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Nov. 8, 2019

MSU chemical engineering students bring home four national AlChE honors

The tradition of Michigan State University’s competitive success at the annual American Institute of Chemical Engineering, or AlChE, Student Design Contest hit a new height this year. For the first time, all of MSU’s submitted problem solutions won a national award. 

AlChE is the global organization for chemical engineers.

R. Mark Worden, professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering, said students in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science claimed the top prizes at the national competition that mimics plant-design challenges faced by chemical engineers in industry.

The competition problem in 2019 was to design a biopharmaceutical plant to manufacture recombinant proteins used in a drug to treat advanced macular degeneration.

“Solutions require a range of calculation and evaluation skills of technical data and economic factors,” Worden said. “The competition accepts both individual solutions and team solutions.

The 2019 AlChE student awards ceremony and annual student conference are both part of the 2019 AlChE National Conference - AlChE's largest forum.

The 2019 individual competition award winners are:

Mason Sitar took first place and won the A. McLaren White Award for Best Overall Design. The 2019 chemical engineering graduate is now a process engineer at Eli Lilly & Company in Indianapolis.

Hailee Perrett won second prize for the A.E. Marshall Award for Best Overall Design. A 2019 chemical engineering graduate, she is currently a graduate student researcher at the Scripps Research Institute in the San Diego area.

The 2019 team competition award winners are:

Aleksandra Salic and Grace Jansen won first place for the William Cunningham Award for Best Overall Design. Both are seniors in chemical engineering.

Mark Elinski and Kip Mitchell won the Ted Ventrone, Ephraim Scheier & Walt Silowska Awards for Best Applications of Inherently Safer Design. Elinski is a 2019 chemical engineering graduate, who is now a process engineer at Mars in the Chicago area. Mitchell is a 2019 chemical engineering graduate.

All six of MSU’s award winners will be recognized at the 2019 AIChE National Conference in Orlando Florida, Nov. 8-11. All students were awarded a $300 cash prize and free registration to the national conference by AIChE, and received a $700 travel allowance from MSU.

"Winning this competition is among the best professional credentials a graduating senior chemical engineer can have on their resume," Worden said.

A full list of MSU legacy winners since 1967 can be found here.

By: Patricia Mroczek