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Representation in Education: Using Norbert Rilliuex's Work in Engineering Curriculum

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
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    Individuals

    AIChE Member Credits 0.5
    AIChE Members $19.00
    AIChE Graduate Student Members Free
    AIChE Undergraduate Student Members Free
    Non-Members $29.00
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    April 13, 2022
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • Skill Level:
    Intermediate
  • PDHs:
    0.50

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Focuses on diversity in hiring and promotion have been somewhat successful at increasing representation in chemical engineering and in company management. However, often the chokepoint preventing people of color from becoming involved in chemical engineering and other STEM fields is in undergraduate education. Despite similar levels of initial enrollment in STEM fields, people of color have a much lower rate of completion than their white peers. There are myriad factors for this, including lack of peer support, lack of mentorship opportunities, bias from professors, and other challenges. One problem is the lack of representation of people of color in faculty and course materials.

In this work, we discuss the contributions of Norbert Rilliuex, a 19th century scientist, entrepreneur, and one of the earliest chemical engineers. Rilliuex was the son of a slave and her “owner”, but traveled to France to receive a first-class scientific education. Using a sophisticated separations system, Rilliuex turned sugar from a luxury to a staple by improving the quality and quantity of sugar commercially available. Additionally, his work made sugar production far less dangerous for the enslaved people who worked in sugar production facilities. Despite his contributions to the field, Rilliuex’s work has faded into anonymity. In addition to reintroducing his work, we discuss how Rilliuex’s work can be used as part of thermodynamics, separations, or introductory engineering courses. In doing so, we hope to increase the representation of people of color in the classroom and foster a more inclusive environment in chemical engineering departments.

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Checkout

Checkout

Do you already own this?

Pricing


Individuals

AIChE Member Credits 0.5
AIChE Members $19.00
AIChE Graduate Student Members Free
AIChE Undergraduate Student Members Free
Non-Members $29.00
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