The Department of Chemical Engineering proudly bestows honors and awards to ChE students each spring by way of a Convocation Awards Ceremony. Awards were presented on April 11, 2022.
The faculty and staff of Chemical Engineering join together in offering our sincerest congratulations to all of our honored recipients and this year’s graduating class. Kudos on your resilience, determination and drive for success.
Meg Guillaumin ’03
Plant Manager at DTE Energy
Meg Guillaumin is a plant manager for DTE Energy, a Detroit-based energy company serving 2.2 million electric customers in Southeast Michigan and 1.3 million natural gas customers across the state. DTE Energy aspires to be the best operated energy company in North America, and a force for growth in the communities where we live and serve.
Meg is currently responsible for the Blue Water Energy Center, DTE Energy’s state of the art combined cycle natural gas facility set to begin commercial operation in spring 2022. Upon completion, Blue Water will supply enough electricity to power 850,000 homes and supports DTE Energy’s progress in reducing carbon emissions by more than 80% by 2040.
Prior to her current role Meg was the manager of the Greenwood Energy Center and Peaking organizations, constituting over 1/3 of DTE Energy’s total generating capacity. She has held other leadership roles in the operation, maintenance and engineering support of power plant facilities across her career.
Meg earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Michigan Technological University in 2003 and began her career with DTE Energy upon graduation. She is currently the chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering External Advisory Board.
Chair’s Award for Outstanding Chemical Engineering Senior
The Chair’s Award for Outstanding Chemical Engineering Senior recognizes the exceptional record of a chemical engineering graduating senior for their academic achievement, experiential learning activities, and community engagement. To be eligible for consideration the candidate must be graduating in the current calendar year, demonstrate their commitment to the chemical engineering profession, and show how their activities have positively impacted others through inspiration, action, and/or leadership. This award consists of a certificate and monetary award in the amount of $1,000
Excellence in Communication Award
The Excellence in Communication Award was created to acknowledge the critical role that effective communication plays in successful leadership. This award recognizes a graduating senior from the department of chemical engineering for their effective use of communication of the highest standard. Candidates for this award may be nominated by faculty, staff, or students.
Professional Ethics Award
This award recognizes a student who has exhibited exemplary ethics and admirable professional conduct during Plant Design and Unit Operations experiences and throughout their academic career at Michigan Technological University.
Prevent Accidents With Safety (PAWS) Award
The Prevent Accidents with Safety (PAWS) Undergraduate Lab Safety Program is a comprehensive safety program requiring training, constant vigilance, and incident reporting and documentation systems— all with an eye toward critical review and continuous improvement. The Prevent Accidents with Safety (PAWS) program provides a framework to develop the necessary safety culture within the student community. The key to the PAWS program is that the students in the Unit Operations Laboratory bear the responsibility for personal health and safety and for the safety of those around them. Specific safety-related responsibilities are assigned to the students in addition to their course responsibilities. The student-owned portion of the PAWS program is built around a safety committee and a communications and documentation system.
Dow Chemical Marriot W. Bredekamp Award
Joshua Bilkey, Michael Schumacher, and Dianna Westrick
This award recognizes outstanding technical skills in the laboratory, outstanding teamwork and professionalism, effective oral and written communication, and strong adherence to process safety practices as recognized by your peers and supported by the faculty of the department. This award is in memory of Dr. Marriott W. Bredekamp.
Senior Design Team Awards
Dr. John Patton, as Chair and faculty member, initiated much of the content of today’s design courses in the ChE Department. He brought his experiences at Exxon to the classroom to provide students with a systematic way to design and analyze a new large-scale capital project. This award recognizes the student team in CM4861 that created the best plant design and recommendation for Fictitious Chemical Company. The three finalist teams for the Patton Award are:
Winner (John T. Patton Award for $1000): Team Bernoulli
Alicia Ball, Mykenzie Garza, Jessie McInnis, and Morgan Ottman for “Biomass to Transportation Fuels by the Fischer-Tropsch Process”
Runner-up ($600): Team Cupreous
AJ Alexa, Nate Liebhauser, Jeremy Lien, and Zachary Olson for “Vinyl Chloride Production by the Direct Chlorination of Ethylene”
Third Place ($400): Team Fenske
Clayton Lynn, Devon Price, John Sullens, and John Ylitalo for “Ibuprofen Production by the BHC Company Process”
Davis W. Hubbard Outstanding Rising Senior Award
Dr. Davis W. Hubbard was a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering for many years. He was committed to engineering education and inspired a generation of students to excel through hard work and perseverance. The eligible candidate for this award has completed all their junior-level core chemical engineering courses. The selection of the award is based on (i) grade point average for the course work done at Michigan Technological University, (ii) research engagement, and (iii) internship/co-op work experience. The award consists of a certificate and monetary award in the amount of $1000.
Student Organization Leadership Awards
Teacher of the Year Award
Research Mentor of the Year Award
Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year Award
Undergraduate Grader of the Year
Staff Making a Difference Award
Peer Mentor and Coach of the Year
Tie: Quinn Miller and Riley Andersen
On April 6, 2022, the Department of Chemical Engineering hosted its Order of the Engineer induction ceremony. The ceremony welcomed 28 new members to the order.
Joshua M. Bilkey
Tarot M. Denger
Brady T. Good
Zachary D. Peil
John Lawrence Ylitalo
Keynote Speaker Audra Thurston
Audra Thurston graduated from Michigan Tech in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. After graduation, she started as a process engineer at Calumet Electronics Corporation, a printed circuit board engineering and manufacturing facility located in Calumet, Michigan. In 2019, she represented IPC, the global trade association for electronics, at the White House as part of the President’s Pledge to American Workers. In 2021, she transitioned from process engineering to Calumet Electronics’ first R&D team. That same year, she won IPC’s Rising Star Award. Outside of work, she is a board member of Keweenaw Young Professionals.
About The Order
The Order of the Engineer was initiated in the United States to foster a spirit of pride and responsibility in the engineering profession, to bridge the gap between training and experience, and to present to the public a visible symbol identifying the engineer. Learn more about the Order of the Engineer.
The first ceremony was held on June 4, 1970 at Cleveland State University. Since then, similar ceremonies have been held across the United States at which graduate and registered engineers are invited to accept the Obligation of the Engineer and a stainless steel ring. The ceremonies are conducted by Links (local sections) of the Order. Learn more about the history of the Order of the Engineer.
Bill Hammack, ChE ’84, William H. and Janet G. Lycan Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has been elected a member of the National Academy of Engineers (NAE) for innovations in multidisciplinary engineering education, outreach, and service to the profession through development and communication of internet-delivered content.
Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Individuals in the newly elected class will be formally inducted during the NAE’s annual meeting on Oct. 2, 2022. 111 US nationals and 22 international engineers were selected for this honor.
Bill was featured in the last ChE newsletter for having received the Carl Sagan Award in 2019.
Assistant Professor Yixin Liu has has been awarded an Engineering Research Initiation (ERI) NSF grant – “In-Situ Fabrication of Dual-Template Imprinted Nanocomposites for Simultaneous Detection of Glucose and Cortisol.” The total award for this two-year project is $199,972.
People with diabetes are 2-3 times more likely to have depression than people without diabetes. Meanwhile, depressive or anxiety symptoms, often associated with elevated cortisol (the “stress hormone”), can lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Monitoring both glucose and cortisol levels regularly in a cost-effective and effortless way is highly desired to manage diabetes and stress, and prevent prediabetes from progressing to full-blown T2D.
This project aims to develop an enzyme-free and antibody-free electrochemical sensor to simultaneously detect glucose and cortisol coupled with machine learning techniques.
The knowledge gained from this research will lead to low-cost biosensing devices and manufacturing processes.
Professor and Chair Pradeep Agrawal was among leaders presenting for a virtual knowledge sharing session on “Lessons Learned from Effectively Managing Projects and Teams during a Global Pandemic,” sponsored by the AIChE Management Division. Agrawal presented “Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic at Michigan Technological University,” co-authored by Jeanna Collins, Kurt A. Rickard, and Tony N. Rogers.
The presentation took place on November 16 during the 2021 AIChE Annual Meeting.
The session was chaired by Dhaval Bhandari of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering. According to Bhandari, “It was humbling to listen to how each organization/team presented with unique circumstances developed their own unique solutions often not knowing what tomorrow will bring.”
Chris ‘63 and Jan Guzdial have made a gift of a granite bench and bronze Husky statue, placed just outside the McAllister Welcome Center in the Memorial Union Building.
The location will be a magnet for students — both current and prospective — to sit next to the Husky and snap a photo.
“We want to put smiles on students’ faces,” said Chris. “It was a struggle to get through Michigan Tech as a student, but Tech really helped me. I wanted to do something for Michigan Tech and the students here.”
Chris, a chemical engineering graduate, claims he “learned how to learn” at MTU, citing a couple of his instructors. “Mr. T.E. Vichich said in his class that you couldn’t just cram the night before an exam and expect to pass. You needed to do your homework daily. That proved to be true for me.
“Another instructor was my chemical engineering advisor, Dr. G.M. Machwart, who taught me lessons that stayed with me my entire career.”
The Guzdials were inspired in their gift by William Bernard and family and their role in adding the Bernard Family Clock Tower to the west end of campus in 2018.
“We were going to contribute to that project, but it was already taken care of,” said Jan. “This bench was an opportunity to further add to campus. Universities need these extra things to enrich campus life.”
The bench was dedicated July 26 at a small ceremony with the Guzdials and their friends in attendance.
“I look forward to seeing the photos of students sitting on this bench, hugging the Husky, and having a good time.”
By Advancement and Alumni Engagement.
Tinuade Folayan, PhD student in the Department of Chemical Engineering, is the recipient of the 2021 NOBCChE Green Chemistry and STEM Education Division Oral Presentation Award. This award is based on her contribution to scientific research, and the quality and clarity of her talk presented at the 2021 NOBCChE conference in September.
NOBCChE, the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to assisting Black and other minority students and professionals in fully realizing their potential in academic, professional and entrepreneurial pursuits in chemistry, chemical engineering and allied fields.
The Michigan Tech Graduate Student Government (GSG) organized a poster presentation at the 2021 Alumni Reunion in the Rozsa Center on August 6. Presentations are also posted virtually. Among the presenters was Seth A. Kriz, a PhD Student in Chemical Engineering.
Seth A. Kriz
Area of Focus
Bioseparations, Vaccine Manufacturing
Purifying viral vaccines by two-phase aqueous extraction
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates as many as 650,000 people die annually from the seasonal influenza virus. Viral vaccines are an effective tool to combat this enormous problem, but current manufacturing purification methods suffer from high costs and yields of less than 30%. A switch from batch to fully continuous processing, which is acknowledged by the FDA to increase capacity and product consistency, is necessary to meet demand. Aqueous two-phase systems (ATPS) constructed of inexpensive, environmentally-friendly polymers and salts are an ideal method to replace traditional chromatography steps that rely on costly resins and operate discontinuously. Previously, we achieved over 80% recovery of two model viral products in the polymer phase of ATPS with high host cell protein and DNA removal. However, the purified viral product is too viscous for further polishing by traditional filtration methods. Thus, a polymer removal step is required. Here we developed a second stage of ATPS to back-extract the virus from the polymer-rich primary product into a gentle salt solution ready for polishing. Preliminary results demonstrate that back-extraction completes a fully continuous viral particle extraction process using ATPS.
HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – Since 1972, Michigan Tech University has held its Summer Youth Program, giving kids finishing sixth to eleventh grade an opportunity to take courses, ranging from Engineering to Computer Science.
“We have classes on everything,” said Jannah Tumey, the Assistant Director of MTU’s Center for Educational Outreach, “from Aviation to Forensic Science to Michigan Species of Concern and other ecology-type classes and Chemistry.”
The “glow slime” featured in the video is the Essence of Luminescence session taught by Steve Wisniewski, a Research Associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering.