Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sabatini to Receive International Service Award

A University of Oklahoma professor, David A. Sabatini, has been selected to receive the 2017 International Association of Hydrogeologists, U.S. National Chapter’s International Service Award for his many years of promoting sustainable water resources projects in developing and impoverished countries, particularly through the creation of the OU Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Center. Sabatini has shown outstanding commitment to the international community and its groundwater needs.

“This award is well-deserved and reflects the international stature of Professor David Sabatini in his field,” said OU President David L. Boren. “No one has done more to help develop safe water for those who desperately need it. The OU family is very grateful to Dr. Sabatini.”

Sabatini, David Ross Boyd Professor and Sun Oil Company Endowed Chair of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science in the Gallogly College of Engineering, is being recognized as director of the OU Water Center and for his career-long commitment to improving the lives of others through the development of water technologies. He will receive the prestigious service award at the 2017 Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Seattle on Oct. 24.

Sabatini founded the OU Water Center in 2006 to promote peace by advancing health, education and economic development through sustainable water and sanitation solutions for impoverished regions. As the organization’s director, he has been integral in the success of the center and the biennial International Water Conference, which is designed to bring together participants from multiple disciplines worldwide in response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of bringing water and sanitation to emerging global regions.

Sabatini has vast experience in Water Technologies for Emerging Regions, including integrating culture/behavior, business/supply chain, and technology in pursuit of sustainable solutions. His other research interests include groundwater quality management fate and transport of pollutants in the groundwater environment, surfactant-based technologies for expediting remediation of subsurface contamination use of passive treatment; and water and wastewater treatment, which is the treatment and/or recovery of municipal and industrial water and wastewater streams utilizing physiochemical systems with an emphasis on surfactant-contaminant separation and surfactant reuse.

Among other outstanding awards Sabatini has received throughout his career are the Steven K. Dentel Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Award for Global Outreach; the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Teaching from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence; the David L. Boren Award for Outstanding Global Engagement for the University of Oklahoma; the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Illinois Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association; the Gallogly College of Engineering Pursuit of Excellence Award; and the Water Environment Federation Award of Merit for Work in Developing Countries.
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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Bymasters give back with endowed scholarship

Adam and Kristin Bymaster, 2004 CBME graduates, have established the Bymaster Endowed Scholarship taking advantage of ExxonMobil’s matching gift program for employees. Recently, we had the opportunity to ask the Bymasters about their time at OU, their careers with ExxonMobil and why they chose an endowed scholarship as the vehicle for giving back to the University of Oklahoma. 

How did you (Kristin) arrive at your current role at ExxonMobil?

My career began with three internships at ExxonMobil, which were found using OU’s Career Services department and through OU’s Minority Engineering Program.  Upon completion of my bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, I was hired full-time by ExxonMobil in May of 2004.  I have held multiple positions, beginning as an offshore facilities engineer and progressing into various technical leadership roles for assets across the United States.  In 2013, I moved to XTO Energy (an ExxonMobil subsidiary) as a Business Development analyst.  My current role is Midstream Engineering Manager for East Texas, South Texas, and Appalachia.

CBME Alumnae receive AIChE 35 Under 35 Award

Ashlee Ford Versypt and Kendall Werts, OU CBME alumnae, are among the recipients of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) 35 Under 35 Award.  An initiative of AIChE’s Young Professionals Committee, with support from the AIChE Foundation, the AIChE 35 Under 35 Award was created to acknowledge the early-career successes of some of AIChE’s youngest members, all under the age of 35, and to promote the accomplishments of the new generation of chemical engineers. The award winners were selected based on their achievements in one of seven categories: bioengineering, chemicals, education, energy, innovation, leadership, and safety.

Ashlee Ford Versypt, is an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Oklahoma State University and a member of the OKChE Advisory Board.  Dr. Ford Versypt directs the Systems Biomedicine & Pharmaceutics research laboratory at the intersection of chemical engineering, computational science and engineering, applied mathematics, biomedical science, and pharmaceutical science.  She has advised 15 undergraduate research students and three graduate research assistants and teaches process controls, reaction engineering, and an elective on scientific computing.  In addition, she has been honored with the CEAT Excellent Teacher Award, Outstanding Poster Presentation Award, New York Academy of Sciences Symposium on Chronic Kidney Disease, and more.

Kendall Werts works in the safety and health compliance group of Linde Gas, where she ensures that all North and South American plants are compliant with regulatory and corporate safety and health programs. She is an active AIChE member and serves as a Technical Steering Committee member for the Center for Chemical Process Safety. In addition, Kendall serves as vice president and chair for the Loss Prevention Committee, where she organizes the 11a track at the Global Congress on Process Safety. Among her awards is the Linde Engineering Mentorship Program Award.

In congratulating the honorees, AIChE Executive Director June Wispelwey said, “the winners exemplify the best of our profession, and represent the breadth and diversity of chemical engineering career paths and practitioners.”

AIChE announced the recipients in the August 2017 issue of its flagship magazine Chemical Engineering Progress (CEP), and are profiled online in AIChE’s ChEnected blog (www.aiche.org/chenected).  A 35 Under 35 Award reception will be held at the 2017 AIChE Annual Meeting, October 29 – November 3, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Organizations and non-members of AIChE may purchase copies of the August 2017 issue of CEP containing the 35 Under 35 Award winners by contacting AIChE Customer Service at 800-242-4363 (outside the U.S., 203-702-7660) or customerservice@aiche.org.



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Steven Crossley receives NSF Early CAREER Award

OU CBME associate professor, Steven P. Crossley, Sam A. Wilson Professor and Roger and Sherry Teigen Presidential Professor, is the recipient of a five-year, National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award in the amount of $548,829 for research that can be used to understand catalysts that are important for a broad range of chemical reactions ranging from the production of renewable fuels and chemicals for natural gas processing. The research will be integrated with educational and outreach programs intended for American Indian students, emphasizing the importance of sustainable energy.

“The NSF CAREER award is partly in recognition of the important work that Steve has already done in the field of catalysis. It is one of the highest honors a young faculty member can receive. We look forward to him doing great things in the future,” said Brian P. Grady, CBME director.

Crossley is also a faculty mentor for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. The project entitled, “SusChEM:CAREER:Using unique synthesis techniques and reaction kinetics to quantify and manipulate catalytically active sites in metal-reducible oxide systems,” will provide a detailed understanding of active sites and atom transfer processes involved in catalytic conversion of bio-oil molecules derived from biomass.

“We are proposing a new method to quantify the role of different catalytically active sites under harsh reaction conditions that are commonly challenging to decouple. Our findings should help to clarify confusion in the literature while providing valuable information necessary for improved catalyst design,” said Crossley.

Biomass conversion processes typically create a broad range of oxygenated intermediates that are treated further by catalytic processes to remove excess oxygen and build longer chain hydrocarbons attractive as fuel components and chemical intermediates. The efficient conversion requires multifunctional catalysts—typically composed of metal and metal oxide active sites—capable of several simultaneous or sequential reaction steps. While it is well understood that different types of active sites are required for different reactions, the exact nature of those sites and their ideal proximity is not known.


This study will examine those factors by decoupling metal sites from reducible metal oxide sites using carbon nanotube bridges as hydrogen shuttles. By eliminating direct contact between the metal and metal oxide components, and by varying the metal-metal oxide spacing along the carbon nanotubes, the study will provide an opportunity to examine independently two important aspects of bifunctional catalysis on reducible metal oxides: metal-support interactions and hydrogen spillover effects vary with different types of molecules common to biomass deconstruction processes. For more information on the study, contact Crossley at stevencrossley@ou.edu.