Havel-Decker Scholarship Enriches Educational Experience for Students

Alex Kokini
Jennifer Munley
Weldon undergraduate students Jennifer Munley and Alexander Kokini were the 2013 recipients of the Havel-Decker Scholarship in Biomedical Engineering.

Established by Ken and Kitty Decker in 2005, the scholarship was the first scholarship endowed at the Weldon School. It honors the Deckers' daughter, Emalee, who received bachelor's degrees from Purdue in biochemistry and agricultural and biological engineering, and the Deckers' son-in-law, William (Bill) Havel, who received bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from Purdue's electrical engineering program, and is a research scientist with Medtronic, a medical device company.

Both Munley and Kokini are extensively involved within the Weldon School as well as a variety of organizations both on and off campus. And both credit the Havel-Decker Scholarship with opening up opportunities they might not have had otherwise.                                 

Jennifer Munley is from a small town in Maryland and plans to go to medical school after graduation. She has won a variety of scholarships, all of which she is grateful for, but the Havel-Decker Scholarship is particularly meaningful to her because of her desire to apply her degree to the medical field. “This scholarship will allow me to continue my undergraduate education as I plan to pursue my professional degree,” said Munley.

Munley is a member of Alpha Eta Mu National Biomedical Engineering Honor Society and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering Student Advisory Board. She is president of the Purdue Cycling Club, volunteers at her church, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and is a supplemental instructor for a computer science course (CS159). She is also working on a research project.

The scholarship gave Munley the opportunity to live a more balanced life. “This scholarship has allowed me to focus on my studies and enjoy extracurricular activities, such as being involved in research and continuing to compete in cycling,” she said. “It would have been more difficult for me to be as involved on campus otherwise.”

“Through my time at Purdue, I have had the opportunity to grow as a student and as a person. The BME program has given me the opportunity to work with a variety of engineers and pursue various internships. I am excited to continue my education with the diverse background the BME program has given me.”

Alex Kokini is from Lafayette, Indiana, and plans to attend Indiana University School of Medicine at either the central or branch locations after graduation.

“I really value this award because it is within biomedical engineering. There are so many excellent and driven students within this major and it is an honor to be selected from so many deserving students,” he said.

The Havel-Decker Scholarship enabled Kokini to work at Indiana University School of Medicine over the summer. “The program I participated in was research-based, and this scholarship helped me be able to live in Indianapolis for the summer and experience the medical school campus and research environment,” he said.

Kokini is active with organizations both on and off campus. He is the co-founder of Purdue Engineering Outreach, an organization that teaches middle school students the principles of engineering through interactive projects. He also serves as the undergraduate representative to the Dean’s Engineering Advisory Council.  He is the president of Alpha Eta Mu Beta, the Biomedical Engineering honor society; a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, and the selection chair of the Barbara Cook Chapter of Mortar Board. He also sang in the Purdue Jazz Band and has interned at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Cook Biotech Inc. 

“BME at Purdue has taught me how to problem solve systematically and efficiently.  Besides gaining insight into a number of core engineering disciplines, I am thankful to have been able to learn from such an amazing group of faculty members as well as student peers.”

“I will carry these experiences with me as I continue my career in medicine,” Kokini added. “I hope I will be able to interface with engineers throughout my life to continue to improve medical devices and the field of medicine as a whole.”