Thai Interns Learn About Chemical Engineering Program

Suphitsara Yingyuen, whose nickname is Mae, and Sorawit “Pum” Limtasiri are materials engineering undergrad students from Kasetsart University in Bangkok who are at Michigan Tech for a two- month summer internship.

The internships started after Jennifer Donovan, Tech’s director of news and media relations, traveled to Thailand as a Fulbright communications specialist at Kasetsart University.

The interns’ advisor, Timothy Eisele, assistant professor of chemical engineering says, “Overall, I am very happy with both of them. They are conscientious workers who want to have a good understanding of what they are doing, and they work well with my other students.”

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Leslie Mundell.

Shonnard Delivers SCPPE Keynote Address

David Shonnard
David Shonnard

David Shonnard (ChE/SFI) delivered the keynote address at the 4th International Conference on Sustainable Chemical Product and Process Engineering (SCPPE) held in Nanjing, China from May 31 – June 3, 2016.

The conference was hosted by Nanjing Tech University and the State Key Laboratory of Materials-Oriented Chemical Engineering.

Shonnard provided an update on research into sustainable biofuels through environmental life cycle assessment.

From Tech Today.

Unscripted: To Purify a Virus

Allison Mills Interviews Caryn Heldt
Allison Mills Interviews Caryn Heldt

A new theory about virus surfaces—that they’re hydrophobic—has opened up new processes to improve vaccine production, potentially making them more affordable around the world.

Virus Flocculation

Virus hydrophobicity is the focus of research by Caryn Heldt, an associate professor of chemical engineering, who won a National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Career Award grant. Heldt’s CAREER Award will help her explore a process that causes viruses to clump, making them easier to remove.

Our focus for purification is for improved vaccine manufacturing. Reducing cost could increase adaption around the world.

Read more and watch the video at Unscripted, by Allison Mills.

Kawatra is a Chemical Engineering Professor You Should Know

S. Komar Kawatra
S. Komar Kawatra

Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering S. Komar Kawatra has been recognized by Online Engineering Programs blog as one of the 25 Chemical Engineering Professors You Should Know.

The list is comprised of some the outstanding professors and Universities in the field. Online Engineering Programs wanted to recognize some of their great contributions to academia on their blog as well as the rise in online education.

Kawatra has worked at Michigan Tech since 1977, where his research interests include iron and steel making, as well as particle technology. He is also the editor in chief for the Minerals & Metallurgical Processing Journal and the Mineral Processing & Extractive Metallurgy Review Journal.

Chemical Engineering Convocation 2016

Prevent Accidents with Safety (PAWS) Awards
Presenter Scott Wendt, Alex Reichenadter, Danielle Kehrig, Bob Lebrell, Olivia Munoz
Not Shown: Alex Wright

Prevent Accidents with Safety (PAWS) Award

Scott Wendt presented awards to Danielle Kehrig, Bob Lebrell, Olivia Munoz, Alex Reichenadter, and Alex Wright.

PAWS Safety Program Acknowledgements

Under the leadership and vision of Dr. Anton Pintar, the PAWS safety program was initiated during Spring Quarter, 1989.

The name of the program was suggested by Elizabeth A. Vary, a 19880-89 student in the Unit Operations Laboratory. Various aspects of the program were suggested by other students of the Class of 1989.

The program is a combination of features used in the SOAR (Stop, Observe, Act and Report) program at the BASF Corporation and the Praise Positive Program at the Dow Chemical Company.

The program continues to evolve and is supported financially through generous contributions from Professor Emeritus Dr. Anton Pintar.


Kimberly-Clark Communication Award
Kimberly-Clark Communication Award
Alex Bank, Presenter Laurie Couture-Dorschner

Kimberly-Clark Communication Award

Laurie Couture-Dorschner presented the award to Alex Bank.

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
Kimberly-Clark Professional Ethics Award
Olivia Munoz, Presenter Laurie Couture-Dorschner

Kimberly-Clark Professional Ethics Award

Laurie Couture-Dorschner presented the award to Olivia Munoz.

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.


Dow Chemical Marriott W. Bredekamp Award
Dow Chemical Marriott W. Bredekamp Award
Jonathan Iafrate, Presenter Tim Eisele, Dylan Turpeinen, Kyle Thompson, Michelle Hoard

Dow Chemical Marriott W. Bredekamp Award

Tim Eisele presented awards to Michelle Hoard, Jonathan Iafrate, Dylan Turpeinen, and Kyle Thompson.

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.


UOP Davis W. Hubbard Plant Design Team Award
UOP Davis W. Hubbard Plant Design Team Award
Presenter Tony Rogers, Travis Pellosma, Cameron Roman, Alex Reichanadter, Paul Langford

 UOP Davis W. Hubbard Plant Design Team Award

Tony Rogers presented awards to Paul Langford, Travis Pellosma, Alex Reichanadter, and Cameron Roman.

This award recognizes an outstanding team in Chemical Engineering Plant Design during the academic year. Also, this award recognizes technical ability, consideration of the safety and environmental aspects of process design, outstanding written and oral communication skills, and overall teamwork and professionalism. This is awarded in memory of Dr. David W. Hubbard.


AIChE Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) of the Year
AIChE Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) of the Year
Presenter Jacqueline Harms, AIChE Student President, and Recipient Richard Machiela

AIChE Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) of the Year

Jacqueline Harms, AIChE Student President, presented the award to Richard Machiela.


AIChE Research Faculty of the Year
AIChE Research Faculty of the Year
Presenter Jacqueline Harms, AIChE Student President, and Recipient David Shonnard

AIChE Research Faculty of the Year

Jacqueline Harms, AIChE Student President, presented the award to David Shonnard.


AIChE Teaching Professor of the Year
AIChE Teaching Professor of the Year
Presenter Jacqueline Harms, AIChE Student President, and Recipient Julia King

AIChE Teaching Professor of the Year

Jacqueline Harms, AIChE Student President, presented the award to Julia King.

Convocation Speaker William Colton, Komar Kawatra
Convocation Speaker William Colton, Komar Kawatra

Keynote Address

William Colton was the keynote speaker for the 2016 Department of Chemical Engineering awards convocation. Mr. William (Bill) M. Colton is Vice President, Corporate Strategic Planning for Exxon Mobil Corporation. Mr. Colton received his BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University in 1975.

View the Convocation Photo Gallery in Chemical Engineering 2016

Chemical Engineering Inducts Seven into Distinguished Academy

Distinguished Academy of Chemical Engineering 2016
Distinguished Academy of Chemical Engineering 2016

Michigan Tech’s Department of Chemical Engineering inducted seven members into the Distinguished Academy of Chemical Engineering. All of this year’s inductees are alumni of Michigan Tech

The 2016 inductees are:

Robert D. Carnahan ’53: Carnahan got his professional start with the U.S. Navy working with underwater ordnance. Over his career he has authored more than 60 referred technical publications and has been granted 16 patents. Carnahan was awarded the Michigan Tech Board of Control Silver Medal and has been inducted in two other academies at Michigan Tech, Business and Economics and Materials and Metallurgical Engineering.

Michael J. Cleveland ’82: Currently he is the global business director for refining technology in the Process Technology and Equipment business of Honeywell UOP. Before assuming his current position last year, he served as the vice president and general manager for Latin America of UOP LLC based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Cleveland and his wife Marie are members of the Michigan Tech McNair Society and Founders Society.

William M. Colton ’75: Colton is vice president, Corporate Strategic Planning for Exxon Mobil. In this role, he oversees the corporation’s strategic planning activities and the development of its Energy Outlook, Exxon Mobil’s assessment of global energy trends. Colton is on the board of the Natinal Bureau of Asian Research.

Christopher Copeland, ’05 (MS), ’07 (PhD): Working with Komar Kawatra, Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Tech, Copeland designed and developed a new laboratory test method for evaluating the effectiveness of dust suppressants. After leaving Michigan Tech, Copeland accepted a position as a research engineer at ConocoPhillips. In 2014, Copeland was charged to lead a team of engineers responsible for the bitumen and gas treating facilities.

Laurie Couture-Dorschner, ’79: She began her career with Bemis Company in Minneapolis holding various engineering and manufacturing positions. She joined Kimberly-Clark in 1984 earning patents for her innovative materials and processes. She was the lead product developer for the launch of the highly successful HUGGIES Little Swimmers swim pants. Throughout her career she was actively involved in recruiting for Kimberly-Clark and led the semi-annual recruiting events at Michigan Tech. She is a member of the President’s Council of Alumnae.

Kerry Irons ’ 72: Irons holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from Michigan Tech. He joined the Dow Chemical Company in 1973 and retired in 2004 after a 30-year career in chemical process research with his final role as Senior Technical Leader in Core R&D, Engineering Sciences Market Development. For 10 years Irons was on Dow’s Michigan Tech recruiting teams, serving as team leader. In 2013 he was elected to the Michigan Tech Alumni Association Board of Directors and is now serving as Secretary.

Karen Mikkola Swager ’92: As Vice President, Concentrates for the phosphates business unit of the Mosaic Company, she provides overall direction and guidance and day-to-day support for all concentrates operations in the phosphates business unit. She was appointed by then-Florida Governor Charlie Crist to serve on the Board of Directors for the Florida Institute for Phosphate Research. She was recognized by the Florida Chapter of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration with the “Hero of the Year Award.”

Ceremonies were held April 6 in the Lobby of the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Remarks were made by Kawatra and Academy Member James Brozzo.

From Tech Today, by Chemical Engineering.


25 Service Years for Morrison, 30 Service Years for Caneba

Michigan Tech Employee Service Recognition Event

On Wednesday, May 11, faculty and staff members, along with their guests, gathered at the Memorial Union Ballroom for an awards dinner recognizing 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service to Michigan Tech. The following Chemical Engineering faculty were recognized:

25 Years
Faith Morrison, Chemical Engineering

30 Years
Gerard Caneba, Chemical Engineering

Read more at Tech Today, by Human Resources.

Order of the Engineer Induction Held

On April 18, 2016, the Department of Chemical Engineering hosted its Order of the Engineer induction ceremony.

The ceremony welcomed 53 new members to the order, including two biomedical engineers and three faculty and staff members.

In 2015, 27 members were inducted, bringing the total of the Michigan Tech Chemical Engineering cohort to 134 since 2014.

Following the lead of Canadian Engineers, the Order of the Engineer was initiated in the U.S. in 1970 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.

The Obligation is a creed accepted by initiates, and is similar to the medical profession’s Hippocratic oath. The Obligation sets forth an ethical code and contains parts of the Canon of Ethics of major engineering societies. Initiates, as they accept it voluntarily, pledge to uphold the standards and dignity of the engineering profession and to serve humanity by making the best use of Earth’s precious wealth. Members of the Order of the Engineer wear a stainless steel ring on the small finger of their working hand.

For more on the Order of the Engineer, see their website.

From Tech Today, by Chemical Engineering.

Shonnard Presents at Advanced Biofuels Workshop

David Shonnard (ChE/Robbins Chair, director of the Sustainable Futures Institute) will participate in a workshop to be held in Washington, DC at the Keck Center of the National Academies from May 26 to May 27.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) requests the assistance of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in convening a two day meeting of experts who are knowledgeable about the commercial viability of advanced biofuels in the short-, medium- and long-term.

Read more at Tech Today.