The University of Kentucky American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) student chapter will host the upcoming AIChE Southern Regional Conference April 5-7 at the Hyatt Regency as well as on the UK campus. UK last hosted this regional conference in 2000.
The southern conference is the largest regional conference among AIChE’s student chapters and between 350-400 students from 25 universities are expected to attend the event, with participants traveling from Louisiana, Florida and even Puerto Rico.
Although the conference kicks off Friday, April 5, the bulk of the activities will take place on Saturday. The highly anticipated Chem-E Car competition will be held at Alumni Gym on the UK campus. Teams will be required to produce a chemical reaction that will move their car a predetermined distance. Extensive precautions are taken to ensure the safety of the participants. The winners will advance to the Chem-E Car competition at the national AIChE conference in San Francisco next November. In addition to the Chem-E Car contest, Chem-E Jeopardy and a paper competition will also give contestants an opportunity to compete at the national conference. A poster competition will also be held on Saturday.
Saturday will feature a Futures Fair, where chemical engineering companies will be on hand to discuss potential future employment with attendees. Students are encouraged to submit their resumes beforehand in order to take advantage of the networking opportunities available with industry representatives.
UK’s AIChE student chapter has a long legacy of excellence, having recently received the distinction of Outstanding Chapter for the 25th straight year—the longest such streak of any student chapter in the nation. Chapter president David Spencer says the bar is high.
“Hosting a regional conference like this is expected of Outstanding Chapters, which is why we are looking forward to hearing about the great research others are doing and seeing participants have fun,” he said.
“We have received a lot of guidance and support from Dr. [Zach] Hilt, Dr. [Dibakar] Bhattacharyya and Dr. [Douglass] Kalika,” added conference chair Nickolas Winquist. “Additionally, Chelsea Hansing, Libby Weir, Nancy Miller, Betty Hickey, Lisa Atkinson and Mary McBeath have been invaluable in helping us with everything from tracking accounts to handling logistics.”
Over the weekend, schools will bid to host the conference that will take place two years from now. Next year’s conference will be held in Puerto Rico.