Dow Chemical and MIT ACCESS program: Encouraging graduate study

This looks like a cool program; and we have an alum of this program in the Michigan Tech Chem Eng graduate program!  Spread the word.

Overview of program

The mission of the ACCESS program is to increase the diversity of qualified applicants to PHD programs in chemistry, chemical engineering and materials science throughout the United States. ACCESS is a weekend of educational and informative events that will introduce talented sophomores, juniors and seniors to the benefits of a graduate education in chemistry, chemical engineering, and materials science. The goal of ACCESS is not to prepare students for graduate school at MIT specifically, but rather to introduce them to the advantages of choosing a graduate career path at an institution that best meets each participant’s individual needs.

The weekend-long program offers students an overview of graduate education through seminars, faculty talks, and interactive sessions, all designed to give a greater understanding of the application process and an insight into the doors a graduate career can open.

ACCESS will give participants:

A broad exposure to the opportunities that can be gained from a graduate education in chemistry, chemical engineering, and materials science;

  • An introduction to the various career paths that can result from a graduate education in chemistry, chemical engineering, and materials science;
  • An opportunity to hear directly from faculty and students their reasons for choosing a graduate career;
  • An explanation of the funding structure for graduate education and information on graduate fellowships;
  • A chance to meet and socialize with fellow undergraduates from around the nation who are pursuing similar goals;
  • And a fun Cambridge/Boston experience!

Contact Info:

For more information about the ACCESS program, email mit-access@mit.edu.

How can I prepare for registration?

Registration is always right around the corner, and before it arrives, it’s best to get prepared. Those of you who have tried to make an appointment with Katie near registration time know that her schedule fills up. She has “walk-in” office hours weeks 9-11, so you will not need an appointment, but you may face some lines. With this post I reach out to you with some advice to ensure that you have a good registration season.

Katie’s walk-in office hours schedule is posted here: blogs.mtu.edu/chem-eng-undergrad/

If you are uncertain what classes you need to take, please take a look at our video on Planning your Schedule.

Planning your schedule begins with the planning handout at this link (http://www.chem.mtu.edu/~fmorriso/advising/2015MoreAdvisingInfoHandout4SemPlanFAM.pdf), which shows a 4-year plan of how the Chemical Engineering curriculum maps out. I have indicated the classes that cause a bottleneck–these are the classes that are only offered one time per year. Up until the spring of junior year you have flexibility in when you can take classes. The three spring junior classes, however, (transport 2, kinetics, controls) are only offered in the spring. The senior chemical engineering classes (unit and plant operations, plant design, safety and the environment) are only offered once per year as well. This means that you need to be ready for those spring junior classes during the spring that you plan to take them.

The pre-requisites for our classes are summarized on this handout:  www.mtu.edu/chemical/undergraduate/advising/pdfs/prerequisite-map.pdf

To plan out your schedule you should map out which semester you intend to take the fixed classes (spring junior classes, senior classes) and then back-calculate when you will take the pre-requisites for those courses.

On the planning handout I have also indicated when classes are offered on-line, and I’ve highlighted some General Education (GenEd) rules that you should be mindful of as you plan out your GenEd choices.

Finally, once things get close to graduation, every requirement must be met and this can get confusing sometimes. For checking or auditing your compliance with your degree requirements Michigan Tech uses DARS: Degree Audit Reporting System. Go to your Banweb account, log in, and look for Degree audit. You can run your own degree audit. It takes a minute or two for the computer to slot all your courses into the various bins or “buckets” where they satisfy requirements. When it’s finished, you can take a look. Green is good; red is bad. You will see all kinds of lists and requirements that are checked. It is a computer program and online, so hopefully you can poke around a bit and figure out how it’s working. If you are a transfer student or if you transferred in courses, it is very helpful for sorting out what credits count for what.

Please take a look at your DARS and see how your credits earned are stacking up towards getting your CM degree. If you look over the attached sheet, consult the pre-req map, look at your degree audit, and make use of the handouts for minors and technical electives that are on the Advising web page, you will see that registration is a snap.

Thanks for your patience during registration season. We will endeavor to answer all your questions and hopefully we can find a solution that will lead to a smooth path towards your BS in chemical engineering.

More helpful links:

best wishes,

Dr. Morrison

What does a “Linked Course Required” error mean?

There are a number of classes that have multiple parts (a lecture, recitation, and/or lab), and you must enroll in all of the parts to register for the class.  If you only register for one part you will get a registration error that says “Linked Course Required”.  If you look at the section column when you search for classes (labeled “Sec”), the lecture sections are lettered (0A, 0B, etc.), the recitation sections start with an R (R01, R02, etc.), and the lab sections start with an L (L01, L02, etc.).  All of the parts of a single course will have the same course number.

For example to enroll in CM 3215, Transport Lab, you must register for both the lecture and lab portions:

CM 3215 0A (lecture)

CM 3215 L01 or L02 or etc. (lab)

Classes with multiple parts include:  MA 1160, MA 1161, MA 2160, MA 3160, CM 3215, CM 3310, CM 4110, CM 4120, and CM 4855.

Some classes instead require a “co-requisite”.  This means that you must sign up for both classes (different course numbers) or you will get a “Linked Course Required” error.  Classes that require co-requisites include:  CH 1150/CH 1151, CH 1160/CH 1161, and MA 2321/MA 3521.

I am an incoming transfer student; how do I register?

Per the Registrar’s office on 18March2015, students with more than 30 transfer credits can register themselves through Banweb. Visit the Chemical Engineering 24/7 Advising page (blog) and the ChemE Advising Handout page to see Chemical Engineering degree requirements and suggested schedules.  Once you have taken a crack at sorting out a schedule, email the ChemE advisor at  cmadvise@mtu.edu to receive additional advice.

Students with fewer than 30 transfer credits will be registered by the Registrar’s office in July as part of the incoming first-year registration process that puts first-year students into “cohorts”.   See the website for the website for the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success (Scheduling Information for Engineering Majors) for more information about cohorts and first-year student scheduling.  Some first-year classes are added during orientation and cannot be added ahead of time.

What are the changes to GenEd for Fall 2015?

The Michigan Tech General Education program is changing as of Fall 2015.  All student starting or transferring to Tech as of Fall 2015 must follow the new General Education rules.  For chemical engineering students, this impacts mostly what courses count as HASS electives.  The program will soon be outlined on the Registrar’s General Education page; that’s the definitive page for determining the rules.  We do have an advanced copy of the rules/HASS list posted on the we that you can access at this link:  www.chem.mtu.edu/~fmorriso/curriculum/HASS2015RegistrarList.pdf.

Volunteer Opportunity: Conversation Partners

Leading a well-rounded and meaningful life means helping others.  We highlight here some volunteer opportunities at Michigan Tech.

(see Tech Today newsletter 14Jan2015)

IESL Conversation Partner Opportunity

Conversation Partners  that pairs students in the Intensive English as a Second Language (IESL) program with more proficient English-speaking members of the Michigan Tech community. The program is open to students, faculty and staff. Participants commit to one-hour per week of one-on-one informal conversation by signing a contract with the IESL program for one semester. The contract commits them to meet their partner in public places on campus for a minimum of one hour per week.

Please consider giving an international student an hour of your time. It makes an enormous difference.

How the Program Works

  1. Interested students, faculty and staff members may download and complete the online form.
  2. IESL matches students with participants. The program makes every effort to match people of the same gender though sometimes this may be difficult. IESL will always check with volunteers before matching them with someone of the opposite gender.
  3. IESL introduces the conversation partners to each other at an initial meeting. Both parties sign a contract stating that they will meet on campus once per week for the duration of the semester.
  4. Though partners meet independently, listening and speaking teachers will often check in with students.
  5. If there are any concerns, we ask that volunteers please contact the IESL program as soon as possible.

Why participate in this opportunity?

As a member of the Tech community, there are many reasons why you should consider and commit to being conversation partner. Here are some of them:

  • Make a new friend and create a potentially rewarding friendship
  • Help an international student understand American culture and society
  • Experience the contemporary global landscape from the unique perspective of one of our international students
  • Develop deeper cultural awareness and understanding by developing a sustained conversation with someone from a different country
  • Participate in promoting rewarding cross-language relations and cross-cultural dialogue on campus

The Role of a Conversation Partner
As a partner your main responsibility is to offer your IESL student conversation practice. At times you may have to explain English language points but we are not asking you to be an English as a Second Language teacher. The goal is for your conversation partner to have plenty of speaking and listening practice.

The IESL program can provide ideas for your weekly meetings at the program’s preliminary meeting. Those who have participated have found the experience rewarding. We urge others to give it a try. For questions, contact IESL at iesl@mtu.edu.

What computer programs are used in the ChemE program at Michigan Tech?

We use a variety of computer programs in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Tech.  Microsoft Word is widely used for report preparation.  Dr. Morrison has a YouTube video showing some short-cuts for writing equations with Microsoft Word.  In the junior laboratory, CM3215 Fundamentals of ChemE Lab, we use Microsoft Excel extensively and we also use Visio for creating Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&ID).

Microsoft Excel is introduced in the first-year engineering classes (ENG 1101 and and ENG 1102), and so it is assumed that Chemical Engineering juniors have some familiarity with Excel.  In CM3215 there are several exercises meant to gauge and build Excel proficiency.  We also ask students to learn how to use Excel’s LINEST program for determining least squares fits as well as uncertainty parameters related to least squares fits.  Error analysis is a big part of CM 3215, and in that and subsequent classes we add error bars to graphs (using Excel) to show uncertainty.  Excel also has a function called Solver that we use in several classes (CM 3215, CM 3450, CM4655 for example) to perform nonlinear curve fitting and optimization.

Here is a list of some of the software programs used in CM courses

  • CM2110 Fundamentals of Chem E 1: Polymath, Excel, Visio
  • CM2120 Fundamentals of Chem E 2: Excel, Word, and UniSim
  • CM3215 Fundamentals of ChemE Lab:  Excel, Word, Visio
  • CM3110 Transport 1:  Excel, Comsol, Word
  • CM3120 Transport 2: Excel, Word
  • CM3230 Thermodynamics:  Excel, Word, Mathcad
  • CM3310 Process Control: LabVIEW
  • CM3410 Tech Communication for Che:  Excel, Word, PowerPoint
  • CM3510: Chemical Reaction Engineering: Polymath, Word, UniSim
  • CM3450: Computer-Aided Problem Solving:  UniSim, MatLab, MathCAD, Excel w/ VBA, and Minitab
  • CM4110 Unit Operations Lab: Excel, Word, Visio, PowerPoint
  • CM4120 Plant Operations Lab:  Excel, Word, Visio, PowerPoint, PI DataLink, PI ProcessBook
  • CM4310 Process Safety/Environment:  Excel, Word, EPI Suite, SimaPro
  • CM4855 Plant Design 1:  Excel, Word, Visio, UniSim, SuperTarget
  • CM4860 Plant Design 2:  Excel, Word, Visio, UniSim, SuperTarget
  • CM4861 Plant Design Lab 2: Excel, Word, Visio, UniSim, SuperTarget