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Student chapter president Hailey Bates and faculty mentor Stephanie Loveland display Outstanding Student Chapter of the Year award with AIChE president Christine Grant
ISU AIChE student chapter president Hailey Bates (center) is joined by student chapter advisor Stephanie Loveland (right) and AIChE president Christine Grant at the Outstanding Chapter of the Year award presentation.

The Department of Chemical Engineering’s American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) student chapter recently returned from the organization’s Annual Student Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Twenty ISU student members took part in the event.

For the second time in three years the ISU group was recognized as Outstanding Student Chapter. The honor recognizes student chapters that show an exceptional level of participation, enthusiasm, program quality, professionalism, and involvement in the university and community.

The always-anticipated Chem-E-Car competition saw the chapter’s CyDuck team looking to better the chapter’s fifth place finish in the national finals run in 2021.

CyDuck Chem-E-Car team with car at the competition
The CyDuck Chem-E-Car team overcame many challenges at the conference to net a 14th place overall finish in the national competition.

This time, challenges arose as upon arrival in Phoenix. The team found important glass components for the car had broken during shipping, forcing a scramble to find replacement parts. The problem was solved with the purchase of jars of salsa, which were emptied and incorporated into the car. Further difficulties were encountered when it was learned that the much needed chemicals for the Chem-E-Car teams had not arrived on time to the conference site – which led to emergency efforts on the part of conference organizers and teams to prepare cars for competition.

The team struggled on its first run in the competition. It was discovered there was a leak in the stopping mechanism holding vessel, and liquid was leaking into the reaction chamber before it was intended to, slowing the car prematurely – a side effect from the breakage in shipping. Team members were able to fix the problem and had a solid run of ~17 meters for the second effort, just five meters from the finish line, which was good for a 14th place finish out of the 37 teams.

Student chapter advisor Dr. Stephanie Loveland said, “I was so proud of this team for all they overcame to perform so well. They had good attitudes, they never complained and I was told by several people who had interacted with them that they were ‘such a nice group of kids.’ I told them all I truly believe that the adversity they faced both revealed their character and helped them to deal with future challenges.”

Away from the race course, individual chapter members were in the spotlight with AIChE second-year and first-year student academic honors going to Lauren Stauffer and Michael Galvin, respectively.

Brianna (Lauren) Burton displaying her research poster
Brianna (Lauren) Burton displays her research poster, which netted third place honors in her division.

Brianna (Lauren) Burton took third place research poster honors in the Materials Engineering and Sciences division for her project entitled “Improving the Recyclability of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PEGT),” research she completed under the direction of Prof. Eric Cochran and graduate student Dhananjay Dileep.

The department congratulates all chapter members who represented Iowa State in fine fashion at the conference.

A reminder that the AIChE student chapter’s fundraising campaign is continuing through December 9.  While taking part in events such as the Annual Student Conference is well worth the effort, such activities are costly. Prior to departing for the Phoenix event Dr. Loveland estimated more than $10,000 had been spent on air and hotel reservations and conference registration fees alone.

The chapter has established a FundISU page through the Iowa State University Foundation that will help it maintain its strong tradition of success now and into the future. To contribute, click the link above, or scan the QR code in the graphic.

AIChE FundISU graphic with QR Code
Use the QR code in this graphic to donate to AIChE or follow the link displayed

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