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February 2016 ABe-Notes

February 2016 Student News

Author: Kimberly Wylin

ABE Ambassadors had a busy and productive Fall semester. They hosted six informational/recruiting events:

  • Park Elementary on September 14, 2015. We had 60 students participate in our hands-on labs, which included the DNA and Pneumatics Labs.
  • National Youth Engineering Day on September 28, 2015. We had 37 students participate in our hands-on labs, which included the Biofuels and Pneumatics Labs.
  • Seniors Exploring Engineering on October 19, 2015. We had 26 high school seniors participate in our hands-on Pneumatics lab. This event was made possible through collaboration with Purdue’s Society of Women Engineers.
  • PROMISE- Minorities in Engineering on October 22, 2015. We had 15 minority students participate in our hands-on Pneumatics Lab.
  • Summitville Elementary on October 28, 2015. We had 25 middle school students participate in our hands-on Pneumatics Lab.
  • Purdue’s Homecoming ABE Booth on November 7, 2015. We talked with 12 students about what Purdue ABE has to offer.

If you know of students who would enjoy visiting campus, please get them in touch with Dan Taylor (

 If you are interested in becoming an ABE Ambassador, contact Stephanie Schramm ( .  If you have ideas for new labs, contact Amelia Lindsay (

Will Field, ASM Sophomore, received the 2015 Rossville FFA Members/ American FFA Degree. This degree is awarded to members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA and made significant accomplishments in their supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs). The degree will be presented at the 2016 National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, Kentucky this year. Though approximately 3,500 American FFA Degrees are handed out each year, that number represents less than one-half of one percent of all FFA members. Congratulations, Will!


Please welcome Ben Reinhart, who has joined ABE as Project Manager for an eight state project on managing drained landscapes for resiliency, led by Jane Frankenberger (  Ben graduated from Purdue in 2007, and previously worked with the Clinton County  Soil and Water Conservation District and the Indiana Wildlife Federation. His office is ABE 209 and email is

Dr. Yanjun Hu (, a visiting scholar in ABE from China arrived on campus in August 2015 to work with Dr. Klein Ileleji. She is an associate professor at the Institute of Energy and Power Engineering, Zhejiang University of Science and Technology in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. She has expertise/interests in energy generation from municipal solid waste (MSW). While at Purdue, she would investigate the scale-up and use of a solar crop dryer for MSW used in power generation. She is also sitting in graduate heat and mass transfer classes to gain experience in teaching this class in the English language upon her return to her institution.

Dr. Guojian Li (, a visiting scholar in ABE from China arrived on campus in August 2015 to work with Dr. Klein Ileleji. He is an associate professor at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, with expertise/interests in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), green buildings, energy usage in building and climate control in buildings for human comfort. While at Purdue, he would explore the use of heat pumps for chilling of stored grain in large cylindrical welded steel silos in comparison with conventional grain chillers.

Mavis Owureku-Asare (, is a specialist in food preservation and post-harvest management of fresh agricultural produce. She joined the Department of Agricultural Biological and Engineering (ABE) at Purdue University as a visiting scholar in October, 2015. 

Her current research focuses on developing tomato processing techniques, which can be adopted by small holder farmers and processors in Ghana. She is working with Dr. Kingsly Ambrose of ABE on designing and optimizing a solar dryer that can be used for processing tomato products. She believes in agricultural Research and Development that positively impacts the lives of women, who are front-runners in tomato cultivation and marketing.

She is a fellow of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and a 2015 Borlaug LEAP fellow. She serves as a mentor to a number of female research scientists in Ghana.

She loves to swim and cook in her free time. Her office is in ABE Room 107A.

Taisha Venort ( is a Masters student in ABE and has recently received the Borlaug Fellowship in food security in 2015 to conduct her research in Kenya. Taisha works with Dr. Jiqin Ni in ABE. Her graduate research project focuses on anaerobic digestion project implementations in rural areas of developing countries. She will spend 6 months in Kenya, working with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and other partners, to evaluate a biogas project in Nandi County, Kenya. Biogas digesters are being installed at a rapid pace in rural Kenya through the country’s national biogas program. Assessment on the implementation and operation of these digesters can assist their sustainability and replicability. In completing her research, Taisha hopes to gain new understanding on the experiences in such projects toward pinpointing success factors for biogas programs. She will fit her research results into applying Integrated Food Energy systems (IFES) frameworks aiming at improving food security for rural farmers in developing countries.


Correction to December Welcome! article:

Xia Zhao joins us from Qinghai Normal University. She is funded for one year (October 24, 2015 - October 23, 2016) through the Chinese Scholar Council. She is working with Professor Engel, who led the L-THIA team and aimed at developing an L-THIA-C model based on the Qinghai database of land use, soil group, and hydrological condition. She is an Associate Professor in the Geographic Science Department at Qinghai Normal University..

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