(L-R) Genevieve Bourgeois, Serdar Celik, PhD, founder and faculty advisor of the ASHRAE SIUE Student Chapter, Abin Paudel, Muna Okeke, Jeancy Muleba and Macy Deck.

EDWARDSVILLE - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Engineering (SOE) students received global recognition at the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 2022 Design Competition. The group received the Rising Star Award in the applied engineering challenge, ranking fourth internationally.

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Those recognized included ASHRAE members Genevieve Bourgeois, Macy Deck, Muna Okeke, Abin Paudel, and Jeancy Muleba along with Serdar Celik, PhD, professor and graduate program director of the SOE Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering and the founder and faculty advisor of the ASHRAE SIUE Student Chapter, accepted their awards Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Omni Hotel CNN Center in Atlanta.

“Our student members are grateful to have had the opportunity to attend ASHRAE conference and be recognized by ASHRAE Society as design competition winners,” said Bourgeois, SIUE alumna and former president of the SIUE ASHRAE team. “Many of the SIUE students on our team have begun working in the HVAC field or have accepted job offers in HVAC, so seeing all that ASHRAE has to offer creates a great doorway to get more involved early on in our careers. It also gave us pride to represent our school amongst the top people in our industry.”

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"This accomplishment of the SIUE ASHRAE team is commendable,” said Celik. “They competed with college teams worldwide. I was honored to participate in the event and see the whole team being invited to receive their awards in front of such an international audience. During the event, we were able to meet and chat with students and faculty from other institutions around the world which was enlightening.”

Inspired by the need of vaccine refrigeration amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the SIUE team was tasked to design an ultra-low temperature refrigeration system that could transport vaccines globally, even to the most remote places.

As a result, the students designed a well-insulated cooler that could hold over 9,000 vaccine doses and a cascade refrigeration cycle that could achieve 70 degrees Celsius to properly store the vaccine doses.

Celik, along with Michael Denn, PhD, instructor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, and Danny Halel, president of NTHALP Engineering, served as mentors guiding the students to success.

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