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CHE student society spearheads department’s Lab Day efforts

A college-age man, a woman and her preteen son stick their hands in a container of cornstarch and water.

Chemical engineering senior Wilson McNeary, Omega Chi Epsilon president, works the “oobleck” exhibit with sixth grader Mitchell Norton and his mother Suzanne, of Ashland.

Members of the Chemical Engineering Department’s honors society, Omega Chi Epsilon (OXE), brainstormed four exhibits for Engineers’ Week annual Lab Day event.

OXE president Wilson McNeary said club members focused on creating exhibits that appealed to all ages.

“The most popular exhibits were the synthesis of luminol — a chemiluminescent compound [used, for instance, to identify blood splatter] in crime scene investigation  — and the “oobleck” experiment, where the audience got a chance to do a hands-on investigation of a non-Newtonian fluid, in this case, a simple corn starch and water mixture,” McNeary said.

In addition to E-Week activities, McNeary said the club has interacted with various industry and government professionals about career possibilities in those fields.

OXE will soon initiate eligible chemical engineering juniors as members and is concentrating efforts on increased membership involvement and retention of new members. They are also planning a community service event before the end of the semester.

Officers for 2012-2013 are: Wilson McNeary, president; Chelsea Pepmiller, vice president; Megan Featherling, treasurer; Sonja Glaser, secretary; Christina Bigham, events chair.