Towards Chemical Engineering Student Diversity: The Case of International Students Experiences at Tuskegee University

  • David Baah Tuskegee University
  • Tamara Floyd Smith Tuskegee University
  • Shamim Ara Begum Tuskegee University
  • Allen Smith Dr. Allen Smith is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Tuskegee University. He received B. S. and Ph.D. degrees from Auburn University and a M.S. from the University of Washington. He worked in the pulp and paper industry for 14 years after the M.S. before returning to school for the PhD. His research interests include Pulp and Paper, Energy from Biomass, Food Science, and Undergraduate education. His teaching responsibilities include Thermodynamics, Reaction Engineering, and Process Control.
  • K.C. Kwon Tuskegee University
  • Nader Vahdat Tuskegee University
Keywords: multicultural, environment, chemical engineering, achievement, trust

Abstract

Cultural integration of students and student population diversity play an important role in training college students, due to growing demand for diversity to solutions to human needs, the advancement of global economy and cultural understanding. This type of cultural integration has resulted in the new normal known as the multicultural classroom. However, studies have shown that multicultural classrooms are associated with low academic achievement due to cultural differences and trust problems within the new culture. As an HBCU, Tuskegee University is a multicultural environment and so is the Chemical Engineering Department. This study combines survey and focus group discussion to access the experiences of international students in the Chemical Engineering Department. The results suggest that while the issues of multicultural classrooms are experienced by internationals, such experiences are different for different students. Also, the students consider such experiences as part of the learning that makes them stronger upon graduation than when they enrolled.

Author Biographies

David Baah, Tuskegee University

Dr. David A. Baah is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Tuskegee University. His current research focuses on corrosion studies and service life of materials under extreme environmental conditions as well as the production and characterization of biochar for applications in soil enrichment, wastewater treatment and carbon sequestration.  Dr. Baah is also working on the studies of nanomaterials for energy storage applications. He is the presently the outreach coordinator of the Tuskegee University Saturday STEM Academy and Science Project Experience for K7-10 students, with aim of encouraging minority youth to study STEM related disciplines in college. 

Tamara Floyd Smith, Tuskegee University

Dr. Tamara Floyd Smith is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Tuskegee University.  She joined the faculty of Tuskegee University as an Assistant Professor in 2003.  She has an interest in diversifying STEM disciplines that has led to numerous K12 outreach activities and publications.  More recently, her interest has expanded to diversity climate in the context of international student populations in the HBCU environment.

Shamim Ara Begum, Tuskegee University

Shamim Ara Begum, P.E. (Ph.D. University of Nevada, Las Vegas) is an Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering Department at Tuskegee University. Begum’s research focuses on physicochemical treatment processes for water and wastewater. The goal of her research is to identify cost-effective bio-based adsorbents for the removal of heavy metals such as arsenic, chromium, mercury and lead, and nutrients from water. Various parameters are optimized, and kinetics and removal mechanisms are studied to accomplish her research goal. In addition, she is interested in the development and characterization of nanomaterials obtained from bio-based adsorbents to remove various pollutants from aqueous systems and understand the surface chemistry involved with the removal process. Using the adsorbents, filtration units can be designed to treat contaminated water in full-scale water and wastewater treatment plants. Her research on wastewater is based on the removal of cyanide and nutrients from wastewater using biological methods and aims to investigate the microbial population dynamics in the cyanide and nutrient removal system. Implications of this research are to the design and operation of the unit operations required for the removal of cyanide and nutrient in the full-scale wastewater treatment plant.

Allen Smith, Dr. Allen Smith is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Tuskegee University. He received B. S. and Ph.D. degrees from Auburn University and a M.S. from the University of Washington. He worked in the pulp and paper industry for 14 years after the M.S. before returning to school for the PhD. His research interests include Pulp and Paper, Energy from Biomass, Food Science, and Undergraduate education. His teaching responsibilities include Thermodynamics, Reaction Engineering, and Process Control.

Dr. Allen Smith is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Tuskegee University.  He received B. S. and Ph.D. degrees from Auburn University and a M.S. from the University of Washington.  He worked in the pulp and paper industry for 14 years after the M.S. before returning to school for the PhD.  His research interests include Pulp and Paper, Energy from Biomass, Food Science, and Undergraduate education.  His teaching responsibilities include Thermodynamics, Reaction Engineering, and Process Control. 

K.C. Kwon, Tuskegee University

Dr. K.C. Kwon is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Tuskegee University. His research interest is in the areas of coal liquefaction, process engineering, and catalyst optimization for Biodiesel production. His is also the ABET Coordinator for the Department of Chemical Engineering at Tuskegee University.

Nader Vahdat, Tuskegee University

Dr. Nader Vahdat is a professor of chemical engineering and serves as the head for chemical engineering department at Tuskegee University. He has thirty-five years of experience in Chemical Engineering Education and research. Expertise include: Adsorption of vapors and liquids on solids and its application in air pollution monitoring, water and waste water treatment and analysis, and respirator cartridges; Chemical polymer interaction with application in protective clothing materials, and membrane separation; Development of air monitoring instruments for aerosols and vapors; Development of fire extinguishing agents; Carbon dioxide capture from flue gas in power plants. Dr. Vahdat is a licensed professional engineer in Alabama. He received his PhD from the University of Manchester in England.

Published
2018-03-28
Section
Manuscripts