Jeney Zhang

  • Auburn Degrees: Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Sciences
  • Year Graduated: 2008
  • Hometown: Auburn, Ala., born in Fuzhou, China

Jeney Zhang - Buckingham PalaceJeney Zhang, graduate of Auburn University, spent the past spring semester working in London at the American Embassy, specifically in the American Citizen Services of the Office of Consular Affairs. She heard about the internship opportunity through Nick Conrad with Engineering International Programs.

Although Zhang didn't choose London when applying for an internship, she is glad that she was placed there. "It was easier being stationed in London than in embassies in other countries because London didn't have a language barrier," she says. "I've always liked the British culture and history and I love their sense of humor. So, I thought it'd be a fun opportunity to work there."

Jeney Zhang - Big BenWhile at the Office of Consular Affairs, Zhang assisted Americans in England. Her duties included:

  • Visiting American prisoners in London and writing reports on events leading up to their imprisonment, treatment in the prison and services they would like from the embassy, such as contacting lawyers, helping with repatriation or calling family members.
  • Responding to phone calls and Emails from Americans in need of aid and dealing with issues such as deaths, arrests, detainment at airports, tax questions and voting
  • Updating and improving a computer program that sends out important alerts regarding evacuations, epidemics and security concerns to registered Americans visiting the UK
  • Creating flyers and other notifications aimed at preventing frauds and scams targeting Americans abroad
  • Helping to amend protocols and alerts for the avian flu transmission from birds to humans in case an outbreak or epidemic were to occur

Jeney Zhang - Abby Road CrosswalkZhang had the unique opportunity of working at the embassy when President Obama and Secretaries Clinton and Geithner came to London for the G-20 conference. She helped set up for events and met the President during a meet and greet with the embassy staff.

Zhang enjoyed her work in London because she was able to help people in need, and she felt that her job had an impact. The working environment of the embassy was another of Zhang's favorites from the experience. "The embassy was almost like an autonomous entity on foreign soil, so all the employees were very close-knit and friendly," she says. "The embassy resembles a city block of America in the middle of London. It was an interesting juxtaposition because inside the embassy I had a normal American job. However, once outside the confines of the embassy, the culture and environment were completely different in an enlightening way."

Jeney Zhang - Abby Road CrosswalkAlthough Zhang's job was not directly related to engineering, she acknowledges the impact that her Auburn engineering education made on her abilities to analyze situations. "I loved the opportunity to expand my horizons, take on new challenges and learn something new," says Zhang. "However, I'm sure my engineering background helped me think of solutions and approaches to non-technical problems in a more analytic fashion. I had a different point of view than my foreign services co-workers and I think I contributed in a different way."

While pursuing her undergraduate degree at Auburn University, Zhang continually researched and represented Auburn in several competitions. In 2007, Zhang placed second in the poster competition at the American Institute of Chemical Engineer's (AIChE) National Meeting. Then in 2008 she took the first prize in the student paper competition,first place overall at the Southern Regional Competition and then went on to represent the Southeast as an Excellence in Undergraduate Research finalist at the AIChE National Meeting, again claiming first place.

Zhang will continue her education in fall of this year as she begins her doctoral studies in chemical engineering at Tufts University.

Last Updated: Feb 09, 2011