Editor’s Note: Despite the necessary adjustment to virtual instruction for part of this semester, more than 6,000 talented Fresno State students will earn their degrees in May and move on to become the next generation of leaders in the Central Valley and beyond. While every hardworking graduate deserves to be recognized, for the rest of the semester we will be sharing the inspiring stories of graduates like this one who have achieved at the highest levels or have overcome remarkable challenges. As University President Joseph I. Castro previously announced, the University looks forward to celebrating all of its deserving graduates at an in-person ceremony at a later date when it is deemed safe to do so.

Saule Bomar grew up in Atyrau, a small town in Kazakhstan — a country famous for its oil, gas and mineral industries, and known to have the largest economy in Central Asia. Although Kazakhstan had a thriving economy, she says her town struggled. But when one well-known oil company began to make an impact in her community, that was when she knew she wanted to study petroleum engineering.

“Chevron made a difference in our economy by funding education, increasing job opportunities, and enhancing my community’s overall quality of life,” she said. “Atyrau is known as an oil city. The numerous oil companies, along with engineers, also had a large impact on my upbringing, which naturally drove me towards obtaining a degree related to the petroleum industry.”

Bomar earned her bachelor’s degree in engineering science from California State University, Bakersfield and will graduate this week with a Master of Science in Engineering degree with mechanical engineering option from the Lyles College of Engineering at Fresno State.

“I wanted to continue my education to strengthen my knowledge in engineering and to further grow academically and personally,” she said. “I decided to get my master’s in mechanical engineering because it is related to petroleum engineering and the knowledge of mechanical engineering allows me to be flexible to work with alternative energies.”

Bomar was immediately drawn to the research interests of Dr. Deify Law, associate professor and interim chair for the Mechanical Engineering Department in the Lyles College. Over the past three years, they have worked on several projects together. Bomar and mechanical engineering graduate student Luis Nava have worked with Law on modeling the heat transfer enhancement of liquid water flow by injecting air bubbles. The team is expected to submit their paper on heat transfer enhancement this fall.

“I believe that she has that intrinsic drive to pursue more opportunities to make a positive impact to achieve great goals in science and engineering,” Law said. “She is a high-achiever and a quick learner. She is easy to work with and she possesses pleasant attributes.”

Law believes hands-on research is a vital component to the education curriculum, so students can obtain and bring the necessary practical skills that are highly sought after in the industry.

“As a faculty, I believe it is important to foster a student’s interest in research because if your research works in the end, it can be so rewarding and transformative,” Law said. “Your successful research can be very valuable to the betterment of humanity. I want to also stress that hands-on skills can be referred to scientific computing capabilities. For example, code-developing capabilities. Students can be code developers if they are well-trained in the area of scientific computation.”

Bomar said Law has served as her professor, adviser, and mentor and made a big impact on her educational career during her time at Fresno State.

“I have learned a great deal from him and am grateful for the help and support that he has provided me. He is extremely knowledgeable and able to guide me to the right direction based on my strength and attributes,” she said. “During my time at Fresno state I was inspired by all of my professors, especially by Dr. Law, Dr. [Gemunu] Happawana, and Dr. [Sankha] Banerjee. I could always go to Dr. Happawana for academic or career advice and leave his office feeling decisive. If I needed to get my hands on some projects, Dr. Banerjee always had something interesting to work on.”

Saule Bomar helps the Lyles College make PPE.

When Bomar heard that Banerjee was one of the faculty leads on the Lyles College COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment Design Team, she immediately asked how she could help.

“My passion towards engineering is not just restricted to the projects that I receive in class but also extends to my social life as well. I have been involved in an engineering project at home where I 3D print medical masks for health care workers. I realized that two of the most important things that one needs to be an engineer are hard work and giving back to the community,” she said.

Besides volunteer projects, her extracurricular activities include serving as professional chair for the Society of Women Engineers and treasurer for Tau Beta Pi honor society. She also serves as fairing design leader for the College’s Human Powered Vehicle team where she’s been working on the body design to increase efficiency by reducing aerodynamic drag.

Bomar was a nominee for the Lyles College Dean’s Medal at the Mechanical Engineering Department level and will graduate with a 3.89 GPA. Last summer, she completed a competitive internship as a mechanical integrity engineering intern with California Resources Corporation, an oil company located in Bakersfield.

“After I completed my internship, I was offered a full-time job as a facilities engineer,” she said. “I will be assisting in developing designs for new facilities and optimizing operations at existing facilities. I will work with piping, pressure vessels, tanks, compressors that will need repairs and install new equipment. I am excited and looking forward to starting my professional career.”