ChBE Professors Win Curriculum Innovation Award

<p>Carson Meredith, Fani Boukouvala, and Martha Grover</p>

Carson Meredith, Fani Boukouvala, and Martha Grover

Five faculty members in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) shared the 2022 Curriculum Innovation Award presented by Tech’s Center for Teaching and Learning for the development of the Online Graduate Certificate in Data Science for the Chemical Industry (DSCI).

The winning faculty team included ChBE Professors Fani Boukouvala, Martha Grover, Andrew J. Medford, Carson Meredith, and David Sholl. This award includes a prize of $3,000, which they will share.

Launched in Fall 2020, the Online Graduate Certificate in DSCI is the only credential of its kind, preparing chemical engineers with the skills and expertise they need for the future of work.

As chemical, energy, and manufacturing companies worldwide race to take advantage of big data trends in what has become known as Industry 4.0, a key need for that sector is strong domain knowledge in chemical engineering coupled with skills in data science.

Zak Kuiper, data scientist for the Mosaic Company, said that the DSCI program is “the first to the table in answering a need which most of the chemical industry is just now realizing they have. It has allowed me to develop as a professional significantly quicker than I would have otherwise and has shaped how our organization has focused on the area of Data Science.”

Designed to be completed in one-to-two years, the certificate (offered in partnership with Georgia Tech Professional Education) consists of six hours of core courses (Data Analytics for Chemical Engineers and Data-driven Process Systems Engineering) on foundational data science methods, with a strong emphasis on applications in the chemical process industry. An additional six hours of electives provide the opportunity to focus on a specific area of interest and can be selected from within Georgia Tech’s prestigious online master's degree in analytics.

Companies including 3M and Dow Chemical have partnered with Georgia Tech to enroll their employees in the DSCI program to provide skills in the emerging field of data science and data analytics. At the same time, the courses are also available to resident Georgia Tech graduate students, as well as senior undergraduate students, who take the courses for credit toward their degrees.

Writing in support of DSCI's nomination for the Curriculum Innovation Award, 3M officials Cristina Thomas and Chris Jacobs, said, "We value this program so highly that 3M Corporate R&D has granted full ‘internal’ scholarships to 11 employees to date and plan to award more for the coming school year with full support from their managers."

The certificate is built upon two core courses (Data Analytics for Chemical Engineers, and Data-driven Process Systems Engineering)

Christopher Jones, the John F. Brock III School Chair of ChBE, said the certificate program is “not only a fabulous educational innovation, it is also a crucial thought-leadership platform, one where we are far ahead of the curve, offering programmatic innovations that other institutions are just starting to imagine. I am tremendously proud of our DSCI team – we are fortunate to have them as members of our community.”

Jackson Dean, BS ChBE 2021, a data science associate (pharmaceutical supply chain) for GlaxoSmithKline, said, “I found success in these courses due to the thoughtful design of each course, which fostered a high level of engagement….The combination of lecture videos and instructor-created code demo notebooks to act as the primary course material meant that I had multiple ways of learning the material.”

Dean added: “The curriculum of this certificate program directly addresses this need of creating data-fluent chemical engineers – teaching skills such as data management/cleaning, building machine learning models, and data visualization.”

The application deadline for Fall 2022 is May 1, 2022. Learn more.

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Walter Rich