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Experiential Learning

The Department offers significant opportunities for undergraduate students to be involved in experiential learning. Students can be involved in several different opportunities as described below.

Team-based Design & Build Competitions

The department participates in national-level design and build competitions such as the ChemE Cube Competition, ChemE Car Competition and the Medtronics/BMES Design Competition.

In these competitions, a team of students from freshman to senior level are involved in the development of devices that are required to be built to given specifications. Students typically sign up for 1-credit hour of CHE/BMEG 495 for every semester that they participate in this team-based activity until their senior year. In their senior year, they sign up for a 3-credit hour class of CHE/BMEG 495. This activity promotes the development of engineering and management skills in a fun environment. Students have the opportunity to participate in the regional and national-level competition.

A total of 6-credit hours counts towards their engineering elective courses in their degree plan. This format makes sophomores and juniors work on the same problem as seniors. Seniors naturally guide the design process, serving as mentors for the underclassmen. Students find this natural mentor-mentee relationship to be very helpful and encouraging. The seniors get to practice leadership skills while the sophomores and juniors get to see what their education will lead them to all while working on a real-world device which will solve a global problem (water scarcity, climate change, etc.). Students should contact the AIChE student chapter or the BMES student chapter for more information.

ChemE Cube 2022

Undergraduate Research

Students can sign up for doing individual research with a faculty member in any semester from their freshman year to senior year. They get the opportunity to work on open-ended research problems that are of current interest to society. Topics include the development of novel catalysts for decarbonization, process systems engineering of alternative energy systems, novel membrane development for purifying liquids and gases, rehabilitation engineering and precision medicine. 

Students typically sign up for 1-credit hour of CHE/BMEG 497 for every semester that they participate in this individual activity until their senior year. In their senior year, they sign up for a 3-credit hour class of CHE/BMEG 497. Using a 1-credit course to introduce students to research provides a low-stress entry to academic research. 

Students who may otherwise discount the possibility of graduate school or a career in research can find out if they are interested in research without a significant time investment. Research is conducted on the same campus as the students’ coursework, so it is convenient for students to balance research and coursework. 

Students involved in undergraduate research have the opportunity to present their results at national conferences (e.g. the AIChE Annual Meeting and the BMES Annual Meeting). Many of our students have won best-paper awards at these conferences. 

Furthermore, this experience positions them well to apply for scholarships such as the Beckman Scholar Award, Goldwater Scholarship, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. There are many ways to get involved in research. The RAP program and the SURE program provides paid opportunities to get involved in research even at the freshman level.

Department faculty members display research posters outside their offices that summarizes their research. Students can read these posters and then directly contact the faculty members that they are interested to work with. Alternatively, students may contact the department chairperson for more information.

Students presenting at the BMES and AIChE Meetings

Summer Internships and Co-Ops

The department encourages undergraduate students to pursue at least one industrial summer internship or co-op. This paid experience allows students to work on real-world industry projects and gain work experience, which significantly improves their job prospects upon graduation. Financial aid is automatically deferred with no penalty for students who accept year-long co-ops. Students typically find these opportunities from the WVU STEM career fair.

Independent Study Credits Application Form (CHE/BMEG 495)

Research Credits Application Form (CHE/BMEG 497)

Procedure to Sign Up for Variable Credit Hours