Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture ChEBE Newsletter – Winter 2014

Message From the Director

James PetersenDear Alumni and Friends,

I hope you enjoy this edition of the Voiland School newsletter. This is an exciting time in the school, which presents some wonderful opportunities as well as challenges.

I am proud to report that this year we welcomed our largest-ever class of undergraduate and graduate students in the Voiland School. We have more than 150 juniors and seniors (100 ChE, 50 BE) and 65 graduate students, of whom 62 are seeking a doctorate. Amazingly, in the past five years our student enrollment has increased by a factor of about five, enabling us to help meet ever-growing demand for chemical engineers and bioengineers.

Interest in our program continues to grow. More freshmen and sophomores are indicating an interest in obtaining this important degree that lets them address some of the most pressing issues of our time—the need for clean energy, new materials that advance commerce, and medical technologies that improve our lives. Despite the high growth in our program, we have ensured that our students continue to get the valuable, hands-on experience for which WSU is known.

This fall we have moved from Dana Hall to Wegner Hall, which is near the Veterinary College and many of the university’s science buildings. Closer proximity to these programs will help us to more effectively educate our students as we interact closely with sciences, agriculture, and veterinary medicine research and educational programs.

We are also pleased to welcome several new faculty members. Norbert Kruse – one of the world’s leading experts on heterogeneous catalysis – came from the Free University of Brussels to WSU as a Voiland Distinguished Professor. He joins Yong Wang, Su Ha, Jean-Sabin McEwen, and new assistant professor Steven Saunders as we establish one of the nation’s leading catalysis research groups. We were also able to attract Dr. Haluk Resat from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to join our bioengineering program, adding to our strength in biofilm engineering. Finally, we were pleased to welcome Kathy Helling who, after a successful 27-year career in industry, is returning to WSU for a doctorate. She is teaching industrial design and process engineering to our chemical engineering undergraduates. Meanwhile, Dick Zollars, who many of you probably remember, is moving into retirement.

Our research programs have also grown significantly. We are solving problems in areas ranging from energy production to environmental remediation and bioengineering. Our researchers have developed new Fischer-Tropsch catalysts, technologies to separate and identify isotopes in complex mixtures, and new catalysts to reduce emissions from diesel engines. I hope you will enjoy reading about Yong Wang’s catalyst work as well as Haluk Beyenal’s unique projects with microbial fuel cells.

The significant growth and change in the Voiland School would not be possible without your support.

Please feel free to visit when you’re on the WSU campus to find out more about what we’re doing. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

James N. Petersen
Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering