Student Chapter Feature: Texas A&M Invests in Underclassmen

Texas A&M University’s strong sense of community stems from programs that invest in underclassmen, and the programs organized by the AIChE student chapter at A&M are no exception.

One great example is the AIChE Sophomore Retreat, which is similar to the university's four-day freshman orientation camp. The retreat, however, was specifically created for chemical engineering students and serves to transition freshmen to their first year in chemical engineering. It connects sophomores to classmates through team-building activities, introduces engineering principles through design challenges, and teaches the fundamentals of getting internships through company-led workshops.

New spring event

In addition to Sophomore Retreat, which is typically held in August, the A&M AIChE chapter added a new event in the spring for the benefit of underclassmen. This new conference was organized by the student chapter and was held on campus for chapter members.

To begin the conference, company representatives had breakfast with students and gave presentations. One presentation, for example, taught students how to use ASPEN. By using the Haber-Bosch process, students were given a step-by-step demo on how to design an ammonia plant.

After lunch, there were company-led breakout groups. A session on money management explored the usefulness of budgeting and the importance of a 401(k). Another session evaluated how long a tank’s supply would last by using dimensional analysis. A breakout group even provided icebreakers and included a riddle competitions to facilitate introductions.

To conclude this new event, the A&M’s student chapter held a bowling night at Main Event. The conference provided student chapter members the opportunity to learn about special topics, meet company representatives, and get to know one another better — all without leaving College Station.

These investments in underclassmen are an ideal way to build community and foster the next generation of AIChE leadership.