The Chem-E-Car As A Vehicle For Service Learning Through K‑12 Outreach


  • William Chirdon University of Louisiana at Lafayette, P.O. Box 43675, Lafayette, LA 70504


This article presents the results of combining the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ (AIChE) Chem-E-Car competition activities with engineering outreach to K-12 students in a service-learning course.  Survey results are presented to show how the program develops technical skills as well as leadership, teamwork, and communication skills in undergraduate students.  The benefits of such a program to the K-12 students, undergraduate students, chapter advisor, department, and community are discussed along with the challenges in implementation.

Author Biography

William Chirdon, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, P.O. Box 43675, Lafayette, LA 70504


 William M. Chirdon is an associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He received his Ph.D. in Macromolecular Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. Dr. Chirdon serves as the faculty advisor for the local chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and has won UL Lafayette’s Exceptional Service-Learning Award for the activities detailed in this article. He has a variety of research interests including the utilization of bioprocessing wastes to create composite materials, heat generation and transfer in cementitious composites and exothermic solids, and the characterization of polymers and their process-structure-property relationships.