Electrochemical Energy Conversion: How Can I Successfully Integrate It into My Teaching and Research?

Tuesday, 26 May 2015: 11:00
PDR 7 (Hilton Chicago)
M. D. Gross (Wake Forest University)
In graduate school I researched a variety of electrochemical concepts and applications including electrodeposition, solid state ion and electron transport, electrode design, and fabrication and characterization of solid oxide fuel cells. Joining the Bucknell University Chemical Engineering department with this background, I had a lot of questions on my mind: What kind of research projects can I realistically tackle with undergraduates?; Can the research be high-quality?; Can I afford the equipment?; How do I efficiently and effectively advise undergraduate researchers?; What kind of electrochemistry electives would be appropriate?; Can I integrate electrochemistry into the core curriculum? During my time at Bucknell I was able formulate very positive responses to all of these questions. To summarize, I have advised 31 undergraduate researchers in the synthesis, design, and characterization of solid oxide fuel cell materials, electrodes, and devices. Fourteen of those undergraduates have co-authored journal publications, many in ECS journals. I was able to do this with a PUI startup budget (along with some ingenuity and undergraduate engineers!). I created an “Electrochemical Energy Conversion” elective course that teaches principles of electrochemistry and applies those principles to fuel cells and batteries. As a member of the CAChE (Computer Aids for Chemical Engineering) Fuel Cell Task Force, I created 11 educational modules that incorporate fuel cell concepts into the core chemical engineering curriculum. In developing all of these educational experiences, my goal was to create an environment that allows students to develop a sense of relevance, competence, and autonomy – key elements in supporting student intrinsic motivation. Here I will share and discuss these experiences and approaches.