Skip navigation

April 2011 ABe-Notes — April, 2011

Alumni News for April

Daniel L. Thomas

Daniel L. Thomas (PhD '84)has been named the new head of Oklahoma State University’s department of biosystems and agricultural engineering by the OSU/A&M Board of Regents.

 He currently serves as professor and head of Louisiana State University’s department of biological and agricultural engineering and the LSU Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge.

“Dr. Thomas’ extensive and outstanding record of leadership and educational, Extension and research accomplishments makes him highly qualified for the position of department head,” said Robert E. Whitson, vice president, dean and director of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.


Akilah Martin

 Dr. Akilah Martin (MS Agronomy '02, PhD ABE '05) helped establish, and continues to support, a school in Nairobi that has been named for her. She is continuing her legacy of education and social change.






Dr. Kelsi Bracmort returned to the department on April 8 to present a special seminar at the invitation of the ABE Graduate Student Association. Kelsi works with the Congressional Research Service.

Distinguished Agriculture Alumnus Doug Griffin

Event Date: April 1, 2011
W. Douglas Griffin, 2011 Distinguished Agriculture Alumnus Award
The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering was honored to host Doug Griffin as an Outstanding Agriculture Alumnus on Friday, April 1, 2011.

W. Douglas Griffin (BSAGE '90) was recognized by the College of Agriculture as a Distinguished Agriculture Alumnus. His career career in agricultural engineering began with a cooperative education experience.

Caterpillar is known today as a construction equipment company, but Mr. Griffin worked for its less-familiar agricultural division every other semester beginning in his sophomore year. A semester-long assignment in marketing changed his career direction, but his agricultural engineering degree provided an excellent technical base when Caterpillar offered him a job in sales after graduation. He took on a marketing assignment in Dekalb, Illinois; then field-based sales rep positions in Dallas, Texas, and Bloomington, Illinois; followed by several management positions in the company’s Peoria headquarters

After 15 years with Caterpillar, Mr. Griffin moved to AGCO when they bought Caterpillar’s agricultural division in 2002. At AGCO, he was able to capitalize on his relationships with the Caterpillar dealer network to significantly grow sales of the Challenger line of equipment. He served as North American director of sales and marketing until his promotion to vice president of marketing in 2006.

He practices the high standards that he says his fraternity instilled at the onset of his career, and he continues to value the network he started building at Purdue. By demonstrating the highest degree of professionalism, leadership and marketing expertise, he has become widely recognized as a leader within the agri-marketing community. He has completed executive education programs at Bradley University and Emory University.

The citation given to Griffin read: "For his outstanding achievement in agricultural engineering, the Purdue College of Agriculture is proud to present the Distinguished Agriculture Alumnus Award to W. Douglas Griffin."

Faculty News for April

Dr. John Lumkes will be recognized as a Murphy Award winner for excellence in teaching. Dr. Lumkes is one of only five faculty members on campus who will be so honored. Congratulations, Dr. Lumkes!

Dr. John Lumkes is surprised to win the Murphy Teaching Award Dr. John Lumkes is presented with the Murphy Award Dr. John Lumkes, Murphy Award winner Dr. John Lumkes with his ABE 460 class

With the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year, Dr. Indrajeet Chaubey will promote from Associate Professor to Professor and Dr. Keith Cherkauer will promote from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor. We are proud of our faculty!

Dr. Klein Ileleji and his wife, Reiko, welcomed a new baby girl, Chika Menasan Ileleji, at 11 pm on April 11, 2011! She weighs in at 4 lbs 10 oz, and is 18 1/4 inches long. Congratulations, Ilelejis!

Graduate Student News for April

Author: Charlie Armstrong

insert alt text

Our graduate students were treated to a delicious meal by the College of Engineering recently at the annual Graduate Student Celebration breakfast.  Shown below are (left to right) Jingjing Guo, Charlie Armstrong (ABE Graduate Program Administrator), Jose Garcia, Kyle Merrill, Gabe Wilfong, and Michael Holland.  Charlie particularly enjoyed getting to catch up with students outside the office.






Laurent Ahiablame

Friends, relatives, and colleagues of the late D. Woods Thomas, former Dean of International Programs in Agriculture,established an endowment fund in his memory following his death in 1993.  Because of his lifelong commitment to international agricultural development, income from the endowment supports College of Agriculture graduate students who will be doing research or studying in a developing country as part of their University program. 

 Laurent Ahiablame has been selected to receive the D. Woods Thomas Memorial Fund travel award. Congratulations, Laurent!




Rebecca Logsdon, Elizabeth Trybula, and Margaret McCahon (Kalcic)

Rebecca Logsdon, Margaret McCahon (Kalcic), and Elizabeth Trybula submitted a proposal, "Engaging Farmers to Improve Communication and Model Representation of Agricultural Ecosystem Services" to the NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grant. Out of 34 proposals submitted, it was one of the fifteen chosen for funding. Congratulations!







J.D. McClurkin won the National Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Theme Contest for the 2012 National Conference with the theme "Planting the Seeds for Global Success." She also won the Dr. Luther S. Williams Leadership Award for the Black Graduate Association. Congratulations, JD!



Dr. Porterfield's team just returned from the annual meeting of the Institute for Biological Engineering in Atlanta, Georgia. All three students received awards: Matt Stensberg, 3rd place for his work on silver nanotoxicity in Daphnia; Jonathan Claussen, 2nd place for his work on modeling/engineering nanomaterial platforms for biosensing; and Jin Shi, Grand Prize for his work on developing glucose micro/nanobiosensors and their application in studying pancreatic bets cells and diabetes. Way to go!

Maha Fluid Power Laboratory News for April

Author: Matt Kronlage

Parker Hannifin is sponsoring a new project in cooperation with Maha Fluid Power Lab.  The focus of the project will be on hydrostatic transmission noise reduction.

Maha Fluid Power Lab will be upgrading the Joint Integrated Rotary Actuator (JIRA) test rig to Veristand, a real time control system provided by National Instruments.  This control system is being tested as a replacement for xPCTarget systems provided by The Math Works.

Researchers from Lubrisol visited the Maha Fluid Power Research Lab.  They were interested in testing new fluids on the various pump and hydraulic systems test rigs in order to quantify the fluids’ impact on efficiency.

The displacement controlled hydraulic excavator at Maha Fluid Power Research Lab was recently featured in Hydraulics and Pneumatics, an online magazine for fluid power engineers. 

Dr. Monika Ivantysynova and six researchers from Maha Fluid Power Lab attended CONEXPO and IFPE in Las Vegas March 22-26.  Monika will be presented a keynote lecture on the modeling and optimization of hydraulic pumps and motors.  The lab’s displacement controlled mini excavator was on display at the show as well.  Excavator fuel efficiency and productivity results from a side by side comparison test were presented.

 International Fluid Power Expo Papers Presented:

  •  Cross, Michael and Ivantysynova, Monika.  Practical Considerations for Component Selection in Hydraulic Hybrid Vehicles.
  •  Schenk, Andrew and Ivantysynova, Monika.  Design and Optimization of the Slipper-Swashplate Interface Using an Advanced Fluid Structure Interaction Model.
  •  Zecchi, Marco and Ivantysynova, Monika.  A Novel Fluid Structure Interaction Model for the Cylinder Block/Valve Plate Interface  of Axial Piston Machines.
  •  Pelosi, Matteo and Ivantysynova, Monika.  The Influence of Pressure and Thermal Deformation on the Piston/Cylinder  Interface Film Thickness.
  •  Rose, Jess and Ivantysynova, Monika.  A Study of Pump Control Systems for Smart Pumps.
  •  Zimmerman, Josh,Busquets, Enrique and Ivantysynova, Monika.  40% Fuel Savings by Displacement Control Leads to Lower Working  Temperatures - A Simulation Study and Measurements.

Thesis Defenses

A number of our graduate students have defended, or will defend, their theses:

Jiji Chen, Single Molecule Fluorescence Spectroscopy and Microscopy for Epigenetic Modification - April 6 (PhD)

Gabe Wilfong, Design and Dynamic Analysis of High Speed On/Off Poppet Valves for Digital Pump/Motors - April 11 (MS)

Anne Dare, Assessment of Global Engineering Competencies - April 13 (MS)

Kyuwan Lee, Hyperspectral Measurement of Surface Plasmonic Resonance on Nanomaterials and Intracellular Single Molecule Detection - April 19 (PhD)

This is a new feature - please forgive for those who defended previously. If you would like for me to list your defense, please email me and I will include a more comprehensive list in May! 

Undergraduate Student News for April

Outstanding ABE Junior Ben Daily has been named the Outstanding Junior for the College of Agriculture for 2010-2011. Congratulations, Ben!


The ASM Club held their annual Lawnmower Revitalization Clinic and had amazing success. They serviced 90 mowers and raised more than $3,000. The club will use the proceeds for a fall trip. "A big thank-you goes out to all of the club members who worked the clinic, and all of the supporters who brought their mowers in," said Evan Guckien, president of the Purdue ASM Club.

 ASM Club Members repair lawnmowers All lawnmowers get a nice bath ASM Graduate Student Advisor Kyle Bailey pitches in That's a lot of lawnmowers!


Our student clubs have had a busy month! The following have elected new officers for 2011-2012:


  • President - Daniel Skelton
  • Vice-President - Lucas Dull
  • Treasurer - Emily Stewart
  • Secretary - JT Welte
  • Ag Ambassador - Chris Limiac
  • Scribe - Jacob Wert

Alpha Mu

  • President - Derek Pullen
  • Vice-President - Mark Wenning
  • Treasurer - Carter Morgan
  • Secretary - Leo Muhlenkamp
  • Ag Council Rep - Eli Fred

ASM Club

  • President - Evan Guckien
  • Vice-President: Ben Daily
  • Secretary: Cody Hurst
  • Treasurer: Eli Fred
  • Publicity Directors: Audrey Dawson and Ian Wooten
  • Ag Council Reps - Kevin Paul and Katie Bartlett
  • Graduate Student Advisors - Kyle Bailey and Shannon Snyder


Soybean/Corn Innovation Contest Awards were given at the banquet on March 23. ABE was represented in a multitude of ways and garnered several of the top prizes:

  • ABE undergrads Danielle Dawson, Jeff Lai, Chandana Namburi, and Kat Gilbert made up the team that created Fibits—sugar-free, fiber-loaded, flavor bits that can be added to yogurt, muffins, pancakes, etc.  The team, co-advised by Martin Okos and Maria Marshall (Ag Econ) won the People’s Choice award and took second place ($10,000 prize) in the soy competition.
  • ABE undergrads Andrew Furrow and Robert Agee were part of the team that created Natural Renewal—natural, non-toxic liquid bandage fluid.  The team won first place ($20,000) in the corn competition.
  • ABE Assoc Professor Nate Mosier co-advised with Stroh Brann (Burton Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship) the first-place soy team that created Dentural, a soy-based, zinc-free natural denture adhesive.
  • ABE undergrad Jonathan Welte was part of the team that created Eco Ceiling—a ceiling tile product that uses corn stover.  The team won second place ($10,000) in the corn competition.

Contact Us

Send your thoughts on what you’d like to see in this e-newsletter to Purdue ABE at