posted November 16, 2010

Student Researchers Honored during National Conference

A total of eight Hope College students who participated in research on campus this past summer had their work selected for presentation during the recent Annual Meeting and National Student Conference of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), more than twice as many as from all other colleges and universities in Michigan combined, with two of the students receiving awards.

Sophomore Howard Dobbs of Warrenville, Ill., won second place in the "General Papers" category, and senior Lucas Johnson of Cadillac won third place in the "Environmental 1" category.  This was the third consecutive year that at least one student who participated in Hope's summer research program received an award in the national competition.

The National Student Conference ran Friday-Monday, Nov. 5-8, and the Annual Meeting ran Sunday-Friday, Nov. 7-12, in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The undergraduate poster session took place on Monday, Nov. 8, and featured work grouped within a variety of categories within the field of chemical engineering.

The preliminary program for the student poster session listed 216 posters.  The primary presenters represented institutions in 39 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Qatar and Taiwan.  Of the 78 colleges, universities and laboratories listed as affiliation of the primary presenter, only four institutions had more posters in the event than Hope College.

All of the participating Hope students are engineering majors in the chemical, biochemical or environmental engineering emphasis options.  Three Hope faculty in chemistry, one in engineering, and one in geological and environmental sciences were mentors for one or more of the projects.

Seven of the eight students attended the conference and presented their posters:  Dobbs and Johnson, as well as senior Joseph Brandonisio of Troy; senior Jonathan Boldt of Caledonia; senior Katherine Garcia of Battle Creek; junior Tabatha Hipshear of Buchanan; and senior Laura Petrasky of Marquette.  Senior Brett Kopinski of Mishawaka, Ind., was not able to attend the meeting, but his poster was among those displayed.

In addition, senior Victor Kanyi of Marigat, Kenya, was a co-author of a presentation based in part upon his research work completed at Michigan State University last summer.  It was presented by Venkata Pappu, a graduate student in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science at MSU.

Dobbs won his second-place award in the "General Papers" category for a presentation that he co-authored with senior Kent C. Kammermeier of Grand Rapids and Dr. William F. Polik, who is the Edward and Elizabeth Hofma Professor of Chemistry.

Johnson won his third-place award in the "Environmental 1" category for a presentation that he co-authored with senior Daniel Anderson of Montague; Alexa Bakker, a senior at Holland High School who participated in summer research through the college's REACH program; Jennifer Soukhome, who teaches biology and environmental science at Zeeland West High School; and Dr. Graham F. Peaslee, who is a professor of chemistry and chairperson of the department, and a professor of geology/environmental science.

The abstracts for the Hope students' presentations are searchable via their last names at:  http://aiche.confex.com/aiche/2010asc/webprogram/authora.html.  The abstract for the MSU presentation that included Kanyi is available at: http://aiche.confex.com/aiche/2010/webprogram/Paper190802.html

AIChE is the world's leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with more than 40,000 members from more than 90 countries.