Dear CHEE alumni and friends,
I am delighted to introduce the first edition of Engineered for Success, the newsletter of the UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering.
I hope that you enjoy hearing the latest from the department and your fellow alumni, and that you find an opportunity to connect with one other. We’ll be happy to assist in any way that we can.
Updates on Undergraduate Programs
This has been an incredible few years for the department, and a truly exciting and humbling time to serve as department chair since my term began in October 2014. CHEE is experiencing unprecedented growth.
During the decade from 2000 to 2009, the average number of BS chemical engineering graduates was 30. From 2010 to 2016, the average rose to 48 graduates. This past May, we graduated our largest class to date when 69 students were awarded their bachelor's degrees at our pre-commencement ceremony. A packed house at the Loft Cinema, full of our graduates and their enthusiastic families and friends, marked the special moment.
Despite the large cohort, a majority of the students took the opportunity to enhance their undergraduate experience by doing research. The availability of undergraduate research opportunities was cited as a program strength in our recent accreditation visit.
Our dream of offering a BS degree in environmental engineering is now a reality. The new program was formally kicked off this fall and the first two students, seeking dual degrees in chemical engineering and environmental engineering, are expected to graduate in May 2017.
Updates on Graduate Programs
CHEE graduate students have the opportunity to be involved in pilot-scale projects that bring together companies, public utilities and the UA at the new Water & Energy Sustainable Technology, or WEST, Center. WEST, which is co-directed by professor Shane Snyder, is co-located with the new Pima County Water and Energy Sustainability Campus and partners closely with Tucson Water, creating a unique ability to conduct translational research necessary to develop and advance sustainable water and energy technologies.
College of Engineering researchers file, on average, one patent disclosure per week, and CHEE faculty and students have been an integral part of the desire to develop technology. Among them are professor Don Gervasio and former CHEE research specialist Hassan Elsentriecy, who invented a toxin-free method for extracting metal from raw copper ore using high-temperature molten salts. Their startup company, MetOxs Electrochemical, picked up this important discovery for commercialization with assistance from Tech Launch Arizona.
These and other inventions have helped the University of Arizona make the list of the top 100 most innovative schools in the world.
What Comes Next
One of the things we hear most frequently from students and recent graduates, particularly in the undergraduate program, is that they would like more hands-on design experience so they are better prepared for the job market. We have plans to incorporate design throughout the sophomore and junior years, culminating in the senior design project.
Join Us for Homecoming!
We invite you to join us at the College of Engineering Homecoming tent on Saturday, Oct. 29, prior to the UA-Stanford football game. (Stay tuned for more specifics.) Many CHEE faculty, staff, alumni and students will be there, and it would be wonderful to see you and have a chance to talk in person.
Professor and Department Chair
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
The University of Arizona