The Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Association (ChEGSA) at Carnegie Mellon University holds an Annual Chemical Engineering Research Symposium. Initiated in 1979, this is one of the first student-run research symposia, and since then the Symposium at Carnegie Mellon University has grown to be one of the largest and most successful among major universities.
The Symposium was initiated in 1979 when, as head of the department, Professor Tomlinson Fort suggested it to the governing members of ChEGSA as an opportunity to exchange research ideas within the department and to connect graduate students with industry. While the first Symposium was a modest beginning, being primarily intra-departmental in nature, the following year saw the beginning of industrial participation. Since then, these industrial partnerships have become increasingly important each year and have helped the Symposium to gain the stature that it holds today as a model for other departments looking to establish similar forums. Without the generous financial support of numerous corporate sponsors and contributors, the continued growth of the Symposium would not be possible.
Opportunity to Present and Connect
Indeed, the ChEGSA Symposium serves many important functions. Among these are providing graduate students the opportunity to present their research work to a diverse audience, fostering appreciation and awareness for the complexity of research being carried out within the sub-disciplines of chemical engineering, and cultivating the extensive ties and partnerships between the department and industry. In particular, as industrial participation has grown, the Symposium’s provision for interaction between our graduate students and industry representatives outside of a formal recruiting context has been a particularly attractive feature for both graduate students and industrial participants.
The Annual ChEGSA Symposium features graduate-student presentations that highlight research being carried out in the chemical engineering department in a variety of interdisciplinary areas. These include biomedical engineering, computer-aided design and optimization, environmental engineering, solid-state materials, and colloids, polymers, and surface science. Included in the two-day program, along with the student talks and keynote address, is a poster session, and a luncheon for industrial guests, student presenters, faculty, and staff. At the conclusion of the Symposium, three awards will be given to the best student presenters, as well as two honorable mentions, all of which will be determined by faculty and industrial representatives serving as judges. In addition, there will be an award for the best student poster.