Department of Chemical Engineering chair Bill Epling gave opening remarks at the annual Chemical Engineering Research Symposium, known as CHEERS. Click HERE for more photos

CHEERS 2022, UVA’s annual Chemical Engineering Research Symposium, took place Friday, March 11, bringing together graduate students, faculty, alumni and industry experts to showcase research in the department and create networking opportunities for students.

This year’s keynote speaker was Tucker Norton, Cyrel Solutions general manager at Dupont. Norton, a Louis Rader Award recipient and 1997 chemical engineering Ph.D. alumnus, also received his MBA from the Darden School of Business.

In addition to students’ oral presentations and poster sessions highlighting research ranging from battery technology to tissue engineering, the daylong symposium included an industry panel in which CHE alumni shared experiences, insights and advice for Ph.D. students preparing to enter the workforce.

Alan Hunter (Ph.D. 2002), a senior director at AstraZeneca, kicked off the panel with a short presentation. He was then joined by Erica Hui (Ph.D. 2021), an investigator in downstream process development at GSK; Tara Tibbs Jones (M.S. 2001, Ph.D. 2003), vice president drug substance manufacturing at Amgen; and Rob Kasprow (M.S. 1997, Ph.D. 2000), an executive director at Merck.

CHEERS is organized by members of the Chemical Engineering Graduate Board, led by this year’s coordinator Tori Vigil.

“CHEERS not only showcases the great research coming out of our department, but also the supportive community that we have built,” said Vigil, a Ph.D. student in her second year. “Seeing our awesome alumni is a reminder that at the end of the day, a CHE Ph.D. from UVA not only represents a rigorous education, but also great personal and professional growth.”

Other Graduate Board members who were instrumental in organizing the symposium were Greg Grewal, the CHEERS 2020 coordinator, and president Rhea Braun, Vigil said, adding, “Our department first-year students were a tremendous help in day-of behind-the-scenes support.”

CHEERS 2022 was sponsored by GSK.