Institute News: March 2018


Poddars Champion Successful Foundation Fund Drive


▲ Susmita (left) and Syamal Poddar at the 2017 AIChE Gala.

Syamal K. Poddar, an AIChE Fellow and President of the Houston, TX-based Poddar and Associates, has been named Philanthropist of the Year for 2017 by the AIChE Foundation, in recognition of a recent fundraising challenge initiated by Poddar and his wife, Susmita. The endeavor was the latest donation made by the Poddars to the AIChE Foundation’s Annual Fund — a cornerstone of the Foundation’s activities dedicated to supporting programs that align with AIChE’s mission.

Last year, the Poddars announced a matching gift challenge — offering to match dollar for dollar up to $20,000 all donations made to the Institute’s Annual Fund during the year. By year-end, more than 300 donors had responded to the challenge, which ultimately raised $61,000 for the Annual Fund. Those donations finance programs such as: scholarships; support for students, young professionals, and chemical engineers from underrepresented groups; education and training initiatives; and activities aimed at inspiring K–12 students to pursue engineering as a career path.

In a recent interview, Poddar said that he and his wife are dedicated to AIChE “because of its mission to make the world a better and safer place through chemical engineering — which is something we both believe in.” He reflected that “as time goes by, Susmita and I have become even more passionate about the causes we support,” adding that “AIChE plays a vital role in our lives, and we want to invest in and strengthen its ability to support the next generation of chemical engineers.”

Poddar’s career encompasses more than 40 years of experience working with technologies and processes related to the hydrocarbon and energy industries. Prior to establishing his consultancy, Poddar worked in a variety of capacities for Exxon Research and Engineering Co. and Bechtel. His extensive AIChE activities include leadership roles in the South Texas Section, the Fuels and Petrochemicals Div., and the Management Div., as well as participation in the Societal Impact Operating Council and the Fellows Council. He earned his PhD in chemical engineering from the Univ. of Pennsylvania.

Information about the AIChE Foundation and its many programs can be found at

AIChE Members are Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has elected 83 new members and 26 foreign members to its 2018 class. The new members will be formally inducted during a ceremony to be held at the NAE’s Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, on Sept. 20, 2018. This year, the following AIChE members join the NAE’s distinguished ranks:



Lynden A. Archer, James A. Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY — For advances in nanoparticle-polymer hybrid materials and in electrochemical energy storage technologies.



Aristos Aristidou, director, biotechnology R&D, Cargill, Inc., North Plymouth, MN — For contributions to bioprocess and metabolic engineering for the commercial production of sustainable chemicals and plastics.



Raymond J. Gorte, Russell Pearce and Elizabeth Crimian Heuer Professor, Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA — For fundamental contributions and their applications to heterogeneous catalysts and solid-state electrochemical devices.



Brian A. Korgel, Edward S....

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