Chemical engineering graduate students shine with Research/Teaching Excellence Awards

David Chadderdon and Wenzhen Li
David Chadderdon is shown with his major professor Wenzhen Li.
Xiaotong Chadderson and Wenzhen Li
Xiaotong Chadderdon and her major professor Wenzhen Li,

Five chemical engineering graduate students were honored for their work in research and education in a special ceremony held April 19. The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering Research Excellence and Teaching Excellence Awards for 2017-18 have been presented to David Chadderdon (research), Xiaotong Chadderdon (research), Toni Pfennig (research), Fatima Enam (teaching) and Atefe Hadi (teaching).

Each year graduate students are honored for their efforts in these categories, but a new policy implemented in the last year has now placed the students in competition with each other for the honors. Nominations come from the students’ major professors. The awards are officially recognized by the university and each certificate the students receive bear the signatures of Iowa State University president Wendy Wintersteen and dean of the Iowa State Graduate College William Graves.

Hadi with Panthani
Atefe Hadi receives her Teaching Excellence Award from professor Matthew Panthani.
Fatima Enam and Brent Shanks
Fatima Enam is congratulated by professor Brent Shanks.

David Chadderdon was honored for his research project “Electrocatalysis for selective oxidation of biomass-derived compounds.” His wife, Xiaotong Chadderdon, received the award for her project, “Electrochemical conversion of biomass-derived furanics for production of renewable chemicals and fuels.” Both will be graduating with Ph.Ds in chemical and biological engineering May 3. Both have worked under the guidance of major professor Wenzhen Li.

Toni Pfennig
Toni Pfennig is shown in a photo from December, 2017 after receiving his CBE Research Excellence Award.

Toni Pfennig, who graduated with a Ph.D. in chemical and biological engineering in December, 2017, was also recognized for the Research Excellence Award he received at that time. Pfennig is now employed by BASF as a research engineer in his native Germany and has been targeted by the company for special opportunities. Pfennig worked as a forklift operator at a BASF facility as a teenager.

Fatima Enam was a teaching assistant in this academic year for Brent Shanks and helped oversee more than 100 students in one class, including help sessions with 30-40 students at a time.

Atefe Hadi was a teaching assistant for CBE professor Matt Panthani and had to adapt to changes in the course, including new computer software. Later she was put in charge of the course on her own.

CBE congratulates all the award recipients is this well-deserved honor.