Kirsten Sims (M.S. 2012) recently accepted a position at WesTech Engineering in Salt Lake City, Utah as a Process Engineer. Sims has been selected to participate in a one-year “rotational training program”, at WesTech, wherein she is given the opportunity to spend time training in various engineering and business units throughout WesTech Engineering in order to gain an in-depth understanding of WesTech’s products, key markets, and business model.
After graduating with a B.S. in Biology from Gonzaga University, Sims decided to pursue a higher degree in Biological Engineering at Utah State University. Her thesis research at USU was focused on optimizing the enzymatic conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into feedstock for renewable energy production. Specifically, she investigated various pretreatment strategies and kinetic models for lignocellulose degradation for use as precursors in ethanol production. Additionally, under the direction of Dr. Charles Miller, Sims worked to optimize conditions for algae degradation in high rate anaerobic treatment systems to enhance biogas production and achieve resource recovery from domestic and industrial wastewater.
During her final year as an M.S. student in Biological Engineering at USU, Sims accepted a position working part time in intellectual property for IMDS, a medical device company located in Logan, Utah. After completing her M.S., she transitioned to a full time position with IMDS as a Patent Search Specialist and Technical Advisor. Her responsibilities included conducting patent searches, drafting and prosecuting patent applications, and leading “brainstorming” sessions related to novel medical devices. Working under the advisement of patent agents and patent attorneys, Sims was inspired to expand and refine her skill set in intellectual property, and began preparations to take the “Patent Registration Exam”. Sims successfully passed the U.S. Patent Registration Exam in December of 2014, and is in the process of registering as a Patent Agent before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
After working for several years in intellectual property at IMDS, Sims decided to pursue an M.B.A. at Utah State University. During her studies in the USU MBA program, Sims worked with a team of students to develop a business plan focused on resource recovery from wastewater using algae. She and her team were selected as state finalists in the Utah Entrepreneurship Challenge business plan competition. Sims also served as the President of the USU MBA Association.
After completing her MBA in 2014, Sims accepted her position as a Process Engineer at WesTech Engineering. She hopes that her diverse background (life sciences, engineering, entrepreneurship training and patent law experience) will position her to become a valuable asset to WesTech Engineering, and so far is very happy with her new position. In addition to spending time training in various units throughout WesTech, Sims is also serving as a member of the WesTech “Waste-to-Resources” steering committee, as well as a member of the “Patent Committee”.
Sims was elected to serve as one of 13 national councilors of the Institute of Biological Engineering for 2015. She previously served as the national graduate student councilor for IBE for three one-year terms.
In her spare time, Sims enjoys spending time salsa dancing with her husband Nurivan and playing with her two-year old daughter Elena. She is also a martial artist (3rd degree black belt in Aikido) and an avid skier.