Dr. Lisa M. Onishi prepared for her career at the University of Washington in Seattle, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 2000. She continued her education at the University of California Berkeley, earning a DSChemE in 2009, and, after garnering experience as an engineer at UCT Fuel Cells, she accepted a position at Intel in 2010. Since starting at Intel, Dr. Onishi has excelled as a chemical engineer, researcher and senior process engineer for the company.
Initially, Dr. Onishi became involved in her profession because she believed that engineering would allow her to use science in an applicable, practical manner. She had an interest in chemistry and was drawn to the possibility that she could make an impact through her work. Dr. Onishi’s career has emphasized solving the world’s most pressing engineering quandaries, and the highlight of her career thus far has been resolving the 104-year-old thermodynamic problem known as “Schroeder’s Paradox.” Along with her colleagues John M. Prausnitz and John Newman, she published “Water-Nafon Equilibria. Absence of Schroeder’s Paradox” in the Journal of Physical Chemistry in 2011, which showed that the paradox is resolved when attention is given to the thermal history of the absorbing polymer.
Dr. Onishi credits the engineers she worked within her professional journey as mentors, motivations and inspirations, and throughout her career, she has contributed numerous articles to the Journal of Physical Chemistry and other professional publications. She advises aspiring engineers to be passionate, flexible and curious, and has been recognized for her contributions to the field with several awards, including the Most Popular Poster Presentation Award from the Gorden Research Conference in 2002, an Outstanding Performance Award in 2002 and an Achievement Award from UTC Fuel Cells in 2003. As a further testament to her success, stature and experience, Dr. Onishi has been selected for inclusion in the 28th edition of Who’s Who of American Women, and the 11th and 12th editions of Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, as well as multiple editions of Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who in America.
What separates Dr. Onishi from other engineers is that she likes to get information from all different places and then apply it. She learns information that can be brought together, built on and utilized, but from many different areas. Moving forward, Dr. Onishi wants to keep working on things she is passionate about. Additionally, she wants to expand the circle of people she is exposed to by taking classes and continuing to learn. She would like to be remembered as a good person that helped make a difference. The most rewarding part of her profession is that she likes to help people by building them up and developing them. Furthermore, she likes just having a way to make a solution to a problem they may have, or find whatever it is that is causing something and identifying what it is so that they could do something about it.
The advice that Dr. Onishi can offer the next generation or others aspiring to work in her profession would be to be passionate, flexible and curious. It is important to work on something that they are passionate about. When people have a passion, they want to spend more time on it. They can potentially enable new things because they are really excited about something. It is also good that people go out and ask questions from other people; it broadens their ideas and they can find something that they might really get excited about.