Setting Up A New Legacy: AIChE Achievements

Setting Up A New Legacy: AIChE Achievements

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.

The above might seem to be an ideal philosophy. However, time and over, people keep achieving feats and proving the essence of the line. This time, it's all about the AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) Chapter of NIT Rourkela.

AIChE NITR Chapter is one of those clubs which has remained quite active despite the changed scenario, by extracting the best out of the mediums available. Several members of the club have been recognised internationally, creating a moment of pride for all of us. The awards were conferred upon them through a series of conferences and online sessions. Team MM interviewed the club heads and the acclaimed members, regarding their latest achievements. This article is dedicated to the same, containing all about the awards and the awardees and a lot more! Here we go.

Peek-a-boo

AIChE NITR represented NIT Rourkela at the 2020 Annual Student Conference of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, which was held virtually this time. The ASC is the platform where students and professionals from all over the world join in for some brainstorming sessions, activities and the Annual AIChE Awards. The Conference was held from November 13th-16th.

ASC 2020

Members Kanishk Singh, Abhisek Agarwal, P Pritesh Kumar Patro and Mohit Madhav represented the chapter at the Executive Student Committee meet at the Annual Student Conference this year. It was a platform to discuss every activity of the ESC in detail. They also represented the chapter in the Global Presidents Meet where they interacted with global leaders and discussed problems and issues as well as talked about each other's chapters’ development. ASC gave the members of our chapter a wonderful experience to participate in a Conference of this scale at a global platform.

AIChE NIT Rourkela Student Chapter was also the host for the AIChE Student Regional Conference 2020 for the Southern Asia region. Every year the winners of the SRC, represent their chapters at the ASC. Prajwalit, the Student Regional Conference by AIChE NITR which was held virtually for the first time was a huge success and gathered appreciation from all over the world.

AIChE NITR has been very actively participating in various AIChE events and competitions, organising numerous events and outreach programs and reaching out to many National and International chapters. The hard work and dedication of each member of AIChE NITR were reflected in the AIChE Awards 2020.

ENTERING THE HALL OF FAME

OUTSTANDING STUDENT CHAPTER AWARD (2019-20)

This award is conferred to a few AIChE chapters around the world for their extraordinary performance round the year. The award criteria include outstanding participation by student members and faculty, number of meetings and events, activities like career guidance, community outreach, departmental activities, social events, plant trips, sporting events, and participation in local, regional and global AIChE programs.

Expressing his contentment over this achievement, Karan Saxena, the ex-president of AIChE NIT Rourkela Student Chapter, said:

Some of the student chapters in the US have been getting the AIChE Outstanding Student Chapter Award continuously for the past 25-30 years but we have received this award for the first time this year. Our Chapter focussed on organising a large number of new, innovative events while improving the quality of the events which we had previously organised. We came up with innovative events like “K-12 for Chem-E-Car”- an amalgamation of two international flagship events of AIChE- STEM K-12 and Chem-E-Car. This idea was appreciated not just by school students and NIT Rourkela junta but also by many other South Asian AIChE student leaders. We also won prizes in all the national & international events in which we participated; AIChE Global Undergrad Student Video Competition (US), AIChE South Asia Regional Student Conference 2019 (Pune), Azeotropy 2020 (IIT Bombay), International Chem-E-Jeopardy (US), etc.

The current President of the Chapter, Abhishek Agarwal, said:

This award was a dream for every member of this chapter since its inception. It is a result of our constant hard work and dedication for the past one year and maybe before that. Every member of this chapter deserves credit. The previous Executive Board of the Chapter had been actively involved in organising various activities around the year and played a major role in the planning and guiding us throughout. Being the President, it is indeed an honour and privilege for me to take over the leadership at such a crucial stage where we have grown by leaps and bounds and I hope that we would be able to carry forward this legacy as one united team. I would like to convey to my juniors that AIChE NITR has a lot of potential and would like to encourage them to achieve even more.

Award winners

DONALD F. & MILDRED TOPP OTHMER SCHOLARSHIP AWARD 

Each year, the Donald F. & Mildred Topp Othmer Scholarship is awarded to fifteen AIChE student members. The award includes a scholarship of $1,000. The award criteria include academic achievements, involvement in student chapter activities, and applicant's career objectives and plans as outlined in his/her career essay.  Nominations must be made by the Student Chapter Advisor. Only one nomination is accepted from each AIChE Student Chapter or Chem. E. Club. 

This year Karan Saxena, a final year student from the Department of Chemical Engineering, bagged this distinguished award. He is the only Indian to win it among the 15 award winners world-wide. He has also been a member of the Global Executive Student Committee (ESC) of AIChE. He had even received the AIChE International Student Chapter Leadership Development Travel Grant Award 2019, which is awarded to only eight AIChE student leaders every year, worldwide.

Team Monday Morning caught up with Karan Saxena to know more about his marvellous feat and have glimpses of his journey in AIChE NIT Rourkela Chapter.

MM: What was your reaction when you came to know that you have been awarded the prestigious Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Scholarship Award?

Karan Saxena (KS)
: I was happy and surprised at the same time. Honestly, it feels great to get such prestigious international awards from AIChE. I have been a member of the AIChE NIT Rourkela Student Chapter right from my first semester (Autumn 2017) at NIT Rourkela, and it feels nice when AIChE recognises your hard work and rewards you for the efforts you have put in over the years.”

MM: How has your journey in AIChE been? According to you, what are the major activities/ works that led you to win this award?

KS:
I think the most important and challenging thing was to be able to strike the right balance between academics and AIChE chapter related activities throughout my college life. AIChE pays a lot of emphasis on both of these aspects. As an AIChE member, I have been involved in a lot of activities both at the university and the International level over the past three years. I want to mention just a few of those activities. At NIT Rourkela, I have been working on AIChE’s flagship competition: Chem-E-Car right from my first day in the chapter. In my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to organise an event- “Maneuver 2.0” in Innovision 2018 and to mentor the event organisers of “The Great Mendeleevian Show” in NITRUtsav 2019. I was also successful in formalising the AIChE NIT Rourkela (India) -North Carolina State University (USA) sister chapter relation that year. In my third year, I became the President of our chapter.
At the International Level, I was a member of AIChE’s global Executive Student Committee (ESC) last year. I was the only Indian to be nominated in the newly formed Sister Chapter Subcommittee. As a member, I worked with my international counterparts in successfully proposing a new AIChE Sister Chapter Award, which was awarded for the first time this year. 

MM: As the ex-president of the club, what advice would you like to give to your juniors?

KS: Honestly, I don’t think I have a lot of advice to give to my juniors because they have surpassed all the expectations that we had from them. This year we have received the Outstanding Student Chapter Award for the first time. I feel that Abhishek (the current President) and his whole Executive Board are doing a commendable job in running our chapter in these challenging and uncertain times. Without any doubt, this pandemic has considerably affected the club culture of NITR. Suddenly, we can’t even imagine organising a normal in-person event in the wildest of our dreams. Now, everything has to be virtual. I feel my juniors have been very proactive and quick in adapting to this new normal. I am sure that our juniors will carry this legacy forward and I hope that our chapter keeps winning this award continuously in the decades to come.

DONALD F. OTHMER SOPHOMORE ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AWARD

The Sophomore Academic Excellence Award is presented to the active AIChE undergraduate student member in each student chapter who has attained the highest academic grade-point average during his/her freshman and sophomore years, on the recommendation of the Student Chapter Advisor.

AIChE presents the award to the student member of a particular AIChE Chapter who has achieved the highest cumulative grade point average until his/her Sophomore year on the recommendation of the faculty advisor.

The award is presented based on the academic record of the Student. This year, Abhishek Agarwal and Kaustuv Ray, two pre-final year students from the Department of Chemical and Mining Engineering have bagged this prestigious award. Team MM reached out to the award winners to know their experience and feeling of achieving this commendable feat. 

Monday Morning (MM): What was your experience winning the award, and how did your parents and friends react to it? 

Abhisek Agarwal (AB): I always believe that academics are as essential for us as being active in the club and extra-curricular activities. This award was a result of the hard work which I had put under the guidance of my professors who always guided me, my seniors, who were always there to help and my friends who supported me. Winning an International AIChE award gives me a lot of joy and happiness that it would motivate me even more and help to add a feature to my CV. The credit for this goes to my parents, who were my motivation and without whom this would have been impossible. I want to thank AIChE NITR for giving me this opportunity.

KR: It was an incredibly proud moment for me, my parents and friends. Acts as an encouragement for future endeavours.

MM: How has your academic journey been so far? What is your success mantra? 

KR: I am an institute Academic excellence awardee as well. I am involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities as well. My key to success is that I enjoy my studies, love my subjects and always strive to perform better. Hard Work, diligence, and patience are the steps of the ladder of success.

AB: Academics at NITR has always been full of ups and downs for a maximum number of students. But in my case, it was the reverse. My CGPA was almost at the same level throughout the four semesters for which I received this award. I sincerely feel academics play a significant role in your Engineering life because after all, we are here for that only. My department has been very supportive and encouraging in this journey. I think that maintaining a balance between your academics and extra-curricular or club activities is essential for a student by not ignoring any one of them.

MM: Any advice for people who wish to achieve the same feat as you.

AB: I want to tell them that the only thing which can help you is hard work. We should never think that we don't have enough. AIChE is a platform which has given me a lot. It has a lot of potentials, and I sincerely hope that my juniors will carry forward the legacy and bring more laurels for the chapter.

KR: I have only one advice to people,

Enjoy what you do. If you are passionate about something, you are destined to achieve that.

AIChE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT CHAPTER LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AWARD

The International Student Chapter Leadership Development Award is presented to some International AIChE Student Chapter leaders for their leadership involvement in the student chapters and other activities of AIChE. The purpose of this award is to facilitate the participation and leadership development of international student chapter members at the Annual Student Conference and to strengthen AIChE's relationship with these future global leaders. Every year, up to eight travel grants were awarded to International Student Chapter leaders for the Annual Student Conference which is supported by the AIChE Foundation. Due to the Annual Student Conference 2020 being conducted virtually, there was no travel grant awarded. 

Eligibility and Judging criteria:

  • The nominee must be an active AIChE undergraduate in Chemical Engineering and also a member of the AIChE Executive Student Committee.

  • This award is presented based on the leadership involvement in the nominee's Student Chapter and Executive Student Committee's activities, academic achievement, the strength of nomination from the Student Chapter advisor and the plans or ideas of the nominee for the overall development of his/her chapter in the upcoming days being a leader.

This year, Abhisek Agarwal bagged this prestigious award. Abhisek has received,

  • An E-certificate 

  • Complimentary registration to the Annual Student Conference (valued at USD 115)

  • Recognition at the 2020 virtual AIChE ASC during the Student Awards Ceremony.

  • Additional recognition on AIChE official website.

Team MM reached out to Abhisek to know more about his efforts which made him win the International Student Chapter Leadership Development Award. This is what he had to say,

Being a member of the AIChE NITR chapter since my first year, I have been involved in almost every activity since then. We have taken part in some International Competitions and represented our chapter at the Global level. I have been actively involved in organising various events on behalf of our chapter. After being the President, I had planned to connect to as many global AIChE chapters as we can, and we have completed that. We had planned to conduct various online activities and outreach programs to involve maximum student members from this region with some new interesting events. We conducted the most important Student Regional Conference of AIChE, virtually for the first time and it got huge appreciations and participation. The credit for this goes only to my team who has made this dream come true. We have a lot of plans for the upcoming session, and we would be coming up with some fascinating and new events which haven't been organised before.

On being asked how he felt after being recognised as one of the best student leaders at an international level, this is what Abhisek had to say,

First of all, I would like to give the credits to our Vice-President, my dear friend, Kanishk Singh, who deserves this award equally as I do. This award belongs to my entire team, i.e. our ever-supportive seniors, my batchmates who have been the most important part and my enthusiastic juniors, as I have been chosen to receive this as a leader of this wonderful chapter on behalf of them. This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, receiving the award as the president of this chapter and I would like to thank NIT Rourkela, Student Activity Centre and AIChE NIT Rourkela for giving me this opportunity.

STUDENT TECHNICAL PRESENTATION COMPETITION

Ashish presenting his paper work

The Student Technical Presentation Competition (STPC) is a prestigious UG level competition where young UG research enthusiasts get a chance to communicate any research work which they have done in college or a part of their internship. Students present technical papers at the Student Regional Conferences. The first-place winner from each region presents the paper at the National Student Paper Competition, held at the AIChE Annual Student Conference at the USA. This year it was held virtually. The session features a wide variety of chemical engineering topics. These papers are the best of the undergraduate research projects and some research from co-ops and internships. The papers are then presented to a panel of judges who will select the top three papers, which will be awarded cash prizes sponsored by Omega Chi Epsilon.

Eligibility and Judging criteria:

  • Students are invited to submit abstracts on their topic in the Regional Student Conference, which can be related to any chemical engineering principles. 

  • Out of the received abstracts, the judges shortlist nearly 10 to 15 abstracts for the final presentation at the Regional Student Conference STPC competition. 

  • The winner of each regional STPC competition is invited to present his/her work in the Annual Student Conference.

This time, Ashish Kumar Omprakash, a final year student from the Department of Chemical Engineering was selected along with 10-12 other students globally, to present his paper at the ASC 2020. Team MM reached out to Ashish Kumar to know more about his research paper.

My research comes under the broad umbrella called Computational Fluid Dynamics, which was entitled Numerical study of the effect of wettability on the formation of liquid droplets from submerged orifices. In this work, I used Ansys fluent software to model a basic multiphase fluid flow phenomenon and have represented my findings in the form of an article. I did this work in my recent internship at IIT Roorkee, which I did remotely under Dr Sumana Ghosh (Asst Prof at Chemical Engg, IITR).

On being asked how does he feel to have the opportunity to present his work at an international level, this is what Ashish had to say,

I felt honoured and was very happy when I got this opportunity. This was probably one of the best opportunities I have ever received so far. Moreover, it was an immense pleasure to know that I am the first person to represent India in the NSPC at ASC (I managed to do so because this year, the Conference was conducted online). Overall it was a nice and learning experience. I got good reviews and good suggestions to improve my work. After all, it's one of the most prestigious technical presentation competitions for Chemical Engineering UG students all across the globe!

THE PRESIDENT SPEAKS

AIChE NIT Rourkela chapter has seen a wide range of achievements and has also received a lot of appreciations for their effort to be the best student chapter amongst others. Recently, AIChE NITR had conducted the Student Regional Conference virtually which saw massive participation from all over India. A lot of members from the chapter had also bagged several awards in the SRC, which provided them with a lot of recognition and experience. At present, members from AIChE NITR have received very prestigious awards at the Annual Student Conference. All these wouldn't have been possible without a good team and a good leader. Team MM reached out to Abhisek Agarwal to know his views on this newly established legacy of the club. 

AIChE Team 2019-20

Monday Morning (MM): How do you feel to see AIChE NITR being awarded and succeeding at an international level?

AB: AIChE NITR has seen some extraordinary development in the past one year. Since its inception in 2016, our chapter faced some problems during the initial years. But soon we gained experience and started thinking about the future with a new perspective. The hard work and vision of every member of this chapter were evident at this year's award ceremony of AIChE where we bagged 5 International Awards. We have been successful in making a lot of connections and build a network for the overall development of this chapter. Participating in the Annual Student Conference of AIChE this year was a breakthrough opportunity for us as we learned a lot of things, and our chapter gained a lot.

The most important thing was that we had made all these possible during this time when everything is "Online", and we haven't even met for so many days. The credit goes to the entire Executive Board for all the appreciation we have received this year and most importantly, to every member who has given their best to make us shine on an international level.

MM: What are your plans to maintain this legacy in future?

AB: We have a lot of plans for the future, where we aim to expand our network even more. We are planning for some fascinating and new events which haven't been organised yet. Our chapter is preparing for some Innovative ideas on K-12 Outreach Program under the leadership of Kanishk, showing the AIChE chapters how we can develop this excellent outreach program. We are planning to come up with a Flagship event very soon.

 

The inspirational feat of winning five international awards at ASC by the members of AIChE NIT Rourkela Student Chapter is highly commendable and has brought fame and prestige to NIT Rourkela.

Team MM congratulates the club for its outstanding achievements and wishes the very best for their endeavours ahead.

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