Students benefit from AIChE conference

November 27, 2019

Students who attended the 2019 AIChE conference in Orlando.
The University of Rochester Department of Chemical Engineering was well represented at the AIChE national student conference in Orlando FL recently. Back row: Max Kearns, Anna Weldy, Ahmad El Gazzar, Hongzhi Zeng, Dave Foster, Fatou Diop, Riley Flower, Daniel Krajovic, Musab Aldosari, Akram Ismail, Arame Deme, Natalie Ramesh. Front: Alex Shestopalov, Marc Porosoff, Wyatt Tenhaeff, Joyceline Marealle, Zach Oliver, Aime Laurent Twizerimana, Arantza Romero, Remsha Rafiq.

Members of the University of Rochester delegation to the recent AIChE national student conference in Orlando listened eagerly as awards were announced.

“Every time the announcer began to say, 'University of…’ we would hold our breath in anticipation,” says Maxwell Kearns '20, president of the University’s AIChE student chapter.

“After this happened about 10 times, they finally announced the 'University of Rochester’ when Zach (Oliver '20) got second place. The amount of cheering that came from our section when this happened was so enthusiastic that it even startled the announcer.”

The camaraderie among the 23-member delegation “really shows how close our ChemE department is and how supportive we are of each other,” Kearns says.

The delegation included faculty members Mitchell Anthamatten, David Foster, Marc Porosoff, Astrid Mueller, Alex Shestopalov, Wyatt Tenhaeff, and Andrew White. The Department of Chemical Engineering, the Office of Undergraduate Research, the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Wilson Common Student Activities all provided “generous” funding, without which, “we could not have attended the conference,” Kearns says.

The conference was a great opportunity for students to meet peers from other institutions, talk to graduate school and industry recruiters, explore the breadth of research being done in the field, and hone their networking skills.

For example, Daniel Krajovic ’20 was initially apprehensive about attending a University of Delaware “alumni and friends” reception at the conference. He wanted to introduce himself to that university’s chair of chemical engineering, whose research group he is interested in joining as a graduate student.

“I actually had a great conversation” with him, Krajovic says. “It was a great personal success and gives me confidence to continue pushing against such social apprehensions in the future.”

Kearns appreciated the opportunity to meet with fellow AIChE presidents from around the country to learn about different strategies for engaging undergraduates, in order to help them grow professionally, obtain hands on engineering experiences, and connect with peers and professors.

“We hope to implement some new events on campus based on the ideas from this conference,” Kearns says.

Joyceline Marealle ’20 placed first in the Materials Science and Engineering group 6 for “An Ultrafast Rechargeable Aluminum Battery.”

 Oliver won second place in the Materials Engineering and Sciences group 2 for his poster titled “CFD and PBM Modeling of Particle Aggregation in Mixing Tanks,” a project he has been working on since last summer with Riley Flower ’20.

“Talking with other students next to me at the poster session was an incredible experience because we got to talk about research that we were all very passionate about,” Oliver says. “It is encouraging to see that so many other students from around the world are doing interesting research.”

Krajovic took third place for his poster entitled "Recyclable Shape-Memory Elastomers."