CEP: Editorial - What Will You Do on Your Summer Vacation?


What Will You Do on Your Summer Vacation?

In this month’s YPOV column (p. 20), Arjun Gopalratnam points out that the summertime is a great time for self-improvement, and he urges us to expand, in particular, our computer programming experience. He recommends a few free resources that can help us enrich our Excel skills, become more proficient when working with engineering software, and learn HTML coding.

Among those resources are several from AIChE. The ChEnected blog includes the four-part series “Excelling with Excel” (http://chenected.aiche.org/series/excelling-with-excel), with posts that cover custom functions using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), pivot tables, macros, and indirect references. In the past year alone, the series was viewed nearly 66,000 times.

A one-hour webinar, “Spreadsheet Techniques and Problem-Solving for Chemical Engineers,” demonstrates techniques for creating spreadsheets efficiently and performing common chemical engineering calculations. If you missed it when it aired live, you can access it (www.aiche.org/resources/chemeondemand/webinars/spreadsheet-techniques-an...) and view it at your convenience. AIChE members can purchase the webinar with one of the free credits (six per year) that come with membership.

A related eLearning class, “Spreadsheet Problem-Solving for ChemEs” (www.aiche.org/resources/education/courses/els101/spreadsheet-problem-sol...), dives deeper into spreadsheets. This 30-h self-paced course covers process calculations and economic analyses, applied statistics, and differential equations, as well as programming in Excel using VBA.

You can go beyond the introduction to VBA presented in that course with a new eLearning class that AIChE’s Education Dept. (www.aiche.org/resources/education) plans to launch this summer. An intensive course with segments on recording and editing macros, debugging VBA code, developing Excel add-ins, and more, “Excel VBA Programming for Chemical Engineers” will help you become a more-efficient spreadsheet user.

For those who don’t want to invest in a 30-h course, an easy and inexpensive (sometimes free) way to learn (more) about a wide variety of chemical engineering topics is through AIChE’s live webinars. A listing of this summer’s offerings appears on p. 64. One of these is “Chemical Engineers as Biomedical Innovators,” which will be presented on Aug. 7 (2–3 p.m. EDT) by Harvard Univ.’s Sujata Bhatia, who wrote this month’s Back to Basics article, “Biology as a Basis for Biochemical Engineering” (pp. 40–44).

If you aren’t able to participate in this (or any) live webinar, you can view the archived version at any time through ChemE On Demand. This multimedia digital library contains thousands of resources such as webinars and recorded conference presentations on topics ranging from piping and instrumentation diagrams, to Six Sigma and critical thinking, to process safety hazard assessment and dust explosions — and, on the lighter side, the chemistry of beer and brewing. You might recognize some of the webinar presenters as CEP authors, including Dan Crowl, who with Jason Keith wrote the article “Characterize Reactive Chemicals with Calorimetry” on pp. 26–33. Undergraduate and graduate student members get free unlimited access to all ChemE On Demand content.

Why not take some time this summer for professional development and shop till you drop at ChemE On Demand? It could make for an interesting essay in the fall.

Author Bios: 

Cynthia Mascone

Cindy Mascone is Editor-in-Chief of Chemical Engineering Progress, AIChE’s member magazine. She has more than 25 years of experience as a technical editor and writer, including four years as the head of her own freelance consulting business, Engineered Writing. Previously, she worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards.

She holds a BS in chemical engineering and engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon Univ., and has been an active member of AIChE and Society of Women Engineers.Read more

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