Category Archives: News

Chemical Engineering 2014 Convocation

The Annual Chemical Engineering Department Awards Convocation was held in the Memorial Union Ballroom on April 11, 2014. This is an opportunity to thank the faculty, staff and students for their hard work and dedication.

The department recognized the support of Mrs. Karen Hubbard, Kimberly-Clark, Dow Chemical, Dow Corning and UOP for their donations and services, which made this year’s Awards Convocation possible.

The guest speaker was Mr. James Graham, 1970 Graduate of Michigan Tech. He is the founder of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Consulting, LLC.

James Graham, 1970 Graduate of Michigan Tech. He is the founder of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Consulting, LLC, shown here with Dr. Komar Kawatra, Michigan Tech Chemical Engineering Chair

Jim Graham, a resident of Centennial, Colorado, is a 1970 graduate of Michigan Tech’s Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering. Jim began his career as process engineer for Texas Gulf in Moab, Utah. In 1973, he moved to the coal fields of West Virginia for Zapata Corporation and through a series of promotions moved to Lexington, Kentucky as Vice President Engineering. His next move in 1992 was to General Exploration Company, a diversified energy company in Dallas, Texas, as President. In 1984 Jim joined the French oil, gas and mining company, TOTAL, as President of their US operations.

After almost ten years with TOTAL, he moved to ConverDyn as the President and CEO. ConverDyn is the partnership between affiliates of Honeywell International and General Atomics, and managed the conversion services business from Honeywell’s Metropolis, Illinois facility. In addition to his position at ConverDyn, he was a Senior Vice President of General Atomics and responsible for the company’s nuclear fuel cycle activities from 1992 until 2004. After leading ConverDyn for over 16 years, Jim retired in June 2009 and established his own company, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Consulting LLC, to provide services to the nuclear industry. Over all, Jim retired with 40 years experience in the mining and energy industries with the last 26 in the nuclear industry.

Jim has been the author of numerous papers and presentations for the nuclear industry and was a member of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) Board of Directors. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Governors for the World Nuclear Fuel Market (WNFM) and of the NEI’s Nuclear Fuel Supply Forum. He Co-Chaired the World Nuclear Association’s 2007 Global Nuclear Fuel Market study.

His activities outside the energy industry include serving as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for nine years of St. Mary’s Academy, a private school in the Denver area. Jim also spent several years as a Trustee of the Michigan Tech Fund, in 1977 was selected the school’s outstanding young alumni in 1977 and in 2000 was inducted into the Academy of Materials Science and Engineering.

Awards were presented for Prevent Accidents With Safety (PAWS) Awards

Awards were presented for Prevent Accidents With Safety (PAWS) Awards: Christina Basso, Nicholas Hlivak, Mitchell Struble, Katelyn Rousse, Jennifer Robinson, Jacob Menchak, Ross Koepke and Tyler Boyea

Dow Chemical Marriott W. Bredekamp Award

Dow Chemical Marriott W. Bredekamp Award: Jonathan Anderson, Amanda Guza, Emily Harrison and Amber Hynnek

UOP Davis W. Hubbard Plant Design Team Award

UOP Davis W. Hubbard Plant Design Team Award: Mitchell Redman, Richard Machiela, Casey McClarnon and Nathan Baker

Kimberly-Clark Professional Ethics Award and Kimberly-Clark Communication Award: Katrina Swanson

Kimberly-Clark Professional Ethics Award: Christina Basso
Kimberly-Clark Communication Award: Katrina Swanson

Exemplary Service Award: Christina Basso

Exemplary Service Award: Christina Basso

Student Reports were presented by AIChE Chapter President – Ms. Elizabeth Skultety; Consumer Product Manufacturing (CPM) President – Ms. Andrea Bal; Alternative Energy Enterprise (AEE) President – Krista Blumberg; Omega Chi Epsilon – Mr. Jonny Young; SWE Conference – Ms. Kerstin Cleveland

Faculty Awards were presented by Ms. Elizabeth Skultety, AIChE President, presented the Teacher of the Year Award to Dr. John Sandell, and the Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year was awarded to Jeana Dillon. “Research Mentor of the Year” award went to Dr. Adrienne Minerick who was out of town and not able to be present at the convocation.

Teacher of the Year Award to Dr. John Sandell

Teacher of the Year Award to Dr. John Sandell

Outstanding TA of the Year Award to Jeana Dillon

“Outstanding TA of the Year” Award to Jeana Dillon.

See more photos at our Flickr Gallery

Order of Engineer Ceremony for Chemical Engineers

The Department of Chemical Engineering conducted its first Order of the Engineer Ring Ceremony on Thursday, April 17. Fifty-four students and faculty were inducted and took a solemn obligation to themselves to “uphold devotion to the standards and dignity of the engineering profession.” The inductees were presented with a stainless steel ring worn on the fifth finger of the working hand to remind themselves of this obligation. KRC Director Jay Meldrum was the keynote speaker and talked about examples of unethical decisions or acts he observed during different stages of his career and the decisions he made.

Prof. Morrison on board of American Institute of Physics

Professor Faith Morrison serves on the board of American Institute of Physics as representative of the The Society of Rheology. The Institute was created to promote the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics and its application to human welfare. For example, the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) jointly-sponsor a STEM Education Policy Fellowship that will fund scientists and educators for up to two years, sending them to the U.S. Department of Education where they will work intensively on education policy and programs related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The AIP Executive Board is meeting this week.

Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics; seated are Marcia Isakson, Dian Seidel, Faith Morrison
standing are Charles Carter, Kate Kirby, Rudolf Ludeke, Eva Adams, Michael D. Duncan, Louis J. Lanzerotti, Kevin B. Marvel, Beth Cunningham, Judith Flippen-Anderson, H. Frederick Dylla and sitting on the arm of the chair J. Daniel Bourland

Chemical Engineering Research News Briefs

Robert Handler, David Shonnard, and Jiqing Fan (ChE/SFI) have been awarded $47,602 for environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies for Gas Technology Institute (GTI), and the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation Grand Challenge on a project to transform carbon from a liability into an asset. GTI will serve as the prime contractor and will perform process engineering, catalysts, and reaction systems research and development work. Michigan Tech will be a subcontractor performing LCA. The project began on April 1 and will run for two years.

Scientists develop simple analysis tool for tears: Research led by associate professor Adrienne Minerick (ChE) to develop a tear test for vitamin deficiency was picked up by the news site Medical News.

PI Adrienne Minerick (ChE) and Co-Pis Mary Raber (ILI) and Paul Bergstrom (ECE) have been awarded a $200,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation for “PFI: AIR–TT: Blood Typing Device without Reagents: Sensing Electrodes to Replace Optics.”

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Awards to Chemical Engineering students, showing their advisor and project title.
Shannon Ennis; Chemical Engineering; S. Komar Kawatra
Title: pH Neutral Iron Ore Processing: A Breakthrough in Environmentally Friendly Mineral Processing
Peter Gardner; Chemical Engineering; Caryn Heldt
Title: Infectivity of Hepatitis A Virus and Porcine Parvovirus in the Presence of Cochlospermum Planchonii Extracts
Alex Reichanadter ; Chemical Engineering; Julie King;
Title: Mechanical Properties of Continuous Carbon Fiber/Graphene Nanoplatelet/Epoxy Composites

Biofuels Digest, a publication featuring news of the biofuels industry, published an article on American Process, an Alpena, Mich., based biofuel refinery that recently shipped the first shipment of cellulosic ethanol produced from forest waste products. In the article, CEO Theodora Retsina credited Michigan Tech for technological support, for the experiments and environmental analyses conducted by professor David Shonnard (ChE), professor Sue Bagley (Bio Sci) and students.

Michigan Tech Students Head to Detroit for Alternative Spring Break

Students from the Michigan Tech National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) visited seven middle and high schools in Detroit over their Spring Break, March 11-14, 2014, to promote college and engineering to K-12 students. In the evenings, they conducted Family Engineering Night events at three K-8 schools. NSBE’s Alternative Spring Break is conducted in collaboration with the Detroit Public Schools Office of Science and the Detroit Math & Science Center, and funded in part, with a grant from John Deere.

WXYZ Channel 7 news in Detroit aired a feature story about an interview with Michigan Tech NSBE student chapter members in Detroit, working to motivate middle and high school students in Detroit schools to see college in their futures and to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

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Michigan Tech NSBE students Family Engineering session at classroom in Detroit shown here in a photo from 2014

Kimberly-Clark Hosts Michigan Tech Students

Nineteen students from Michigan Tech spent a day in Neenah, Wisconsin touring Kimberly-Clark facilities, meeting with company representatives and alumni, and learning about careers with Kimberly-Clark. The students included members of Michigan Tech’s Society of Women Engineers collegiate section and other professional university organizations. – See more

Winning Pitch Cleans Up at Michigan Tech Business Contest

Today’s university students are reminded to be careful about what they put up on their Facebook or Twitter accounts. Sometimes they forget, and that’s a job for Clean It Up, the winning entry in the fifth annual Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition held Thursday night on the campus of Michigan Technological University.

The late business professor Bob Mark created the competition so students could polish their 90-second, new business pitches, emulating the length of an elevator ride.

The brainchild of accounting major Nikoli Wiens and chemical engineering major Zach Eckert, Clean It Up promises to clean up content and profiles on the Internet, even beyond the cleansing that Facebook and Twitter claim to do upon request.

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Alums at the Society of Rheology meeting in Montreal

At the Society of Rheology meeting in Montreal Canada in October 2013, Dr Faith Morrison met with James Eickhoff, Michigan Tech class of 2004, and Mark Cieslinski, Michigan Tech class of 2011. James works for Anton Paar, a rheometer manufacturer. He travels all over the world. Mark is a graduate student in Don Baird’s group at Virginia Tech, set to get his Ph.D. in chemical engineering/rheology in two years. Both students took CM4650 Polymer Rheology from Dr. Morrison when they were at Tech.