Deem receives 2023 George Washington Prize

Lauren Smith

Mar 10, 2023

Christian Deem holding his award plaque and standing next to Alaine Allen at the ESWP banquet.

Source: Larry Rippel for ESWP

Christian Deem and Alaine Allen, associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the College of Engineering, at the awards banquet.

Abstract thinking and problem solving, diligence, and hard work are among the most important skills senior Christian Deem has learned through the chemical engineering curriculum. Deem also values the coding and automation that are incorporated into coursework. He credits these skills with equipping him and his classmates to work in a myriad of fields, including consulting, software engineering, consumer products, and research and development.

After graduation, Deem will begin working as an associate consultant at Chartwell Consulting. He is looking forward to traveling to manufacturing sites across the country and to applying the skills he has learned in process mapping and process design.

"When I think of chemical engineering, I think of the ability to transform a complex problem into a simplified process with inputs and outputs," says Deem.

When I think of chemical engineering, I think of the ability to transform a complex problem into a simplified process.

Christian Deem, Undergraduate student, Chemical Engineering

He was drawn to engineering as a way to understand the unknown and to chemical engineering specifically because of its power to transform raw materials into products that help people live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Helping people has been a focus of Deem's time at Carnegie Mellon in other ways, too. He enjoyed the atmosphere living in Hamerschlag House his first year and was inspired by the resident assistants (RAs) there to become one himself. It was a particularly meaningful experience for him to work as an RA in Stever House in the fall of 2020, helping create the first-year college experience for a group of students whose senior year in high school ended prematurely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. "It was important to make them feel welcome and connected in the campus community, while also helping them maintain their own safety," recalls Deem. Now, he is a community advisor for Welch, Henderson, and Scobell residence halls, managing a team of nine RAs.

Deem is also a leader in the CMU chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Now president, he previously served as treasurer and sophomore class representative. His focus is on promoting community development for ChemE undergraduates through mentorship programs, professional development, and social events.

I want to help people feel like they belong in ChemE.

Christian Deem, Undergraduate student, Chemical Engineering

Another highlight of Deem's ChemE experience has been working for Matt Cline as assistant laboratory coordinator in the Rothfus Undergraduate Laboratory. As a bridge between his classmates and the department, Deem wants "to help get to a state where all students really enjoy the laboratory curriculum and feel like their skills are strengthened by it."

Deem is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society on campus.

In recognition of his academic achievements, commitment to service, and leadership, Deem was selected as the First Place award winner for the 2023 George Washington Prize. The prize, awarded to undergraduate seniors in the College of Engineering, is named after the first president of the United States, an engineer. Lauren Familetti, a civil engineering and engineering and public policy major, and Jocelyn Su, a mechanical engineering major, received honorable mentions. All three were recognized at the Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania annual banquet on March 9.