Published September 19, 2019
For one week in July, UB CBE hosted its first annual cheme camp, designed for high school juniors and seniors with an interest in and aptitude for chemistry, physics and/or mathematics. The camp aimed to provide a memorable and exciting experience through hands-on and digitally simulated activities, and it provided an opportunity for these students to discover a passion for chemical engineering while considering college majors.
Twenty high school students from the Buffalo Niagara community spent the week learning not only what chemical engineers do, but participating in experiments in membrane separation, nanoparticle synthesis and molecular simulation in the UB CBE labs. They were also introduced to unit operations through both laboratory activities and process simulation experience. Two and a half days were spent visiting local companies, including Linde, ThermoFisher, Dupont and Rich Products, to expose students to chemical engineering practice and possible career trajectories. Engineers from VanDeMark and Peroxychem came to UB to participate in activities with the students and consider some industrial case studies. Many thanks for the support from CBE faculty, staff, local industry partners and UB student and alumni chaperones Callie Bailey-Wickins, Sykhere Brown, Isaac Rezey and Leonardo Gobbato. Student reactions were quite positive:
“My perception of chemical engineering has been widely expanded during this week. At first, I had a vague idea of chemical engineering as working with substances in a lab. I now understand it as a very versatile field with applications in many different and interesting areas.”
“After a week of camp, my interest in chemical engineering has grown substantially as I now know how broad it is and how many applications there are for a degree in it, especially in this area.”
“Before I did the camp I thought that chemical engineers just sat in a lab mixing chemicals together. Now I learned that chemical engineering is a lot more diverse than that.”
While the students came away from the experience enthused and impressed with the profession, we are also optimistic that they are considering pursuing chemical engineering as part of their collegiate experience.