Dow’s Laura Dietsche to Receive 2020 AIChE Industrial R&D Award

Above: Laura J. Dietsche, PhD, P.E., Senior Research Scientist at Dow in Midland, Michigan.

This fall, ChEnected is introducing readers to the recipients of AIChE’s 2020 Institute and Board of Directors’ Awards. These are AIChE’s highest annual honors, with each recipient nominated by the chemical engineering community and voted on by the members of AIChE’s volunteer-led Awards Committee. The awards recognize eminent achievements and world-class contributions across a spectrum of chemical engineering endeavors. 

The Industrial Research and Development Award

AIChE’s Industrial Research and Development Award recognizes individuals or teams working in industries served by chemical engineers, for innovation that has resulted in the commercial development of new products and/or new processes for making useful products. 

The recipient of the 2020 Industrial R&D Award is Laura J. Dietsche, PhD, P.E., Senior Research Scientist at Dow in Midland, Michigan. 

Dr. Dietsche is being recognized “for contributions in the application of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to advance chemical manufacturing capabilities, equipment design, and materials development.”

About this year's winner

Laura Dietsche’s career in industrial R&D spans almost 35 years with Dow, where she is a technology leader in the Materials Engineering Center and guides the activities of the modeling community. In her work, she applies transport fundamentals and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to advance chemical and polymer processing technology and material development. She is known for her expertise and innovation in the simulation of complex transport phenomena within specialty reactors, heat exchangers, extrusion dies, and other equipment. 

…every experience has had a positive impact on me and has influenced who I am.

Laura is also passionate about enhancing the chemical engineering profession through volunteer activities. She is the current chair of AIChE’s Chemical Engineering Technology Operating Council and is a leader of the Mid-Michigan Local Section. She is also involved in AIChE’s Education and Accreditation Committee and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). 

A Fellow of AIChE and a licensed Professional Engineer, Laura received her BS and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and did post-doctoral work at Lawrence Livermore National Labs.


Dr. Dietsche's reflections on the award

In reflecting on her award, Laura notes that her career and life have not taken a straight path, and although the journey has had twists and turns, she says: 

“…every experience has had a positive impact on me and has influenced who I am. It led to an expertise in Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD) as well as some philosophies also based on the CFD acronym. My Career Flow Dynamics philosophy states that ‘No matter where your career path takes you, make it dynamic by Consciously and Continuously LEARNING new things, LEVERAGING to open new paths, LEAVING something of value in your wake, LOOKING for opportunities to re-energize your career, and adding fresh LEAVES to your LAURELS.’ My Caring for Future Directions philosophy led to my passion for volunteering in areas that secure the future of my chosen profession. Finally, my Creeds, Foundations, and Doctrines philosophy focuses on professionalism, ethics, and respect for diversity of thought and culture.”

In the weeks leading up to the 2020 Virtual AIChE Annual Meeting, we will feature other 2020 Institute and Board of Directors’ Award recipients, so please visit again to read more about these highly accomplished individuals. If you missed earlier award winners, check out the complete series to date.