Spring in Pacific Northwest Marks Annual Student Regional Conference: The Other Moscow

The 2012 Pacific Northwest Student Regional Conference: in Vandals Territory

What do wrinkle-reducing creams and Amazon Kindles have in common? They might just help you snag winning positions at a student paper competition.

AIChE held its 2012 Pacific Northwest Student Regional Conference at the University of Idaho (U of I) in Moscow the weekend of Friday, April 27. The conference kicked off with an evening barbecue but went straight into its technical offerings at 7 am on Saturday, April 28. Of the six schools with chemical engineering departments in the Pacific Northwest, three schools participated in the student conference. These schools included U of I, the University of Washington (UW) and Oregon State University (OSU). Washington State University's student advisor, Dr. Richard Zollars, also attended the student conference as a judge for the ChemE Car Competition. (The other two schools in the Pacific Northwest region that did not attend include the University of British Columbia and Montana State University.)

Student paper competition

The student paper competition that began bright and early on Saturday morning covered such varied topics as the economics of biodiesel production (presented by Audrey Oldencamp of OSU), spent nuclear waste electrorefining (presented by Neil Sing of U of I), nanotoxicity investigations of assays (presented by Blake Wimer of OSU), the assessment of water hardness effects rather than measurement of CaCo3 and Mg (presented by Keith Christopher of U of I), and the aggregation characteristics of nanoparticles in aquatic systems (presented by Hayley Moen of OSU).

The winning student authors and their paper titles all represented UW and were awarded as follows:

  • First place: John Geil, "Titania-Stabilized Pickering Emulsions for Skin Care Products"
  • Second place: David Bergsman, "The Effect of Silane Treatments on the Surface Properties of Silica"
  • Third place: Joseph Crowell, "Adhesion in Fiber-Reinforced Composites"

David Bergsman presents "The Effect of Silane Treatments on the Surface Properties of Silica"

The three UW presenters will be showcasing their research at the May 15 Puget Sound AIChE Annual Student Meeting. You can learn more and register for this meeting at this link.

The applications of the students' research topics ranged from charging particles to generate images on Amazon Kindle screens, to developing more stable wrinkle-reduction creams, to increasing adhesion in polymer composites by inducing mechanical interlocking between particles.

All student presenters demonstrated knowledge in their research areas and were articulate in their speaking skills. The five judges represented a number of industries and backgrounds, from biomedical and energy research, to commercialization, to IP law, to environmental consulting (the latter courtesy of yours truly).

ChemE Car Competition

Following the student presentations, attendees cheered on the U of I and UW ChemE Car Competition teams, which you can read about further here. The conference ended with an awards banquet to honor the weekend's paper and car competition top-placers, as well as the organizers who made the conference possible. Special thanks go to the U of I planning team, led by Dr. David Drown and AIChE student chapter leaders Tim Darnall and Natalie Kirch. Read more about other regional student conferences across the country, such as the spring conference at Stevens Institute of Technology. Is there a student conference I missed? If so, tell us about it or share pictures and video!

Students, what did you enjoy most at your regional conference? What types of things would you like to see at conferences in the future?

Share your thoughts and suggestions about your regional conference.

Images: Interior shots, Alessandra Carreon; University of Idaho Administration Building, Robbie Giles


alessandra's picture

That's exciting -- thanks for sharing! You can read more about David's work from his abstract on the PSAIChE website (link embedded in the post). He may be happy to share details of his work as well if you'd like the connection!