Three Virginia Tech chemical engineering graduates from the class of 2015, Coogan Thompson of Grundy, Virginia, Mai Ngo of Blacksburg, Virginia, and Jared Klein of Sterling Virginia, have won the national competition for safety in process design sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE.

As Virginia Tech seniors, the students participated in the 2015 AIChE national student design competition to develop an inherently safe process for the removal of acid gases from a natural gas stream. The group won the Safety and Health Division Award for Inherently Safer Design.

This is the second straight year that a Virginia Tech team has captured the same top award in safety in process design sponsored by the national chemical engineering professional society.

The team will receive the award at the AIChE annual conference in Salt Lake City in November.

Chemical engineering professor Y. A. Liu taught these students their senior design courses. Liu is an award-winning teacher. He received the College of Engineering's Sporn Award for excellence in engineering teaching twice. The American Society for Engineering Education presented him with its George Westinghouse Award for excellence in engineering education in 1990 and the Fred Merryfield Award for excellence in teaching and research of engineering design in 1993.

Coogan, Ngo, and Klein are currently doctoral students at the University of Wisconsin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Princeton University, respectively.