Select students from the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University have been recognized as distinguished members of their Spring 2010 graduating class.

At a reception honoring the department’s spring graduates, Mark Deimund of Oklahoma City was named recipient of the department’s Outstanding Graduating Senior Award.

In addition, Bryan Holekamp of San Antonio received the 2010 Senior Award from the RHO Chapter of Omega Chi Epsilon, the national honor society for chemical engineering.

Also honored at the graduate reception were student recipients of the Chemical Engineering Excellence Spring 2010 Senior Award. Those students are Evan Cherry, John Cortines, John Duensing, David Goodwin, Scott Kolodziej, Trevor Lane, Amy Lindsey, Frank Malek, Grant Martin, Alan Mitchell, Darrell Raasch and Steven.

Addressing the students and their families in attendance, Professor Mark T. Holtzapple emphasized the significance of the graduates’ upcoming careers to the financial health of the nation as well as reminded them of their responsibility to the many people in the industry who depend on their expertise for safety.

About 25 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product relates to the chemical industry, so the average chemical engineer, Holtzapple said, is responsible for about $44 million of contributions to the $14 trillion GDP of the United States.

“You will be the intellectual leaders of a very important industry to this nation,” Holtzapple said.

In addition, winners of the department’s Spring 2010 Plant Design Competition received their awards. The competition, which was part of a senior-level course aimed at preparing students for the types of assignments they’re likely to see in a professional environment, tasked student groups with designing a gas processing plant. In recognition of their achievements, each of the top three teams received honorariums from the Fluor Corp., the competition’s sponsor for this semester.

Written by Ryan Garcia,