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Western’s Plastics and Composites Program Named Among the Nation’s Best

by Cooper Campbell
Office of University Communications intern
  • This ground up plastic is about to be melted and turned back into usable plastic

Western Washington University's Plastics and Composites Engineering (PCE) program was recently ranked as one of the best offerings among public colleges across the nation by Plastics Today. 

“One hallmark of the PCE program is its research on improving sustainability in regard to polymer materials.  Plastics have developed a bad name in recent years, but the faculty members and students in the program are very devoted to finding solutions to the problems of plastic waste, recycling, and reusability,” said Western Washington University Professor and Chair of Engineering & Design Jeff Newcomer. 

The ranking noted that Western “touts its well-equipped labs that ensure graduates are proficient with production-scale processing equipment, quality assurance strategies, and characterization techniques.” 

Operating in cohorts, the program graduates 24 students each year, Newcomer said. PCE has been available at Western since 2014; prior to that, a Plastics Engineering Technology program was offered. 

“There are a number of interesting research projects in the PCE program right now, including work to recycle and reuse ocean plastics, the development of 3D printer materials for specialized applications, and work on developing recyclable composite materials,” Newcomer said. 

PCE is one of four accredited programs available in the Engineering & Design Department; Electrical and Computer Engineering, Industrial Design, and Manufacturing Engineering are also offered.  

For more information, contact Western Washington University Engineering & Design Department Program Coordinator Lisa Ochs at ochsl2@wwu.edu 

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