Students excel in individual, safety categories

Trine students won in two categories of the annual national Student Design Competition held by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Michael Sheperd of Bryan, Ohio, a 2016 chemical engineering graduate of Trine University, was named the winner of The A. McLaren White Award for taking first prize in the Individual Category. Sheperd also won the award for safety in the individual category from the AIChE Safety and Health Division.

Sheperd will receive a $500 cash award and a plaque and an additional $600 cash award and certificate for the safety award. He also will receive free registration to the 2016 AIChE Annual Student Conference, held Nov. 11-14 in San Francisco, where he will be recognized during the Student Awards Ceremony and will give a presentation about his solution during the conference.

Two student teams from Trine were named the winners of the Safety and Health Division Student Design Competition Award for Safety given by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

A team made up of Lucas Krupp, from Hecker, Illinois; Nicholas Cassidy, from Archbold, Ohio; and Caleb Knust from Plainfield, Indiana; and another team made up of Jennifer Jackemeyer, from Buchanan, Michigan, and Amanda Kempher, from Clinton, Michigan, were declared winners of the competition. All five students graduated from Trine University in May with Bachelor of Science degrees in chemical engineering.

Each team will receive a $600 cash award to be divided among members. Members also will receive an award certificate and free registration to the AIChE Annual Student Conference, held Nov. 11-14 in San Francisco, where they will be recognized during the student awards ceremony.

In the annual competition, chemical engineers from a designated company devise and judge a student contest problem that typifies a real, working, chemical engineering design situation. For this year’s competition, the teams had to design a facility to manufacture neural stem cells to be used to treat spinal cord injuries.  

“This was a national student design competition put on by AIChE. There is a different problem each year that typifies a real, working design situation,” said Sheperd. “This year the topic for the competition was ‘Cell Therapy for Spinal Cord Injuries: Commercial Manufacturing Facility.’  In the one-month provided for the competition I tried to develop the best design I could.  My design incorporated the expansion, differentiation and purification of a spinal cord therapy.  It also involved cost estimates on equipment, economic analysis of the facility/materials and environmental/safety considerations.”

 “We had one month to research, design and write a report on how we would accomplish this facility while maintaining a specific profit margin,” said Cassidy.

To win the Safety Award, the teams had to design the plant for easier and effective maintainability, design the plant with less waste, design the plant with special features that demonstrate inherent safety and include design concepts regarding the entire life cycle.

This is the fifth year Trine University has won the AIChE National Student Design Competition; the university also had students win in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2015. Trine students received honorable mention in 2007, 2012 and 2014. Trine students received the AIChE National Design Safety Award from 2007-2010 and 2012-2014.