Research symposium showcases graduate student achievements


University Park, PA -- The 2018 Penn State Chemical Engineering McWhirter Graduate Research Symposium was held Friday, September 14, at the Nittany Lion Inn.

The Graduate Students Association (GSA) organized the symposium, and more than 80 people attended. The all-day event featured fourth- and fifth-year students giving research talks; poster presentations featuring the work of second- and third-year students; and opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to engage in discussions about the unique directions in which chemical engineering at Penn State is heading.

The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Monty Alger, director of the Institute for Natural Gas Research at Penn State. Alger discussed the role of universities in advancing research in industry. He also presented the challenges and opportunities in the current job market, and how graduate students should prepare themselves for future employment and their long-term careers. 

The presentations and posters were judged during the course of the day and the awardees are:

Best Presentation: Allan Brooks, “Shape-directed rotation of homogeneous micromotors via catalytic self-electrophoresis”

Best Poster (tie): Clara Capparelli, “Strategies for the manipulation of the transport properties of anion exchange membranes” and Ratul Chowdhury,  “PoreDesigner: Tuning Solute Selectivity in a Robust and Highly Permeable Outer Membrane Pore”

The McWhirter Graduate Research Symposium was sponsored by Air Products. Representatives from industry, such as Air Products and PPG Industries, also attended the Symposium and interacted with the students during the presentations and the reception. 


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Jamie Oberdick

keynote speaker gesturing during presentation

The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Monty Alger, director of the Institute for Natural Gas Research at Penn State.



The Penn State Department of Chemical Engineering, established in 1948, is recognized as one of the largest and most influential chemical engineering departments in the nation.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry.

Department of Chemical Engineering

121 Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2574