Charan Samineni wins the 2018 ChE Outstanding Candidacy Award

Charan Samineni won the 2018 Chemical Engineering Outstanding Candidacy Award. Samineni is advised by Manish Kumar.

The criteria for the Outstanding Candidacy Award includes the following:

  • Mastery of research area
  • Ability to identify plan of research and the outcomes of successfully completing the plan
  • Ability to convey thoughts to others in writing and orally
  • Adviser’s assessment of performance.

For more information about the award, please see the Chemical Engineering department website.

ChE GSA Bald Eagle State Park trip planned for August 18

The ChE GSA will be hosting a trip to Bald Eagle State Park on Saturday, August 18. This is a great opportunity to meet and hang out with ChE graduate students, especially the new students to the department, before the start of a busy semester.

If you are interested in going on the trip to Bald Eagle, please RSVP by Thursday, August 16. The ChE GSA will provide lunch for the trip, including a vegetarian option. On the form, indicate whether you have a car to help transport those without cars. We will leave from the Greenberg parking lot at 11 AM and return around 5 PM.

If you have any questions, please contact Daniel Cetnar.

From Skills to Jobs: Developing Your Personal Skills Grid for Life-Long Learning and Career Planning

The ChE GSA will be hosting a discussion with a faculty members in Chemical Engineering that will focus on developing personal skills to prepare students for their career after graduate school. The faculty members include Monty Alger, Stephanie Butler Velegol, Darrell Velegol, and John M. Jordan (Clinical Professor of Supply Chain & Information Systems).

The discussion will be held on Wednesday, August 22 at 6:30pm in 58 Greenberg.

Pizza will be served at this event. Please RSVP if you are going to attend.

More information about the event can be found below.


Many signs point to a breakdown in the current U.S. labor market. Hiring companies cannot find people with
the necessary skills, from truck driving to data mining. Workers at all levels, meanwhile, find it more and more
difficult to climb a career ladder, or even to get onto the bottom rung. The rapid evolution in technology and
business practices accelerates and intensifies the need for new approaches to career awareness, preparation, and

A team across Penn State, several at University Park, has coalesced to address this evolution in the labor market
from several sides. First, in a series of industry planning events, graduate courses, and discussions with
students, we have deployed a simple yet effective tool for beginning and maintaining the career planning
discussion: a skills grid tool, with roles chronologically listed as rows and key skill/experience categories as
columns. The student can readily see both existing strengths and patterns of success as well as gaps that can be
proactively addressed. It is useful for initial career planning as well as long-term career management. We have
found that students gain much from sharing their evolving grids with their peers and mentors. Further, one of
us (MA) has used this approach in industry for >35 years and found the grid to be an excellent tool for career

During the past year, we have also been working with Burning Glass Technologies, a Boston-based big
data/machine learning company that has built a substantial database of job postings, resumes, and government
jobs data. Matt Sigelman, the company’s CEO, argues that rather than a jobs market it is more insightful to
analyze how companies are looking for skills. We licensed Burning Glass data products to identify opportunity
areas for Penn State campuses to engage local hiring companies: what skills are in short supply, how might the
campuses respond at undergraduate, graduate and continuing education levels to help ease the shortage, how
can companies more effectively recruit? We seek feedback from a wider audience at Penn State beginning with
students and other interested groups at Penn State.

Career Discovery Sessions

– We plan to pilot new discussions with groups of students from professional societies and university
organizations to have evening event to discuss skills, jobs and careers.
– Prior to the session students will review online content on skills, jobs and state of the market
– A one-page skills grid template will is available and each student should draft his or her personal skills
grid and share during the discussion session.

– Each student will present their skills grid and have a chance to learn from others in the group.
– Session feedback will be collected and will help improving sessions for greater student benefit.
– Students will learn more about the jobs market, skills required to secure a job.
– Future options: we will engage employers to be part of the session discussion and feedback using ZOOM. Other ideas or suggestions for improvement will also be captured during the session.

Questions / Suggestions
Any questions please contact Monty Alger,

ChE GSA to participate in mentorship program for undergraduates interested in grad school

The ChE GSA, in conjunction with the College of Engineering, will participate in a mentorship program to advise engineering undergraduates about grad school.

The primary responsibility of mentors will be to answer any questions a student may have regarding the application process, standardized testing, coursework and research. The time commitment is minimal, but the impact will be large, as you will be helping younger students make positive strides into the future.

Chemical engineering graduate students Brielle Hohne and Charles Foster are leading the ChE GSA mentorship effort. To participate in the mentorship program, sign up both through the College of Engineering and through the ChE GSA.

In addition to the mentorship program, the ChE GSA expects to organize more community outreach activities throughout this upcoming academic year.

2018-2019 ChE GSA Executive Board Elections Results

The results of the election for the 2018-2019 ChE GSA Executive Board are as follows:

President: Daniel Cetnar
Vice-President: Shankar Ram
Treasurer: Mario Jabra
Secretary: Megan Culp
Webmaster: Michael Geitner
IM Sports Director: Tyler Culp
Outreach Chair: Brielle Hohne
Mentorship Chair: Charles Foster
Corporate Relations Chair: Parinaz Emami

Thank you to all those that expressed interest in joining the executive board.

ChE graduate student photos to be taken on May 23

Photos of all ChE graduate students will be taken on Wednesday, May 23 for the Chemical Engineering department website. The photos will be taken in Greenberg from 10am to 12pm.

Bring your name written in large letters with a dark marker on a piece of paper so that the photographer will be easily able to identify you after the shoot. Two photos will be taken, one of you holding the piece of paper and one that will be the actual photo.

To schedule your photo, add your name to one of the time slots in the Google Doc.

If it is not raining, meet at the entrance of Greenberg, because the photos will be taken outside. If it is raining, the photos will be taken in 65 Greenberg.

If you are not able to make it on Wednesday, please let Jamie Oberdick know via email ( so that you can have your photo taken for the website at another time.

ChE GSA to hold general body meeting on May 22

The ChE GSA will hold a general body meeting on Tuesday, May 22 at 5pm in 58 Greenberg.

Topics to be discussed include social events like a spring picnic and river tubing, new GSA positions (IM Sports Director, Outreach Chair, Mentorship Chair, Corporate Relations Chair), the upcoming GSA election, and other new initiatives. Active participation in the meeting is encouraged.

Pizza will be served at the meeting.

Request for TAs for the Fall 2018 semester

The ChE Department has released their list of classes where graduate teaching assistants are needed for the Fall 2018 semester. If you are interested in serving as a TA in the fall, please send an email to Cathy Krause by Friday, April 27 with the following information:

1) Your preferred courses
2) The name of your faculty advisor
3) Whether you have served as a TA previously
4) Whether you are doing the TA to fulfill the PhD degree requirement or for some other reason (to help with funding, because of interest in teaching, etc.)

A typical TA assignment (1/4-time) carries with it an expectation of about 10 hr/wk of effort, on average, with the precise responsibilities determined by the course instructor.

The following courses require TAs for the Fall 2018 semester:

ChE 210 – Material Balances
ChE 220 – Intro to Thermo
ChE 230 – Computational Tools

ChE 320 – Phase & Chemical Equilibria
ChE 330 – Fluid Mechanics
ChE 340 – Biomolecular Engineering
ChE 350 – Heat Transfer

ChE 410 – Mass Transfer
ChE 430 – Reaction Engineering
ChE 452 – Process Safety
ChE 470 – Process Design (including Process Simulation)
ChE 480 – ChE Lab

Dates and locations for the graduate student unionization vote

The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) has announced the dates and locations for the graduate student unionization vote.

The ChE GSA will escort people from Greenberg at 1 pm on both Wednesday (April 11) and Friday (April 13) to walk over to the polling places. Voters must bring their Penn State Student ID card to the polling locations.

If you are unable to make it with the ChE GSA groups, please see the following list of dates, times, and locations for the unionization vote.

April 10

Voting times: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Bennett Pierce Living Center (110 Henderson Building)

April 11

Voting times: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: Charles W. Mann, Jr. Assembly Room (103 Paterno Library)

April 12

Voting times: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: Charles W. Mann, Jr. Assembly Room (103 Paterno Library)

April 13

Voting times: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Millennium Science Complex (Rooms W203 and W202)

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