Chemical engineering students win awards at AIChE conference


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Several members of the Penn State student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) were recognized for their achievements during the institute’s 2016 Student Conference, held Nov. 11-14 in San Francisco.

Anirudh “Ani” Nambiar was one of 15 students who received the 2016 Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer National Scholarship. The $1,000 award recognizes chemical engineering students for their outstanding academic achievement and involvement in student chapter activities.

Nambiar also took third place in the undergraduate paper competition for his research on the “Synthesis of organic carbonates in flow reactors.”

Five students received best poster awards:

  • Ryan Jones took first place in the Food, Pharmaceutical, and Biotechnology competition category for his poster, “Expression and Purification of Plant Embryogenic Proteins,” which describes research efforts by CurtisLab with $600K provided by the National Science Foundation’s Basic Research to Enhance Agricultural Development (BREAD) Program to assist African farmers with the production of agricultural food staples. Jones co-authored the poster with Bennett McKinley, a North Carolina State University student who participated in the Penn State Department of Chemical Engineering’s NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates.
  • Two students earned second place awards for their posters: Megan Ingalls in the Catalysis and Reaction Engineering category for “Preparing Supported Metal Catalysts Coated with Thiols and Phosphonates’ and Adam Uliana in the Separations category for “Textile wastewater treatment by bioinspired antimicrobial membranes.” Uliana’s poster described the work he performed during a EuroScholars research abroad last semester.
  • Ben Geveke and Lucas Nugent took third place in the Fuels, Petrochemicals, and Energy competition category for their poster, “Constructing and Testing a Photobioreactor Designed for Precise Characterizations of Growth of Microalgae for Biofuel Applications.” It represented their collaboration with Dr. Mohandass Ramya, a visiting scholar supported by B-ACER (Bioenergy-Award for Cutting Edge Research) Fellowship.

Wayne Curtis, professor of chemical engineering and AIChE student chapter adviser for more than 20 years, said, “These awards represent an acknowledgement of the synergy between Penn State’s teaching and research missions. Undergraduate researchers like these commit extensive hours each week above and beyond their traditional coursework to help in advancing our faculty’s research.”

In addition to the award recipients, the following students also attended the conference: Ryan Funk, Aditya Kalgutkar, Joelle Khouri, Peter Martin, Megan Menzel, Natalie Morrissey, Mark Wohlpart and Antonio Xu.

According to the AIChE website, the annual student conference offers career information, social events and competitions. Students from more than 150 schools celebrate the chemical engineering profession, along with young professional members, AIChE leaders and industry professionals from numerous engineering specialties.


Share this story:

facebook linked in twitter email


Stefanie Tomlinson

chemical engineering students at AIChE conference chemical engineering students at AIChE conference chemical engineering students at AIChE conference

Chemical engineering students took in some of the local sites while attending the AIChE Conference in San Francisco.



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

119 Greenberg Complex

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2574