College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

CBE’s AIChE student group to host regional conference at Iowa State in April

Chem-E-Car team photo at competition
Chem-E-Car team photo at competition
Last year CBE’s contingent took first place in the Chem-E-Car regional competition and fifth in the national for a best-ever result. The effort will start anew with a new group with the April event at ISU.

The chemical engineering spotlight will shine brightly on the Iowa State University campus April 8-10. That’s when the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) will host the Institute’s 2022 Mid-America Student Regional Conference.

The conference rotates among different host schools each year and this will be the first time the ISU chapter will hold an in-person edition of the event since 2010. It will bring together students, educators and industry professionals from numerous colleges and universities in the Midwest for education, networking, sharing of research projects, competitions and more.

You can help support this opportunity for the Iowa State chapter to shine with a contribution through the Iowa State University Foundation. Both individual and business donations are welcome.

Invited institutions for the event include:

  • University of Arkansas
  • Benedictine College
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Kansas
  • Kansas State University
  • University of Missouri – Columbia
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T)
  • University of Nebraska – Lincoln
  • University of Oklahoma
  • Oklahoma State University
  • University of Tulsa
  • Washington University in St. Louis
Mark Lashier
Department alumnus Mark Lashier, president and chief operating officer of Phillips 66, will be the keynote speaker at the conference banquet.

AIChE, “The Global Home of Chemical Engineers,” is one of the foremost industry organizations in the field of chemical engineering, and boasts a large network of student chapters at institutions worldwide. Each spring it holds numerous regional student conferences and, in the fall, the Annual Student Conference, which includes students from around the world. This year’s event will be in Phoenix, Arizona November 11-14.

One of the highlights of the ISU-hosted conference will be the Chem-E-Car competition, which will see teams from participating schools vie for honors in a distance competition with small vehicles they have built from scratch, which must be powered and stopped by chemical processes. Top finishers in the regional competitions advance to the national competition.

Other events to take place at the ISU event include a student research poster competition; student technical paper competition; ChemE Jeopardy (as the name implies a “game show” competition that tests students’ chemical engineering knowledge); industry tours at facilities of local companies; professional development workshops; a scavenger hunt campus tour; and social events, including an awards banquet that will feature keynote speaker Mark Lashier, president and chief operating officer of Phillips 66, who is an ISU chemical engineering alumnus.

Student group in formal attire at AIChE event
CBE’s AIChE student group is known for strong support at the institute’s events and will get its turn at playing host at ISU in April.

A year ago the ISU chapter placed first in the regional Chem-E-Car competition, which qualified them for the national competition in November. There the team recorded its best national finish, fifth place. The ISU group also placed third in the Chem-E Jeopardy competition. Chapter members Adam Decker and Grace Wright received the freshman and sophomore academic excellence awards, respectively.

In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Iowa State AIChE chapter successfully hosted an online edition of the Mid-America Student Regional Conference, stepping into the role on short notice when another school was not able to meet the timeline required to shift to a virtual format.

Sponsors of the April regional conference at Iowa State include Bayer, Phillips 66, Emerson, Cargill, General Mills, Pfizer and Burns & McDonnell.