Winning the most awards out of more than 30 schools competing, The Johns Hopkins University student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) had a historic showing at the 2023 Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. The delegation of 16 students, led by Nick Oh, vice president of professional development, and accompanied by Jimmy Hu, president, was the only school to win an award in every major competition.

“Because of the pandemic, this is the first appearance of Hopkins at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference since 2019, and I’m so proud of our students for producing such a strong showing this year,” said Sakul Ratanalert, senior lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and faculty mentor for AIChE. “Jimmy and the AIChE executive board have done an amazing job this year rebuilding and strengthening our undergraduate community, working tirelessly not only to represent Hopkins superbly at the national and regional conferences but also to foster closer relationships among the students and with our faculty.”

The Chem-E-Car Competition team placed fourth out of 17 teams—the highest finish ever for a Johns Hopkins team in this event. The competition challenges teams to design and construct a car powered by a chemical energy source that will safely run a specific given distance and stop. The current team, comprising undergraduate students Aidan Gee, Ishika Kaushik, Timothy Kwok, Kelly Mejia-Saba, Daniel Naiman, Patricia Nwoga, Andres Perez-Doval, Jarett Ren, Mary Shin, and Liwen Xia, accompanied by faculty advisor and department lecturer Nagma Zerin, is expected to participate in the national competition in Orlando, Florida, later this year.

“I am very proud of the students in our current Chem-E-Car team,” Zerin said. “They have demonstrated independent design and problem-solving skills as well as the ability to successfully perform as part of a team. They have certainly created a strong example for the future Chem-E-Car teams in our department.”

The ChemE Jeopardy team took second place out of a field of 18. The competition presents teams with questions from chemical engineering coursework as well as general knowledge. The team, comprising Aidan Gee, Adam Tobin-Williams, Jarett Ren, and Tiara Safaei, won a cash prize and an at-large chance to compete in the national competition.

Three students won awards for presenting their work at the event. In the Research Technical Presentation category Yiran (Gigi) Wang (Clancy Lab) took second place for “A perspective and future directions for PAL: Physical Analytics pipeline,” and in the Research Poster Presentation category Steven Doctorman (Gilkes Lab) took second place for “Investigating the Role of Hypoxia-Inducible Genes FN1 and LRP1 in Breast Cancer Brain Metastasis” and Anshika Agrawal (Phillip Lab) took third place for “The effects of chronological age on cell motility in three-dimensional microenvironments.”

Video of Chem-E-Car demonstration here.