Chemical engineering senior honored by American Institute of Chemical Engineers

May 28, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State chemical engineering senior Bailyn Bench recently received the 2019 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Outstanding Senior Award.

The award, granted by the Central Pennsylvania Local Section of AIChE, annually recognizes a chemical engineering senior who has had outstanding scholastic, leadership and service achievements.

“Bailyn was extraordinarily proactive and focused on every project or task she started,” Darrell Velegol, distinguished professor of chemical engineering, said. “She knew how to get it rolling, gather the team, and get the job done.”

Bench served as president of the student AIChE chapter, coordinating an executive board of 22 officers across a wide range of activities. This included coordinating the 2019 AIChE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, which was hosted at Penn State and attended by more than 350 faculty and students.

“I am most proud of how much I have grown as a leader,” Bench said. “I have had leadership positions in the past, but being the president of AIChE was very different. I was asked to make decisions that were very challenging for me. I am very proud that I was able to be decisive and keep the students as the main focus of every decision.”

This leadership included coming up with innovative ideas to help her fellow chemical engineering students succeed.

“This year Bailyn had the idea of having career-oriented workshops for her AIChE colleagues,” Velegol said. “She contacted me, scheduled the room for the workshops, arranged for food, and pulled together a wonderful set of evenings that I was honored to be part of.”

Along with her AIChE duties, Bench has served as the president of the Chem-E Car Team, an AIChE competition where students design and construct a model car powered by a chemical energy source. She also served as the fundraising chair for the Society of Women Engineers, including being part of the group's THON team. She also was active in Penn State’s student community service organization, Boulevard.

Bench credits the Penn State faculty for inspiring her to push herself to achieve her goals.

“All of the professors from my classes have worked with me personally to ensure that I am learning the material and achieving my potential,” Bench said. “They are so open to getting to know each student, even in a class of 200. They are all truly kindhearted people and have given the students a voice to customize our education.”

While Bench has already achieved a lot as a student, Velegol believes this is just the beginning for her.

“I think this extraordinary graduate from our department will have a bright career,” he said. “She's technically grounded and has tremendous skills with people and organization. That combination is going to enable her to win some big victories.”

Last Updated May 28, 2019