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K-State Today

October 1, 2021

Excellence in teaching and research earns chemical engineering professor Segebrecht Award

Submitted by Megan Miller

Placidus Amama

Placidus Amama, associate professor of chemical engineering, is this year's recipient of the Erin W. Segebrecht Honorarium Award. He will receive a $2,000 honorarium.

The Ervin W. Segebrecht Honorarium award was established in honor of Ervin W. Segebrecht, a 1938 graduate of Kansas State University, to recognize professors who provide inspiration and excellence in teaching. Eligibility for the award is restricted to professors in the departments of chemistry and chemical engineering, and candidates are judged on the basis of excellence in classroom instruction and research and published manuscripts in technical publications.

"Dr. Amama is a strong researcher, an admired and effective teacher and truly an exceptional colleague who is highly valued by the faculty, students and staff within our department," said Jennifer Anthony, interim head and associate professor of chemical engineering.

Amama has made significant contributions to his field through his research on rational catalyst design for controlled and scalable growth of carbon nanomaterials. His strong research record is evidenced by his publications in high-quality journals, grant funding and awards. Amama has published 60 papers and given 37 invited presentations. His work has been supported by numerous competitive grants totaling more than $1.2 million in funding. Major grants Amama has been awarded include a young investigator award — NSF CAREER, NSF EPSCoR First Awards, and grants from the National Science Foundation and American Chemical Society. In recognition of Amama's impactful research, he was awarded the Tim Taylor Chair in Chemical Engineering at K-State in 2017.

Anthony also noted that, "In addition to his outstanding research efforts, Dr. Amama is also an excellent mentor and teacher." Amama has made important contributions to developing and improving curriculum in his department. He developed a new nanotechnology course that "is expected to increase the pipeline of engineering students graduating with broad technical skills and knowledge in nanotechnology." He has also implemented changes to a Computational Techniques in Chemical Engineering course to better prepare students for industry careers and graduate education. Students have recognized Amama's commitment to teaching and mentoring, selecting him in 2014 for the department's Most Approachable Faculty award. In 2020, he was selected for the Alumni Award for Faculty Excellence in Chemical Engineering, which recognizes excellence in undergraduate teaching.

"I am deeply grateful for the award," Amama said. "Receiving the Segebrecht award is a big morale booster that will inspire me in my teaching and mentoring of students in research."

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