ABE Outstanding Students

2013 ABE Outstanding Students

With the rapid increase in our student population, the faculty decided to name an honoree in each discipline (Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Systems Management, Biological Engineering, and Pre-ABE). The students indicated (*) will advance to compete at the College level for Outstanding Student in the College of Agriculture.

Outstanding Seniors

HannahJoy Pheasant - ABE Outstanding Senior - Agricultural Engineering

HannahJoy is a senior in Agricultural Engineering – Machine Systems.   She also has an Associate’s degree in Agricultural Economics and is working on a minor in Organizational Leadership and Supervision as well as the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. 

HannahJoy has been an active member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and the Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) Team.  She went to Cameroon with the BUV Team two summers ago and helped build a BUV with a partner NGO.  She spent the summer of 2012 in Kenya working on agricultural training materials and with a local entrepreneur on starting a biomass briquette small business.  In the fall of 2012 she had an abstract published in the Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research about her work with biomass fuel briquettes.

HannahJoy has also been involved with several mentoring programs such as UR Global for new international students, Women in Engineering at Purdue, and through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Eli H. Fred - ABE Outstanding Senior - Agricultural Systems Management

Eli is a senior majoring in Agricultural Systems Management pursuing a minor in Farm Management.  He grew up on a dairy and grain farm in Northern Indiana and one day hopes to return to the family farm.  He always knew that Purdue would be a good fit for him since it is one of the best agricultural schools in the country and it was close enough to the farm that he could still help out when he had time.  “ASM was a good choice for me because it contains a number of broad applications and also leads to a number of different potential career paths in the agricultural industry.”  Eli has maintained an excellent academic record throughout his time at Purdue.  He is also the President of the Agricultural Systems Management Club and a member of Alpha Mu and the Fulton Baptist Temple in Fulton, IN.  Upon graduation he will be employed by New Holland.

*Sean Kearney - ABE Outstanding Senior - Biological Engineering

Sean Kearney is a graduating senior at Purdue University. Recklessly curious and incorrigibly imaginative, he is pursuing degrees in biological engineering, mathematics, and statistics. His work is at the intersection of biology, computation, design, and engineering. His approach unites experimental and theoretical techniques from nonlinear dynamics, statistical mechanics, and control theory to explore open problems in biology from the molecular to ecosystem scales.  In his free time, he plays around, building with Legos, code, food, and music. A few of his interests: biogeochemistry, climate change, mycology, sociology, LGBTQ advocacy, agriculture and food production, and urban gymnastics. He will be starting his PhD in Systems Biology in Fall 2013.

Sean was also honored his sophomore year as the ABE Outstanding student.

Outstanding Juniors

Jordan M. Garrity - ABE Outstanding Senior - Agricultural Engineering

Jordan is a junior majoring in Machine Systems Engineering from Huntington, Indiana. He is an active member of the Quarter Scale Tractor Team, the Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) project, and the Purdue ASABE student chapter in the ABE Department. He participated in the SURF program last year under the direction of Dr. Lumkes conducting research for a new, high-performance valve concept. Jordan has continued his research throughout the school year designing a new Portable Fluid Power Demonstrator for the CCEFP Education & Outreach Program which will provide opportunities for students to learn about the fundamentals of fluid power and its application in their world.

Adam W. Sills - ABE Outstanding Junior - Agricultural Systems Management

 

Adam is a Junior pursuing a degree in Agricultural Systems Management. He grew up on a farm in Northeast Indiana where he is still heavily involved. He came to Purdue because of its strong involvement and reputation in agriculture and engineering. He also attended a 4-H Roundup session here at Purdue and really enjoyed the classes in ABE.  Adam is a member of the ASM Club, Purdue Diesel Club, and he pulls garden tractors throughout the summer. At this time, Adam has no plans to return to the farm after graduation. He currently has an internship with an agriculture equipment manufacturer and is very interested in continuing his career in that field.

*Jessica L. Wade - ABE Outstanding Junior - Biological Engineering

Jessica is a fourth-year student pursuing a dual major in biological engineering and biochemistry. Originating in New Hampshire, she chose to come to Purdue for its excellent engineering program and the welcoming people.

While at Purdue, Jessie has had the opportunity to become highly involved on campus. She has been a member of Sigma Kappa sorority since her freshman year and has also been a proud member of the Purdue Varsity Crew Team. As a coxswain, she and her boat were able to win a National Championship in 2010.

In more recent years, Jessie has enjoyed her tenure as President of the ABE honor society, Alpha Epsilon, which she expanded to include a speaker series and increased community outreach. In her spare time, Jessie enjoys volunteering, running, and spending time in the outdoors.

 

Outstanding Sophomores

Caroline A. Schier - ABE Outstanding Sophomore - Agricultural Engineering

Caroline is a sophomore majoring in Environmental and Natural Resource Engineering.  She is very interested in applying her engineering knowledge on a global scale to help solve worldwide problems involving food and water. Through participation in EPICS water resource management team and the Global Engineering Program she has already begun working on projects within this realm. She also stays active in the Purdue community by working at the CoRec climbing wall and involvement in the Purdue Outing Club. Caroline is thankful for the opportunities that Purdue has offered her and is confident that they will propel her to success in her future career and beyond.

Joel T. Waterman - ABE Outstanding Sophomore - Agricultural Systems Management

Joel is a sophomore pursuing an ASM degree, and potentially also majoring in Agronomy and minoring in Farm Management and Military Science.  Joel grew up on a corn and soybean farm on the outskirts of Noblesville and attended Hamilton Southeastern High School.  Upon graduation, Joel enlisted in the National Guard and left for Basic Training at Ft. Benning, GA.  After Basic, he went through Infantry school and returned home to attend college at Purdue University and to participate in the Army ROTC program.  After Graduation from college, Joel intends either to go straight into a civilian career in the field of Ag machinery and Equipment or to go full-time with the Army as an officer for a term, and then pursue a civilian career.  Joel also would like to work on the family farm, helping it to expand and grow.  In his spare time, Joel likes to work on his truck, hang out with friends and family, and go shooting at the range.

*James K. Nolan - ABE Outstanding Sophomore - Biological Engineering

James Nolan is a sophomore in Biological Engineering. Interested specifically in systems and synthetic biology, he enjoys Agricultural and Biological Engineering for its diversity of concentrations, small classes and direct role in solving this century’s grand challenges. Through the Interns for Indiana program, he has worked for Mor-NuCo LLC to develop a high-throughput tool for estimation of molecular mass and isoelectric point of Ecto-NOX 2 cancer biomarker transcript variants. James serves as the current secretary of Purdue’s international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) team.  As well, he is the treasurer of the Purdue Taekwondo Club and a black belt.

Outstanding Freshmen

Peyton E. Hite - ABE Outstanding Freshman - Agricultural Systems Management

Peyton grew up on a farm in Kokomo, Indiana. She is freshman currently studying Agriculture Systems Management. Her family’s love for agriculture influenced her to pursue an ASM degree. She chose ASM because it is a broad Agriculture Major. She does not know yet what she plans to do with her degree when graduates, but she hopes to obtain an agriculture-related job close to her home. She is currently rushing the academic fraternity Alpha Zeta. Peyton has enjoyed her time here at Purdue and is very grateful for the honor.

*Sarah M. Cox - ABE Outstanding Freshman - Pre-ABE

Sarah is a first-year engineering, pre-ABE student pursuing a dual degree in Biological Engineering and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She grew up in southern Ohio on a small family farm and became interested in biological engineering through research opportunities made possible by science fair and internships. She was very involved in her high school FFA chapter and became involved in the World Food Prize Organization and the USDA through internships at AVRDC-The World Vegetable Center in Taiwan and USDA-ARS in Poplarville, Mississippi. Sarah chose Purdue because of its commitment to excellence in agriculture and engineering, as well as the feel on campus when she visited. While Sarah is here at Purdue pursuing her degree, she is involved in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, Purdue Collegiate FFA, Purdue Biological Engineering and Food Processing Engineering Club, Purdue SCUBA club, a Campus House community group, and, recently, a Global Design Team. Her future career plans are still developing but currently her goal is to become a combat surgeon for the US Navy attached to a US Marine Corps unit overseas. After her commitment to the US Navy, she plans on joining industry as a pharmaceutical/food process engineer or as an emergency room surgeon.

2012 ABE Outstanding Students

Laurent Ahiablame - ABE Outstanding PhD Student

Jonathan Claussen, ABE Outstanding PhD Student

According to Drs. Chaubey and Engel, his co-advisors, "Laurent is one of the most outstanding, well-rounded students we have had in our department in the past five years." Laurent's research focuses on developing techniques to evaluate the impacts of low impact development (LID) practices on baseflow using computer simulation of watershed hydrology for effective planning and management of water resources. His research will support wide-scale adoption of LID practices to mitigate the impacts of continued urban development by expanding our understanding of the beneficial uses of LID practices in urban and urbanizing areas, and by informing stakeholders of the potential limits to continued urban development beyond which LID practices cannot offset changes in runoff and water quality.

Shahriar Karim - ABE Outstanding MS Student

Dr. David Umulis, Shahriar's advisor, "Shahriar has been one of my best students. {...} he is a very committed and energetic learner." Shahriar's research focuses on identifying the mechanisms for the biological robustness and reproducibility of pattern formation performed by morphogen-mediated signaling in species such as fruit fly, Zebrafish, etc. The mechanisms as demonstrated in his research may help reduce heterogeneity and variability in stem cell differentiation from human embryonic stem cells. Ultimately, Shahriar's research will add crucial knowledge in understanding the ways the morphogen-mediated signaling works in more complex species, including human.

Benjamin Daily - ABE Outstanding Senior - Agricultural Systems Management/Agricultural Economics

Ben is a senior working toward a dual major in Agricultural Systems Management and Agricultural Economics and pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Agronomy in addition to a minor in Spanish. He is also Vice President of the Agricultural Systems Management Club and a member of Alpha Mu, the Honor Society of ASM. He is a Lilly Endowment Community Scholar and a member of the Boilermaker 400 Club for maintaining a 4.00 GPA through the 5 semesters he has completed thus far. He is a member of Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish National Honor Society, through which he serves the Spanish-speaking community through volunteer work. He is a member of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Columbus, IN.

 The son of Jim and Carol Daily, he "chose to come to Purdue because Purdue has the best agriculture program in the country. Since I want to return to the family farm upon graduation, Purdue, with its outstanding agricultural program and the variety of ag-related degrees offered, was the best fit for me."

This is Ben's third year as the ABE Outstanding student (freshman, junior).

   Elymae Cedeno - ABE Outstanding Junior - Biological Engineering

Elymae is a junior in Biological Engineering pursuing a minor in Economics. From Panama City, Panama, Elymae has always been passionate about biology. She chose a career in engineering to learn to solve real-life problems by integrating science and engineering. She is actively involved here at Purdue; she co-founded the Global Business Brigades Chapter, serving previously as treasurer and currently as Vice-President. Upon graduation, she hopes to continue her engineering education by completing a Master's Degree.

 David Bedel - ABE Outstanding Sophomore - Machine Systems Engineering

David is a sophomore majoring in Machine Systems Engineering and is working toward earning his Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He has an excellent academic record here at Purdue; he has maintained a 4.0 GPA thus far. David is also an active member of the on-campus pro-life organization, Purdue Students for Life. He is a parishioner of St. John's Catholic Church in Enochsburg, IN, and enjoys playing cards, watching movies, and spending time with his four siblings. He chose to attend Purdue because of "its well-respected agriculture and engineering programs, and more traditional values."

 Jonathan Pelsy - ABE Outstanding Freshman - Freshman - Agricultural Systems Management

Zane GraperJonathan is a freshman pursing an ASM degree. He grew up on a farm in Northern Indiana and always wanted to attend Purdue. ASM seemed like a very good fit because of its broad applications in the field of Agriculture. Last semester Jonathan enjoyed having the opportunity to participate in the Agriculture Future of America Leaders' Conference and seeing the many opportunities that are available to those in the field of Agriculture. He is currently developing his leadership skills through the Emerging Leaders' Program. His future career plans are still developing, but he hopes one day to return to his family farm.

2011 ABE Outstanding Students

Jiji Chen - ABE Outstanding PhD Student

Jiji’s research focuses on single-cell techniques for epigenetics research.  This means that researchers can home in on a single molecule when studying biological processes rather than averaging the results of thousands of cells.  It also means being able to observe phenomena that can’t be captured with standard techniques.  He has 11 refereed publications in a number of high-impact journals and has also made significant service contributions, including serving as an ambassador for Purdue’s International Student Association.  Jiji has accepted a research scientist position in the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland.

 Jonathan Claussen - ABE Outstanding PhD Student

Jonathan Claussen, ABE Outstanding PhD Student

Jonathan’s research focuses on developing highly sensitive biosensors using nanotechnology, including computer simulation of the nano-environment to design more effective sensors.  One application of his research involves non-invasive glucose sensing that can utilize saliva instead of blood.  This could improve daily life for diabetics.  His research has led to a number of patents as well as a start-up company.  He has numerous publications, and has served Purdue graduate students in a variety of capacities, including ABE Graduate Student Association Chair.  Jonathan has accepted a post-doctoral research position at the University of California San Diego.

Katherine "Kat" Gilbert - ABE Outstanding Senior - Biological and Food Process Engineering

Kat is a senior in BFPE. She is from Indianapolis and chose Purdue ABE because she knew she would have a solid foundation to pursue a multitude of career options. She will be continuing her education at Indiana University School of Medicine. "I hope one day to integrate my Food Process Engienering skills in conjunction with my medical knowledge and to contribute to the research surrounding obesity." In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer, biking, running, and being outdoors.

"I am so happy I chose ABE. All of the extra support from the students, faculty, and staff, has made my engineering experience manageable, and dare I even say it...enjoyable at times."

   Benjamin Daily - ABE Outstanding Junior - Agricultural Systems Management/Agricultural Economics

Ben is a junior working toward a dual major in Agricultural Systems Management and Agricultural Economics and pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Agronomy in addition to a minor in Spanish. He is also Vice President of the Agricultural Systems Management Club and a member of Alpha Mu, the Honor Society of ASM. He is a Lilly Endowment Community Scholar and a member of the Boilermaker 400 Club for maintaining a 4.00 GPA through the 5 semesters he has completed thus far. He is a member of Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish National Honor Society, through which he serves the Spanish-speaking community through volunteer work. He is a member of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Columbus, IN.

 The son of Jim and Carol Daily, he "chose to come to Purdue because Purdue has the best agriculture program in the country. Since I want to return to the family farm upon graduation, Purdue, with its outstanding agricultural program and the variety of ag-related degrees offered, was the best fit for me."

Ben was also honored as the ABE Outstanding student his Freshman year.

 Sean Kearney - ABE Outstanding Sophomore - Biological Engineering/Applied Mathematics

Sean is a sophomore majoring in Biological Engineering and Applied Mathematics. He has participated in the internationally Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition as a member of the Biological Engineering in Genetics Club where he presented collaborative synthetic biology research at MIT in November of 2010. He has worked extensively with Professor Rickus and Professor Clase in studying an aggressive brain cancer, glioblastoma, as an intern in the NIH funded Cancer Prevention Internship Program. As a member of their HHMI Genomics Research Institute course in biotechnology, he isolated a bacterial virus for genomic sequencing and annotation in the second section of the course on bioinformatics. He is a member of the Institute of Biological Engineering and Purdue Student Pugwash. He also loves animals and cooking, but not together.   

 Zane Graper - ABE Outstanding Freshman - Biological and Food Process Engineering

Zane GraperZane is a freshman in BFPE. He grew up on a farm and attended Gibson Southern High School in Fort Branch, Indiana. He is a 10-year 4-H member and an officer in the local FFA chapter. "For 13 years of my life, I wrestled on a wrestling team." He enjoys watching and critiquing movies and playing poker with his friends. He came to Purdue under the influence of an older brother after seeing that it is "a great college and the best place to be." He hopes to work as an engineer in a food processing plant.

2010 ABE Outstanding Students

Aeraj ul Hague - Purdue Student Engineering Foundation Outstanding Graduate Student & ABE Outstanding PhD Student

Aeraj works with Professor Marshall Porterfield, and his research has primarily focused on development of "microfabricated lab-on-a-chip based biosensors for fundamental space biology research". These technologies have been expanded to find applications in neurophysiology research, agricultural applications and environmental monitoring.

Aeraj is president of the American Society of Gravitational and Space Biology Student Association, and has received the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship.

Ruth Pinto - ABE Outstanding MS Student

Ruth Pinto

Ruth is a graduate student working with Associate Professor Klein Ileleji. Her research focuses on the use of distiller grains in a higher value end-product controlled-release fertilizer granules.

After graduation in May, Ruth will be relocating to Houston Texas where she will become a high school math teacher with Teach for America. Teach for America’s mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our nation’s most promising future leaders in teaching positions. 

Ruth has served as the Secretary of the ABE Graduate Student Association, and is an active member of the Women in Engineering Graduate Mentoring Program.

  Jeff Wojcicki - Purdue Student Engineering Foundation Outstanding Senior

Jeff Wojcicki

Jeff is active in Purdue Christian Campus House, Purdue Engineering Ambassadors, Engineering Honors Learning Community and Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) where he conducted research for a "greener" home design for the local Habit for Humanity affiliate. Jeff recently returned from a trip to Kenya with the Purdue Global Engineering Program, where he helped install a water purification system. 

 Mary Jane "Janie" Stine - ABE Outstanding Senior - Biological Engineering

Janie is well rounded and excels in every aspect of the college experience: coursework, research, leadership, oral and written communication, maturity/ethics, teamwork, and intellectual curiosity. Janie is a natural leader and innovator with an ability to translate ideas into reality. For example, she and her colleagues created an environmentally friendly premium toilet paper produced from solely soy or corn raw based materials. This innovation won the Indiana Corn Innovation contest earning $10,000 in prize money, and earned 3rd place in the Indiana Soybean Innovation contest. Purdue is currently pursuing a patent application for environmentally friendly premium toilet paper that is produced from solely soy or corn based raw materials. Janie is one of three inventors on that patent. Several large manufacturers of toilet paper are pursuing possible licensing of the patent. Janie has been the ABE Outstanding Student all three of her years in the department.

  Courtney McWaine - ABE Outstanding Junior - Biological Engineering

Courtney has demonstrated her academic ability by maintaining a 3.7 GPA in our ABE curriculum. Courtney remains highly involved in the campus community as shown by her extracurricular activities. She is involved in the Society of Women Engineers and Minorities in Engineering Program. Through these organizations she has demonstrated her leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills. Furthermore, Courtney’s experience through the cooperative education program with Bunge has helped her solidify her high level of commitment to the agriculture process industry. This is Courtney's second honor as an ABE Outstanding Student!

  Molly Scherer - ABE Outstanding Sophomore - Biological Engineering

Molly’s 3.9 GPA performance has placed her near the top of her class. She displays a high degree of initiative and determination, and has a very wide range of interests with regards to biological materials. The Purdue Mortar Board awarded Molly the "Tip of the Cap Award" for outstanding student organizational leadership. Molly is active with Purdue Dance Marathon, Campus Crusade for Christ and the Emily Mauzy Vogel Sophomore Leadership Conference. Molly is currently working with ABE Assistant Professor Patrick Murphy on biofeedstock projects.

Josue Ordaz - ABE Outstanding Freshman - Biological Engineering

Josue is active with several campus organizations including, Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES), Latino Culture Center Ambassadors (LCC) and Food Environmental Engineering and Life Science Program (FEELS). As a participant in the FEELS program, Josue attends seminars that help him develop his academic and leadership skills.  This past fall he participated in the FEELS program’s "Walk for a Cause" fund raising event. Josue helped organize the LCC event celebrating a Mexican Tradition Day entitled "Day of  the Dead" that was held at the Lafayette YMCA. As a member of LCC’s committee on Health and Fitness, he also helped organize events to promote health and fitness including workout sessions and speakers. Recently Josue joined the MAES, a nationwide organization that seeks to promote and honor excellence in education and leadership among Latino engineers and scientists.

2009 ABE Outstanding Students

Majdi Abou-Najm - Purdue Student Engineering Foundation Outstanding Graduate Student

 
Majdi is an outstanding individual and a very mature personality and a high level of professional preparedness. He is a founding member of the ABE Graduate Student Association and serves as one of its leaders. He is currently working on establishing a new “Modeling” team in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering with the objective of fostering interaction between students and faculty as well as establishing new research collaborations and ideas. Majdi’s multi-cultural background has enriched the ABE department well beyond his technical and scientific expertise. His experience working as a consultant in Africa and the Middle East gives him a new dimension of experience as well as exceptional presentation and negotiation skills having work for various Federal, State, and International Agencies.

Jun Wang - ABE Outstanding PhD Student


Jun is a graduate student working under Assistant Professor, Chang Lu.  Jun's work has ranged from single cell analysis to single molecule biomechanics studies.  He is an incredibly productive student with amazing motivation and enthusiasm toward scientific research.  He has been credited with 9 published papers in top journals.  Jun is also a co-inventor of two pending patents.  His research work received coverage from Purdue Today and other national public media.  Jun has a bright future as a young researcher and is very deserving of being named the 2009 ABE Outstanding PhD Student.

Azalenah Shah - ABE Outstanding MS Student

 
Azalenah is a talented student who participates actively in lab meetings, asking and answering questions that clearly show her inquisitive mind.  She is very industrious and motivated and works hard to understand difficult subjects.  Azalenah has been an active participant in the Purdue Women in Engineering Program, and this has helped her to strengthen her natural leadership capabilities and skills.  In addition to her excellent working standards Azalenah has a pleasant personality and is well liked and respected.

Ben Dietrich - Purdue Student Engineering Foundation Outstanding Senior


Ben is the 2009 Purdue Student Engineering Foundation Outstanding Senior. While maintaining a respectable GPA, Ben has been exemplary in his service to the department. He has volunteered to help with recruiting events as well as Purdue’s cooperative education program. Ben is currently the president of the Purdue ASABE student chapter. The combination of leadership and service that Ben has demonstrated make him highly deserving of this recognition.  

Craig Barcus - ABE Outstanding Senior - Biological & Food Process Engineering 

Craig is an intelligent, talented, hard working, mature, grounded, out-going, well-rounded student and a great leader. Craig has tremendous motivation for research and is a great student in the lab. Craig entered Purdue’s Masters program last fall and has dual status as a senior and a Master’s Degree student. He is making rapid progress towards completion of his thesis. Craig has also been very helpful in the recruitment of new students to ABE. He has participated in freshman engineering lectures and is a freshman advisor for 1st year engineering students. 

Janie Stine - ABE Outstanding Junior - Biological & Food Process Engineering

This ABE Outstanding Junior has outstanding academic abilities, a direct, no-nonsense personality and wonderful organizational skills. She is constantly helping her fellow students to understand course material. She has an essentially perfect GPA, indicating her very strong scholastic skills. Janie also participates on Purdue’s iGEM team, where she helps organize and participates in genetic engineering competitions. Thanks to her enthusiastic leadership and participation, the Purdue iGEM team has received several awards in national competition. This is Janie's second consecutive honor as an ABE Outstanding student!

Jacob Ohlemiller - ABE Outstanding Sophomore - Machine Systems Engineering

 

Jacob is an excellent student who never missed a class, never turns in homework late or incomplete, and is always courteous to both faculty and fellow students. Jacob is a well-rounded student with excellent academic skills, as well as being very involved in campus and community activities. Jacob’s engineering inquisitiveness, academic ability, outstanding service to Purdue, overwhelming positive approach to life, and a desire to truly make the world and others in it a better place are contagious.

Ben Daily - ABE Outstanding Freshman - Agricultural Systems Management

Ben is an excellent student, he communicates clearly, understands the context of his degree, and has a well-planned and very bright future. In addition to his ASM major, he plans to obtain minors in Spanish and Management. Ben is also active in the Agricultural Systems Management Club as well as the Agronomy Club and is active in the Lafayette community.

2008 ABE Outstanding Students

Dazhi Mao -  Purdue Student Engineering Foundation Outstanding Graduate Student

Dazhi Mao has been active within the ABE department serving as the graduate student representative on the departmental facilities committee as well as mentoring new ABE graduate students and assisting them in developing technical skills in research. 

Dazhi has presented his research at conferences 10 times, with multiple presentations at both the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ Annual International Meeting and the American Geophysical Union’s Annual Fall Meeting.

Dazhi always displays a positive attitude towards his research and his colleagues, and is never one to shy away from a request for help.

Srinivasulu Ale - ABE Outstanding PhD. Student

As a PhD. student in ABE, Srinivasulu is currently working on assessing the impact of drainage water management on nitrate load from subsurface drainage (popularly known as "tile drainage") systems at field and watershed scales.  His research combines field observations of watershed processes with hydrologic modeling.

The strategy that he has suggested for operation of drainage water management systems is very useful for the midwest and other areas where water table management is being practiced.

Amy Penner - ABE Outstanding MS Student 

Amy Penner is a MS student in ABE with a specialization in Biological and Food Process Engineering.  She will graduate from Purdue University in December 2008.

Her MS project is two-fold with a focus in expansion/bubble formation in a wheat dough system along with extrusion of wheat, rice, soybeans and peanuts in a small scale system to be used by NASA for future Mars missions.

Amy is originally from Wabash, Indiana and is looking forward to broadening her horizons with her upcoming move to Chicago, Illinois.  She has accepted a processing research position at Kraft Foods Inc.

Keith Mears - Purdue Student Engineering Foundation Outstanding Senior

Keith is an outstanding student and has been involved in many student activities while maintaining an excellent GPA.  Within the ABE department Keith has helped with many departmental recruiting activities, as well as many off-campus events.

Keith has been a significant contributor to the ASABE Quarter Scale Tractor Student Design Team, which placed first in performance and second overall in the annual competition in 2007.

Keith served as the president of Alpha Epsilon, our student honor society and was president of our student chapter of ASABE during his junior year.

Jonathan Newell - ABE Outstanding Senior - Agricultural & Natural Resources Engineering

One of the many assets that Jon has is his willingness to engage and learn about others and help where he can. Throughout his course involvement, Jon has been extremely bright, original, hard working, enthusiastic, and a very responsible individual.   Jon has excelled in both his personal and professional activities with excellence. He is eager to learn, listen and gets along very well with his peers. His inquisitive, persistence and responsible nature make him an outstanding ABE Senior.

Craig Barcus - ABE Outstanding Junior - Biological & Food Process Engineering


Craig is very hardworking and diligent in his class work as well as demonstrating excellent comprehension of the topical material. He has demonstrated not only excellent scholastic abilities, but also shown his critical thinking skills through the questions he asks both in class and outside.  He is a top-notch student and has tremendous motivation for research.

Craig has also been active in summer research, having participated in the SURF program last year. Craig is on the Dean’s List for scholastic achievement, as well as receiving several scholarships and academic honors. 

Janie Stine - ABE Outstanding Sophomore - Biological & Food Process Engineering

Janie is intelligent, mature, good natured, hard working, talented, and has a sincere love of learning. She has an amazing GPA of 4.0, and is involved in many additional clubs and activities. Janie is a member of the Biological Engineering in Genetics Club, that recently competed in the international Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM) at MIT. The students develop a research project in the area of synthetic biology. Janie joined the team during her freshman year, and has helped develop the idea of engineering bacteria to play “rock paper scissors”. Although just a freshman and not a molecular biology major, Janie assumed a major role contributing to the construction of the DNA parts. Janie and her team received a bronze medal status at the competition.

Courtney McWaine - ABE Outstanding Freshman - Agricultural & Natural Resources Engineering

Courtney is quite accomplished for a freshman. She has an excellent GPA of 4.0 after her first semester in First Year Engineering. In addition, she has engaged in many campus-based activities including several in leadership roles, as well as being active with Habitat for Humanity and the local Human Society. Courtney recently secured a high profile internship opportunity with NASA in which she will be able to apply her knowledge and gain further insight into her areas of interest. Based on her joyful good nature, sincere motivation for learning, aptitude for leadership, demonstrated scholarship, and current college career trajectory, the ABE department expects to see many great accomplishments from Courtney in the future.