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Close-knit S&T lures, launches Lampe to success

Twenty-one thousand, three-hundred ninety-five. That’s the difference between Kyle Lampe, the English literature scholar and Kyle Lampe, the chemical engineer. That number is the difference in enrollment between Iowa State University (26,110) and Missouri S&T (4,715) when Lampe started college in 1999.

Bigger was not better for Lampe, who earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering at Missouri S&T in 2004, and now is an assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Virginia.

“I didn’t want to go to Iowa State because it was just too big,” says Lampe, who grew up in Clarinda, Iowa – a town of 5,806. “I felt like I would get lost there.

“When I went to Rolla, it was the right size school. I didn’t know anybody, but I got to know a lot of people, and the professors knew your name. When I got to Rolla … everybody was on equal footing. Nerdy was cool.”

These days, Lampe leads his own “nerdy” engineering students in cutting-edge research that may one day lead to cures or treatments for diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and people who have suffered a stroke or a spinal cord injury. The work is done through the Lampe Biomaterials Group, which launched at U.Va. in 2014.