Mizzou AIChE earns outstanding student chapter award at national conference

November 10, 2023

Anjola Ojo and Rob McKnight with AIChE Award

Mizzou AIChE, a local chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, was recently selected as an Outstanding Student Chapter for the 2022-2023 academic year. The award was conferred at the national Annual Student Conference earlier this month.

Emma McDougal with an award
Emma McDougal, Mizzou AIChE Secretary, also earned two awards at the conference; the Donald F. & Mildred Topp Othmer Scholarship and the Donald F. Othmer Second Year Student Academic Excellence Award.

“We are immensely proud of our organization and our university to earn this award,” said Rob McKnight, chapter president. “Many thanks to Elly Smith, our former president, for her exceptional leadership and dedication in running the club. Elly’s contributions have played a significant role in shaping the success and positive atmosphere of our organization. Additionally, we extend our appreciation to Karl Hammond, our faculty advisor. He is a great asset to us, and we especially appreciate the work he did to make the conference last spring come together as nicely as it did.”

Last spring, the organization hosted the AIChE Mid-America Regional Conference, which featured chemical engineering-based competitions, research poster sessions and discussions, as well as networking opportunities. Thanks to tireless work from the conference planning committee, headed by Ashley Kemm and Ethan Simpkins, the event set a new attendance record, and was lauded by one attendee as the best conference he’d attended in 30 years of association with AIChE.

This year, the organization has pursued two key objectives. First, Mizzou AIChE is dedicated to assisting its members in becoming proficient professional engineers in their chosen fields. Second, the organization is actively working to strengthen the sense of community among chemical engineering students, aiming for a supportive and understanding environment for all members. 

“We are hosting industry speakers to share their insights, experiences in the field, and advice about internships and how to get started in the field,” McKnight said. “Last month we hosted a longtime VP of P&G, Lee Marshall, who gave our members lots of great advice with how to impress at a company as a new hire.”  

Anjola Ojo, vice president of Mizzou AIChE, also emphasized the importance of social events to the AIChE member community.

“My favorite part of being in AIChE is attending the social events we put on,” he said. “They’re always a great opportunity to meet and talk with students and faculty you may not see often, as well as share ideas and experiences with younger and older members.”

Anjola Ojo and Rob McKnight; AIChE Org leaders
Anjola Ojo and Rob McKnight

The group also collaborates with student organizations across the college on events. This fall, AIChE was one of six student organization hosts of a college-wide jeopardy-style event. They’re currently planning a joint trivia night with the Chemical Engineering honors society Omega Chi Epsilon (OXE). And next spring, Mizzou AIChE will attend the upcoming Mid-America Regional Conference in Arkansas.

“There’s a strong team of engineers currently working to send a winning pressure car to the conference,” Ojo said.
In the meantime, the organization plans to continue building a community of chemical engineers ready to begin successful professional careers after graduation.

“All of our members should be proud that our chapter earned this prestigious award,” Ojo said. “Our members are exceptional, and all the hard work they put it in does not go unnoticed.”

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