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A Look Into the CBE Centennial Seminar Series

In addition to the CBE Centennial Alumni Weekend, the department has also organized the Centennial Seminar Series in celebration of its 100th birthday. The series is designed to not only recognize some of our successful alumni but to also inspire our students and showcase the variety of career paths that our alumni have taken.

So far the department has been visited by nine alumni who have given a wide range of seminars:

April Kloxin, Billy Bardin, John Wolf, Kenny Mineart, Stacey Orlando, John Weidner, Jonathan Conway, Julie Willoughby, and Adm. Daryl Caudle headshots

April Kloxin, University of Delaware (BSChE ’01, MSChE ’04)
Engineered Microenvironments: From 3D Culture Models to Biomanufacturing

  • Currently, named the Thomas and Kipp Gutshall Development Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with a joint appointment in Materials Science and Engineering
  • Started her career at Delaware in 2011 after obtaining her Ph.D. and performing an HMMI post-doc with Dr. Kristi Anseth at the University of Colorado
  • Has over 75 publications, 7000 citations, and an H-index of 34
  • Recognized by the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, American Chemical Society PMSE Arthur K. Doolittle Award, Susan G. Komen Foundation Career Catalyst Research Award, NSF CAREER Award,, and Pew Scholars in Biomedical Sciences

Billy Bardin, Dow Chemical (BSChE ’95)
Sustainability and Energy Transition in the Chemical Industry

  • Currently, named the Global Climate Transition Director for Dow
  • Started his career at Union Carbide after completing a Ph.D. in catalysis at the University of Virginia
  • Served on the AIChE Board of Directors, as President-Elect, President, and Past-President of AIChE (2022-24), and is a Fellow of the society
  • Serves as an CBE alumni mentor and on the CBE Alumni Advisory Board, and was recognized as a CBE Distinguished Alumni in 2022

John Wolf, Spectrum Plastics Group (BSChE ’95)
Key Insights in Manufacturing: From Education to the Future

  • Currently, is the Global Leader for DuPont’s Healthcare business and CEO for Spectrum Plastics Group
  • Joined Spectrum Plastics Group in 2019 after a 23-year career with Sealed Air Corporation
  • Holds nine U.S. patents

Kenny Mineart, Bucknell University (PhDChE ’15)
Solute Diffusion in Block Copolymer Organogels Through the Lens of Transdermal Drug Delivery

  • Currently, is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Bucknell University, a predominantly undergraduate institution
  • Authored 22 publications with his Ph.D. advisor, Prof. Spontak, and was awarded the 2016 Eastman Chemical Student Award in Applied Polymer Science
  • Participated in the NC State Preparing the Professoriate (PTP) program, with Prof. Cooper as his advisor, and together, they published a co-authored journal article in Chemical Engineering Education
  • Received the 2015 Future Faculty Award by the Chemical Engineering Division of the American Society for Engineering Education

Stacey Orlandi, Chevron Renewable Energy Group (BSChE ’94)
A Look at Bio-Based Diesel

  • Currently, is Senior Vice President, Chevron Renewable Energy Group, overseeing Health and Safety, Operations, Engineering, Capital Projects, Technical Services and Technology Development for 11 biorefineries and 650 staff across the U.S. and Germany
  • Prior to Chevron, held senior positions for BP, Marathon Petroleum, and Shell
  • Recognized as a CBE Distinguished Alumni in 2009

John Weidner, University of Cincinnati (PhDChE ’91)
Modeling Battery Performance Due to Volume Change in Porous Electrodes

  • Serves as Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Cincinnati
  • Recognized by numerous awards, including the 2019 Carl Wagner Memorial Award from the Electrochemical Society (ECS), the 2016 Education Leadership Award at the Energy Inc. Summit, and the 2010 Research Award from ECS
  • Named Fellow of ECS and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Has over 160 publications, 6000 citations, and an H-index of 41

Jonathan Conway, Princeton University (MSChE ’13, PhDChE ’17)
Engineering Plant-Microbe Interactions Towards Advanced Agriculture Biotechnologies

  • Joined Princeton as an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2021 after an NRC post-doc with Jeff Dangl in biology at UNC
  • Mentored over 15 undergraduate researchers, forming his own “research group” within the Bob  Kelly group, many of which were co-authors on publications, and currently serves in our CBE Alumni-Student Mentoring program
  • Received the 2017 James K. Ferrell Outstanding Ph.D. Graduate Award, the 2016 Excellence in Mentorship Award from the NC State Graduate Student Association, and the GAANN Fellowship from the NC State Biotechnology Program (2012-2014)
  • Has over 25 publications, 1700 citations, and an H-index of 20

Julie Willoughby, CIRC/Blue Hummingbird (PhDChE ’07)
Intertwining Science & Creativity to Improve Humanity and Our Planet

  • Currently, is Chief Innovation Officer of Blue Hummingbird, LLC
  • Served as Chief Scientific and Commercialization Officer, CIRC, 2019-2023, after working for Nike as Senior Director in Footwear Materials Science
  • Was an Assistant Professor in the Wilson College of Textiles at NC State for three years and still holds an adjunct faculty position

Adm. Daryl L. Caudle, U.S. Navy (BSChE ’85)
Building a Culture of Excellence

  • Currently, serves as Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command
  • Holds advanced degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School (MS Physics), Old Dominion University (MS Eng Management), and the University of Phoenix (Ph.D. of Management in Organizational Leadership with specialization in Info Systems & Technology
  • Recognized as CBE Distinguished Alumni in 2020 and Distinguished Engineering Alumni in 2023


We plan to have seventeen more alumni visit and deliver seminars as part of the series throughout the academic year. Thank you to all of our alumni who have agreed to participate in the Centennial Seminar Series! If you’d like to tune in to the seminars, keep an eye on our LinkedIn page for the Zoom link.