Undergraduate Research in Chemical Engineering: Benefits and Best Practices


  • Christy Wheeler West University of South Alabama
  • Joseph H. Holles New Mexico State University




Undergraduate research is widely recognized as a high-impact practice in higher education, but pressures on new faculty may make them hesitant to engage in the potentially time-consuming mentorship of undergraduate researchers.  The objective of our workshop was to inspire and equip faculty to engage undergraduates in their laboratories and research programs both to enrich the educational experience of the students and to enhance faculty research productivity.  The workshop covered benefits to students as well as benefits and challenges to faculty.  Tools to help plan an individual student projects were presented.  We also covered information on alternatives to individual projects to increase student and faculty productivity.  These included course-based undergraduate research experiences and undergraduate research seminar courses.

Author Biographies

Christy Wheeler West, University of South Alabama

Christy Wheeler West, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of South Alabama, where she has also served for five years as the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. She is currently the Chair of the Education Division of AIChE. She earned her B.S. from the University of Alabama and her Ph.D. from Georgia Tech. ORCID: 0000-0003-0172-7212

Joseph H. Holles, New Mexico State University

Joseph H. Holles, Ph.D., is Professor and Department Chair of Chemical and Materials Engineering at New Mexico State University. He is an Associate Editor for Chemical Engineering Education. He earned a BS from Iowa State University and a MS and PhD from the University of Virginia. ORCID: 0000-0003-0390-8295





Summer School Special Section