UK Students Win Chem-E Jeopardy! at the AIChE Southern Regional Conference

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University of Kentucky chemical engineering students and the UK student chapters of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) were again prominent at the AIChE Southern Regional Student Conference. Thirteen students from Lexington participated in the conference that was held March 21st – 23rd in San Juan, PR.  The UK Chem-E Jeopardy team (Kevin Blakely, David Blanford, Lee Marr, and Joseph Papp) won the Chem-E Jeopardy competition at the conference.  After defeating the University of Florida and the University of Alabama in the first round, they defeated Louisiana State University in the finals.  The team will represent the southern region at the 2014 AIChE Annual Meeting this November in Atlanta, GA.

In addition, Alex Tsoras and Joseph Papp made oral presentations of their research.  Alex and Joe were both participants in the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) at UK focusing on Engineered Bioactive Interfaces and Devices (  This ten-week program funded by the National Science Foundation provides rising juniors and seniors with the opportunity to work on multidisciplinary research.  Corey Jones, an undergraduate student from the University of Florida, was also a participant in this REU program and presented a poster at the conference.  Corey competed against 32 posters and won the second place poster prize for the conference.

Six students from the UK Paducah AIChE student chapter attended the conference.  Maxwell Croft, an undergraduate student and member of Dr. Jeffrey Seay’s University of Kentucky Appropriate Technology and Sustainability (UKATS) team, presented a poster at the conference on his work with producing sustainable, low cost biodiesel in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UK Paducah Chem-E-Car team also competed in the annual Chem-E-Car competition.  The Chem-E-Car competition involves the design and construction of a self-propelled, chemical reaction powered vehicle that must carry a pre-defined load a set distance. The Chem-E-Car team from Paducah consisted of Sean Hackel (chair); Emily Burkhart, Maxwell Croft, William Croft, Chandni Joshi, William Parsons, Payton Smith, Collins Stooksbury, and Nick Taylor.

UK AIChE Student Chapter officers are:  Lindsay Gray, President; Devon Hill, Vice-President; Molly Beavers, Secretary; Roberto Arreaza, Treasurer. Dr. J. Zach Hilt is the chapter advisor.

UK Paducah AIChE Student Chapter officers are: Maxwell Croft, President; Neil Trammell, Vice-President; Amber Deming, Secretary; Matthew Hancock, Treasurer. Dr. Derek L. Englert is the chapter advisor.


*Oral Presentation Details:

Alex Tsoras, “Optimization of a Three-Dimensional Lung Tumor Model in Air Interface Culture for the Evaluation of Chemotherapeutics and Drug Delivery Devices”. Faculty Advisors:  Kim Anderson and J. Zach Hilt

Joseph Papp, “Functionalized Microfiltration Membranes for Water Detoxification Applications”. Faculty Advisor:  Dibakar Bhattacharyya

*Poster Presentation Details:

Corey Jones, “Effect of Functionalization on the Adsorption of Plant-Derived Anti-Inflammatory Compounds onto Silica Particles”.  Faculty Advisors:  Barbara Knutson and Stephen Rankin

Maxwell Croft, “Design of a Low Cost Biodiesel Washing Process for sub-Saharan Africa”. Faculty advisor: Jeffrey Seay

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