Penn State’s Andrew Zydney Receives Warren K. Lewis Award for ChE Education

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

The Warren K. Lewis Award 

AIChE’s Warren K. Lewis Award is named for one of the founders of modern chemical engineering.

The prize is sponsored by ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company and recognizes distinguished and continuing contributions to chemical engineering education.

The recipient of the 2020 Warren K. Lewis Award is Andrew L. Zydney, the Bayard D. Kunkle Chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University.   

Dr. Zydney is being recognized for consistent and distinguished contributions to chemical engineering education through classroom teaching, industrial short courses, the mentoring of graduate students and junior faculty, publications, and academic leadership.

I have truly been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with literally thousands of students over the course of my career. 

Dr. Zydney's research

Professor Zydney serves as Director of Penn State’s Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology and the Membrane Science, Engineering, and Technology (MAST) Center. His research is focused on the application of membranes in bioprocessing, including the purification of monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, and gene therapy agents. He is a recent recipient of the North American Membrane Society’s Alan S. Michaels Award for Innovation in Membrane Society and Technology, and the American Chemical Society’s Separations Science and Technology Award. He is also a recipient of AIChE’s Gerhold Award for Excellence in Separation Science.  

Dr. Zydney has also received numerous teaching awards, including the Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Delaware, the Distinguished Teacher Award from the American Society for Engineering Education, and the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society, among others. He was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Membrane Science for more than 10 years and is Past President of the North American Membrane Society. He is a Fellow of AIChE, the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Division of ACS.

Dr. Zydney reflects on receiving the Warren K. Lewis Award

In receiving the Lewis Award, Dr. Zydney wrote: 

I am truly excited to receive this year’s Warren K. Lewis Award, as it is the only Institute Award presented by AIChE that is specifically focused on contributions to chemical engineering education. I have always considered myself to be a "teacher first."  My mom was a primary and secondary school teacher, and it was my love of teaching that first attracted me to an academic career.  

Dr. Zydney (front row, second from left) with some of the students in his research group in early 2020, prior to social distancing.

I have truly been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with literally thousands of students over the course of my career, first at the University of Delaware and now for the past 18 years at Penn State. These students never cease to amaze and inspire me. Their questions constantly push me to a deeper understanding of chemical engineering, while their accomplishments are just a joy to behold.

The Warren K. Lewis Award is graciously sponsored by Exxon Mobil Research and Engineering Company. 

Stop back for more entries in our series of 2020 Institute and Board of Directors’ Award recipients, and catch up on any previous posts in the series you've missed.