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Entrepreneurial Mindset (EML) Modules for Chemical Engineering Courses

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Noelle K. Comolli Villanova University

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Noelle Comolli is an Associate Professor and the Chair of Chemical Engineering at Villanova University. Her research focuses on polymers for biomaterials and targeted drug delivery, as well as engineering education. She received her Ph.D. from Drexel University and her B.S. from University of Delaware, both in chemical engineering. Her interests are Chemical Engineering Education and Entrepreneurial Education.

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Jacob James Elmer Villanova University

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Dr. Elmer earned dual B.S. degrees in Biology and Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri Rolla in 2003 and obtained a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Ohio State University in 2007. After a short posdoc at Arizona State University and some adjunct teaching at Grand Canyon University, he secured an Assistant Professorship at Villanova University in the Chemical Engineering department. He currently teaches heat transfer and several biochemical engineering electives (Lab Techniques, Protein Engineering, etc.). His research focuses on developing novel blood substitutes and optimizing gene therapy treatments.

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Traditional chemical engineering curriculum focus on the math, science and engineering fundamentals culminating in a senior year process design course. These courses are excellent preparation for most chemical engineering jobs, but they typically omit very practical skills such as curiosity, connections and creating value. The lack of these fundamentals of the entrepreneurial mindset puts chemical engineers at a disadvantage in today’s workplace. The faculty at XX University have made the effort to focus on EML (entrepreneurial minded learning) by creating modules that can be implemented in already existing courses. These modules all vary in time scale, and application, but have the same goal: to introduce chemical engineers to the entrepreneurial mindset. This paper will review five different modules created and presented to students. The projects vary from elective courses (intro to biotechnology and polymer science) to required courses (heat transfer operations and process design). The projects included an attempt to explore a contrarian viewpoint by evaluating “bad” plastics, developing a new technology based upon RNA detection, design of a shower without electricity, 3-D printing of heat exchanger plates, and applying systems thinking (specifically heuristics) to a process design. The projects were all evaluated using student surveys and post implementation reflection by the faculty. In all cases the faculty believed the students gained some understanding of EM concepts. The authors believe these same modules can be implemented in similar classes at other institutions with equal success.

Comolli, N. K., & Elmer, J. J. (2018, June), Entrepreneurial Mindset (EML) Modules for Chemical Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30433

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