Annual Meeting - At the Section's Annual Meetings, we have a global leader examine the the past or future of chemical engineering and offer views of what we can expect of the field or how a chemical engineer can lead in other areas affecting the wider world. Back to homepage.

Past Topics: “Is Engineering a Scientific Endeavor?” • “Great Inventions that Changed the World” • “Air Pollution Health Effects” • “What are Chemical Engineers and Why do We Need Them” • “The Future of Chemical Engineering (in 2010)”

: The Metro New York Section’s Annual Meeting is usual the kick-off meeting of the academic year in September or October.

Past Annual Meeting Speakers
2017 -
This past year’s Annual Meeting Speaker was Michelle Bryner, Lead Engineer, Facilitation Process Manager at the AIChE.

Earlier this summer, Michelle Bryner transitioned roles at AIChE from Senior Editor of Chemical Engineering Progress (CEP) to Lead Engineer — Facilitation Process Manager, where she leads the organization’s facilitation endeavors. In this role, Michelle is working with AIChE’s RAPID Institute to develop roadmaps that will guide the institute toward meeting its vision. Through its RAPID Institute, AIChE is working with key partners to increase efficiencies and lower capital cost through rapid advancement in process intensification deployment.
Michelle started her career as a Chemical Engineer at W.L. Gore (1998–2004), where she was a Process Development Associate, and led international teams to bring Gore-Tex products to market — and conducted field trials with National Outdoor Leadership School in Alaska, Washington, Scotland, and South America, to test new Gore-Tex® products.
She went back to school and earned a master’s degree in science, health, and environmental reporting from NYU, and put her journalism skills to work as an editor at
Chemical Week magazine (2006–08) and a freelance science writer for consumer science magazines and specialty publications, including Popular Science, Psychology Today, and websites,, and
In 2011, Michelle joined AIChE as a Senior Editor of CEP, where she covered topics ranging from metamaterials (what they are and how they’re being used), to supercomputer advancements, to what’s up in biotechnology.
Michelle has a B.Ch.E. from the University of Delaware, and an M.A. in science journalism from New York University. In her free time, she trains in Muay Thai kickboxing.

2016 -
In 2016, Kristine Chin, Director of Conferences, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, discussed “The Chemical Engineer in Today’s World. Global Opportunities, New Technologies, plus Salary Survey Update”
Bio: Kristine Chin graduated from The Cooper Union School for the Advancement of Science and Art (New York) in 1995 with a master’s degree in chemical engineering. She started out in a traditional chemical engineering job in an R&D laboratory. One year later, she opted for a different career path as an editor for, at first, Chemical Engineering magazine, and then a start-up of her own magazine, ePlant. After two years of running her own magazine, Kristine was recruited to become the Editor-in-Chief of AIChE’s flagship publication Chemical Engineering Progress (CEP). After nearly seven years of running CEP, Kristine decided to shift gears and become the Manager of Technical Programming for AIChE. In this position, she helped to launch two new regional conferences, as well as provide full support for the AIChE Spring Meeting. Kristine was promoted to Director of Conferences, her current position at AIChE. There, she is responsible for the overall programming and logistics of general chemical engineering meetings, including the prestigious AIChE Annual and Spring Meetings. (Source:

2015 -
For 2015, Dr. Cheryl I. Teich, Reaction Engineering Expertise Leader in Dow Chemical’s Engineering Solutions Technology Center offered her views on the "Future of Chemical Engineering"

chemical engineering
Bio: Dr. Cheryl Teich is the Reaction Engineering Expertise Leader in Dow Chemical’s Engineering Solutions Technology Center. She joined Dow during its 2009 Rohm and Haas acquisition, and recently marked her 30th anniversary with the combined company. Cheryl holds BS (MIT), MS (MIT), and PhD (Stevens Institute of Technology) degrees in chemical engineering. She has spent her career negotiating the interfaces between R&D, manufacturing, and business functions. She considers herself an “expert generalist” in process development, reaction engineering and problem solving. She also served as President of the AIChE at that time.

2014 - For 2014’s Annual Meeting, we had Dr. Stuart Kurtz examine the question “Is Engineering a Scientific Endeavor?”

Bio: Stuart Kurtz graduated from MIT with an S.B. in Chemical Engineering, and from Princeton with an M.S. degree in Polymer Engineering followed by an M.A. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. He taught at RPI in Chemical Engineering, and in Brazil as Professor Titular in Materials Engineering. This was followed by a career in industry accumulating around 30 patents and numerous papers and several awards. No longer obliged to earn a living, he focuses on Philosophy and Science, and climbing mountains because they are there.

2013 -
For 2013’s Annual Meeting, Dr. James Wei, Emeritus Professor and former Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University, and the Author of “Great Inventions that Changed the World” explored the role of inventors and inventions in fueling innovation and global advancement.

Great Inventions
Bio: Dr. James Wei, received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952, M.S. and Sc.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 1954 and 1955 (with a minor in Fine Arts from Harvard). He also has a degree in Advanced Management from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1969.

He began his career as a Research Chemical Engineer for Mobil Oil Research in 1955, and advanced to Manager of Long-Range Analysis by 1969. From 1971-1977, he was the Allan P. Colburn Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He joined MIT in 1977 where he served as Department Head of Chemical Engineering until 1988, and was the Warren K. Lewis Professor from 1977-1991. Between 1991 and 2002, he was Dean of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University. From 1991-2010, he was also Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical Engineering at Princeton University. He is now Emeritus Professor.

Dr. Wei has published more than 130 research papers on chemical kinetics, catalysis, reaction engineering, and cancer chemotherapy. He is the author of many books, including “Product Engineering” with Oxford University Press in 2007, and “Great Inventions that Changed the World” with John Wiley in 2012.

He served as the president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 1988. Among Dr. Wei's honors are: Award in Petroleum Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, 1966; Professional Progress Award from American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 1970; Member of the National Academy of Engineering, 1978; William H. Walker Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 1980; Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1982; Member of Academia Sinica, 1982. He was designated one of thirty "Eminent Chemical Engineers," at the AIChE Diamond Jubilee Meeting, 1983; and Founders Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for contributions to the profession, 1990. He was chosen as one of “One Hundred Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era”, at the Centennial Celebration of the AIChE in 2008.

2012 -
For 2012, Dr. Morton Lippman, a global expert in this topic, examine the fields of human-exposure assessment and air-pollution health effects. Download flyer.
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Bio: Dr. Morton Lippmann, Professor in the Dept. of Environmental Medicine at NYU's School of Medicine. Dr. Lippmann is a leader in the fields of human-exposure assessment and air-pollution health effects. Winner of the 2012 Cooper Union's Alumni Award - Gano Dunn Award for Engineering (see photo above of Dr. Lippmann accepting the Gano Dunn Award) based on his outstanding contribution to the field of environmental health. As a scientist with national and international recognition, Dr. Lippmann has conducted rigorous research studies to improve our understanding of the health effects of air pollution.

2011 - Annual Meeting Speaker, John K. Smith, Associate Professor of History at Lehigh University, examined the question What are chemical engineers and why do we need them?

Sources: Google Books and Ai Control Systems
Bio: Prof. John K. Smith, Associate Professor of History at Lehigh University. Professor Smith received a B.S. in chemical engineering and B.A. in history for the University of Delaware, an M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Delaware. Before becoming a historian, Prof. Smith worked as a chemical engineer at W.L. Gore and Associates and Air Products and Chemicals. He is the co-author of Science and Corporate Strategy, Du Pont R&D, 1902-1980. He has also written a number of articles on research and innovation in the chemical industry, and is currently working on a book entitled Octane: The Search for Better Gasoline and Cleaner Air.

2010 - At our First Annual Meeting Speaker, AIChE Executive Director explored The Future of Chemical Engineering just one year after the AIChE celebrated its own one hundredth anniversary.

Source: Washington Univ. in St. Louis Dept. of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering (WUSTL)

Bio: June Wispelwey is the Executive Director at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Before she became AIChE Executive Director, Ms. Wispelwey served as Executive Director of the Society for Biological Engineering, overseeing its successful launch and growth. Previously, she served as Vice President of Marketing Services at Aventis Behring, and as Director of Performance Chemicals Business Development at Lyondell. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Princeton University and a Master’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, June began her career at Lyondell. She also completed an executive education program at the Wharton School.
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