Fresh Perspective Each year, along with its Annual Meeting, AIChE hosts a Student Conference that caters to young chemical engineers offering a new point of view.
American Institute of Chemical Engineers
MEETING AIChE (The American Institute of Chemical Engineers) 2012 Annual Meeting, held Oct. 28–Nov. 2 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. The largely volunteer-led annual forum brings together chemical engineers and chemistry and materials- science professionals from around the globe to discuss their latest work. “For chemical engineers, this is like your home meeting,” said Karl Johnson, a first-time general arrangements chair for the AIChE 2012 Annual Meeting, “a chance to see all of your friends and colleagues — not just in the U.S., but a lot of colleagues from Hong Kong, China, Singapore, all over Europe. And every year you get to see some amazing research.”
CHALLENGES AIChE experienced too much of a good thing when it received a record number of abstract submissions for this year’s meeting. (Read our Pre Con profile of the AIChE Annual Meeting at convn.org/pre-con-aiche.) “We had well over 6,000 abstracts submitted for the technical program,” said Stephen Zitney,
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co-meeting program chair. The convention center wasn’t able to house all of the education sessions that organizers wanted to host. “We had sessions in two other locations, in the Hilton and the Westin,” Johnson said, “and so that presented some challenges, because you’d really like to have all of the meeting under one roof; it’s much more convenient for people.” Attendees tend to “migrate from one talk to another,” he added, “but in this case the attendees may have had to travel to one of the satellite locations.” With people so spread out, it was especially
important for AIChE to collect data about who attended each session. “Graduate and undergradu- ate students at the University of Pittsburgh did a great job of taking data electronically on their smartphones,” Johnson said. “Our conference app allowed student helpers to go around and count attendees per session. It gave us a lot of data points on the attendance in each individual session, tell- ing us which sessions are most highly attended, and which ones need to bear some scrutiny in future years.”