Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creative Mentoring: Ryan Anderson, Spring Awards of Excellence, Academic Year 2021-22. Portrait of Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson, an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has won the Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creative Mentoring. The award is given annually to a faculty member who engages undergraduate students in this valuable learning process and comes with a $2,000 honorarium. 

Anderson’s research focuses on heat transfer and fluid flow for applications in clean energy, including fuel cells, reacting systems and various heat transfer fluid uses. Since 2013, he has averaged three new undergraduate students joining his lab each semester. 

“Ryan’s laboratory has been an incubator of talented undergraduate students since he joined MSU and will continue to do so for many years to come,” Brett Gunnink, dean of the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering, wrote in a nominating letter.  

Anderson has masterfully incorporated resources from independent research credits, the Undergraduate Scholars Program, Presidential Emerging Scholars and Bridges programs to support them, Gunnink said. Eight have been co-authors on peer-reviewed journals, and more have been selected to give conference presentations.  

In all, 42 undergraduate students have worked with Anderson on his research projects. And more than 70 have participated in the department’s yearlong senior capstone design course.  

“This type of course is taught within all chemical engineering programs,” Gunnink explained. “However, unlike the approach of many institutions in which students create a design that ultimately mimics an existing chemical process, Ryan has crafted projects in which students bring new technologies to fruition.” 

These projects have included the production of solar thermal energy, hydrogen fuel and ammonia-based fertilizers as well as catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide into other useful commodities. 

“Ryan has exhibited an impressive level of undergraduate student involvement with his research, teaching and service activities within the university,” Gunnink stated. “He has helped springboard the early careers of many students at MSU.”