David A. Rockstraw, NMSU professor of chemical engineering, was elected chair of the Professional Engineers in Higher Education interest group within the National Society of Professional Engineers. PEHE is one of six interest groups within the organization, representing Professional Engineers in academia.
Rockstraw served as chair-elect during the 2009/10 academic year, following two years as Southwest Region vice chair. During his tenure as chair, Rockstraw plans to make the promotion of the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam as an assessment tool within accredited programs a priority.
In 2009, Rockstraw received an Engineering Education Excellence award from the same interest group.
Rockstraw joined the NMSU chemical engineering faculty in 1995 with more than eight years of industrial experience with E.I. duPont de Nemours Co., Conoco Corp., Ethyl Corp., and Kraft, Inc. Rockstraw’s research program is as diverse as his industrial background, and includes research in the areas of materials, separations, and reaction kinetics. Rockstraw, a licensed professional engineer in the state of New Mexico, consults for numerous clientele, and works as an expert witness on litigation involving chemical reactor explosions, patent and trade secret assessment, and spontaneous combustion fires.
Rockstraw serves as the adviser to NMSU’s student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers which has been recognized as Outstanding Student Chapter for three consecutive years and was honored for Outstanding Student Chapter Web Site in 2009.
Rockstraw received a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a doctoral degree from Oklahoma University, both in chemical engineering. He holds three patents.