This is an interview with Paula Hammond, David H. Koch Chair of Engineering at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Department Head of Chemical Engineering at MIT, and member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. She describes her childhood in Detroit and her parents’ professions in medicine and science, her father’s activity with the NAACP, and an influential schoolteacher who encouraged her to look into chemical engineering. Hammond describes the opportunities and attraction that led her to enroll at MIT as an undergraduate, where she focused on chemical engineering and developed a particular interest in polymer science. She describes her brief work as a process engineer at Motorola before getting a Master’s at Georgia Tech before returning to MIT to join a new PhD program, Polymer Science and Technology, founded by Robert Cohen who had mentored Hammond as an undergraduate, and where Michael Rubner supervised her thesis research in diacetylene and high-strength fibers. She describes her postdoctoral research at Harvard before returning to MIT to join the faculty and her subsequent focus on soft lithography, carbon nanotube electrodes for high-density batteries, and electrochemistry on patterned surfaces. Hammond explains how she became interested in chemical engineering applications to biology, and how her sensibilities are useful to the biologists she collaborates with, and the physicists with whom she is working on battery technologies and energy efficiencies research. She describes the impact of growing computational power on her research over the years, and she discusses her current interests in nanoparticles for drug delivery in cancer therapies. Hammond shares her perspective on recent efforts to enhance diversity and inclusivity across STEM, and at the end of the interview, she expresses her optimism with MRNA technology.