BioTech Industry Panel Success!

On March 23rd, the Mines Career Center in partnership with the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department, and the Student Chapter of AIChE held an interactive panel discussion with industry leaders in the field.  The panel consisted of representatives from Pfizer, ArcScan, Eli Lilly, Genentech and AGC Biologics.  Two Mines Alum were in attendance:  David DeGeare (Pfizer), Marissa Marin (Genentech)! AIChE Student Chapter President, Kyle Dyer, acting as the main moderator for the event, led the panel through introductions, a Q&A session, and into breakout rooms where students could learn more details and ask specific questions.  Students were able to move in and out of the breakout rooms to take advantage of learning about several companies during the session. According to feedback from students (91 attended) and company reps (9 total), the event was a success!  The Career Center looks forward to continued collaboration for future industry panels.  We would like to thank all of the company representatives and the Mines Alum for their time and effort on behalf of our current students!

Virus Redefines Teaching at Mines – Unit Operations/Field Session

The pandemic saw the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department’s capstone course, summer Field Session, transition to a remote setting.  Previously the course had been taught in a face-to-face setting in the “Unit Ops” building over many years.

The summer Field Session (Unit Operations Laboratory) course, which depends a great deal on teamwork, hands-on learning, and experimental design with near pilot-scale equipment was offered remotely due to COVID-19 limitations. With over 140 students enrolled in Field Session for Summer 2020, social distancing and lab hygiene requirements made face-to-face delivery impossible.

In order to preserve the nature of the CBE Field Session experience and deliver the required learning objectives, professors worked in the weeks leading up to the Summer to create laboratory data generators and simulators that would produce realistic laboratory data for each student team, according to the students’ experimental designs and objectives. Students used virtual laboratories such as staged distillation with kinetic mass transfer calculations, shell/tube and plate/frame heat exchangers with rigorous internal geometries, advanced fluid mechanic system models, supercomputer-based adsorption mass transfer simulations, and more. With the exception of the supercomputer-based experiment, every model represented the actual experimental equipment we have in the laboratory, and results were consistent with prior years’ data.

While instructors were initially somewhat reticent about the delivery of this course remotely, they quickly realized that nearly all of the learning outcomes for the course could be met, despite this major format change. Students produced lab reports of quality commensurate with prior years, and student evaluations of the course and instructors were consistent with face-to-face offerings of this course. The only learning outcome which was necessarily lost was that of gaining hands-on experience in operating the equipment; nevertheless, many students have signed up for socially-distanced lab time in the Fall semester to acquire this experience, and a “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure”-style video on the operation of Pumps was made available to students in the second field session. The success of this remote delivery provided instructors the opportunity to present their methods and results to the Virtual Community of Practice on Laboratory Instruction established during the pandemic by AIChE, disseminating Mines instructional materials to chemical engineering professors around the country and around the world.

In addition, course instructors maintained the “gamification” aspects of the course introduced in recent years, with this years themes being Pokémon and Star Trek. Four “houses” competed for points based on grades, course participation, and weekly in-class Kahoot! quizzes. Some of the workshops were “flipped”, allowing the introduction of more in-class active learning and practice with the material. Student evaluations during the course checkout survey revealed very similar scores to prior years for many categories, with (up to 20%!) higher scores for the newly flipped HAZOP, Graphics, and Statistics workshops. The only score that decreased noticeably was the one for the Friday meetings, which normally include free lunches in the face-to-face offering of this course. Some students responded to the challenge of remote instruction better than others, but all seemed to appreciate the faculty’s efforts. A few examples of the comments from students are included below:

“This was very brutal for me mentally and emotionally to perform to the same standards online, but I still feel rewarded for the amount and quality of work that I was able to provide. This was certainly ChemE bootcamp for me.”

“I wasn’t a huge fan of it being online but Its over now and I’m honestly kinda proud with what I was able to do with my teammates.”

“Overall, I found that despite being moved online I learned a ton in this course, and it really helped cement some concepts form previous courses. I think that while it would have been nice to be able to see the experiments in person (even in the heat of the unit ops lab), the course translated surprisingly well into an online format.”

“… you did a great job of converting the experience to online so I applaud you on that.”

“I think the faculty did a fantastic job in setting up this course online. I feel like I learned a lot! This course was very hard but now I feel that I can go out and kill it in my job next month!”

“I want to thank each professor for their dedication to student learning throughout this tumultuous time. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to transform an entire Field Session to an online platform due to COVID19, but I am very appreciative for what I learned and the experiences I gained. Thank you very much.”

Click here to read more about the unique face-to-face field session experience.

CBE Students Win AIChE Student Design Competition Safety Award

CBE spring 2019 seniors Ryan Hamm, Daniel Langemann, John Nicoll & Chelsea Tam were just announced the winners of the annual The Ted Ventrone, Ephraim Scheier & Walt Silowska Awards for Best Applications of Inherently Safer Design, sponsored by the Safety and Health Division at the AIChE Student Design Competition. This competition asks students to design a plant with less waste, for easier and effective maintainability, including design concepts regarding the entire life cycle, and–most importantly–with special features that demonstrate inherent safety. The students have won a cash prize, plaque, and complimentary entry to the 2019 National Student AIChE Conference.

Another Mines “Future Leader in Chemical Engineering”

Congratulations to CBE senior Gavin Yeung for being accepted to the highly selective annual undergraduate research symposium at NC State University, “Future Leaders in Chemical Engineering.” The conference organizers state that the gathering gives a platform for the “finest and brightest undergraduate researchers in the United States to present their work and to be recognized for their achievements and growth as future leaders in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.” Gavin is member of Dr. Colin Wolden‘s research group and will be continuing his research in the M.S. program at Mines this spring. This is the second year in a row that Mines has sent a student to the competitive, all-expenses paid conference.

CBE Seniors Graduate and Take Home Top Awards

Congratulations to Mines’ Bachelor of Science recipients of 2019! At the end of April, CBE students and faculty came together to celebrate the senior student accomplishments at the annual end of year BBQ, hosted by student AIChE volunteers and supported by a generous donation from Shell.

pic of senior BBQ     Tracy Gardner accepts award

At the event, the senior class granted humorous “senior superlative” awards to faculty and peers, including honors such as “Faculty Member Most Likely to be Mistaken for a Student” and “Student Mostly Likely to Smash the Patriarchy.” The awards came complete with creative prizes–ranging from the board game “Sorry!” to a whole rotisserie chicken.

     Dr. Kevin Cash receives an award from CBE seniors

The CBE Department also awarded graduating seniors including:

  • Outstanding Graduating Senior: Daniel Langemann
  • Outstanding Graduating Senior: Caelynn Rittenhouse
  • Selim Memorial: Grace Anderson
  • Selim Memorial: Brandon Bakka
  • Pearson Potential: Andrew Nagy
  • Pearson Potential: Logan Weinman
  • E-Days Senior Award: Jordan Sand
  • E-Days Senior Award: Chloe Archuleta
  • Harrison Hayes Award: Jordan Umrysh
  • Harrison Hayes Award: Kathleen Whalen

In addition to the department-issued awards, CBE seniors also received top university honors. Chloe Archuleta and Jordan Umrysh were recognized by the Colorado Engineering Council for “excellence in scholarship, high integrity, and general engineering ability,” with Archuleta receiving a silver award and Umrysh the certificate of merit. Grace Anderson was awarded the William D. Waltman Award, for “seniors who have consistently demonstrated the utmost integrity, scholarship, and citizenship in and outside of the classroom throughout their collegiate career.”

Students receive university awards

From left: CBE students Chloe Archuleta, Caelyn Rittenhouse, Daniel Langemann, Grace Anderson, and Jordan Umrysh are acknowledged at Mine’s senior award reception.

CBE Undergrads Shine in 2nd Annual Research Symposium

For the second year running, CBE students had the greatest representation of any department at the Mines’ Undergraduate Research Symposium, and a CBE student, Gabriel Adriano, took home the symposium’s top prize. Twenty-one CBE students participated in the Mines Undergraduate Research Fellowship program in the 2018-2019 academic year and dozens more conducted research for credit in the fall and spring semesters. Participants included first-years through seniors, several of whom are taking their research experience to the graduate level through their acceptance to graduate programs in chemical and biochemical engineering across the country.

CBE senior Jordan Sand presents his research on gas hydrates

CBE senior Jordan Sand presents his research on gas hydrates

Read more about the symposium in the Mines newsroom: