Student AIChE Chapter launches awards program
American Institute of Chemical Engineers - the global leader of the chemical engineering profession - but not all students recognize just how helpful AIChE can be in supporting a student's professional development and career.
Hopefully, a new awards program intended to highlight and reward community-building, leadership and service, and support for undergraduate education will increase student awareness of the benefits of AIChE activities.
In fact, the primary goal of AIChE is to help members move forward professionally and to enhance lifelong career development by providing expertise on trends and developments in the field, networking opportunities that often translate into job opportunities down the road, and general access to a global network of intelligent, resourceful colleagues and their shared wisdom.
For the Ohio State Chapter of AIChE, the goals are no different. Leaders see AIChE as providing a vanguard of opportunities for young engineers. In fact, during the tenure of department namesake and former chairman Joe Koffolt, whose sparkling eyes, unfailing zest, and devoted mentoring inspired students from 1948-1968, AIChE membership was considered so beneficial to long-term student success that every chemical engineering student was required to be a member.
Although membership is no longer required today, alumni who got involved in AIChE as students continue to sing its praises.
"I see the leadership training I obtained in AIChE - working with groups and learning how to network, etc. - as invaluable," said alumnus Tom Hornish ('81), who recently retired as COO and CEO of the Outdoor Channel.
"AIChE helped me when I entered the Air Force, and it definitely helped me in business," said Hornish, whose career took him from petroleum engineering, to serving as a fighter pilot, to becoming an attorney, and finally, to a successful career in business.
Student officers of AIChE typically see the value in becoming active in the Ohio State chapter, and last year, under the leadership of AIChE President Mike Jindra ('16), AIChE officers began to think of ways to encourage and recognize community-building efforts and student involvement in AIChE.
Jindra and Marketing Coordinator Stiphany Tieu had initiated new ways to recognize Chem-E students with a "Student Spotlight" series, and an awards program was formalized this year by the CBE department and AIChE's new president, Tori Krebs.
"One purpose of AIChE is to engage students beyond academics, and I think this awards program is a great way to get students involved. I’m excited to help recognize students that go above and beyond in their own education and my hope is that the awards promote these qualities among students in the future," Krebs said.
The new awards recognize students' superior service to fellow CBE students or the department of chemical engineering in the following three areas:
1. Exemplary Service and Leadership Award - For students providing significant leadership and/or service on behalf of their peers and/or department;
2. Outstanding Community Outreach Award - For students whose consistent and impactful activities facilitate an overall sense of belonging and community;
3. Outstanding Support of Undergraduate Education Award - For students who help mentor and/or coach their peers.
Regarding the latter award, Krebs said, "In my undergraduate career, I have taken numerous classes where the UTA’s and even some students made a world of difference in my understanding of the class and I’ve never seen any of them recognized for it, so I think this is a much-needed award."
"I also think it might encourage TA’s/students to go above and beyond in their roles to assist students in their education," she added.
Jindra and Tieu's emphasis on valuing and facilitating community follows a long tradition in the department of chemical engineering. A sense of community in Ohio State's chemical engineering program is a vital component for today's undergraduate experience, and is one which alumni have cherished for decades.
“The community aspect was a very important part of my education," said alumnus Tom Hornish. "Most people, when they think of Ohio State, envision this huge, impersonal campus. But in my chemical engineering major, I had 30 classmates and I knew every one of them. The primary benefit of the program was learning critical thinking skills, but my classmates and friends were what made it fun. Unit Ops was particularly memorable – good friends, late nights; and bittersweet due to the intensity," he added.
Krebs echoed these sentiments. "I see the community award as someone who goes out of their way to get students interacting, while the service award is someone that stands as a mentor to students and goes out of their way to provide opportunities for personal and professional growth," she said.
"One of the most important lessons I've learned here at Ohio State and in my experience is that being a successful engineer takes more than just excelling academically," Krebs added. "I think these awards provide an opportunity to showcase the value of these additional qualities and my hope is that it fosters personal growth in our students beyond academics," she said.
More information on each award may be found by visiting the nomination forms in the links above.
Any student may nominate one of their peers for the awards, which will be given to undergraduate chemical engineering majors.
To nominate one of your peers, click on the relevant award nomination forms above, fill it out and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nominations are due by February 15.
Award winners will receive their awards at the department's annual Awards Banquet held in the spring.
Be sure to follow the Ohio State Chapter of AIChE on Facebook for updates and announcements!