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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

On Friday, April 7, the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering honored its outstanding students by holding the annual Undergraduate Awards Ceremony. Faculty presented the 2016-2017 scholarships and Omega Chi Epsilon students announced winners of the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Congratulations to all!

At the ceremony, Department Head Dr. Paul Kenis called the students an inspiring group and said he was confident they will add to the department’s luster and tradition of excellence.

“The students who sit among you today come from throughout the U.S. and around the world, from small farm towns to cities of over 8 million. Some are among the first in their families to go to college. Others come from a long line of engineers. During their time at Illinois, they’ve established themselves as outstanding, driven students,” he said.

Grants and Vermani by RAL
Jim and Pamela Grant with scholarship recipient Vivek Vermani.

“In addition to excelling in the classroom, many also work in the labs of our faculty members on exciting new research, such as synthesis of electrocatalysts. Several hold leadership positions in student organizations like AIChE, OXE, and the Society of Women Engineers. They volunteer their time tutoring other ChemE students and introducing chemical engineering concepts to high schoolers. They’ve devoted themselves to causes outside the classroom, such as advocating for homeless students. They have dreams of becoming professors, process engineers, doctors and entrepreneurs,” Kenis said.

This was the first year the department awarded the James K. Grant Scholarship. Grant, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering in 1969 from the University of Illinois, attended the ceremony with his wife Pamela Grant, a graduate of the College of Media.

Also on Friday, 13 students participated in the Undergraduate Research Symposium.

US symposium judges
John Schnake, BS ’89, Corey Correnti, BS ’85, OXE President Byeongjin Kang, and John Bassett, BS ’72.

Thanks to our symposium judges this year: John Schnake, BS ’89, who is corporate director of process analyzers at Endress+Hauser Group; Corey Correnti, BS ’85, retired executive from BP and currently consultant to energy companies; and John Bassett, BS ’72, also retired, having worked in petroleum refining and the mining industry, most recently as Vice President of Operations for Molycorp and president of Seadrift Coke.

US symposium 1
Edwin Zen discusses his work with the judges.

First place winner was Edwin Zen of the Rao Group with his presentation, “Selection for enhanced growth yield strains of Escherichia coli in xylose via emulsion-based encapsulation.”

Second place went to Moeen Meigooni of the Shukla Group with, “Molecular Perspectives on Agrochemical Control of Drought Resistance.”

Third place was a tie. Those winners included the team of Omotola Okesanjo and Robert Schneider of the Guironnet Group with “Topology Control of Bottlebrush Polymers” and Zaid Al-Bardan of the Yang Group with “High performance oxygen evolution catalysts for water splitting in acidic electrolytes.”

Below is the complete list of 2016-2017 scholarship winners.  More information on scholarships funded by generous alumni and friends can be found here.

John Martin Ankenbauer Memorial Scholarship
Isaac N. Strain

Franklin A. Boyle Scholarship
Jacob E. Komenda

Chemical Engineering Alumni Scholarship
Elijah B. Karvelis
Ashley C. May
Omotola O. Okesanjo
Benjamin J. Pedretti
Weikun Zhu

CITGO Scholarship
Pacharapol Charoensuk
Dongkwan Lee

Donald E. Eisele Scholarship
Michael D. Jorgensen

ExxonMobil Scholarship
Seo Woo Choi
Tiernan D. Ebener

Robert S. Frye Scholarship
Atreyo Ghosh

Clarence G. Gerhold Memorial Scholarship
Anthony J. Salazar
Yiling Loh

Dr. Joseph and Donna Glas Scholarship in Memory of Professor James Westwater
June R. Qian

James K. Grant Scholarship
Vivek Vermani

Chester W. Hannum Scholarship
Justin W. Genova
Pimpisa Pechvijitra
Yuying Wu
Zijie Wu
Yijiang Yu
Edwin K. Zen

Edmund D. and Sara J. Heerdt Scholarship
Lauren C. Schmitt
Noah R. Wood

Earp Jennings Chemical Engineering Scholarship
Lucas S. Kreidl

Donald B. Keyes Scholarship
Ethan J. Dukovic

John W. Latchum, Jr. Scholarship
Caleb J. Zmuda

Dr. Ray A. Mentzer Scholarship
Victor Qiao

Omega Chi Epsilon Scholarship
Byeongjin Kang
Alexandra N. Warton

Edward I. Onstott Scholarship
Daniel J. Cordero
Awele Bill Uwagwu
Junli Wu

Raymond M. Pasteris Scholarship
Christian T. Monte

Pathways to Success Scholarship
Austin R. Cepeda
Daniel J. Cordero
Andrew S. Morrice
Liam J. Quinn
Anna R. Welton-Arndt

Phillips 66 Scholarship
Rebecca L. Boehning
Jesus Dominguez
Mikaela R. Dressendorfer

Worth Huff Rodebush Scholarship
Shawn Lu

Thomas R. and Yolanda S. Stein Scholarship
Madeleine M. Chalifoux
Yijung Chen
Sohum K. Patel

Glenn E. and Barbara R. Ullyot Scholarship
Zaid Al-Bardan
Francisco Canales
Scott J. Kieback
Alexander J. Koutsostamatis

R. J. Van Mynen Chemical Engineering Scholarship
Faisal A. Aldukhi
Nicholas Y. Chan

Bruno H. Wojcik Scholarship
Moeen S. Meigooni

At the University of Illinois Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, undergraduate students actively work alongside our world-class faculty on a variety of research projects. On Friday, April 10, over a dozen students presented posters on their work as part of the eighth annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.

The eighth annual Undergraduate Research Symposium
The eighth annual Undergraduate Research Symposium

The annual event is organized by Omega Chi Epsilon, the national honor society for chemical engineering and is an opportunity for students to showcase their research. This year 11 different posters were presented and evaluated by judges.

Thanks to symposium judges Yusuf Esat, B.S. ChemE ’06, from Jenner & Block LLP; Drake Fitzsimmons, B.S. ChemE ’13,  and Nick Manser, B.S. ChemE ’13, both from Sage Environmental; Elizabeth Keck, B.S. ChemE ’02, from Mead Johnson Nutrition; and Dustin Olson, B.S. ChemE, from LyondellBasell.

The winners of this year’s symposium were Kevin Erning (first place), Sarah Laken (second place) and Sarah Kuhl (third).

The undergraduate presenters and posters included the following.

  • Lillian Buescher and Wenyuan Chen: “Carbon Nanoparticle Based Photovoltaics.”
  • Xuxia Chen: “Nanosized Porous Perovskite LaNiO3 Cubes as a high efficiency and cost-effective catalyst for the oxygen evolution reaction.”
  • Kevin Erning: “Reinforcement of Collagen Scaffolds via Incorporation of Polycaprolactone Frame Enhances Mechanical Robustness.”
  • Hector Fuster: “High Throughput, Continuous Synthesis of Anisotropic Semiconductor Nanocrystals.”
  • Rogan Kipp and Han Xiao: “Ethanol to Diesel Project.”
  • Sarah Kuhl: “Single Polymer Studies Using Microfluidic Devices.”
  • Sarah Laken: “3D In Vitro Models of Brain Cancer.”
  • Keegan Lane: “Characterization of Milli Scale Static Mixing”
  • Jackie Letzer: “Behavior of Oxidized and Reduced Surfaces of Ni2P/SiO2 Catalysts.”
  • Ray Luo: “Efficient Electrochemical Flow System with Improved Anode for Converting CO2 to CO.”
  • Sanjeet Sen: “Flow-Mediated Stem Cell Labeling with Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticle Clusters.”
Symposium judges Drake Fitzsimmons, Nick Manser, Dustin Olson, Yusuf Esat and Elizabeth Keck
Symposium judges Drake Fitzsimmons, Nick Manser, Dustin Olson, Yusuf Esat and Elizabeth Keck
Omega Chi Epsilon President Lily Chen and Research Chair John O'Connell
Omega Chi Epsilon President Lily Chen and Research Chair John O’Connell
Undergraduate research symposium participants with the judges and Department Head Paul Kenis
Undergraduate research symposium participants with the judges and Department Head Paul Kenis
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