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Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Civil Engineering Building, which houses the department of chemical and environmental engineering

We offer BS, MS and PhD degrees in both chemical and environmental engineering. Our programs are large enough to attract recruiters from a variety of industries, including consulting firms, government, manufacturing, petroleum, semiconductors and utilities – but small enough for individual attention. We encourage our undergraduates to become involved in research projects funded by industry, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and other organizations.

A hand pushes aside foliage to reveal a line of windmills across a river.

Recently, chemical and environmental engineering student Zach Westman travelled to Europe as part of an Advanced Honors Trip, and spoke about his experiences in the first UA Travel Abroad Student Spotlight.

"I've never traveled abroad before, so the opportunity to do so while exploring STEM topics was really appealing to me," said Westman, who visited both London and Leiden, the Netherlands, during his travels.

Westman said the program gave him a global perspective on his life goals, exposing him to worldwide issues to which he could apply his UA education.

As of Jan. 21, Westman has taken over the UA Study Abroad Instagram page, and his photos and those of other study abroad students are available there.

The next UA Study Abroad program will run summer 2019.

CHEE professor Kim Ogden has made headlines recently for being named head of the UA’s new Sustainable Bioeconomy for Arid Regions Center and 2019 president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

The new UA center, which will research the efficient growth of plants and algae to use as biofuels, is funded by a five-year grant of up to $15 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Research will focus on guar, a legume that can be used to recover gas and oil in fracking operations, and guayule, a flowering shrub that produces organic resins and natural rubber. Both plants grow well in the Southwest, and researchers hope their work will serve as an example of how to produce biofuels in dry climates.

Ogden was first elected to the AIChE board of directors in 2014. Her appointment to AIChE makes...

From left to right, Carlos Weiler, Stephanie Gustavsson and Kira ZeiderStephanie Gustavsson, Carlos Weiler and Kira Zeider talk about their first semester as CHEE majors.

Tell us a little about yourself and where you are from.

Stephanie: I’m a Swedish citizen and from an American point of view I would classify myself as a nontraditional student. I started college at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles when I was 22, which is later than most of my American friends. I spent my time off school working and travelling, going on adventures, and gaining valuable life experience. Mostly I had fun.

Carlos: I’m a sophomore dual majoring in chemical engineering and environmental engineering, with a minor in Spanish. I am a diehard Wildcat, born and raised in Tucson. I’m in the Tau Beta Pi honor society and involved with other clubs on campus. I volunteer at the local animal shelter when I can and in my spare time I like to run and play soccer...

UA EWB Travel Team and Community LeadershipThe UA’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders, or EWB, offers a place for the next generation of engineers to learn, grow, and lead projects of a magnitude they don’t typically experience in school, according to Sarah Moore.

Moore, former international project manager and current secretary of the EWB Mountain Region’s steering committee, has been a part of the organization since she first started her undergraduate career at the University of Arizona, where she is a doctoral candidate in CHEE. While working with EWB, Moore traveled to Bolivia in 2015 and to the Dominican Republic in January 2017. The project in the Dominican Republic is focused on irrigation.

“The community relies on rainwater for crops and wells, so we are working on an irrigation project that would help them have water year-round,” she said. The club plans to go back to the Dominican Republic in a few months to continue surveying the land in preparation for implementation.

An important part of...

UA chemical and environmental engineering alumna and environmental engineer Sofia Laughland recently introduced Anchorage School District girls to the world of math and science careers.

The goal is to get girls considering STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- careers earlier in their education.

As part of a partnership between Anchorage School District, the Girl Scouts of Alaska and ExxonMobil, Laughland participated in Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, teaching students how cosmetics and chemical engineering go hand-in-hand during her science lesson on lip gloss.

"Most people when they think about engineering don't think about makeup. They think about oil and gas or Procter & Gamble manufacturing. But makeup gets manufactured as well," Laughland explained.

UA research associate Bob Seaman and Chris Yazzie, a master's degree student in environmental engineering, fasten solar panels to the roof of the bus that will purify water in Navajo Nation.

Kimberly Ogden, professor of chemical and environmental engineering, is helping develop a STEM traineeship to support food, energy and water security, or FEWS, in the Navajo Nation.

Led by Karletta Chief, assistant professor in the UA Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, the NSF-funded traineeship will focus initially on building the program and recruiting students, with enrollment beginning in August 2018.

Once enrolled, at least 26 graduate students will major in STEM disciplines while completing internships, a FEWS-themed minor, professional development and immersion in indigenous communities.


University of Arizona College of Engineering