Penn State AIChE wins awards at Annual AIChE Student Conference


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) student chapter and its members had a successful year at the Annual AIChE Student Conference, bringing home multiple chapter and student awards.

Held October 27-30, 2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Annual Student Conference is four days of career information, social events and competitions, where student engineers celebrate the chemical engineering profession along with its young professional members, AIChE leaders and industry professionals.

This year, Penn State AIChE took home an Outstanding Student Chapter Award, which is given to student chapters that show an exceptional level of participation, enthusiasm, program quality, professionalism, and involvement in their University and community.

“It’s great to see our student chapter win this award again. While we have won several Outstanding Student Chapter Awards, it has been over a decade since we received this honor. Major thanks to Quoc Tran, Haonan Xu and April Hile, whose efforts facilitated numerous individual student awards over the past two years that set the stage for being recognized nationally,” said Wayne Curtis, professor of chemical engineering, principal investigator of the CurtisLab and Penn State AIChE adviser. During the AIChE Annual Student Conference, Curtis served as a judge for the undergraduate poster session for the biopharmaceutical division and graded solutions for the Student Design Competition.

Penn State AIChE member Joelle Khouri was one of 15 students awarded the Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer National Scholarship Award. The $1,000 scholarship is given to chemical engineering students for their outstanding academic achievement and involvement in their student chapter activities.

“I was thrilled to receive the Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer National Scholarship Award. It was an honor to be recognized not only for my academic achievement, but also for my involvement in Penn State’s AIChE student chapter,” Khouri said.

Khouri joined Penn State AIChE her freshman year and was an officer for three years, serving as vice president and most recently as the chapter’s webmaster.

Andrew Cleek received the Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Academic Excellence Award for achieving the highest scholastic grade point average out of all current Penn State AIChE members, and John Brezovec received the Freshman Recognition Award for being the most active in the student chapter during his freshman year, based on a recommendation from Curtis.

Grace Noel, Penn State AIChE member, also participated in the undergraduate poster competition for her poster, titled “Rational Synthesis of Lead Bromide Perovskites with Various Crystallite Sizes.”

In addition, Natalie Morrissey was nominated for the John J. McKetta Undergraduate Scholarship and Whitney Imoh was nominated for the Minority Award.

Penn State AIChE believes in enhancing the experience of all chemical engineering undergraduate students, from freshman to seniors. “AIChE is a fantastic organization for chemical engineering students to be a part of, for many reasons,” said Khouri. “AIChE can help you make a lot of connections — academically, professionally, and socially. I made a lot of friends through AIChE, especially during my time as an officer. Those friends, along with resources like peer mentoring, made it a lot easier to survive the chemical engineering curriculum. Our AIChE chapter also hosts an impressive amount of professional development opportunities: company info sessions, lunch & learns, various talks, and more. All of these are great opportunities for students to learn about various industries and potential career paths, as well as to make connections with companies and recruiters.”

For more information on Penn State AIChE, visit


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Megan Lakatos



The Penn State Department of Chemical Engineering, established in 1948, is recognized as one of the largest and most influential chemical engineering departments in the nation.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry.

Department of Chemical Engineering

119 Greenberg Complex

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2574