P.M. Kivistik - Chemical & Materials Engineering

P.M. Kivistik - Chemical & Materials Engineering

“Why don’t I do something now?”: Lecturer, Mike Kivistik, supports students in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering

Students in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering are preparing for careers that will provide the world with cleaner fuels, safer cars and better pharmaceuticals. Upon graduation, they will be prepared to work at the growing startups throughout the state and major employers advancing technologies like battery storage and solar energy, solidifying the state’s economy while making the world a better place for us all.

Because the field is ever-changing, it is imperative that students have access to cutting-edge equipment and resources. Due to the sophistication of the instruments necessary to provide students with a globally competitive education, replacing and updating equipment proves costly.

Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering Lecturer Mike Kivistik knows this better than anyonMike Kivistik profile picturee. In mentoring students in the chemical engineering laboratory, he is responsible for ensuring the safety and maintenance of equipment that, in some cases, is 50 years old. Professor Kivistik is also a regional safety officer with AIChE. “When something goes wrong with a piece of equipment, that can be a meaningful learning experience for students,” Kivistik said. “After all, they are engineering students, and solving problems is what they do. But students can also lose out on the fundamental lessons of a lab if they are too busy troubleshooting problems with the equipment.”

To defray the costs of purchasing new equipment, Kivistik recently established the P.M. Kivistik CME Account to facilitate donations to the department in support of its students.

“I had already made provisions in my will to benefit the department,” Kivistik said, “but then I thought, ‘Why don’t I do something now?’”

In addition to financing the purchase of equipment like a spectrophotometer, an absorption column and a fraction collector, Kivistik hopes the account will be able to improve the student experience on multiple levels:

  • Support for student chapters of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Electrochemical Society, and the American Nuclear society.
  • Travel and hosting experiences for the CME undergraduate seminar series speakers.
  • Salaries for teaching assistants and lecturers.

Students in lab“I feel very passionately about this issue,” he said. “I feel that if the University is to have a world-class engineering school, funding needs to be in place to finance instructors and equipment. Students need tools and mentorship to excel.”

Kivistik believes he is not the only one who wants to help CME students excel, either: “I have spoken with alumni over the past twelve years, and if a pathway for alumni to directly fund undergraduate education in their chosen field of study was made open, I feel that many would participate.”

With the establishment of the P.M. Kivistik CME Account, that pathway has been created. Now, to help accelerate its growth, Kivistik has made a promise to match the first $5,000 given to the fund.

Kivistik said, “I would like to see the fund grow to support the whole department. From capstone courses to professorships, we need a little of everything.”

If you’d like to learn more about Engineering programs, please contact Flynn Ginty, director of development, at (775) 682-7696 or fginty@unr.edu