Lifelong Scholar Society

Florida Tech’s Lifelong Scholar Society is a community of curious minds who are passionate about sharing knowledge. Throughout the year, the society hosts a series of lectures. We are pleased to announce that our lectures will be at the Folliard Alumni Center. We will continue to have a virtual option for those who would still like to remain safe at home. Topics range from historical writers and contemporary art to the Florida habitat, space exploration, and more. Join us and become part of a world of exciting people!

Please join us for our upcoming Lifelong Scholar Society - Thursday Night Lectures. By utilizing a hybrid format with March 31 marking our return to in-person lectures and maintaining the virtual component via Zoom, this allows for the participants to join us globally. The virtual portion will be similar to the past couple of years, both by presentation and level of engagement. We look forward to “seeing” you, whether in-person or virtually!

Upcoming Lectures:

Thursday, June 16, 6 PM EDT -- Hybrid Event (In-Person And Virtual)

Location of Event: Folliard Alumni Center, 2600 S. Country Club Road, Melbourne, FL 32901 across from Roberts Hall or Zoom

Title: The Changing Face of Entrepreneurship  

Description of Lecture: Kathryn Rudloff runs weVENTURE Women's Business Center in the Florida Tech Bisk College of Business. In her role as Executive Director, she advocates on behalf of female entrepreneurs and in this presentation will share with us some of the economic changes that have led to a significant growth of female entrepreneurship over the last 30 years. We will discuss the changing economic landscape, and what this means for business and education in America.   

Presented by: Kathryn Rudloff  

About the Presenter: Kathryn holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from The Ohio State University and a Masters in Political Management from George Washington University, and is currently working toward a Doctorate degree in Business Administration.   She has worked in strategic messaging, communications and fundraising for political committees and campaigns in Washington DC, California, and Florida.  She has worked on campaigns at every level – local, state, federal and even a 2007 presidential campaign as Florida Director of Field Operations.  She served two years as District Director for Congressman Bill Posey and 4 years as Executive Director of a local pro-business non-partisan advocacy organization – Business Voice Political Committee.  

Kathryn joined weVENTURE Women’s Business Center in the Bisk College of Business at Florida Tech in January of 2020.  weVENTURE WBC is the leading voice and resource for female entrepreneurs on the Space and Treasure Coasts.  As Executive Director of weVENTURE WBC, Kathryn serves as a community advocate for female business owners and oversees the center’s low and no-cost business education programming.   

Kathryn has been active in the community, known for her efforts on behalf of the Junior League of South Brevard, MOPS ministry, The Haven for Children, and Family Promise of Brevard.  As an advocate for women and children and for her work in the political arena, she was recognized in 2017 as one of Brevard’s “4 under 40” leaders by LEAD Brevard.  She and her husband, Alex Rudloff, have three young children, and enjoy travel and all things Disney. 


Thursday, July 14, 6 PM EDT -- Hybrid Event (In-Person And Virtual)

Location of Event: Folliard Alumni Center, 2600 S. Country Club Road, Melbourne, FL 32901 across from Roberts Hall or Zoom

Upcycling Plastic Wastes into Valuable Fuels and Chemicals 

Description of Lecture: In the United States, about 35.7 million tons of plastic wastes were produced in 2018, which was 12% of the total municipal solid waste generated in the same year. Most of the plastics are single-use plastics, therefore, only 8.7% of the plastic waste was recycled and the rest were incinerated or landfilled. Among various types of plastics, low-density polyethylene (LDPE, #04), polypropylene (PP, #05), polystyrene (PS, #06), and polyurethane (PU), polycarbonate, BPA, and other plastics (#07), respectively, are relatively difficult to recycle than polyethylene terephthalate (PETE, #01) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE, #2). In this presentation, solvothermal conversion (SolvX) will be introduced and preliminary results on #04 - #07 plastics will be discussed. SolvX uses sub-and supercritical organic solvents to depolymerize feedstocks like waste plastics. There are two major advantages of SolvX, namely (i) organic solvents generally have low critical temperatures and low critical pressures, resulting in reactions at lower operating conditions, and (ii) solvent regeneration and reuse are less energy-intensive. In terms of reaction parameters, SolvX depends on solvent type, temperature, plastic type, catalyst type, and hydrogen loading. The research questions that will be answered in this presentation are: (1) What are the reaction mechanisms of SolvX for individual plastics? (2) How the product formation changes with reaction severity? (3) Plastics are likely to be mixed, therefore, how mixed plastics perform SolvX compared to their theoretical blend? 

Presented by: Dr. Toufiq Reza 

About the Presenter: Dr. Toufiq Reza is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering and Sciences of Florida Institute of Technology. He has received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Nevada, Reno in 2013 and 2011, respectively. He has published seventy-nine peer-reviewed journal articles, five patents, two book chapters, and more than one hundred oral and poster presentations. Dr. Reza was named as one of recipients of I&EC Research 2021 Class of Influential Researchers. He has also contributed to AIChE Journal 2022 Futures Issue. He is the recipient of the 2022 New Holland Young Researcher award from American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). He is also listed in the “World Ranking of Top 2% Scientists” in 2021 database published by the Stanford University. Dr. Reza leads the Biofuels Research Lab at Florida Tech with primary research interest on upcycling wastes. His current research projects have been funded by NSF, USDA, EPA, ACS, FL Sea Grant, USAID, and Sugarbush Foundation. Dr. Reza is a member of AIChE, ACS, and ASABE. He is an officer of AIChE Environmental Division and co-chair of technical section – Water. He is also the secretary of PRS-707 Food & Organic Waste Management & Utilization at the ASABE. He is a Section Editor in Energies journal and an Editorial Board member of Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery Journal.