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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
( July 22, 1998)
SDSM& T CHEMICAL ENGINEERING PROFESSORS AND STUDENTS WORKING ON NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION PROJECT THIS SUMMER
Three SDSM& T chemical engineering professors and four students are working this summer on a project funded by the National Science Foundation ( NSF) to integrate chemical process design and state- of- the- art computer simulation throughout the chemical engineering curriculum. Drs. Larry Bauer, David Dixon and Jan Puszynski, SDSM& T Professors of Chemical Engineering, recently were awarded a $ 150,000 NSF educational grant over four years to develop a vertically integrated chemical engineering curriculum at SDSM& T that will serve as a model for chemical engineering departments in other universities when fully implemented. Providing outreach to regional high school students and underrepresented groups, particularly Native American students, also is an important element in the project. Structuring the engineering curriculum through vertical integration is a novel approach. The four- year project is expected to enhance the students’ understanding of course material by providing the “ big picture” early in their college education and demonstrating the integrated nature of the topics.
Students will also benefit from the introduction of the AspenPlus commercial process simulation software early in the curriculum, which will greatly enhance their understanding of science and engineering topics. Through the early integration of AspenPlus, SDSM& T’s chemical engineering students will gain an expertise with the current design tool used by many major industrial firms, such as Dow Chemical Company and Cargill. Students also will be able to use this powerful software tool to model process equipment from single pumps to complex installations, such as the complete ethanol production facility in Aberdeen. In 1996 Dr. Puszynski was one of only two professors in the world to receive the University Excellence Award from Aspen Technologies, Inc. in recognition on his accomplishments in teaching the AspenPlus software.
The achievements from this project will be shared with other engineering departments around the world through publications, national presentations, and an active web site. The SDSM& T students selected to work on the first stage of the NSF- sponsored project this summer include Melissa Gage, senior, Brandon; Patrick Hallan, junior, Spearfish; James Lang, junior, Omaha NE; and Kate Staufacker, freshman, Rapid City. The four undergraduate students are working with the professors to develop design projects and instructional examples.
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