Trine chemical engineers awarded at regional competition

April 11, 2023

CHICAGO — Fourteen Trine University chemical engineering majors took part in American Institute for Chemical Engineering (AIChE) regional competitions March 30 and 31 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, winning multiple awards.

The university’s ChemE Car team placed second in a field of 13 teams to advance to national competition.

Trine team members Parker Gillespie of Solsberry, Indiana, David Deniston of Bowling Green, Ohio,  Christopher (Dean) Campbell of Batesville, Indiana, Natalie Crowner of Saline, Michigan, and Travis Mersing of Swanton, Ohio, were solidly in the lead at the end of the first run.

Their car finished 1.5 feet from the target of 65 feet. However, reigning national champion University of Toledo pulled out a strong last run to win.

The Trine team’s finish qualifies them for the national competition in Orlando this fall.

“I’m so proud of this team,” said Gillespie, the team captain. “Going into the competition, we were confident about the chemistry of the car, but anxious about a new stopping mechanism delivery system which was a result of a recent rule change. We were all joyous to have a consistent performance and qualify for a fourth consecutive national competition.”

Jeopardy and research

Trine’s ChemE Jeopardy team also finished second, competing in a field of nine schools.

The team won its first round to advance to the finals, finishing second to the University of Akron. Team members were Jake Doyle of Marengo, Illinois, who served as captain, Zaavan Clear of Auburn, Indiana, Aaron Phillips of Marengo, Illinois, and Deniston.

“It was definitely bittersweet to be playing on the Jeopardy team for the last time at regionals,” said Deniston, who graduates in May. “I am comforted, though, that this marks our second regionals in a row making an appearance in the final round. I think that the team is starting to have the expectation of success instead of merely hoping for it. They are highly talented and I think they will continue to see success.”

Several Trine students were honored for research they presented.

Omar Flores of Ligioner, Indiana, received second place in the student technical paper competition. Flores gave a talk on his work, “Harnessing the Immune System: Targeted Treatment for Colon Cancer through Monoclonal Antibodies.”

“I am passionate about this research topic because it demonstrates how the human body's natural defense mechanisms can be exploited to fight off diseases, exemplifying how extraordinary the human body is and how an understanding of the human body can bring a positive impact,” he said.

Five Trine students presented undergraduate research posters.

Annamarie Lechleidner of Defiance, Ohio, received second place for her poster, titled, “Mitigating the Effects of Road Salt on Concrete.” Jeffery Feehan of Sparks, Nevada, earned third place for his poster, titled “Harnessing the Immune System: Optimization of Panitumumab antibody production in CHO cells.”

“I fell in love with the practical aspects of immunological research, using engineered biosystems to target diseases using our body's immune system,” Feehan said.

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