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Making Memories The Penn State Bioprocessing Cluster Program 2000 2002

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Life Sciences and ChE

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.880.1 - 9.880.15

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Paper Authors

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Alfred Carlson

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session # 3613

Making Memories The Penn State Bioprocessing Cluster Program 2000-2002

Alfred Carlson Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology


As part of a larger National Science Foundation grant to Penn State, I ran a special hands- on, “real life” educational program in bioprocessing for senior chemical engineers. The students took all of their courses for the spring semester, senior year, from a single instructor and pooled them into a seamless laboratory project to produce a recombinant protein at pilot plant scale. The students were able to learn how to design experiments, plan and execute runs, and operate a variety of equipment while they learned the biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, and theoretical aspects of bioprocessing. The students were tested for knowledge, comprehension, and application level understanding before and after the program and were asked to evaluate their learning experiences as compared to the rest of their undergraduate experience at Penn State. The students were filmed giving presentations of their work and their writing was sampled and evaluated throughout the program. Judging from their responses, the program was highly preferred over traditional classroom work by the students. The instructor saw significant improvement in the knowledge base of the students and their report writing abilities during this program. This paper will present the structure of the program and discuss the lessons learned and potential of similar programs for teaching bioprocessing to engineers.


Large universities with large classes can offer a wonderful learning atmosphere for students. Lectures give the listener the opportunity to hear many different ideas and get instruction from people with many different viewpoints and backgrounds. Over the typical 4 or 5 year period at a large university, it would not be unusual for a student to have 2 or 3 classes taught by faculty who are members of the National Academy of Science or National Academy of Engineering. However, for all the educational variety and other advantages, there are several negative aspects to learning at a large university. First, there is often little opportunity for students to do hands-on, tactile learning since most courses are lecture courses. A typical undergraduate in chemical would only be exposed to a laboratory 2 or 3 times during their undergraduate education and some of those labs would be highly structured. Second, since most lecture courses are large, (> 25 students) students don’t normally get to

“Proceeding of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright @ 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Carlson, A. (2004, June), Making Memories The Penn State Bioprocessing Cluster Program 2000 2002 Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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