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Lamar’s Lou Receives Highest Honor of American Institute of Chemical Engineers


Lamar Chemical Engineering Professor Helen Lou has been distinguished as an American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Fellow. The distinction is only bestowed on those members of AIChE who are an important resource to the organization providing experience-based guidance to leadership and membersHelen Lou and who contribute to the activities of AIChE.

Through a colleague nomination process that required at least five letters of peer support, AIChE Board of Directors election and general recommendation of the AIChE Admissions Committee, Lou achieved the organization’s highest grade of membership.

In one of the letters in support of Lou, Dr. Danny Reible, Donovan Maddox Distinguished Engineering Chair, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering at Texas Tech University, said, “Her strong professional record as well as her strong support and leadership roles in AIChE make her an excellent candidate for an AIChE Fellow.”

As a member of AIChE, Lou has served as the organization’s director of the Fuels and Petrochemicals Division; she’s held several positions on the Sustainable Engineering Forum (SEF) including Forum vice chair and programming committee chair; she has been chair of two topical conferences in sustainability and Award Committee chair for SEF; she also served as liaison to the International Society of Water Solutions.

Reible said second to her commitment to serve the AIChE, is Lou’s dedication to solve problems. “Helen has been at Lamar University since 2001 and since that time has applied fundamental chemical engineering knowledge to an increasingly varied set of environmental problems including sustainability and sustainable design,” wrote Reible. “Throughout, she has been a leader in elevating these problems to the attention of AIChE and encouraging AIChE and its members to address these problems.”

Lou’s activity is not limited to AIChE. She has published 12 book chapters, more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and conducted more than 100 conference presentations.  She was honored as Lamar University Professor in 2013, University Scholar in 2009 and the recipient of University Merit Award in 2004.  She received AIChE Sustainable Engineering Forum Education Award in 2014.  She successfully implemented more than 40 research projects, ranging from process safety, clean combustion, flare minimization, remediation of contaminated water to sustainable product and process design, with the support from National Science Foundation, state agencies, professional societies  and local industry.

In addition to her service in AIChE, Lou is a Board Member of the Gulf Coast Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization (2009 – 2015). She serves as an Editorial Board Member of two journals, “Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy” and “Environmental Progress and Sustainable Energy.” She also serves as the vice technical chair for the International Conference on Thermal Treatment Technologies & Hazardous Waste Combustors (IT3/HWC).

The achieved and accomplished Lou doesn’t take credit for her success but instead credits her colleagues and Lamar University. “I am very, very honored to receive this highest honor thanks to the support of colleagues, especially Department Chair Dr. T. C. Ho and previous Dean, Jack Hopper. We are a family, and they really helped me reach this high honor,” said Lou. “This is the first and only job after getting my Ph.D degree; this is my home, and I love it dearly.”