Darlene Schuster is responsible for the successful implementation of AIChE conferences, publications, educational AIChE Academy, membership programs and membership groups, and growth of AIChE impact to serve members in areas of relevance to chemical engineering. Previously she was the executive director of the Technical Entities of AIChE, including the Institute for Sustainability, Society for Biological Engineering, the International Society for Metabolic Engineering, and the start-up entities. Schuster joined AIChE as director of government relations and headed AIChE’s former Washington, D.C., office. In subsequent assignments with AIChE, she secured federal and private funding to launch a number of sustained revenue-producing initiatives, including the AIChE Sustainability Index ™, the International Conference on Sustainable Science and Engineering Conference series, the Founder Societies’ Carbon Management Project and Carbon Management Technology Conference series, research coordination network on CCUS, the NSF Active Chemistry curriculum project, and, more recently, the outreach projects for SMART and process intensification efforts of AIChE.
Before joining AIChE, Schuster served as a science policy fellow for the American Chemical Society, where she worked to educate congressional staff and members of Congress on technical policy issues. Previously, Schuster held the Clare Boothe Luce Chair of Chemical Engineering at Bucknell University. Her academic career followed positions in industry with Gulf Oil Research and Development, which was subsequently acquired by Chevron Oil Field Research Company.
As a professor, Schuster incorporated ethics into engineering design courses, and was the coordinator of the team-taught multidisciplinary freshman engineering course. She taught material and energy balances, reactor design and kinetics, computer programing for chemical engineers, process dynamics and control, fluid dynamics, transport properties, and design. She developed and introduced graduate-level courses related to her research, which addressed enhancement of waxy and heavy oil production (i.e. upstream flow assurance), advancing technologies for produced water/oil and particle separations and three-phase flow measurements applicable to produced oil streams and particle agglomeration. She also developed a course for liberal arts students based on material balances and engineering problem-solving, and taught problem-solving approaches to students enrolled in a joint management/engineering program. In industry, she innovated to create novel measurement devices and sensors for multiphase flow in produced oil and implemented dedicated supervisory data acquisition systems in remote oil field locations.
Schuster was awarded the 2004 Technical Achievement Award from the Pennsylvania Engineers’ Council in part for contributions to novel technology product development and commercialization by her company, DP Enterprises Group, Inc. She is also a member of NeuroSpine Ventures, LLC, an “angel” investment group specializing in medical technology start-ups. She holds a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University, a master’s from the University of Pittsburgh, and PhD from West Virginia—all in chemical engineering.