Author: Sue Hill

Sue Hill is the Digital Content Manager for the College of Engineering.

Chemical Engineering Order of the Engineer 2022


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.

Austin Alexa
Alicia Ball
Lydia Bell
Joshua M. Bilkey
Autumn Cole
Elisha Coleman
Tarot M. Denger
Sarah Foyer
Brady T. Good
Andrew Gryspeerd
Rachael Haslam
Sarah Kempin
Paul Langsford
Jeremy Lien

Audrey Lyons
Stephanie Manthei
Emerald Mehler
Morgan Miller
Kira Millhausen
Zachary Olson
Morgan Ottman
Zachary D. Peil
Abigail Pula
Rebecca Rivera
Michael Schumacher
Jonathan Sullens
Rebecca Williams
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 Elected to National Academy of Engineers

William S Hammack
William S Hammack

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.

Engineering Research Initiation NSF Grant for Yixin Liu

Yixin Liu
Yixin Liu

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.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.

Pradeep Agrawal Shares Lessons on Management during a Global Pandemic

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.”

Guzdials Enrich Campus with Bench, Statue

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 is NOBCChE Award Recipient

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.

Seth A. Kriz Presents Poster at 2021 Alumni Reunion

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
Seth A. Kriz

Seth A. Kriz

Area of Focus

Bioseparations, Vaccine Manufacturing


Purifying viral vaccines by two-phase aqueous extraction

Project Summary

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.

Play Purifying viral vaccines by two-phase aqueous extraction – Seth Kirz video
Preview image for Purifying viral vaccines by two-phase aqueous extraction - Seth Kirz video

Purifying viral vaccines by two-phase aqueous extraction – Seth Kirz

Chemical Engineering Activity in Summer Youth Program

Madelyn Hachenski in front of UO Lab.
Madelyn Hachenski is interviewed in front of the Unit Operations Lab, an educational facility managed by the Department of Chemical Engineering.

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.”

Read more and watch the video at WLUC TV6, by Matt Price.

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.

Chemical Engineering Convocation 2021

The Department of Chemical Engineering proudly bestows honors and awards to ChE students each spring by way of a Convocation Awards Ceremony. This year we were unable to host an in-person event, but were fortunate to recognize our students virtually on April 16, 2021.

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.

Keynote Speaker

Bradley Rick

Bradley Rick ’84 ’86

Bradley Rick earned his BSChE in 1984 and his MSChE in 1986, both from Michigan Tech.

During his graduate studies Brad was part of a research team sponsored by the US Environmental Protection Agency, studying the adsorption of VOCs in off-gas emitted from air-stripping towers that treated contaminated groundwater. Brad has spent his 35-year career working at Amway Corporation, an $8B global leader in direct selling consumer products, located in Ada, Michigan.

His early years were devoted to engineering roles in both process development and product R&D. As a result, Brad holds multiple patents, and has held executive positions at Amway over the past 20 years in Quality Assurance, Information Technology, Engineering, and Manufacturing. Brad is currently is Director of Manufacturing at Amway, responsible for a family of plants making paper and plastic packaging, powdered nutrition drinks, soft gel vitamin supplements, probiotics, and carbonated energy drinks.

Chair’s Award for Outstanding Chemical Engineering Senior

Matt Harris

Matt Harris

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.

Matt has been involved in many student organizations on campus, holding various leadership positions, taken on many volunteer roles, has worked multiple co-op and internship positions, all while maintaining a high level of academic achievement. Where Matt’s experience at Michigan Tech stood out from his peers was in his commitment to mentoring students, demonstrated through his involvement with the rowing activities on campus as part-time coach and instructor, as well as his involvement with the department’s student advisory board and peer mentoring program. Matt has taken the opportunity to positively impact students across campus with these activities as well as provide service to the department by contributing valuable feedback about the current student experience and assisting his peers. Matt’s willingness to openly share what he has learned on how to be successful with other students is an asset to not just the students he helps but to the chemical engineering program and university as a whole.

Excellence in Communication Award

Erin Andersen

Erin Andersen

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.

Erin was nominated by a student. Her nominator states:

“…I would like to nominate Erin Anderson for the Excellence in Communication Award. I believe she qualifies for this award as she was an amazing Orientation Leader. As an incoming Freshman in 2018, there were a lot of things I was not aware of initially entering college that she effectively communicated to me as an Orientation Leader. She also provided a Welcoming Environment for me and my peers in our group, and made herself available for any questions and or concerns I might’ve had. From the beginnings of my college experience as a Freshman, she helped Communicate to me that Michigan Tech was an Inclusive and Enjoyable place to go to college…”

Professional Ethics Award

Bryce Walbrun and companion
Bryce Walbrun (left)

Bryce Walbrun

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.

Bryce Walbrun was nominated for this award by a faculty member because of his honesty and candor, even extending to self-evaluation of his own performance as a CPM Enterprise project leader. In Enterprise and his coursework, Bryce has shown awareness of the importance of following ethical guidelines, and he has asked probing questions about workplace ethical dilemmas.

Prevent Accidents With Safety (PAWS) Award

Meredith Grusnick

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.

Throughout the capstone lab sequence, Meredith promoted a strong safety culture and worked to improve our safety program. In addition to being part of the safety team, Meredith organized a guest speaker, a Health & Safety Specialist at Dow Chemical, to talk with the class about industrial safety, specifically covering safety incidents, the response to those incidents, and the protocols put in place because of them. Meredith felt these topics are relevant to her peers, and discussing them would provide an opportunity to gain an understanding of management systems that are in place and the role of chemical engineers in these systems.

Marriot W. Bredekamp Award

Joleen Adams, David Alger, Kevin Miltenberger and Kyle Koetje

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. Marriot W. Bredekamp.

Joleen Adams
Joleen Adams
David Alger
David Alger
Kevin Miltenberger
Kevin Miltenberger
Kyle Koetje
Kyle Koetje

Senior Design Team Awards

First Place (John T. Patton Award)

Michael Griggs, Paul Langsford, Matthew Schienke, and James Somerville for “FCC Ostromislensky Chemical Plant Producing 1,3-Butadiene from Ethanol”

Michael Griggs
Michael Griggs
Paul Langsford
Paul Langsford
Matthew Schienke
Matthew Schienke
James Somerville
James Somerville

Second Place

Mallory Bunker, Emily Burke, Meredith Grusnick, and Bridget O’Connell for “Proposal for an FCC Hydrocarbons Plant Producing Ethylene from Raw Ethane in Baton Rouge, LA”

Mallory Bunker
Mallory Bunker
Emily Burke
Emily Burke
Bridget O’Connell
Bridget O’Connell

Third Place

David Alger, Shane Cruthers, Jon Hook, and Kyle Koetje for “FCC Expansion into Crude Oil Refining”

David Alger
David Alger
Shane Cruthers
Shane Cruthers
Jon Hook
Jon Hook
Kyle Koetje
Kyle Koetje

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. We are proud that Dr. Patton, in retirement, can see the elements of design he taught are alive and well in our soon-to-be graduates.

Davis W. Hubbard Outstanding Rising Senior Award

Cameron Reid

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.

In addition to Cameron’s impressive performance in his course work at Michigan Tech and co-op experience, Cameron has been the treasurer for AIChE for the last year.  He has been very involved with the organization, both as a member and on the e-board. Cameron has been described by his nominator as “very proactive and timely, bringing new ideas to the table and getting tasks done efficiently”.

Student Organization Leadership Awards


AIChE had an outstanding E-board this year. They worked extremely well together to improve the organization, including increasing the number of companies that participated at meetings. This year’s eboard was led by Tanner Sheahan. Tanner’s efforts to improve AIChE has resulted in an increased number of meetings, sponsors, and opportunities for our students. Congratulations Tanner.


As the coordinator for the CMLC this year, Bryce was presented with a challenge of how to organize everything. He needed to make sure that students could get the help that they needed, while also making sure that the rules for distancing and preventing potential disease spread were followed. He rose to the challenge, and the CMLC coaches were able to do what needed to be done while still ensuring that everyone could remain healthy.


This year, the CPM Enterprise has 10 projects and nearly 50 students, so it is a complex organization to keep on track.  Jacob Michaud (President) and Kelsey Farrell (V.P.) have teamed up this year to keep CPM running like a well-oiled machine.  Their imprint will continue to be felt for years to come.  Both have set high standards for themselves, and they have seen to it that students under their management get a good Enterprise experience.  Jacob and Kelsey deserve our acknowledgment and recognition.


Omega Chi Epsilon is the National Honor Society for Chemical Engineering. The Society promotes high scholarship, encourages original investigation in chemical engineering and recognizes the valuable traits of character, integrity and leadership. It serves both undergraduate and graduate students and fosters meaningful student-faculty dialogue. 

In recognition of his leadership of OXE over the past year, the OXE award goes to former president John Baughn.


The SAB leadership award goes to Matt Harris. The Student Advisory Board this year had a very talented and engaged team that, in addition to continuing past initiatives, took on a new initiative this year to review the Department web-site and social media from a students’ perspective and how it can be improved in terms of ease of navigation and finding the needed information. As SAB President, Matt Harris led and motivated a very capable team. The true sign of a leader is to position the organization so it can function smoothly afterwards.


Jacob Orlando has been elected twice as president to serve on the leadership board of the Alternative Energy Enterprise (AEE) for the past two years. To be elected president twice is a pretty remarkable feat in itself. As one of the faculty mentors in AEE, along with Jay Meldrum, I have appreciated Jacob’s enthusiasm for alternative energy, his ability to keep the various AEE teams organized, and in providing encouragement to students in AEE to take advantage of the opportunities that it offers. Congratulations Jacob.

AIChE Awards

Teacher of the Year Award

Dr. Faith Morrison

Research Mentor of the Year Award

Dr. Caryn Heldt

Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year Award

Elizabeth Hoekstra

Undergraduate Grader of the Year

Kevin Miltenberger

Staff Making a Difference Award

Stefan Wisniewski

Larkin Hooker-Moericke is an Exceptional Leader in Student Governance

Larkin Hooker-Moericke
Larkin Hooker-Moericke

Outstanding students, staff, and a special alumni were honored Friday (April 16, 2021) during Michigan Tech’s 27th Annual Student Leadership Awards Virtual Ceremony.

Nathan Ford, a graduate student, and Larkin Hooker-Moericke, an undergraduate student, were recognized as Exceptional Leaders in Student Governance. Both have collaborated on numerous projects and contributions for their constituency over the past year. With the unconventional year, they have shown to pivot and jointly work together to serve the students of Michigan Tech. They have advocated for modifications to various academic policies that have made significant impacts, formed several new committees to address student concerns, and worked tirelessly to minimize disruptions to the student experience. Their nomination states that the list of all the specific things they have done is just too long, but what is really important is that at no point have Larkin and Nathan lost sight of their job: the well-being and success of all students.

Larkin, President of Undergraduate Student Government, is a chemical engineering major.

Play 27th Annual Student Leadership Awards video
Preview image for 27th Annual Student Leadership Awards video

27th Annual Student Leadership Awards