AIChE's "35 Under 35 Award" Celebrates Outstanding Young Professionals

New honors program spotlights young chemical engineers and their technical and leadership contributions
August 8, 2017

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), with support from the AIChE Foundation, is recognizing 35 young professional members of AIChE in a new 35 Under 35 honors program.

An initiative of AIChE’s Young Professionals Committee, the AIChE 35 Under 35 Award was created to acknowledge the early-career successes of some of AIChE’s youngest members, all under the age of 35, and to promote the accomplishments of the new generation of chemical engineers. The award winners were selected based on their achievements in one of seven categories: bioengineering, chemicals, education, energy, innovation, leadership, and safety.

AIChE announced the recipients in the August 2017 issue of its flagship magazine Chemical Engineering Progress (CEP), and are profiled online in AIChE’s ChEnected blog (www.aiche.org/chenected).

A 35 Under 35 Award reception will be held at the 2017 AIChE Annual Meeting, October 29 – November 3, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Organizations and non-members of AIChE may purchase copies of the August 2017 issue of CEP containing the 35 Under 35 Award winners by contacting AIChE Customer Service at 800-242-4363 (outside the U.S., 203-702-7660) or customerservice@aiche.org.

Following are the 35-Under-35 honorees:

Betul Bilgin, clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She earned her PhD in chemical engineering at Michigan State University. Honored for contributions to education.

Christina Borgese, cofounder and director of engineering and development at PreProcess, Inc.  (San Ramon, CA). She is a chemical engineering graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Recognized for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Donna Bryant, environmental operations unit superintendent at Syngenta (Baton Rouge, LA). She is a chemical engineering graduate of the University of Virginia. Recognized for leadership.

Beth Carter, lead development specialist at Honeywell UOP (Des Plaines, IL), where she designs technologies for petroleum refining. She is a chemical engineering alumna of Northwestern University. Recognized for contributions to energy technology.

Eun Ji Chung, Gabilan Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA), where she performs research in nanomedicine and tissue engineering. She earned her PhD at Northwestern University. Recognized for contributions to biotechnology.

Lane Daley, project engineer at Clif Bar and Company (Kingsport, TN). She is a chemical engineering graduate of North Carolina State University. Recognized for leadership.

Cole A. DeForest, assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Washington (Seattle, WA). He earned a bachelor’s degree (Princeton University) and PhD (University of Colorado, Boulder) in chemical engineering, and performed post-doctoral work at California Institute of Technology. Recognized for his work in biotechnology for health applications.

Ben Freireich, technical director at Particulate Solids Research, Inc. (Chicago, IL). He earned a PhD in mechanical engineering at Purdue University. Recognized for leadership.

Bala “Chaitanya” Gottimukkala, senior risk engineer at RISKbytes, Inc. (Houston, TX). He earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering at Lamar University. Recognized for contributions to process safety.

Rajamani Gounder, the Larry and Virginia Faith Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University (Lafayette, IN). He earned his bachelor’s degree (University of Wisconsin) and PhD (University of California, Berkeley) in chemical engineering. Recognized for contributions to education.

David W. Holt, associate attorney at Bradley (Huntsville, AL), where he works on patent strategies, intellectual property, and product liability. He earned master’s degrees in chemical engineering and law at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. Recognized for leadership.

Owen P. Jappen, senior process engineer at Evonik (Düsseldorf, Germany), focusing on process optimization, sustainability, and responsible energy consumption. Earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. Recognized for leadership.

Ellen Kloppenborg, lead development specialist at Honeywell UOP (Des Plaines, IL). She is a chemical engineering graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology. Recognized for contributions to educational outreach.

Christoph Krumm, cofounder and CEO of Sironix Renewables (St. Paul, MN). He earned a bachelor’s degree (University of Washington) and PhD (University of Minnesota) in chemical engineering. Recognized for innovation.

Lucas Landherr, associate teaching professor of chemical engineering at Northeastern University (Boston, MA). He earned a bachelor’s degree (Lafayette College) and PhD (Cornell University) in chemical engineering. Recognized for contributions to engineering education and new tools for per-college teaching.

Nastassja Lewinski, assistant professor of chemical and life science engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA). She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a PhD in bioengineering at Rice University. Recognized for contributions to safety.

Meagan Lewis, senior product line manager at Honeywell UOP (Des Plaines, Illinois), responsible for the company’s portfolio for light olefins petrochemical catalyst. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA at Loyola University. Recognized for leadership.

William Liechty, associate research scientist at the Dow Chemical Company (Midland, MI), where he works on food, pharmaceutical, and medical products. He earned a bachelor’s degree (University of Iowa) and PhD (University of Texas at Austin) in chemical engineering. Recognized for innovation.

Ali Mesbah, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his engineering training at Delft University of Technology (Netherlands). Recognized for contributions to chemicals production.

Jeffrey R. Millman, assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO), where his research uses stem cells for diabetes treatments and regenerative medicine. He earned a bachelor’s degree (North Carolina State University) and PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in chemical engineering. Recognized for contributions to biotechnology.

Francesca Mirri, research scientist at Rice University (Houston, Texas), where she is developing lightweight, electrically conductive materials from carbon nanotubes. She earned a bachelor’s degree (University of Bologna) and PhD (Rice University) in chemical engineering. Recognized for innovation.

Ruth Misener, lecturer and Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow at Imperial College London (UK), where she develops software for bioprocess optimization and petrochemical process design. She earned a bachelor’s degree (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and master’s and PhD degrees (Princeton University) in chemical engineering. Recognized for innovation.

Holly Murphy, confections performance analyst at Mondelez International, Inc. (East Hanover, NJ). She is a chemical engineering graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Recognized for her work in biotechnology.

Akash Narani, senior process engineer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, CA), where he develops advanced biofuels and bioproducts. He earned a bachelor’s degree (Manipal Institute of Technology, India) and a master’s degree (University at Buffalo, New York) in chemical engineering. Recognized for contributions to biotechnology.

Bihter Padak, assistant professor at the University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC), where her work focuses on reducing the environmental impact of generating electricity from fossil fuels. She earned a bachelor’s degree (Istanbul Technical University, Turkey), master’s degree (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), and PhD (Stanford University). Recognized for contributions in the energy field.

Ankur Pariyani, cofounder and chief innovation officer at Near-Miss Management (Philadelphia, PA). He earned a bachelor’s degree (Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati) and PhD (University of Pennsylvania) in chemical engineering. Recognized for contributions to process safety.

Camille Petit, senior lecturer at Imperial College London (UK), where she develops multifunctional materials for energy and environmental applications. She earned degrees in chemistry and physics (École National Supérieure de Chimie de Montpellier, France) and a PhD at City College of New York. Recognized for contributions in the energy field.

Nemoy Rau, cofounder and vice president of US Biometrix (Houston, TX). He is an engineering alumnus of Tennessee Technological University and a master's degree candidate at Columbia University. Recognized for contributions in biotechnology.

Sheena M. Reeves, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Prairie View A&M University (Prairie View, TX). She earned a bachelor’s degree and PhD in chemical engineering at Mississippi State University. Recognized for contributions to education.

Rebekah Scheuerle, board member at JustMilk (Cambridge, UK) where she develops systems for delivering medicines and nutrients to breastfeeding infants in low-resource areas. She earned a bachelor’s degree (University of Texas at Austin) and a PhD (University of Cambridge, UK) in chemical engineering. Recognized for engineering innovation.

Dawud H. Tan, research specialist at 3M (St. Paul, MN), where he invented a new blown-microfibers technology with applications in worker safety products and systems. He earned a bachelor’s degree (University of California, Berkeley) and PhD (University of Minnesota) in chemical engineering. Recognized for innovation.

Ashlee Ford Versypt, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK), where she directs the Systems Biomedicine and Pharmaceutics Research Laboratory. She earned a bachelor’s degree (University of Oklahoma) and masters and PhD degrees (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) in chemical engineering. Recognized for contributions to education.

Matthew J. Webber, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN), where he researches molecular engineering applications for healthcare. He is an engineering alumnus of the University of Notre Dame, and earned a PhD at Northwestern University. Recognized for contributions in biotechnology.

Kendall Werts, process risk engineer at Linde Engineering North America (Tulsa, OK). She earned a bachelor’s degree (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and a master's degree (University of Oklahoma) in chemical engineering. Recognized for contributions to process safety.

Ahmed Youssef, lead scientist at SABIC (Mt. Vernon, IN). He earned a PhD in chemical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri) and an MBA at Purdue University. Recognized for leadership.

About AIChE: AIChE is a professional society of more than 53,000 chemical engineers in 110 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontier of chemical engineering research in such areas as nanotechnology, sustainability, hydrogen fuels, biological and environmental engineering, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at www.aiche.org.