2019 Rocky Mountain Regionals Recap

From 4/5- 4/7, UNM AIChE headed up to the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO for the AIChE Rocky Mountain Regional Conference. While the National Conference encompasses all the AIChE student and professional chapters from around the country, Regionals focuses on the local sections, which offers the unique opportunity to meaningfully network with a closer group of people and schools.

Some of the activities at conference include…

  • Touring the host school/city
  • Social mixers
  • Jeopardy competition
  • Chem-E-Car competition
  • Poster competition
  • Paper competition
  • Professional workshops

The highlights for UNM were the Poster competition and the Chem-E-Car competition.

Poster Competition

Several of the AIChE members participated in the Poster Competition and presented their research.

As stated on the Regionals website: “The criteria that [the] posters will be evaluated with is primarily based on the  presentation of the poster and the formatting of the information present within the poster. The aspects of the presentation that will be evaluated are how concise, engaging, and informative the presentation is. The poster will be graded on efficiency of presentation of information, professional formatting, and originality. Try to keep the presentation at ~5 minutes.”

Everyone did a wonderful job on presenting their work. In fact, one of the participants, Angelea Maestas (pictured left), did so well that she claimed an award for her work under Jeff Brinker on “The Endocytotic Fate of a Mesoporous Silica Supported Lipid Bilayer CRISPR Delivery Vehicle.

Congratulations Angelea on your win, and good job to everyone who participated in this competition!

Chem-E-Car Competition

After a whole year of working on this project, the UNM Chem-E-Car team finally competed in the Chem-E-Car competition with their car, “Al.”

The first part of the competition consisted of a poster competition, where members presented the special features and safety aspects of their car to a panel of judges. If the judges deem this car safe, and the poster has received a score of at least a 70%, the team may proceed to the floor for the actual competition.

The team placed 3rd in the poster competition. The poster can be viewed in the Farris Engineering building next to the back entrance of the student lounge.

According to the official rules outlined by the AIChE website, one of the main objectives of Chem-E-Car is to “design and construct a car that is powered with a chemical energy source that will carry a specified load over a given distance and stop.” The placement is based on the distance the car stops from the given distance, which is defined as the “absolute value of the distance between the front-most part of the car and the finish line.” Each team gets 2 attempts.

The given distance for this competition was 17 meters, while the load was 343 mL of water. Al, powered off of Aluminum-Air “burrito” batteries, stopped 50 cm before the finish line when the Vitamin C Iodine Clock reaction finished. This was the closest that any car had gotten to the line, placing UNM at first! Because of this, Al also qualifies for the 2019 National Chem-E-Car competition next fall in Orlando, FL.

Congratulations to the UNM Chem-E-Car team, and good luck as they advance to Nationals!


The conference attendees at the awards banquet.

UNM AIChE had a blast at the Regional Conference, and took home many awards. Next year’s Regionals will be held at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, NM. Hopefully we will be able to take more people, and achieve greater things!

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