Montana State University

Research, internships put student on career path

February 9, 2006 -- Tracy Ellig, MSU News Service

Hubble Werre is the first Montana State University student to win a scholarship from the national engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi. MSU photo by Jay Thane.   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Bozeman - It's not often a student is so bright that he has a scholarship taken from him, but it happened to Hubble Werre.

After amassing enough credits to qualify as a senior after just his second academic year, Werre won a national scholarship only to have it taken away the next day. The scholarship required applicants to be in their final year of schooling, regardless of how many credits a student had earned.

"Since then, the criteria for the scholarship is much more clear on the subject," said Werre, 22, and now in his senior year of chemical engineering at MSU.

The national engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi, saw fit to award Werre its $2,000 scholarship after he became a full-fledged senior in the organization's eyes. Werre is the first MSU undergraduate ever to win the award, according to society records.

The Tau Beta Pi scholarship is just one of Werre's many accomplishments. He is a recipient of a 2006 Award for Excellence as well as the January MSU Rotary Student of the Month.

Since coming to MSU from his hometown of Bemidji, Minn., Werre has maintained a 3.89 grade point average, worked continuously as a math tutor, raised funds for Big Brothers and Sisters and been a judge of middle-school student engineering projects with Montana Destination Imagination. He has also been an Engineering Ambassador, working to foster enthusiasm among high school students interested in the field.

In his academic studies, Werre works in the challenging area of magnetic resonance microscopy with MSU professors Joe Seymour and Sarah Codd.

"He's one of the best students I've had in five years," said Seymour, co-director of the Magnetic Resonance Microscopy Group. " He has a real innate intelligence. He's also very humble and always willing to help other students."

Werre's work in the MRM group involves using a device with capabilities similar to the magnetic resonance imagining machines found in many hospitals. A roughly fridge-sized cylinder, the MRM Group's device allows Werre to see how plastic membranes let molecules move through them. His research has applications for fuel cell technology and the separation of molecules.

Werre has also done three internships with corporate giant 3M. In one, he researched the use of fluorine, one of the key ingredients to 3M's Scotchgard. In another, he examined the necessity of red lighting during the production of a light-sensitive dental material.
His research concluded the material could be processed under yellow lights, which were the normal conditions throughout the plant. His work saved the company roughly $200,000, as 3M did not have to build a separate production room for processing the dental material. In his final internship, he worked on making a cancer drug more effective by analyzing how it was delivered to cancerous cells.

"That was very gratifying to work on," Werre said of his cancer-drug research. "I felt very proud to contribute to that."

He's accepted a job with 3M in St. Paul, Minn., after graduation. He'll be designing new equipment and processes to increase productivity across 3M's broad manufacturing base.

Werre's not sure what his long-term future holds. His interests run the gamut of getting an MBA to going into dentistry. His mother and two sisters are teachers. He might find himself in front of a classroom some day as well, he said.

"I've done school. Now I'd like to see what full-time work will be like," he said. "However, I certainly plan on getting some form of graduate degree in the future."

Seymour has been urging him to go to graduate school, but is confident Werre will be successful at whatever path he takes.

"He'll undoubtedly become a leader in his field," Seymour said. "He's just one of the smartest guys you'll ever meet."

Hubble Werre (406) 582-4526 or; and Joe Seymour (406) 994-6853 or