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Chemical engineering AggiE_Challenge team

The 2016 Engineering Project showcase provided an opportunity for students to display and demonstrate their projects designed to solve real-world engineering problems. More than 700 students gathered in the Hall of Champions at Texas A&M University’s Kyle Field to showcase more than 150 projects. Industry representatives from nearly 40 different companies also attended the event.

Among the participants were 16 teams from the AggiE_Challenge program. AggiE_Challenge is a college of engineering program designed to actively engage engineering undergraduate students in multidisciplinary team projects related to the engineering challenges facing our society.


The team under Dr. Zhengdong Cheng in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering placed first among the 16 AggiE_Challenge teams. The team also tied for the top overall prize at the showcase. Its project, “Mitigation Methods for Accidental Offshore Oil Spillages,” focused on exploring ways in which oil spillages at sea can be effectively cleaned up to minimize their environmental impact. When oil is spilled offshore, the remote location’s harsh conditions make the oil spill response difficult. In an open water region, the spilled oil could spread quickly due to natural forces such as gravity, wind, current, and wave effects. The team explored unique methods to quickly mitigate the spill and prevent its spreading.


Under the supervision and guidance of Cheng and graduate mentor Lecheng Eric Zhang, the team worked on the project for two semesters.

Team members include Monica Cuerno, Andrew Nguyen, Chang-Hyun Choi, Khuong Le, Matthew Carlin, Ehab Abo Deeb, Magy Avedissian, and Nian Wei Tan.

“Through researching experiences, I know that teamwork is the most important factor for the success of any project,” said Zhang. “That’s why I always encourage my students to build professional relationships and learn to work together. Outside of weekly meetings, I encouraged them to have more bonding time by planning game nights where we could all play games together.”

“I think that the most important thing that I’ve learned from AggiE_Challenge is to take leadership,” said Cuerno. “I think it’s important for you to be able to take leadership so that you can learn valuable things from the experience.”

The undergraduate students are grateful the opportunity provided by the college of engineering AggiE_Challenge program to allow them to participate in and experience research in their education career. Since 2012, more than 750 students have participated in the program. The college of engineering with the AggiE_Challenge program is a member of the national Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) Consortium of 20 or more institutions from around the world. For more information on the program, visit the AggiE_Challenge website.