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 S chool of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

ChBE leads $11.2 million Energy Frontier Research Center Page 4

Paper institute gets new name, $43.6 million gift

AIChE meeting comes to Atlanta for first time

Page 10

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contents 4

DOE funds research center in ChBE with $11.2 million grant


In the lab: Research spotlights


Faculty news


Faculty profiles


Paper institute gets new name, $43.6 million gift


AIChE meeting held in Atlanta for first time


Alumni spotlight: Melissa McCoy (BS ’12)


Alumni news


External Advisory Board member spotlights


Student news


Smooth transitions: ChBE program for transfer students expands to Institute level

A message from

DAVID SHOLL, chair The School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech continues to go from strength to strength. This magazine contains a sampling of the many exciting activities being pursued by our students, faculty and alumni. Our program is growing in both size and quality. We now have more than 1,000 undergraduate majors and 190 graduate students. This makes us a key producer of talented individuals for a wide range of industries. If your company doesn’t actively recruit our students, ask why, and then contact me to find out how to develop relationships with our students! Our faculty continue to excel at the highest levels of research. To give just one example, Professor Krista Walton is leading a new Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. This significant re-

search center will involve multiple ChBE faculty and researchers at six partner institutions. Please see page 4 to read more. This fall, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) will bring its Annual Meeting to Atlanta for the first time. This is a wonderful chance to showcase Georgia Tech’s accomplishments in research and education to a national audience. Go to page 11 to get more information and to learn how to celebrate with us if you will be attending the conference. Although this magazine highlights many of our activities, there is much more good news than will fit in these pages. Check the ChBE website (www.chbe. for ongoing news throughout the year. One of the great pleasures of my job is learning about the achievements of our alumni. I have met many of you in the past year, and I look forward to connecting with more of you in the coming year. If you visit Atlanta, please come by so we can show you our successes firsthand.

About Us Established in 1901, the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) is one of eight schools in the College of Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Ranked among the top 10 engineering programs in the nation for both its graduate and undergraduate programs, the School is one of the oldest and most diverse programs in the country.


The mission of ChBE is to provide students with the intellectual basis to be educated citizens, to prepare them for successful careers and to advance the science and technology that form the basis of chemical and biomolecular engineering.



at a glance 2014-15

Faculty and Staff 35 tenure-track faculty members 3 academic professionals 7 faculty members with joint appointments 11 women 15 NSF CAREER Award winners 10 AIChE Fellows 7 NAE members 27 staff members

Did you know ...? ChBE attracts faculty members from throughout the world. More than half of ChBE’s tenure-track faculty members were born outside the United States.


undergraduate chemical engineering program in the United States (U.S. News & World Report 2014 rankings)

4 10 5 6





2 1

1 ARGENTINA Martin Maldovan 2 AUSTRALIA Elsa Reichmanis, David Sholl 3 CHINA Rachel Chen, Yulin Deng, Hang Lu 4 ENGLAND Matthew Realff 5 GERMANY Andreas Bommarius, Carsten Sievers, Sven Behrens

ChBE Ph.D. students awarded NSF fellowships in 2014



6 GREECE Athanasios Nenes, Athanassios Sambanis 7 HONG KONG Sally Ng 8 INDIA Pradeep Agrawal, Sujit Banerjee, Sankar Nair 9 JAPAN Yoshi Kawajiri 10 THE NETHERLANDS Victor Breedveld


11 UNITED STATES Julie Champion, Michelle Dawson, Michael Filler, Thomas Fuller, Martha Grover, Clifford Henderson, Dennis Hess, Christopher Jones, Paul Kohl, William Koros, Ryan Lively, Peter Ludovice, Carson Meredith, Mark Prausnitz, Ron Rousseau, Mark Styczynski, Krista Walton

#10 graduate

chemical engineering program in the United States (U.S. News & World Report 2015 rankings)

1,004 undergraduates / 196 graduates: 14 M.S. and 182 Ph.D. • Awarded 167 B.S., 27 M.S. and 34 Ph.D. degrees in 2013-14 • More than 40 students participated in study abroad programs • 6 NSF Fellows, 6 Presidential Fellows, 3 Shell Outstanding TA Awards, NASA Space Science Fellow, NIH Training Grant, Chinese Scholarship Council Fellow • 74 ChBE undergraduates with 4.0 GPA recognized at 2014 Honors Luncheon

Research expenditures totaled more than

Research is conducted in catalysis, reaction kinetics, complex fluids, polymers, microelectronics, microfluidics, sustainable development, pulp and paper, separations, MEMS, thermodynamics, environmental science, drug delivery and reaction engineering.

$30 million. WWW.CHBE.GATECH.EDU


DOE funds research center T

By the numbers


Energy Frontier Research Center in Georgia

10 22

new centers funded by the Department of Energy

existing centers receiving renewed funding in this cycle

200+ 6

proposals received by the DOE

partner institutions for ChBE’s EFRC

ChBE principal investigators

Michael Filler nanotechnology, optoelectronic materials


Ryan Lively energy, polymers, separations

he School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech is leading a multiinstitution research center that will be financed with a four-year $11.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Center for Understanding and Control of Acid Gas-Induced Evolution of Materials for Energy (UNCAGE-ME) is one of only 10 new Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) to be funded through the federal program and is the first EFRC to be led by Georgia Tech. Krista Walton, a ChBE professor, is the director for the center, which will advance the understanding of how acid gases interact with energyrelated materials. Five other ChBE professors — Christopher Jones, Michael Filler, Ryan Lively, Sankar Nair and David Sholl — and Thomas Orlando, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, also are serving as principal investigators at the center. The center will involve work at six partner institutions: Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tenn.; the Department of Energy’s largest multiprogram science and energy laboratory), the University of Florida, the University of Alabama, the University of Wisconsin, Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Pa.) and Washington University in St. Louis. “The overall goal of our EFRC is to provide a fundamental understanding of acid gas interac-

Sankar Nair novel materials, nanoscale systems

David Sholl energy, separations, nanotechnology


Christopher Jones catalysis, polymerization

in ChBE with $11.2M grant School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech

Newsletter Committee Abbey Benton Michael Filler Dennis Hess Jacqueline Mohalley Snedeker Athanasios Nenes Donna Peyton Elsa Reichmanis Amy Schneider David Sholl

Printing Graphic Solutions Group

For More Information Communications: Amy Schneider (404) 385-2299,

Photo by GARY MEEK

Krista Walton (shown with Ph.D. student Michael Dutzer) is the director of the new Energy Frontier Research Center. tions with a broad class of materials and establish strategies for extending material stability and lifetime,” Walton said. “These results will ultimately enable us to accelerate materials discovery for large-scale energy applications. “Our multifaceted approach to this important problem is unique, and one of our proposal reviewers even pointed out that this

will be the first research center in the world specifically dedicated to this topic.” The research center’s start date was Aug. 1. The awards, which were announced on June 18, are the second round of funding for EFRCs. The 32 projects receiving funding were competitively selected from more than 200 proposals.

Development: Donna Peyton (404) 894-0987, or Main Office: (404) 894-1838 Chair’s Office: (404) 894-2867 Undergraduate Program: (404) 894-2865, Graduate Program: (404) 894-2877,

Copyright 2014 • Georgia Institute of Technology School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering



in the lab Waste not, want not Yulin Deng and his research group have developed a new type of lowtemperature fuel cell that directly converts biomass to electricity. The hybrid fuel cell can use a variety of biomass sources, including starch, cellulose, lignin — and even switchgrass, powdered wood, algae and waste from poultry processing. “We have developed a new method that can handle biomass at room temperature, and the type of biomass that can be used is not restricted,” Deng said. “This is a very generic approach to utilizing many kinds of organic waste to produce electrical power without the need for purification of the starting materials.” The new solar-induced fuel cell was described Feb. 7 in the journal Nature Communications. Yulin Deng demonstrates the operation of a new solar-induced direct biomass-toelectricity hybrid fuel cell.

Closeup of sunflower pollen

Flower power Microscopic particles serve important functions in commercial products and chemical processing. Carson Meredith’s research group develops novel particles by borrowing ideas from nature. His recent studies of plant pollen adhesion, published in the journals Langmuir and Chemistry of Materials, apply natural designs to create man-made particles with properties useful for sensors, adhesives, lightweight materials and separations processes. For example, replica particles combine the natural nanoscale spiny features of sunflower pollen with synthetic magnetic and optically active ceramic materials. (Langmuir) and (Chemistry of Materials)


Cost sievings Sankar Nair, Chris Jones and their research groups have developed a microfluidic technique for fabricating a new class of metal-organic framework (MOF) membranes inside hollow polymer fibers. The new fabrication process, believed to be the first to grow MOF membranes inside hollow fibers, could change the way large-scale, energy-intensive chemical separations are done. By replacing distillation or cryogenic techniques, these molecular sieving membranes could cut the cost, reduce energy consumption and lead to industrial processes that generate less carbon dioxide. The

The prototype module, with a hollow-fiber MOF membrane mounted in it work was described in the July 4 issue of the journal Science.

Special delivery

Cells internalize enzyme nanoparticles.

New protein drugs for intracellular targets have been slow in coming, primarily because it is very difficult to deliver sufficient amounts of folded, functional protein inside cells. Julie Champion’s research group created cross-linked protein nanoparticles made of therapeutic ß-galactosidase, an enzyme whose deficiency causes some lysosomal storage disorders, and a fluorescent carrier protein, eGFP. By tuning particle fabrication conditions, they controlled particle size, retained more than 80 percent of the enzyme’s activity and delivered active enzyme inside cells.


An ovarian cancer cell grown on a soft surface and stained for phosphorylated myosin light chain (pMLC) shows matrix-dependent increases in pMLC intensity and polarization of the stained regions. This indicates that forces are being polarized, which is important in migration and metastasis.

Soft approach to hard problem Unlike most cancer cells, which are more malignant in hard tissues, ovarian cancer cells accumulate more in soft tissue. Michelle Dawson’s research group investigated the hypothesis that the cells’ preference for soft tissue is because of the mechanical properties of this environment. The group analyzed the behavior of two different cell lines with different metastatic potential on soft and stiff tissues. They found that metastatic ovarian cancer cells adhere more on soft tissues, where they proliferate more, migrate more and are more resistant to chemotherapeutics. These effects are greatly reduced in noninvasive ovarian cancer cells, indicating that the response to mechanical cues is important in ovarian cancer metastasis. This study was published in the Journal of Cell Science.

Brain in miniature Hang Lu’s research group is interested in engineering micro systems and automation tools to address questions in systems neuroscience, developmental biology and cell biology that are difficult to answer with conventional techniques. Micro technologies provide the appropriate length scale for investigating molecules, cells and small organisms and can provide unprecedented parallelization This microfluidic device is used to and automation sort C. elegans automatically. to gather data about complex biological systems. The Lu lab has published several papers in Nature Methods demonstrating various technologies for imaging and manipulating the brain and other developing tissues/organs of genetic model organisms, such as C. elegans (a transparent roundworm) and fruit flies. Some of the findings would have been impossible to gather using conventional technologies. These tools are likely to lead to discoveries in physiological and pathological mechanisms of human conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia.

One-stop shop Conventional chemical processes perform reaction and separation separately. Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Andy Bommarius and their research groups are developing reactive chromatography processes that combine catalytic reaction and chromatographic separation within a single unit. In collaboration with partners at the Dow Chemical Co., a continuous reactive chromatography system has been developed and is being tested at bench scales. This approach has promise to enhance efficiency in the production of a range of bulk and specialty chemicals. This work has been reported in Chemical Engineering Journal and Journal of Chromatography A. (Chemical Engineering Journal) and (Journal of Chromatography A)

Bench-scale experiments are being performed to validate the reactive chromatography processes.

Photos by Rob Felts, John Toon, Gary Meek and researchers

Visit for more news about research in ChBE! WWW.CHBE.GATECH.EDU


faculty news Honors & Accomplishments

Julie Champion Outstanding Advisor Award (Georgia Tech BioEngineering Interdisciplinary Graduate Program) John Crittenden Inducted member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering Yulin Deng Andrew Chase Forest Bioproducts Division Award in Chemical Engineering (American Institute of Chemical Engineers)

Nga Lee “Sally” Ng • Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award (Health Effects Institute) • Early Career Award (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) Pamela Peralta-Yahya DuPont Young Professor for Scientific Innovation Award Mark Prausnitz •

Dennis Hess •

Henry B. Linford Award for Distinguished Teaching (Electrochemical Society)

Outstanding Achievement in Research Innovation (Georgia Tech) World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds (Thomson Reuters)

Elsa Reichmanis Brook Byers Professor of Sustainability (Georgia Tech) Yoshiaki Kawajiri Model-Based Innovation Prize Runners-up Award (Process Systems Enterprise, United Kingdom) Hang Lu • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science • Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium (National Academy of Science) Martin Maldovan Best of 2013 research awards (MIT News) Carson Meredith Georgia Tech Earth Day Environmental Award for Leadership and Sustainable Initiatives

Ronald Rousseau • Lifetime Achievement Award in Chemical Engineering Pedagogy (American Society for Engineering Education) • Founders Award (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) Carsten Sievers Young Scientist Award (International Congress on Catalysis) Amyn Teja Visiting Chair of Excellence (Universitat Rovira) Yonathan Thio AIChE Outstanding Faculty Award (Georgia Tech School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering)

Athanasios Nenes • • • •


Robert Vaughan Lectureship (Caltech) Cullen-Peck Fellow (Georgia Tech College of Sciences) Dreyfus Foundation Postdoctoral Award in Environmental Chemistry Atmospheric Sciences Section Ascent Award (American Geophysical Union)


Krista Walton Award for Excellence in Publications by a Young Member of the Society (International Adsorption Society — inaugural award)

Reflecting on Chuck Eckert’s legacy Thoughts from former students upon his retirement in May 2014 Corbett Senter, projected to be Eckert’s final Ph.D. (No. 108) in 2016 Dr. Eckert knows that the greatest research in the world is meaningless if it can’t be effectively explained to others. His persistent emphasis on clarity and brevity in communication stands out from my time working with him. These qualities are too often overlooked and can be difficult to master, but, thanks to the guidance of Dr. Eckert, I have made tremendous strides in this area. Kellye P. Hafner, Ph.D. ’96, carbon technical manager, MeadWestvaco Specialty Chemicals Chuck exemplifies lifelong learning, and Chuck’s continued interaction with students after graduation encouraged and inspired us.

Chuck continued to have learned these striving for his traits so early on and former students’ from one of the best. success even long after they David L. Tomasko, graduated. He Ph.D. ’92, professor, liked to foster Ohio State University connections for his I felt Chuck’s impact current and former acutely when I started students as part of advising my own Chuck Eckert research and job students. It was then searches. I hope that I realized how that I can be such a mentor. well he had balanced being a mentor, teacher, advisor Laura Draucker, Ph.D. ’07, and friend. He taught us that director of sustainability, research is more about asking Amherst College the right question than getting (Massachusetts) the right answers and that it is I always find myself asking much more about people than “what do we win when we process. win?” — a true Chuck-ism, and one I hope never to Jason P. Hallett, Ph.D. ’02, forget. Embedded in those senior lecturer, Imperial College (London) seven words is the ability Much of what I learned from to think strategically, write Chuck proved useful in life with purpose and present to impress. I feel very fortunate apart from academia. That

nothing was worth doing if you weren’t willing to excel. That anything is possible if you are willing to go after it. That you should always trust your instincts. Ultimately, he taught me that you should always treat your students and colleagues like family — and he always did. Joan Brennecke, Ph.D. ’89, professor, University of Notre Dame Chuck Eckert challenged me to do even more than I thought I could achieve. He has been a great supporter throughout my career. But the most important thing that Chuck taught me was that, as academics, our most important products are our students. All the rest — publications, citations, awards and recognition — are just byproducts.

Welcome ... Sandy Pettit, lecturer

Martin Maldovan, assistant professor

Pettit came to ChBE from Clearwater, Fla., and holds bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from the University of South Florida (USF).

Maldovan began a joint appointment in ChBE and the School of Physics in August.

She is a professional engineer (P.E.) in Florida and worked for more than 15 years in industrial settings at Procter & Gamble, Jacobs Engineering and TECO Energy. She has received several awards, including the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) National Distinguished New Engineer Award, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Heiman Impact Award for Excellence in Education and the USF Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching. Pettit currently is teaching ChBE 2130 (Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics I) and two undergraduate labs that are part of the pulp and paper certificate program.

He previously was a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering. He completed his bachelor’s degree in physics at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Maldovan’s single-author paper titled “Sound and Heat Revolutions in Phononics” was published by Nature in early 2014. His work focuses on engineering thermal and diffusion processes through the rational design of materials and devices. His findings are being extended to the development of highly efficient systems for energy conversion and storage.



happenings Paper institute gets new name, $43.6 million gift The Renewable Bioproducts Institute (RBI) — formerly known as the Institute of Paper Science and Technology — this year received a $43.6 million gift from the Institute of Paper Chemistry Foundation (IPCF).

use of renewable raw materials in expanding markets such as biochemicals, specialty paper products, food and beverage packaging, biofuels, health and hygiene, pharmaceuticals, automotive, electronics and advanced materials.

The gift, one of the largest in Georgia Tech’s history, will support the institute’s mission of advancing the

“We deeply appreciate the confidence IPCF has placed in us,” said RBI executive director Norman

spring 2014

seminar series Terry Papsoutkis Hal Alper Mark Shiflett Peter Loutzenhiser K. Dane Wittrup

fall 2014

University of Texas-Austin DuPont Georgia Tech MIT

Jim Pfaendtner

University of Washington

James Watkins

University of Massachusetts

Spyros Pandis

David Sholl Michael Shirts Victor Ugaz Mark Hersam Paul Barton Alumni panel Navin Varadarajan Will Medlin Scott Banta Uli Wiesner Benny Freeman Jason Hicks Glenn Wright


University of Delaware

Carnegie Mellon University

Marsolan, “and we will continue its legacy of growth in bioproducts research and industry leadership development. We are on the threshold of a new era of development of this renewable, sustainable natural resource, and we pledge our efforts to justify IPCF’s faith in us by contributing to the full realization of its potential.” The gift to the interdisciplinary research institute, of which ChBE is a part, was announced a week after the institute was renamed to reflect its shifting mission. “As the industry’s

needs have changed, so has our approach,” Marsolan said. “As the Renewable Bioproducts Institute, we will help a broader set of companies create economic opportunity through access to Georgia Tech’s world-class experts in materials science, chemistry and engineering as well as through access to talented engineering graduates familiar with bioproducts technologies and opportunities.” A Professor of Practice position will be created in ChBE to support the Renewable Bioproducts Institute’s educational and research mission.

29th Annual Ashton Cary Lecture

Georgia Tech University of Virginia Texas A&M Northwestern University MIT Various University of Houston University of Colorado Columbia University Cornell University University of Texas-Austin Notre Dame Shell Co.


Joan Brennecke, director of the Center for Sustainable Energy at the University of Notre Dame and a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering there, was the keynote speaker at the 29th annual Ashton Cary Lecture on April 23. Brennecke spoke about ionic liquids and how to develop them for energy-related applications. The lecture series was established in 1984 as a memorial to Ashton Cary (BS ’43) and features distinguished scholars in fields of significance to chemical engineering.

Georgia Tech’s Chem-E-Car team won the 2014 AIChE Southern Regional Conference at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez on Feb. 21. The team, which is sponsored by BP, consists of ChBE students Hale Schwerin (from left), Will Gleason, Victoria Falk, Phillip Kisembo, Nikhil Deshpande and Kamakshi Malhotra. They will vie for the national title at the 2014 Annual Student Conference in Atlanta. Participants design and build a car that is powered by a chemical energy source and can haul a specified load for a certain distance.

AIChE Annual Meeting in Atlanta Organization’s key conference held here for first time The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) will hold its 2014 Annual Meeting in Atlanta Nov. 16-21. This will be the first time the organization has held its highest-profile and bestattended conference of the year in Atlanta. “The Annual Meeting is by far AIChE’s largest event each year, and we are looking forward to welcoming the thousands of conference attendees to Atlanta,” ChBE School Chair David Sholl said. “The Georgia Tech activities we have planned for the week of the conference should contribute to making the conference a memorable and productive event.”

Among the special events that ChBE will host are an invitationonly banquet on campus for academic department heads and other leaders in the field and a weekend workshop — focused on entrepreneurship and creativity — for graduate students from throughout the nation. A reception open to all Georgia Tech alumni and friends will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 at White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails, 270 Peachtree St. Several key events for the 2014 Annual Student Conference will be held at Georgia Tech, including the popular annual Chemical Engineering Car (Chem-E-Car) competition and the student recruiting and graduate school fair. These two events will bring more than 1,000 students to the Ford Environmental Science and Technology building and the Georgia

Tech Tennis Center. “Georgia Tech’s AIChE student chapter is honored to host two of the main events of the Annual Student Conference on campus,” said Victor Breedveld, faculty advisor. “In particular, our Georgia Tech-BP Chem-E-Car team is thrilled to compete in the national finals on home turf, after winning the Southern Regional Conference in Puerto Rico in February.” Barbara McDonald, AIChE membership director, said that the organization is looking forward to its visit to Atlanta. “AIChE is excited to have these events on the Georgia Tech campus,” she said. “It will be a great chance for the students and professionals attending our conference to experience Georgia Tech’s wonderful facilities.” WWW.CHBE.GATECH.EDU


alumni spotlight MELISSA McCOY ’12

Rhodes Scholarship journey began with first step into ChBE


n November 2013, ChBE alumna Melissa McCoy received news that she was joining an elite class of scholars nationwide: She had been named a Rhodes Scholar. McCoy (BS ’12), who begins her Rhodes Scholarship-funded study at Oxford University in Oxford, England, in October, is the fifth Georgia Tech student to earn a Rhodes Scholarship. She is planning to earn a master’s in computer science and an MBA, with a goal of completing her studies in fall 2016. “I hope to use these two years as a launching pad to start a social enterprise that applies computational technologies to help deliver water and energy more effectively in developing countries,” she said. “I hope that my background in chemical engineering, working as an engineer and operations consultant internationally in energy/water/natural resource fields and now growing a skill set in data/ computer science will help me in this regard.” McCoy credits her time at ChBE and support from the ChBE faculty, particularly undergraduate chair Pradeep Agrawal, with paving the way to a successful application for the prestigious scholarship. “I was able to acquire industry in-


Advice to students who may pursue a Rhodes Scholarship

“Don’t think too much about ‘getting a Rhodes Scholarship,’ and think more about applying yourself deeply to your interests, which will eventually become passions. ... If I had been aiming to get the scholarship, I would have charted a different course and probably would not be the same person I am today.” ternships early on because of ChBE’s strong relationship with ChemEhiring companies,” she said. “Having this early start on working in industry, traveling and realizing what I was capable of was definitely important to my success at Tech and eventually being granted the Rhodes Scholarship.” The Dallas, Texas, native knew she wanted to major in engineering after enjoying her Advanced Placement high school classes in chemistry and computer science, and she was accepted to many top-level engineering programs throughout the country. She says she chose Georgia Tech because of the President’s Scholarship Program (PSP), which offered financial aid and a sense of community. At a weekend session to give PSP students a chance to talk with school

Melissa McCoy worked as a design engineer for SQM Mining in Chile in 2010. representatives, ChBE made an impression on McCoy, who also was considering computer engineering. “I was impressed by everyone I met, particularly in the ChBE department,” she said. “Dr. Agrawal took a great deal of time to speak with me, and I felt that he was someone who would genuinely care for me during my time at Georgia Tech. I ended up choosing Georgia Tech and ChBE largely due to my experience during that weekend, and I was not let down in my expectations.” To read more about McCoy’s education and work experience, including her lifealtering work in Chile after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, go to



news & updates •

Darryl Aubrey (BS ’55) was elected mayor of North Palm Beach, Fla., for a second term. He has served on the Village Council for eight years. Joseph “Ron” Coursey (BS ’59) was honored by the Dayton Section of the American Chemical Society for achieving emeritus status after 50 years of membership. His project at General Motors reduced energy usage and chemical emissions. Curt Harrington (MS ’77) of Harrington & Harrington has been confirmed by the California Bar Board of Trustees to assume the chair of the State Bar’s California Board of Legal Specialization. Harrington is a high-tech patent attorney and a California Board of Legal Specialization Certified Tax Specialist.

Susan A. Casnocha (BS ’81) has been inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows, which comprises the top 2 percent of medical and biological engineers in the country.

Tom Rollbuhler (BS ’85) was awarded the District Award of Merit for the Cherokee Pickens District of the Atlanta Area Council Boy Scouts of America. He is a Boy Scouts assistant district commissioner and works as a senior engineering specialist with AkzoNobel.

Karen Kennedy (BS ’97) was selected as one of 81 engineers to participate in the National Academy of Engineers’ 19th annual Frontiers of Engineering symposium. She is a senior principal engineer at the

Global Technology Center and lives in Breinigsville, Pa. •

Charles “Chad” Pannell (BS ’99) was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the Linn Inn Alliance in recognition for his work and contributions to the success of the alliance, which was founded in 2008 to unite the existing intellectual property law focused on American Inns of Court.

Birkin Weith (BS ’99) was promoted to vice president of aromatics and higher olefins at CB&I in Bloomfield, N.J.

John M. Goodman (BS ’02) was named partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Birmingham, Ala. He is a member of the firm’s Litigation and Construction Practices Groups.

Padmini Rangamani (MS ’05) began a faculty position in the biomechanics group of the University of CaliforniaSan Diego Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering on July 1, 2014. She earned a Ph.D. from the Icahn School of Medicine in New York in 2010 and had been working as a postdoc at the University of California-Berkeley.

Jason Hicks (Ph.D. ’07), assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Notre Dame, received a 2014 National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Career Development Award, the most prestigious award given by the NSF to young faculty in engineering and science.

Michael Flanigan (BS ’10) joined Hypepotamus as operations manager.

For more alumni news and updates, please go to

in memoriam John R. Abner, BS ’53 Clinton B. Bastin Jr., BS ’50 Philip E. Borger, BS ’49 James J. Bresnahan Jr., BS ’48 Gus J. Caras, BS ’58 Leonard J. Daniels Jr., BS ’49 William R. Davis, BS ’56 Wallace R. Gambill, BS ’52 F. Michael Gilbert, MS ’66 Isaac “Bud” Gurney, BS ’60 H. John Hagemeyer, BS ’76 John L. Hancock, BS ’48, MS ’49

Aubrey L. Hanna, BS ’49 Charles J. Hinton, BS ’43 James R. Holton, BS ’57 Alan E. Hoover, BS ’57 Lewis C. Latimer Sr., MS ’51 Zelvin Levine, BS ’51, Ph.D. ’56 Robert Lurie, BS ’47 Lou Mason, BS ’52 Leon H. Meyer, BS ’49 Samuel M. Norwood, BS ’73 Mark B. Nowack, BS ’81 Rogelio “Roger” S. Ribas, BS ’48

Jerry A. Richards, BS ’71 James C. Rivenbark, BS ’51 Joseph V. Smarr Jr., BS ’77 Lewis F. Spitzer, BS ’48 James E. Stevens Jr., BS ’46 William R. Stevens III, BS ’66 Jon E. Tinsley, BS ’60 Richard H. Volavka, BS ’67 Raymond C. Ward, BS ’50 Allan “Mike” Webb Jr., BS ’49

Xiaoping “Peter” Long (center) poses with Ken Whisenhunt (left), Tennessee Titans head coach, and Gary May, dean of the College of Engineering. Whisenhunt, a Georgia Tech graduate, was a guest speaker at the awards ceremony.

2014 CoE Alumni Awards Two graduates of the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering were honored at the Georgia Tech College of Engineering Alumni Awards on April 5. Xiaoping “Peter” Long (Ph.D.’98) received an Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, and Sean Corcoran (BS ’95) received a Council of Out- Sean Corcoran standing Young Engineering Alumni Award. Long, who studied pulp and paper engineering under Jeff Hsieh at ChBE, now is president of Shanghai, China-based Innovative Material and Devices Inc., which develops, manufactures and sells functional material for the medical fields. Corcoran is vice president of corporate development at Neustar Inc., a Virginia-based information services and analytics company.



student news 2014 Student Honors Luncheon

Institute honorees Three School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering students were honored at the Georgia Tech 2014 Student Honors Luncheon, which recognizes students from all colleges and at all levels. Joe Zheng, who graduated after the summer semester, was recognized by the Center for Career Development and Discovery with a James G. and Mary G. Wohlford Scholarship. The scholarship honors exceptional co-op students in their final year of study. Quang Minh Kieu, a junior, received a Sigma Xi Best Undergraduate Thesis award for his paper titled “Correlation Between EpithelialMesenchymal Transition and Mechanical Changes in Breast Cancer Cells.” Virginia Collier, now a senior, earned a Henry Ford II Scholar Award. The award is given for outstanding academic achievement by a junior at ChBE.

External Advisory Board member spotlights


On April 10, the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering recognized more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students for their achievements in academics, leadership, research and teaching. The list below is a sampling of the exemplary accomplishments by ChBE students.

GRADUATE HONORS Teaching Shell Outstanding Teaching Assistants, 2012-13 Robert Dromms, Emily Peterson, Brian Setzler AIChE Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award Maggie Burcham (won as an undergraduate)

External Fellowship Recognition Eastman Fellowship Nicholas Burtch National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Nicholas Burtch National Aeronautics and Space Administration Earth and Space Science Fellowship Sylvia Sullivan

Re se a r c h A c c o m p l i sh m en ts Ziegler Award for Best Proposal Thomas Levario, “Microfluidics and Imaging Techniques for HighThroughput Studies on Early Embryonic Development”


Academic Outstanding Performance on the Qualifying Exams Taylor Sulmonetti (written) Brian Pimentel (oral)

AIChE Outstanding Sophomore Award Rachel Puechner

Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis Lester Li Outstanding MS Thesis Adam van Pelt Outstanding Ph.D. Proposal Jason Gee

Accomplishments & Recognitions AIChE Outstanding Senior Award Maggie Burcham

AIChE Freshman Recognition Award Henry Le Air Products Foundation ChBE Outstanding Student Scholarship Quang Minh Kieu Albemarle Corp. ChBE Scholarship Kathryn Green

Kellye Hafner (Ph.D. ’96), incoming chairwoman Title: Carbon technical manager Employer: MeadWestvaco Specialty Chemicals Years of service on the EAB: Eight Top priority for the EAB: It is gratifying to see the evolution of the School’s educational and research opportunities and to interact with enthusiastic students and faculty. We are incorporating constructive feedback from graduate and undergraduate students into our guidance to the School chair. We are striving for continuous improvement of the educational experience so that students are prepared for and successful in their careers.

BASF Academic Excellence Award Michael Parekh Garry Betty Scholarship for International Studies Mi Hyang Park BP AIChE Scholarship William Barron, Casey Hirschmann BP Scholarship Emily Ammons, Scott Glover, Samuel Leach, Mengjie Liu, Benjamin Murray, Carey Susina, Charles Winslow Chevron ChBE Scholarship Yurancy Quinones, Benjamin Sauk, Jonathan Kinney, Caleb Jarriel, Jacob Hicks, Thomas McClure Thomas L. Gossage International Jiyuan Ding Enrichment Scholarship Joon Hoh Koh, Zhuoming Li, Sonola Onasanya Suzanne C. and Duncan A. Mellichamp Jr. Scholarship Maggie Burcham, Erin Hogan Phillips 66 Shield Scholars Caitlyn Beeghly, Sarah Geer, Rowan Kraft

Anthony Coker (BS ’84) Title: Vice president of market development Employer: Hannah Solar Top priority for the EAB: I was honored when David [Sholl, ChBE chair] asked me to join the External Advisory Board. This gives me a chance to get further involved with my major school and hopefully provide a unique viewpoint to help in meeting its goal to be the best chemical engineering school in the country.


Smooth transitions

ChBE program for transfer students expands to Institute level


ransferring to Georgia Tech from a different institution brings challenges unlike those faced by freshmen. Until recently, transfer students didn’t have the sort of support systems that help freshmen acclimate to their new environment.

Students who successfully made the transition to Georgia Tech take an active role in transfer student orientation and offer the new students advice and mentoring based on their own experiences.

The TSA filled such an important need that, ChBE changed that in the when the group sought 2013-14 academic year by a charter, the Office of establishing the TransLeadership & Civic Enfer Student Association gagement suggested that (TSA). The student-led it become an Institutegroup helps transfer stuwide organization. In dents adjust to the Tech only its second year, the culture, rigorous curTSA is available to transriculum and demands on fer students throughout students’ time and energy Georgia Tech in the 2014— concerns that transfer 15 academic year. students tend to underestimate when they come to The five undergraduChBE, said Ami Wallerate students on the TSA Ivanecky, undergraduate executive board spent academic advisor. a year writing the conJoy Jordan (BS ’92) Title: New business development leader Employer: Kimberly-Clark Top priority for the EAB: I aim to help the School maintain its leadership position in producing the technological leaders who will make a difference in industry, academia and society. I want to offer my insights from industry experience to enable leadingedge curriculum and programming.

Yurancy Quinones (from left), Chris Schmitt, Karina Psareva, Nathan Echols and Chang Woo Park are the organization’s student leaders. stitution for and setting up the structure of the expanded organization. The TSA charter provides for a ChBE committee,

which can address the specific needs of ChBE students and hold separate, smaller events tailored to them.

Other ChBE student organizations ChBE Student Ambassadors — This organization, started and run by students, is a resource for prospective students and incoming freshmen. The organization, entering its third year, has grown from four ambassadors in spring 2013 to 36 ambassadors today. AIChE — ChBE has one of the largest, strongest and most active student chapters of the American Institute for Chemical Engineers.

Peter Long (Ph.D. ’98) Title: President Employer: Innovative Material and Devices Inc. Top priority for the EAB: As a proud member of the Georgia Tech alumni and a ChBE graduate, I would like to utilize all my experience and capacity to help better prepare ChBE graduates for the ever-changing business and technology environment.

ChBE Student Advisory Board — This group of undergraduates identifies areas to improve in ChBE and promotes communication between the School and undergraduates. Omega Chi Epsilon — The national honor society for chemical engineers meets several times each semester and holds weekly tutoring sessions.

Ed Maginn Title: Department chair, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Employer: University of Notre Dame Education: BS ’87, chemical engineering, Iowa State University; Ph.D. ’95, University of California-Berkeley Top priority for the EAB: To support the School chair and the faculty in developing programs and activities that lead to improved educational experiences for undergraduate students and a state-of-the-art research culture that enhances graduate education.



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©2014 Georgia Institute of Technology School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

2014 ChBE Magazine  
2014 ChBE Magazine