Chemical engineers attend national convention

December 18, 2009

by Taylor Stephens

Tech’s American Institute for Chemical Engineers traveled to the national AIChE meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

Daniel Prego, president of Tech’s AIChE chapter and a junior chemical engineering major, said, as a member of AIChE and attending national meetings, he has had a chance to meet with people who are working in the field of chemical engineering who will help him get a job after he graduates.

“At our local, regular meetings we have the chance to socialize with other engineering students and Tech faculty,” Prego said. “AIChE at Tech also hosts representatives from industries, as they come to deliver information about their company, products and opportunities within their stations.”

Prego, accompanied by a few other members of the Tech branch of AIChE, and Scott Gold, adviser for AIChE and a chemical engineering professor, said he looks forward to the national conference each year.

“The national conference happens once a year and its location changes every time,” Prego said. “There are also regional conferences that we don’t miss.”

Prego said this was his third time attending a chemical engineering conference.

“In these conferences, you get a chance to network with people at your level or higher [in education and experience],” Prego said. “It is a great opportunity that opens doors for your career in the future. Also, these conferences have mind-opening presentations, seminars and workshops that help you as an individual.”

Prego said attending the national convention was not required, but understanding the value of increasing his opportunities, especially as an officer, was an offer he could not refuse.

The AIChE is a prestigious organization that is devoted to the distribution and knowledge enrichment of the United States’ future chemical engineers.

According to the AIChE Web site, the organization has become more than an American institute, as there are now stations planted for the use of nearly 43,000 chemical engineers in 93 countries.

He said another interesting part of the national conference is the production of a ChemE car.

“Every year at the conferences there is a national competition that involves the design of a car the size of a shoe box that runs on chemical reaction,” Prego said. “We are working hard and looking forward to hopefully being able to compete at the next regional conference in North Carolina, April 2010.”

Scott Fogler, president of the national AIChE organization, said the ChemE is more than just a car.

“This major initiative allows us to deliver more technical information via the web than we ever have,” Fogler said. “That content is also available to international audiences, so now a chemical engineer working in China, India or Africa has the same access as our North American and European members.”

Fogler said visiting the national conference is never a letdown because a student will “benefit from the vast expertise and insight of some of the most accomplished chemical engineers in your profession.”