New Chemical Engineering Department Chair is ready for a change

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – One of Pradeep Agrawal’s biggest challenges in his new job just might be finding suitable outerwear. The new chair of Michigan Technological University’s Department of Chemical Engineering, who began his duties on July 1, comes to Michigan Tech after nearly 40 years at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

He is philosophical about his new adventure. “I felt it was time to change gear for a colder climate. If the worst part of your job is the weather, you’ve got it pretty good,” he says.

In fact, a change of scenery was indeed one of the factors that led him to pull up stakes and make the more than 1,100 mile trek to Houghton. “There were several factors that contributed to my decision to move,” he says. “After 38 years at one place, regardless of how much one enjoys his job, it may seem stale. It is definitely a renewal of sorts for me personally, as well as a challenge professionally.”

But, Agrawal says he didn’t move here just for the sake of moving. “The students at Michigan Tech have a strong work ethic and are willing to work hard to succeed in one of the most challenging majors on any campus.” And, he says, Michigan Tech isn’t just any campus. “The university has excellent infrastructure for both the educational and research missions. I am honored and humbled at the same time to have an opportunity to build on the many strengths of the chemical engineering program at Michigan Tech.”

According to Agrawal, Tech places a strong emphasis on hands-on experience, which he says sets it apart from its peers. “It (Michigan Tech) has the best unit operations lab facilities that I have seen in the US, by a wide margin.”

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