Faculty and students rack up accomplishments

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On June 27, 2021

Photo of Chem-E Car team

Portrait of the Chem-E-Car 2020 Student Design Team, with the car that earned third place. Team members shown from left to right: Ryan Juergens, Alyssa Robinson, Nic Bourisaw, Erik Valdez, O’Fallon, Trent Holtgrave. Photo by Tom Wagner, Missouri S&T, Student Design and Experiential Learning Center.

  • Muthanna Al-Dahhan, Curators’ Distinguished Professor and CEC Distinguished Professor of chemical and biochemical engineering and American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Fellow, won a highly competitive three-year, $800,000 award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP). Beginning in October 2020, the award funds research of fourth-generation pebble-bed nuclear reactors. Al-Dahhan is working toward placing another highly competitive $800,000 DOE-NEUP grant to pioneer research and development of new technology for micro-nuclear reactors.
  • Al-Dahhan has also joined with S&T alumni Richard Bausell, ChE’70, and Charles Lyon, ChE’70, MS EMgt’91, to author a paper titled “Improving Soft Skills Through Mentorship.” The paper, which has been published in the AIChE publication Chemical Engineering Progress, focuses on the importance of mentoring students in communication, leadership, conflict resolution and other soft skills that are critical in the workplace.
  • Hu Yang, Linda and Bipin Doshi Chair and professor, and Al-Dahhan were ranked among the top 2% of the world’s most-cited scientists in biomedical engineering and chemical engineering, respectively, according to a report from Stanford University in 2020.
  • In November 2020, the Chem-E-Car team finished third in a national competition under the guidance of Christi Luks, associate chair for academic affairs and teaching professor. Team members are chemical engineering majors Ryan Juergens, Erik Valdez, Nik Bourisaw and Trent Holgrave, and ceramic engineering major Alyssa Robinson. As with many other events during the past year, the competition was held via Zoom.
  • AIChE has invited S&T students and faculty advisors Luks and Joseph Smith, the Laufer Endowed Energy Chair Professor, to pilot a new student competition. S&T’s Chem-E Cube team is starting with three members: junior Anna Baldus and seniors Ben Ellbrecht and Chloe Bess. They will compete against teams from Oregon State University, North Carolina State University, the University of Delaware, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh to design, build and demonstrate the capabilities of a one-cubic-foot modular water treatment mini-plant. The project culminates in head-to-head competition in Boston in November.
  • Fateme Rezaei, associate professor of chemical and biochemical engineering, has received a 2021 Rising Star Award from the American Chemical Society’s Women Chemists Committee. The award, which recognizes exceptional early- to mid-career women chemists across all areas of chemistry on a national level, was established in 2011 to help promote retention of women in science. In addition, Rezaei’s research on a new biowaste fuel tank was featured on St. Louis Public Radio, Harvest Public Media and other public radio stations around Missouri and the Midwest.
  • Christi Luks was honored with a university outstanding teaching award in November. The award is based on Luks’ end-of-course evaluation scores for academic year 2019-20.
  • Luks and professor Doug Ludlow were among a group of instructors who helped redesign the freshman engineering course last fall. They each developed a presentation focusing on an aspect of engineering or computer science that freshmen students are likely to encounter, held interactive breakout sessions each week and assigned homework on the material that was due before the next week’s presentation. Thanks to their creativity, the students seemed more engaged and earned more A’s in the course.
  • A paper by Shane Lawson, PhD ChemE’21, graduate students Kyle Newport and Qasim Al-Naddaf, assistant teaching professor Ali Rownaghi; and associate professor Fateme Rezaei was featured on the cover of Chemical Engineering Journal. The article is titled “Binderless Zeolite Monoliths Production with Sacrificial Biopolymers.” The S&T researchers collaborated with colleagues from the University of Western Cape in South Africa.
  • Shane Lawson was named a Dean’s Ph.D. Scholar. The College of Engineering and Computing presented the award during its Dean’s Awards ceremony in May.
  • James Kirtley, a senior in chemical engineering, won first place for his engineering poster presentation at S&T’s Undergraduate Research Conference. Natalie Gardner, a junior in chemical engineering, took second place in the sciences poster competition.
  • Joseph Smith recently published a book on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) based on his 30 years of experience. This book, which he started writing while working for Dow Chemical, describes the process of doing CFD for the chemical and petrochemical industries and will be useful to practicing engineers. Currently, he uses it in his CFD class for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Chemical engineering senior Payton Gannaway was a unanimous choice for the Great Lakes Valley Conference All-GLVC First Team in volleyball. Gannaway had an outstanding season last year.

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