater pilot under Haydee DeClippeleir. Currently, DC Water is implementing Norway’s Cambi process, which takes sludge and combusts the methane from the sludge to re-power the entire plant saving millions of dollars while reducing use of landfills and the carbon footprint. I anticipate that most wastewater facilities will implement the up-and-coming Cambi process in the next decade or two because of its major success in Europe.

Where did you complete your internship?
I worked at DC Water in Blue Plains as a 2015 wastewater intern.

What do you hope to achieve after you complete your degree at UMBC?
I will be studying at Notre Dame, and hopefully, I will pursue either a full time position at DC Water or anywhere in the wastewater industry.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
College is not only about receiving high marks and getting the dream job/graduate school, but it should be focused on what motivates you to be you. I wholeheartedly believe that the wastewater industry is the most fulfilling line of business because it supports every life and enterprise all around the world from the beginning of time, and this has reinvigorated my interest in engineering as well as given me the chance to pursue something greater than myself.

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