The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Notre Dame Univeristy-Louaize (NDU) Student Chapter secured three seats, including the Regional Chair, for the 2020-2021 Middle East Regional Subcommittee as well as a seat for the 2020 – 2021 Publications Subcommittee of the AIChE Executive Student Committee (ESC).
Since its inception in 2017, the Chemical Engineering program at NDU has risen to exceptional heights. The Chemical Engineering Society (CES), founded alongside the major, joined the AIChE in an official capacity. Now, only a year and a half after joining, AIChE NDU Student Chapter is the only chapter in Lebanon represented in the ESC and is the most represented chapter by number of members in the ESC in the Middle East.
The ESC members were selected from a pool of over 300 applications. Applicants answered a list of questions to determine their goals for the position, their ability to work in a team, their approach to problem solving, and an insight on their personal background and achievements. In addition, the applicant to the position of Regional Chair must be recommended by the current Regional Chair and approved by the Executive Board.
The ESC consists of two major subcommittees aside from the Executive Committee (which contains the ESC chair, vice chair, national director, global director and the programming director): The Programming Subcommittees and the Regional Subcommittees where the majority of the members of the ESC are part of the Regional Subcommittees.
Three of the four seats secured by the AIChE NDU Student Chapter were on the Middle East Regional Subcommittee, with NDU student Elie Nader elected to the Middle East Regional Chair, and Karen Atallah and Samar Yammine elected to the position of Middle East Regional Liaison. Mia Hajj, the fourth student, was elected to the position of Social Media Coordinator – Instagram on the Publications Subcommittee.
Being part of the ESC is a one-year commitment for all members, with specific duties for each position. In addition to selecting their successor, the Regional Chair must oversee the Regional Liaisons, assign them Student Chapters, and lead monthly calls to ensure that the Regional Liaisons are meeting with their assigned Student Chapters. The Chair is also responsible for broader administrative roles, hosting bi-annual all-region calls with the Region’s Student Chapter Presidents, ESC Officers, Regional Liaisons, and an AIChE Staff member in attendance, attending every All-ESC call held, and participating in monthly calls with the other Regional Chairs.
Regional Liaisons must correspond monthly with and help grow their assigned Student Chapters in their Region. They are also responsible for assisting with any problems the Chapters may encounter and serve as a liaison between the Student Chapters and the Regional Chair. Finally, they must attend every All-ESC call held and participate in monthly calls with the other Regional Liaisons.
The Social Media Coordinator – Instagram is responsible for managing the social media for ESC’s Instagram platform and creating a social media calendar, which he/she will share with the Publications Coordinator and Programming Director.
Each student had a reflection on their successes, responsibilities, and future plans.
“Being the newly elected Regional Chair for the Middle East Region is a great personal achievement as well as a large responsibility which lies on my shoulders,” said Elie Nader. “This opportunity will allow me to grow and improve my leadership skills and to collaborate and build relationships with other professional and undergraduate AIChE members from various regions in the world. After serving as a Regional Liaison during the academic year 2019-2020, I decided to apply for the Regional Chair’s position to help grow the Chemical Engineering field in the Middle East region and in my Student Chapter. NDU’s constant support and commitment to enhance the skills and abilities of its students as well as its motivation to serve the greater good have given me the proper background and have prepared me for this position and for the rest of my journey in life.”
“My plan is to help optimize the performance of the region's student chapters, increase their dynamism, and improve their interconnectedness,” said Regional Liaison, Samar Yammine. “The goal is to create a hub of dynamic and active chemical engineering students in the region. This will pave the way towards establishing a suitable and robust platform in the Middle East to host, receive, and attract international conferences, competitions, forums etc. related to chemical engineering gained by this more exposure. Let's set the bar high!”
Regional Liaison Karen Atallah said, “I believe that when one door of opportunity opens, it creates an opportunity for many more to open as well. To me, this door is a chance to widen my connections and diversify my perspectives. I hope to widen my network as much as possible and to help the student chapters and the chemical engineering field prosper domestically and regionally.”
Finally, Mia Hajj, Social Media Coordinator – Instagram, said, “I wish to grow and accomplish many plans in the future, and I believe that being a member of the ESC community is a great achievement. Not only will this allow me to meet and work with chemical engineering students from around the world, but also get an amazing experience that will help me so much in my career. I will help expand this community in as many ways as possible because everyone must know how great and friendly it is!”
“Even with the social and economic situation as well as the relatively young age of the program, future chemical engineers at NDU are now recognized as leaders in the region,” said Dr. Elias Feghali, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Advisor of the AIChE NDU student chapter.
The AIChE NDU Student Chapter celebrated as only chemical engineers know how: with India Pale Ale (IPA) they prepared themselves in a beer brewing workshop the Chapter organized in February.