Nine Chemical Engineering students attended the 2009 AIChE Annual Meeting, held in Nashville, TN, in November. The meeting provided the students with the opportunity to learn about the latest developments in the field of chemical engineering, connect with potential employers, and attend a graduate school fair.
“The conference is helpful for students looking for a job or for a graduate school, and it’s a great way to introduce underclassmen to AIChE so that they can carry the flag in the future,” said Erik Sheets ’10, President of Villanova’s student chapter of AIChE, the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals. Erik also was able to meet with other student-chapter presidents to discuss strategies for increasing student participation, bringing speakers to campus, organizing fundraisers, and fostering professional development.
In addition, the conference enabled the students to showcase the results of their research. Seniors Raymond Seekell and Nathan Grantier (pictured below, left to right) presented a poster summarizing research they have been doing with Assistant Professor Noelle Comolli, PhD, on biomaterials and drug delivery. Graduate students Adam Hoffman ’09 and Justin Yeash ’09 received Honorable Mention (the equivalent of second place) for a poster titled “An Evaluation of Process Alternatives for the Small-Scale Production of Biodiesel from Waste Cooking Oil.” In their senior year, the two had designed and built a production facility for converting the waste cooking oil from Villanova’s Dining Services into biodiesel fuel.
“I was ecstatic when I heard that our poster had done so well,” said Adam, who represented the research team at the conference. “Getting Honorable Mention meant that the Villanova biodiesel project was receiving more recognition. We are no longer talking about the facility just to the Villanova campus. Instead, we are talking about it to other schools.”
The Villanova contingent took time out for the conference’s social activities—and even won the scavenger hunt. Also attending the conference were faculty members Dr. Randy Weinstein, Chair of Chemical Engineering; Dr. Kenneth Muske, the Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Moritz Sr. Chair in Systems Engineering; and assistant professors Dr. Michael Smith and Dr. Noelle Comolli.