UND Chemical Engineering faculty member, collaborators to help students gain international experience

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News Article

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College of Engineering & Mines


Chester Fritz Professor Wayne Seames to co-lead students to UK university for research project each of next three summers

University of North Dakota faculty member Wayne Seamesdoesn’t need to figure out where to go on vacation the next three summers.

Seames, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, will be taking three separate cohorts of five engineering students to the University of Leeds thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) International Research for Students (IRES) program. Chemical Engineering is part of the UND College of Engineering & Mines (CEM).

Seames, the principal investigator, and co-principal investigator Winny Dong of the California State Polytechnic University at Pomona Engineering College (CPP), and international host Professor William Gale, the director the Energy Research Institute at the University of Leeds (UoL), were recently awarded $250,000 for a three year program to establish an IRES focused on technologies to mitigate global climate change.

“The program aims to provide student opportunities for participation in high quality, globally relevant research conducted through a U.S.-UK collaborative partnership,” said Seames.

The program also will boost student awareness of global climate change and strategies to address this crisis.

“We also want to expose undergraduates from non-doctoral institutions, especially those from under-represented groups, to engineering research and its potential as a future career opportunity,” said Seames, who’s expended a lot of effort to engage students in research activities.

“We also want to expose U.S. students to a different culture, one that has had great influence on the U.S. and with which the U.S. frequently collaborates,” Seames said. “We want to foster U.S.-UK research partnerships.”

Students selected for this program will participate in a year-long program beginning in January.

They will learn about their topics and develop the skills they need to perform their research under the guidance of a faculty researcher at either UND or CPP.

At UND, research advisors are participants from the North Dakota SUNRISE program and the CEM Institute for Energy Studies. CPP research advisors are faculty in the College of Engineering.

During the summer, the students spend nine weeks at UoL conducting research under the direction of a UoL host researcher. Upon their return, the students will work up their results for publication and presentation to a variety of audiences.

Students also will be matched up with British student ambassadors so they can learn about life in the UK from their peers. They will also participate in technical and cultural field trips.

“This program represents another step in the long-term collaboration between UND and CPP that began a decade ago when I and Dong initiated discussions on a multi-faceted collaboration between the two institutions,” Seames said. “The two universities also have an articulation agreement to accept each other’s courses and a combined BS at CPP/MS at UND program. CPP chemical engineering students have also participated in the SUNRISE REU programs over the past 10 years.

“It also furthers the UND and UoL energy research collaboration that Professor Gale at UoL and I began with my Developmental Leave assignment and Fulbright Distinguished Chair at Leeds during the 2014-15 academic year,” Seames said.