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The growing partnership between the College of Engineering and Eastman becomes a working arrangement today—literally.

A team of engineers from Eastman has come from Kingsport to help install equipment and experiments in the Eastman Unit Ops Laboratory in the Nathan W. Dougherty Engineering Building. In the lab, students can see what it is like to work on various processes that they would encounter in a working chemical plant environment.

UT Eastman Professor of Practice Sankar Raghavan (left to right) watches as Eastman engineers Cristina Kubicki and Stanton Wiggins calibrate a distillation column in the Eastman Unit Ops Lab at UT on Wednesday.

“Having people who have hands-on experience in the subject offering to share their time and knowledge of these processes is a wonderful opportunity for our students,” said Sankar Raghavan, the new Eastman Professor of Practice in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “The level of collaboration that we, as a college, have with Eastman is one that can work to benefit both of us.”

Raghavan himself is a perfect example of that collaboration. He is the third individual hired by the college through the generosity of the Eastman-sponsored program.

“Strategic partnerships between business and education help ensure we have a successful workforce in the future,” said Eastman public affairs representative Chrissy Idlette. “Encouraging innovative and productive thinking in a real world environment enables students to excel in problem solving, a necessary skill in the business world.”

Eastman engineer Cristina Kubicki checks the result of a distillation test at UT.

Raghavan noted that many of those things were made possible not just because of Eastman’s monetary support but also by the visit of their experts this week.

While here, Eastman’s engineers will help set up and oversee projects involving the startup, shutdown, and monitoring of distillation columns, hot and cold feeds, modeling, and control.

“The opportunity to meet with and to work with Eastman’s engineers gives our students insight that you can’t get solely in a classroom,” said Raghavan. “It’s one thing to hear someone to talk about a method or task, or to read about it, but it’s quite another to have an expert at that task show you how it’s performed.”

Along with fellow Eastman Professors of Practice Yan Xu, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Matthew Young, of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering, Raghavan brings a real-world expertise to his department.

Established to help students get hands-on experience from professors with backgrounds in their respective industries, the Professors of Practice program, like the lab, is part of a more than $2 million commitment Eastman has made to the College of Engineering.

In addition to funding faculty, Eastman’s generosity supports summer camps, a student lounge, and various programs throughout the year.



David Goddard (865-974-0683,