Student Chapter & Career Workshops | AIChE

We are pleased to announce the Workshop Schedule for the 2017 Annual Student Conference. This year's program has been organized into 7 subject tracks to help students decide which sessions they would like to attend.

Please find information on each of the workshops below.

View full grid here

Note: There will be a special executive panel discussion happening from 1:30pm - 2:30pm during the workshop program. More information on this session may be found here.


Track I: Creating Innovative Student Chapter Programming

Minneapolis Convention Center, 103 A/B/C

10:45am - 11:30am: How an AIChE Leadership Position Impacts Your Job Interviews

Presented by: Michael Hollier, Emily Brown, Jeffrey Rountree, and Victoria Simon, Lamar University Student Chapter

Officers from Lamar University’s AIChE chapter share stories about how they have leveraged their AIChE volunteer leadership experience in their job search. Topics covered include the benefits of holding a leadership position within your student chapter, including the opportunity to build marketable skill sets and relationships with company representatives. Students will also share how to talk about your AIChE leadership experience during interview questions, and how you can set yourself apart from someone with a similar résumé. 

11:45am - 12:30pm: Internet of Brewing (IoB) - The Digital Revolution Meets Beer

Presented by: Athanasios Kritharis, Siang Lim, Shams Elnawawi, and Josh Donaldson, University of British Columbia Student Chapter

Do you enjoy beer? Fermentation started in the Bronze Age and is theorized to be the main driver behind the origin of civilization! However, controlling this biological process to achieve the desired characteristics of beer is challenging to this day. Large breweries employ sophisticated devices to control processes, thermodynamics, and to model kinetics, but homebrewers and craft breweries can’t afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on high-end equipment. This workshop will demonstrate how to build a low-cost device that can monitor and control key process variables such as temperature and pH during the brewing process. Through the Internet of Things, it is possible to access and monitor process variables from anywhere! Come join us and learn how to make great beer from the comfort of your phone. Check out our demo web app at

2:45pm - 3:30pm: How to Create a Successful and Fun Kids Day Camp 

Presented by: Elizabeth Zimmerman, University of Iowa Student Chapter

In this workshop we will be covering all of the steps to planning and achieving a fun kid’s day camp. To begin, we will discuss how to advertise and recruit kids for the camp as well as how to determine the location of your prospective camp. Next, we will cover age appropriate activities and how to tailor these activities to be fun for children of different age groups. Additionally, we will discuss what specifically went well in our day camps and what we think we could improve on in future day camps.  

3:45pm - 4:30pm: How to Host a ChemE Career Fair?

Presented by: Madhav Gupta, Erynn Naccarelli, Trevin Kurtanich, and Mason Wong, University of Southern California Student Chapter

Last year, AIChE at USC, organized their first Chemical Engineering Career Fair that saw the participation of 9 companies, including Genentech and Chevron, and over 200 chemical engineering students. This semester we held our second Career Fair and flagship professional event of the year, which was a greater success that the previous year and required months of planning and fundraising. During this presentation, we will talk about some of the problems we faced, strategies and techniques implemented in planning, and our plans for the upcoming semester.

Track II: How-tos for Student Chapters

Minneapolis Convention Center, 102 A/B/C

10:45am - 11:30am: Compete in and Host a Chem-E-Car Competition

Presented by: Wenjie Liao, Tianjin University Student Chapter

Tianjin University student chapter has successfully participated in the 2016 annual competition and hosted the first regional competition in China. So, I think it would be helpful to share our experiences and problems in these two processes.  In the first section, I would discuss how to participate in the competition from the very beginning. I’ll firstly briefly introduce our preparing process in 2016 annual competition, and then focus on the following three frequently asked question: how to start a team, how to get support from university and department, and how to design and gradually modify a Chem-E-Car in the limited time.  The other section is about how to host this competition. I’ll also concisely present the preparing process for hosting the first regional Chem-E-Car competition in China at first, and then summarize it into four aspects: contact and organization, the competition site arrangement, volunteers training, and safety and rule review.

11:45am - 12:30pm: Elucidating Dangerous Processes: the Chem-E-Car Write Up

Presented by: Shelby Brooks, Chem-E-Car Committee

One of the Chem-E-Car competition’s objectives is safety, and for students to understand how to conduct a complete risk analysis of their car. Teams satisfy this requirement by submitting an Engineering Documentation Packet (EDP) before each competition for review. This workshop is to teach students why the EDP is a vital component of their learning experience, and for the safety of this competition. Students will understand how to use the EDP as a managing document for their car. Additionally, tips will be given on how to best construct it, followed by a question and answer time.

2:45pm - 3:30pm: Corporate Sponsorship and your AIChE Student Chapter

Presented by: Fritz Hyde, Jacob Clendenon, and Devesh Shah, University of Michigan Student Chapter

The goal of this presentation is to define successful corporate sponsorship and how that can benefit an AIChE student chapter. Specific examples of corporate sponsorship that can be extrapolated and learned from include: weekly luncheons with company presentations, "Night with Industry," and a BASF sponsored tailgate.  It is also important to note how to initiate contact with companies. An outline of formatting and content to send to companies via e-mail at various points of the company-chapter relationship will be reviewed.  Lastly, sustaining a relationship with companies will be covered. This is arguably the most important step as this can provide another level of benefit and meaning to corporate sponsorship.

3:45pm - 4:30pm: Engaging Your Sister Chapter and Growing Your Professional Network

Presented by: Jeremy Kach, Jared Molesky, and Jefferson Quiroz Fabra University of Michigan Student Chapter 

Over the past year, the University of Michigan AIChE Student Chapter has worked on developing its relationship with our sister chapter at the National University of Colombia in Medellin. We were fortunate enough to meet our counterparts twice: once in San Francisco, and another in Medellin, Colombia. This workshop will detail how we built our relationship with our sister chapter, the benefits and opportunities that arose from such a relationship, and our plans for the future.

Track III: Fine Tuning your Professional Skills

Minneapolis Convention Center, 101 J/I

10:45am - 11:30am: Effective Interviewing

Presented by: Greg Yeo, Chief Engineer at ExxonMobil Chemical

Successful interviewing isn't a matter of tricks and techniques - it's about principles and preparation. It's about knowing the company you're speaking to, knowing what you have to offer and being able engage in a professional discussion with a potential colleague.  Greg has interviewed hundreds of chemical engineering students for jobs in industry and will share insights and approaches you can use to make your job interviews more effective.

11:45am - 12:30pm: Influential Leadership

Presented by: Victoria Baldwin and Marcus Mello, Chevron 

Everyone possesses leadership qualities, and leadership has a variety of definitions and includes both formal titles as well as influence roles that are driven by communication and motivation.  Join us as we share career leadership from various perspectives at Chevron and decide how to integrate these as part of your leadership path.

2:45pm - 3:30pm: Networking for Nerds: How to Land (or Create) Your Dream Job!

Presented by: Alaina Levine, Career Coach and Consultant

Wanna land your dream job? Get ready to network! Most jobs and other game-changing career opportunities are not advertised, and even if they are, there is usually a short-list of candidates already in mind. So how do you find out about and access the 90% of jobs and other opportunities that are "hidden"? In this keynote, we will focus on proven networking strategies and tactics to identify new opportunities, locate decision-makers within organizations, solidify your reputation and brand in the minds of those who hire, and gain access to hidden jobs and game-changing opportunities. Discover how networking and self-promotion can enable you to land or even create your dream job from scratch!  

3:45pm - 4:30pm: Negotiation for Nerds

Presented by: Alaina Levine, Career Coach and Consultant

Did you know that the salary of your very first job after graduation determines your salaries for the rest of your life? Learn how to create a win-win situation and negotiate right from start to finish in the job decision process. Clarifying your needs and wants, and those of the other party are key. We will discuss how to address common negotiation concerns and questions to ensure that you feel confident in your next negotiation. 

Track IVa: Countdown to Graduation

Minneapolis Convention Center, 101 A/B

10:45am - 11:30am:  Life after Graduation: Industry as a Chemical Engineer

Presented by: Victoria Baldwin, Young Professionals Committee

The transition after graduation to industry can be a time full of new experiences and responsibilities.  Chemical engineers in a variety of industry positions will describe how they transitioned from college to their first job and what strategies they used to adjust to their new environment. A checklist of good practices will be discussed to give you the confidence and preparation to succeed at your new workplace, including tips for adjusting to industry, staying connected with fellow chemical engineers, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This workshop will be useful for anyone interested in learning more about the different chemical engineering industry career opportunities available and how to transition into them. 


11:45am - 12:30pm: An Inside Look at Graduate School

Presented by: Colin Young, Young Professionals Committee

Ever wondered what being a graduate student is actually like? Choosing to attend graduate school is an important decision and it’s helpful to know what happens once you’re there. This workshop will give a behind-the-scenes look into the life of a graduate student.  The ‘average’ day of a graduate student, including relevant topics like coursework and research, teaching opportunities, and outside-the-classroom engagement will all be discussed. Career opportunities with an advanced degree after graduate school will also be explained. A panel of current and former chemical engineering graduate students will share their experiences. 


Track IVb: Alternative Career Paths

Minneapolis Convention Center, 101 A/B

2:45pm - 3:30pm: NMSBrew - Academic Brewing Workshop

Presented by: Gustav Barraza and Sophie Vessel (H), New Mexico State University Student Chapter

New Mexico State University’s Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering has integrated an academic brewing program, NMSBrew, into the curriculum to prepare students for careers in engineering and quality assurance in the brewing industry. The workshop will cover topics including a minor-of-study based in chemical engineering, the Seidel Brewery Engineering Pilot Plant, a beer-characterization analytical laboratory, obtaining a Master Brewer’s Certificate, and educational opportunities in brewery engineering.  

3:45pm - 4:30pm: From Engineering to Finance- Making the Transition 

Presented by: Eric Reiner, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley

Many chemical engineering graduates have leveraged the analytical skills, discipline, and industry-specific domain knowledge they developed during their training to enter the financial services industry.  This panel will discuss some of the financial career paths open to chemical engineers, routes for getting there, and the panelists’ experiences during their careers in finance. Discussion will be led by Eric Reiner and include Dr. Kimberly Retrievi, The Retrievi Group and Mark Bye, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley.

Track V: Career Opportunities

Minneapolis Convention Center, 102 D/E/F

10:45am - 11:30am: Washington Internships for Students of Engineering

Presented by: Jami Summey-Rice, WISE Intern 

Since 1980, the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering program has prepared future leaders of the engineering profession in the United States for the increasingly important issues at the intersection of science, technology, and public policy. Every year AIChE’s WISE program selects outstanding engineering students to conduct research on a public policy issue and learn how engineers can contribute to public policy decisions in complex technological matters. This session will feature AIChE WISE program alumni, who will be sharing stories about their experience and will talk about career opportunities for chemical engineers in public policy. The deadline to apply for the 2018 AIChE WISE Program is December 31, 2017. All students who are interested in applying are encouraged to attend. 

11:45am - 12:30pm: Global Opportunities with Evonik

Presented by: Peter Valdez, Evonik 

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. Our innovative spirit and integrated technology platforms support our strategic focus on high-growth megatrends in health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world and that means a world of opportunities for you. There is no better time than right now to build your future with us and be a part of our international team.

During this workshop, we will present the common career pathways and professional development programs for engineers to develop into experts and leaders. We will also discuss international opportunities to work at any of our global locations. 

2:45pm - 3:30pm: Green Careers for Chemical Engineers

Presented by: Panagiotis Smirniotis, Richard Siegel, and Heriberto Cabezas, Environmental Division 

The Environmental Division will lead a workshop in Minneapolis  to engage students in an interactive discussion about challenges, advantages, and opportunities for chemical engineers in the environmental field. During this program our expert panel members from industry, government, consulting and academia will interact with our future chemical engineers to help them navigate through the various career paths and opportunities available to them during these challenging times.

3:45pm - 4:30pm: Opportunities in Upstream Engineering and Flow Assurance

Presented by: Michael Hoepfner, Upstream Engineering and Flow Assurance Forum 

Upstream engineering and flow assurance (UEFA) is an important sector of the petroleum industry that aims to understand the phase behavior and flow of fluids inside reservoirs and transportation lines. UEFA is a discipline that is well suited for chemical engineers, as detailed knowledge of phase equilibria, transport phenomena, and fluid mechanics is required. This workshop will introduce the UEFA field and describe some of the current challenges being addressed by scientists and engineers. Insight will be provided from both industrial and academic perspectives.  Opportunities for further learning and involvement will be discussed through the UEFA Forum of AIChE. 

Track VI: The Wide World of Chemical Engineering I

Minneapolis Convention Center, 101 F/G/H

10:45am - 11:30am: Impeller Performance Characteristics: Power, Flow, Shear and Efficiency

Presented by: Richard Grenville, North American Mixing Forum and Process Development Division

Impellers in agitated vessels are often described in terms such as high flow, high efficiency, high shear etc.  These terms are qualitative and are not helpful when carrying out an agitator design / sizing calculation.   The impellers are essentially pumps, machines that move the fluid inside the vessel, and their performance characteristics can be defined in the same way as a pump; in terms of the power input, the flow and head generated and the efficiency.   This workshop will discuss how these qualitative descriptions of impeller properties can be quantified and how this understanding can be applied for equipment design.  

11:45am - 12:30pm: World of Particle Technology

Presented by: Mayank Kashyap, Reddy Karri, and Ben Freireich, Particle Technology Forum

More than 80% of your gasoline, 70% of your polyolefins and a plethora of other products are made using fluidized bed technology. From gasification to drying, fluidized beds and circulating fluidized beds provide the distinct advantage of high heat transfer and solids mobility. These features have resulted in several breakthrough technologies with better temperature control and the ability to move solids from a reduction to an oxidation environment. This workshop will focus on some of these breakthrough technologies.

Billions of pounds of bulk solids are processed and handled every year by the US process industries, yet most chemical engineers are ill-equipped to deal with the complexities of engineering science of solids processing. Hence, plants and products suffer with lost production, inability to achieve design production rates, off grade or off specification products. During this session, we will take a look at the fun and exciting world of solids processing. Specifically, we will look at some of the more common particle-based technologies examining both the important role they play in society today along with the associated technical challenges.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures and a live demonstration is worth a thousand videos. This session will illustrate some of the awe-inspiring and unique features in the field of particle technology through hands-on demonstrations on hopper design, segregation, etc. Students are invited to stay through the lunch break for additional demonstrations.

2:45pm - 3:30pm: Refining and Gas Processing 101

Presented by:  Saadet Ulas Acikgoz, Bill Rooney, and Ian Glasgow, AIChE Fuels and Petrochemicals Division

Introduction to energy supply chain with a focus on refining and gas processing technologies.

3:45pm - 4:30pm: Management Careers for the Chemical Engineer

Presented by: Eldon Larsen, Richard Siegel, and Rose Wesson, Management Division

This session provides a short presentation on careers in management for chemical engineers followed by a panel discussion with questions and answers from a panel of experienced managers including representatives with backgrounds in industry, government, consulting and academia.  The session should be of great interest to any student who is considering the possibility of seeking management positions at some time in his or her career.

Track VII: The Wide World of Chemical Engineering II

Minneapolis Convention Center, 101 C/D/E

10:45am - 11:30am: Nanoscale Science & Engineering: Paving the Future of the Field

Presented by: Reginald Rogers, Samantha Meenach, and Geoffrey Bothun, Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum

In this workshop, we will explore nanoscale science and engineering at its core.  Participants will engage in a lively discussion on the pros and cons of nanotechnology, sparking debate that will continue beyond the workshop.  The “what if” question will be posed to force everyone to critically think about the path we wish to carry nanotechnology.  We will brainstorm ways the next generation can help promote the nanotechnology field from benchtop to scale up.  In the end, the hope will be that participants leave inspired to lead the charge for nanotechnology and help it grow into a fruitful field that is sustainable for everyone in society.

11:45am - 12:30pm: Sustainability in Chemical Engineering

Presented by: Lindsay Soh, Corey Jensen, Nastassja Lewinski, and Sipho Ndlela, Sustainable Engineering Forum

The workshop will include at least 4 SEF leadership members who will introduce the topic of sustainable engineering.  It will begin by providing motivation by an introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals followed by an overview of strategies including the principles of green chemistry and engineering.  Each member will then present on what sustainable engineering research looks like in particular fields including nanomaterials, big data, green solvents and processing, as well as industry and product stewardship.  The workshop will end with a panel discussion open to students regarding the presentations or the field at large.   This workshop serves also as an opportunity for students to get involved in the program and for current student members to introduce and further develop an educational module on “Sustainability in Chemical Engineering.” 

2:45pm - 3:30pm: Fundamentals of Engineering Exam and Path to Become a Professional Engineer

Presented by: Joseph Cramer and William Parrish, Licensing and Professional Development Committee and Management Division

This session gives an overview of how to become a  Professional Engineer and emphasizes the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam which is the first of the two exams needed for licensure. The presentation provides reasons why many might  want to become a PE. It demystifies the licensure process and tells about the two required exams, The presentation explains the benefits of taking the FE Exam for students about to obtain their first professional degree and how this increases the young professional’s career opportunities. The presenters are Joe Cramer and Bill Parrish who are PE's. Both are active members of the AIChE’s Licensing and Professional Development Committee and have been or are members of the Career and Educational Operating Council. They are members of the NCEES’s ChE PE Exam Committee.

3:45pm - 4:30pm: Process Simulation in the Real World

Presented by: Stuart Schwab, Chemstations

Most undergraduate chemical engineering students get only a basic introduction to process simulation tools.  We’ll share how you can use these tools after graduation using real case studies as well as provide best practices for modeling and common mistakes to avoid.