Author: Sue Hill

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

Utkarsh Chaudhari Takes First Place in GRC 2021 Poster Session

Utkarsh Chaudhari
Utkarsh Chaudhari

Poster Session

First place was won by Utkarsh Chaudhari from the Department of Chemical Engineering for his presentation titled “Systems Analysis Approach to PET and Olefin Plastics Supply Chains in the Circular Economy.”

View the Poster Presentations, Group 2, and the PDF.

This year’s Graduate Research Colloquium organized by the Graduate Student Government was hosted virtually due to COVID restrictions. There were in total 48 presentations — 17 poster presenters and 31 oral presenters.

Poster presentations took place in a pre-recorded video style and the oral sessions were hosted live via Zoom. You can watch all the poster videos and recordings for the oral sessions here. Each presentation was scored by two judges from the same field of research.

Participants were able to gain valuable feedback from these judges before presenting their research at an actual conference. It was stiff competition amongst all presenters.

A hearty congratulations to all the winners at this year’s Colloquium. The Graduate Student Government would like to thank everyone: presenters, judges, volunteers, and GSG supporters, for making this a great event despite COVID-19 restrictions. GSG would also like to hear ways in which this event could be improved next year using this feedback form.

By Graduate Student Government.

Circular Economy Award Announced by DOE

Recycling symbol.

Michigan Tech has received notification of a new award valued at $1,027,008 from the REMADE Institute, a public-private partnership established by the United States Department of Energy and the first institute in the U.S. dedicated to accelerating the nation’s transition to a Circular Economy.

“Along with our partners, we are excited to receive this award for the project ‘Dynamic Systems Analysis of PET and Olefin Polymers in a Circular Economy'” said David Shonnard, PI, Robbins Chair in Sustainable Use of Materials, Department of Chemical Engineering.

The total funding amount is cost-shared between REMADE and Michigan Tech, along with partners Idaho National Laboratory, Yale University, Chemstations Inc., Honeywell UOP, and Resource Recycling Systems.

The project is expected to result in multiple positive impacts, including: 

  • New process models and datasets for systems analysis of a circular economy for plastics
  • Optimized plastics circular economy designs to minimize emissions and costs
  • Case study applications to plastics circular economy designs for the state of Michigan

This award is the second and the largest REMADE awarded to Michigan Tech, and involves co-investigators Robert Handler (Sustainable Futures Institute) and Distinguished Professor David Watkins (CEE).

The project is expected to begin on Sept. 1, 2021. Please send any questions or comments to David Shonnard.

By David Shonnard.

Society of Women Engineers Scholarship Recipient Josie Edick

Josie Edick
Josie Edick

Annually, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Section at Michigan Tech awards scholarships to students who are active in the organization to help with their university expenses.

Josie Edick, a junior in Chemical Engineering met or exceeded the scholarship criteria: “we are looking for students who share the same values as SWE, and will or have made a positive impact on our school and organization. Remember the SWE Core Values and the SWE Motto: Aspire, Advance, Achieve.”

She also received an SWE National Scholarship, the 2020 Bayer Scholarship. We greatly appreciate Bayer’s support of SWE collegiates. Edick has not only completed a co-op at Shaw Industries but she has served as our section treasurer for the past two years.

“Congratulations, Josie on your scholarships and accomplishments.”

Gretchen Hein, SWE Advisor

Faith Morrison Recognized by Fraternities and Sororities

Faith A. Morrison
Faith A. Morrison

Last Sunday (Jan. 24), more than 160 computer screens of students, faculty, staff and community members gathered for the 15th Annual Fraternity and Sorority Life Awards Ceremony held via Zoom.

In addition to the many student awards presented, Order of Omega, the Fraternity and Sorority Life Honor Society that coordinates the awards, took the time to recognize some exceptional faculty and staff members.

There are more than 460 students in fraternities and sororities at Michigan Tech, and Order of Omega wanted to emphasize that these awards were coming directly from the students.

The following faculty and staff members were nominated by members of the Greek community and recognized at the 2021 Fraternity and Sorority Life Awards Ceremony (winners are in bold type):


  • Gordon Parker (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Faith Morrison (Chemical Engineering)
  • Glen Archer (Electrical & Computer Engineering)


  • Alan Turnquist (Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success)
  • Jessie Stapleton (Student Leadership & Involvement)


  • Laura Bulleit (Dean of Students)
  • Alyssa Fredin (Student Financial Services)
  • James Schmierer (Forest Resources & Environmental Science)
  • Jannah Tumey (Center for Educational Outreach)
  • Jeannie DeClerck (Instructional Design & Assessment)
  • Joe Cooper (Interim VP for Student Affairs and Dean of Students)

These nominations were written by individual students and were supported by an entire fraternity or sorority. Congratulations to all of these faculty and staff members who were nominated and thank you for inspiring and motivating students. A complete list of all the award winners can be found on the Student Leadership and Involvement web page.

by Fraternity and Sorority Life

Steve Wisniewski Goes Above and Beyond

Steve Wisniewski
Steve Wisniewski

The Staff Council is celebrating the 2020 Staff Council Making a Difference awards winners. Among the winners is Stefan (Steve) Wisniewski, Research Associate, Chemical Engineering.

Above and Beyond Award

Stefan’s nominator says that the “knowledge and work ethic that Steve brings to the department is unparalleled. Steve is dedicated to our students’ education. He has taken the initiative to add to the students’ experience in the Unit Operations lab, including adding troubleshooting exercises, teaching how to build a control loop in DeltaV (commonly used software in the field of chemical engineering), showing lockout/tagout procedures (safety protocol), and providing opportunities for students to learn about designing, ordering, and installing equipment. Steve’s work with the students is outstanding, and I hear from the students how valuable Steve’s positive, steady presence has been to their education.”

“The knowledge and work ethic that Steve brings to the department is unparalleled. Steve is dedicated to our students’ education.”

Stefan’s nominator

A letter of support states that “It is Steve’s background in chemical plant maintenance and operation and his willingness to do whatever is required to provide a world-class educational experience for our students that makes him deserve this recognition.”

SFI Director Hosts EPA Region 5 Webinar

US EPA Region 5 States
EPA Region 5
Serving Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and 35 Tribes

David Shonnard (ChE), director of the Sustainable Futures Institute (SFI) and the Robbins Endowed Chair in Sustainable Use of Materials hosted a webinar and panel discussion on environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) on August 13, 2020.

The webinar was part of an ongoing project funded by the US EPA Region 5 to disseminate best practices in EPP and is a collaboration between SFI and the Great Lakes Environmental Infrastructure Center, directed by Tim Colling.

The webinar also featured two prominent guest panelists and EPP professionals from the states of Minnesota and California. The webinar video, associated documents, and Q&A can be found on the EPA site. Those with questions/comments may contact David Shonnard.

Julia King Retirement

Julia King
Julia King

The Department of Chemical Engineering wished a warm farewell to the esteemed professor, Julia A. King, the Lorna and James Mack Professorship of Continuous Processing, on Tuesday (June 30, 2020). After nearly 24 years of dedicated service to Michigan Tech, the Chemical Engineering Department, its students, faculty and staff, King will be setting her sights on a well-deserved retirement.

She has been an exceptional leader and mentor during her tenure at Michigan Tech. Her commitment and enthusiasm to her work, research and instruction will be irreplaceable.

Department Chair Pradeep Agrawal commented, “As director of the Unit Operations Laboratory, she has fostered its growth to become one of the best in the US and the pride of Michigan Tech.”

It is with great fortune for Tech and the Engineering world that she has decided to continue on with future research endeavors. She will be sorely missed and her contributions to the University will not be forgotten. We wish her happiness and success in the next chapter of her life and future endeavors.

NSF Funding for David Shonnard on Waste Plastics Conversion Project

David Shonnard
David Shonnard

David Shonnard (ChE) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $50,000 Federal grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The project is entitled, “I-Corps: Process Intensification in a Multi-Product Waste Polyolefin Refinery.” Ulises Gracida-Alvarez (ChE) and Nate Yenor (Innovation & Commercialization) are Co-PI’s on this project.

By Sponsored Programs.


The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is the development of a low-cost and energy-efficient conversion of mixed waste plastics into an intermediate product that the petrochemical industry can convert into new polymer resin.

This new technology will revolutionize the plastics recycling industry and will allow for closed-loop plastic material flows. The process technology will improve recycling of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) plastics from materials recovery facilities (MRFs), significant because PE and PP comprise over 50% of global plastics production and post-consumer waste generation.

The technology is based on rapid conversion at elevated temperature in a reactor with precise control over the molecular conversion mechanisms.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.

Chemical Engineering Convocation 2020

The Chemical Engineering Department recently celebrated the success of its graduates through a Virtual Convocation on April 13, 2020. The guest speaker was Michael Cleveland (’82) who shared some tips on “How to Become Invaluable During Uncertain Times.”

Keynote Speaker

Michael J. Cleveland

Michael J. Cleveland ’82

Mike Cleveland serves as the vice president and general manager for UOP LLC, based in the Des Plaines, Illinois Lifecycle Solutions and Technology business at Honeywell UOP.

UOP is a leading international supplier of process technology, catalysts, engineered systems, and technical and engineering services to the petroleum refining, petrochemical, and gas processing industries.

Since joining UOP in 1982, Mike has held key positions within UOP, spanning research and development, manufacturing, and business management. Mike was critical in the commercialization of new hydrocracking catalysts, isomerization catalysts, and on-purpose propylene process technology.

Before being named to his current post in 2019, Mike served as the General Manager for UOP CH based in Rolle, Switzerland within the Catalyst, Adsorbents, and Specialties business.

Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Michigan Technological University in 1982 and began his career with UOP upon graduation. Mike is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Michigan and Illinois. He is an active member the Michigan Tech Alumni Association.

Students were recognized with the following awards:

Prevent Accidents with Safety (PAWS) Award

Daniella Kyllonen

Dow Chemical Marriot W. Bredekamp Award

Ellie Bruckner, Bryce Evan, Nate Giem, and Kate Schaaf

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. Mariott W. Bredekamp.

Kimberly Clark Communication Award

Nate Giem

This award recognizes the winner of the Award for Excellence in Communication from the Department of Chemical Engineering for the academic year.

Kimberly Clark Professional Ethics Award

Clara Peterson

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.

Davis W. Hubbard Outstanding Rising Senior Award

Tanner Shehan

Chair’s Award

Jacob LeBarre

The Chair’s Award for Outstanding ChE Senior recognizes a particular student in the graduating class whose actions embody excellence. Excelling in academics is expected, but the recipient must also exhibit the traits of character, leadership, and service–to-others that are valued to the department.

John Patton Senior Design Team Awards

1st Place

Abigail Hendrix, Ben McKenzie, Korey McKinley, Collin Mitchell

2nd Place

Ryan Knoll, Hunter Osgood, Bronson Wood, Cody Woodbury

3rd Place

Christen Calanayan, Zach Hancock, Brenden Presnell, Stephan  RhodeHumphries, David Scherzer

Student Leadership Awards

  • AEE: Jacob Zuhlke
  • AIChE: Jacob Luchenbill
  • CMLC: Jacob LeBarre
  • CPM: Nick Vlahos
  • OXE: Erin Parker
  • SAB: Nate Giem

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

Utkarsh Chaudhari

Undergraduate Grader of the Year

Liz Hoekstra

Staff Making a Difference Award

Katie Torrey