Colombia Purdue Initiative — CPI


Jay T. Akridge

Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture

Dr. Jay Akridge was appointed Dean of Agriculture in January 2009. As dean he is responsible for administering academic programs in the College of Agriculture, the Indiana Agricultural Experiment Station, the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service and a number of state regulatory services, including the State Chemist’s Office and the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. He received his master’s degree and doctorate in agricultural economics from Purdue University, and his bachelor’s degree — a double major in agriculture and business administration —from Murray State University in Murray, KY. Prior to being named Dean in 2009, he was the James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics and served as director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business and the MS-MBA in food and agribusiness management. He served as interim vice provost for engagement at Purdue in 2007–08. An award-winning teacher, his research has examined the buying behavior of commercial agricultural producers, innovations in marketing strategies by agribusiness firms, and adoption of new technology by agribusiness.


Daniel Hirleman

Chief Corporate and Global Partnerships Officer

Dr. Hirleman joined Purdue as Chief Corporate and Global Partnerships Officer in 2014 where he is responsible for substantially growing research and education partnerships with the private sector, and for strategic global partnerships with nations, institutions of higher education, NGOs and companies. He also oversees the Global Policy Research Institute as well as Purdue’s International Programs operation that currently serves over 9,000 students and scholars. Hirleman studied mechanical engineering at Purdue University and received a BSME, followed by MSME and Ph.D. He received Howard Hughes Doctoral and NSF Graduate Fellowships, did six industry internships, and was a visiting researcher at the Technical University of Denmark. He has received: the INEER International Achievement Award in 2006; the Hon. George Brown Award for International Scientific Cooperation in 2008, and the 2009 Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award of ASME/Pi Tau Sigma. He is a Fellow of ASME and chaired the Advisory Board of Engineers for a Sustainable World. His current research involves laser-based sensors used in detection and identification of cells and colonies for bio-­hazard characterization, high-­throughput screening, and stem cell diagnostics.


Leah Jamieson

John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering at Purdue University
Ransburg Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Jamieson has been recognized for her achievements in education, research, and service. She served as the 2007 President and CEO of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is co-founder and past director of the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program. Her research has focused on speech analysis and recognition; the design and analysis of parallel processing algorithms; and the application of parallel processing to digital speech, image, and signal processing. Among the awards that she has received are the 2005 National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education for the creation and dissemination of EPICS, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars, 2005 National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Inductees, and the IEEE Education Society’s 2000 Harriett B. Rigas “Outstanding Woman Engineering Educator Award.”


Jeffrey T. Roberts

Frederick L. Hovde Dean of the College of Science

Jeffrey Roberts is an accomplished scientist in the field of physical and materials chemistry. He is the third chemist to serve as Dean of Science at Purdue. He applies the surface chemical properties of aerosol nanoparticles in two research areas: the fate and properties of anthropogenic (human-derived) nanoparticles when they are emitted into the atmosphere; and the deliberate synthesis of nanoparticles for materials and catalysis applications. His research in environmental surface chemistry involves understanding how water interacts with soot particles to form clouds in the atmosphere. His other research area focuses on nanoparticle materials and catalysis applications.


Jeffrey Stuart

CPI Executive Director
Professor of Entomology
Phone: (765) 494-4561

Dr. Stuart research focuses on the molecular biology of plant-insect interactions, the Hessian fly genome assembly and annotation, and the ecological and population genetics.On 2014, Professor Stuart was elected as the President of the PBT Section of the Entomological Society of America. Jeff is currently on sabbatical at Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT, Cali, Colombia) thanks to an award from Fulbright-Colombia.


Arvind Raman

Associate Dean for Global Engineering Programs
Robert V. Adams Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Phone: (765) 494-5733

Dr. Arvind Raman's research focuses on applications of nonlinear dynamics, vibrations, and fluid-structure interactions. His group has significantly advanced the understanding of complex dynamics in nanotechnology applications such as Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Micro- and Nano-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS/NEMS), in gyroscopic systems for data storage and manufacturing, in electronics cooling, and in biomechanics. He has mentored sixteen PhD students, co-authored more than a hundred and twenty peer-reviewed journal articles, held visiting positions at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), University of Oxford (UK), and Darmstadt University of Technology (Germany), and secured funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), and several national and international industrial sponsors. He is a fellow of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a recipient of the Gustus Larson Memorial Award from the ASME, a Keeley Visiting fellow (Wadham College, Oxford), a College of Engineering outstanding young investigator awardee, and a CAREER award recipient from NSF. At Purdue he has pioneered the use of cyber-infrastructure in the AFM community for research and education through advanced simulation tools and online classes which are used by thousands around the world, and led College of Engineering strategic initiatives for global engagement in Latin America. Professor Raman joined Purdue University in 2000 as an Assistant Professor following a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley (1999).


Tamara J. Benjamin

Purdue Extensions, Botany and Plant Pathology and Forestry and Natural Resources
Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources Scientist
Phone: (765) 494-1930

Dr. Benjamin has a PhD in Forest Biology with an emphasis in agroforestry systems. Her research has concentrated primarily on the biophysical, social and economic implications of agroecosystem diversification, the impact of agroecosystems on ecological communities, and agroforestry planning. Her interests have focused on finding ways to design sustainable agroecological and agroforestry systems to meet the needs of local farmers in both rural and urban settings. Currently she is working on taking the knowledge learned from more than 20 years of working in Latin America and applying it in the Midwest within small farm agriculture. She helped coordinate the new Undergraduate Research Program (UREP) with Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 2014, which sent 25 students to Purdue across 6 different Colleges on campus, and in 2015, the number of students will be close to 50 across all Colleges.


Carol Handwerker

Reinhardt Schuhmann Jr. Professor of Materials Engineering
Phone: (765) 494-0147

Professor Handwerker received a Sc.D. Ceramics, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She joined the School of Materials Engineering, at Purdue University, in 2005. Her research focuses on the development and application of the thermodynamic and kinetic theory and experiments of phase transformations and interface motion to solve important industrial and scientific problems.  


David B. Janes

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Phone: (765) 494-9263

Dr. Janes has a PhD degree from the University of Illinois. His research interests include: nanoscale electronic devices, molecular/semiconductor devices, microwave devices and characterization.


Morris Levy

Professor of Biological Sciences
Phone: (765) 494-8134

With several international collaborators, his research focuses on the evolutionary genetics of a major crop pathogen, the rice blast fungus. Using DNA fingerprinting and other techniques, we have shown that rice blast populations throughout the world are each composed of a small number of distinct genetic families with limited pathogenic specificities. They have used this information to design strategies for durable resistance breeding that have proven successful in both the Americas and Asia.


Carolyn Percifield

Director of Strategic Planning and Assessment, Purdue College of Engineering
Phone: (765) 494-5343

Carolyn Percifield joined Purdue University in 1991 as the Assistant Director of Corporate Relations at the College of Engineering. Since 2003 she is the Director of Strategic Planning and Assessment for the College of Engineering.


Juan Diego Velasquez

Managing Director of Strategic Initiatives
Phone: (765) 494-5340

Juan Diego Velásquez, Ph.D. is the Managing Director of Strategic Initiatives for the College of Engineering (COE). In his current role, he supports several teams of faculty and staff working on transdisciplinary initiatives, among them the Colombia Purdue Institute and the Purdue Systems Collaboratory. Prior to working with the COE, Juan was Assistant Director for TA and Curricular Development in Purdue's Center for Instructional Excellence. Juan received his Ph.D. in industrial engineering (IE) from Purdue in 2009, after completing his master's and bachelor's degrees in IE also at Purdue. He is a member of Purdue's Teaching Academy and serves on its Executive Council. His work on IE and teaching and learning has been published in numerous refereed journals and books.


Adam Wasserman

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
Phone: (765) 494-2348

Dr. Wasserman is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University, with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He obtained his PhD in 2005 from Rutgers University and joined Purdue University in 2008 after having completed a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. His research focuses on the development of new computational methods to calculate the electronic properties of molecules and materials, with an emphasis on Time-dependent Density Functional Theory. Prof. Wasserman has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2012 NSF-CAREER, 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, and 2014 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar awards.