2007-2008 Alumni Awards and Announcements

Alumni honored for their excellence:

(Keep the Purdue ChE family and community apprised of your success by sending us updates.)

J. Eric Dietz,former Executive Director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), accepted the Sagamore of the Wabash Award in recognition of three years of distinguished service with IDHS. The Sagamore of the Wabash, originally instituted by Gov. Ralph Gates (1945-49) and second only to Indiana’s Sachem award, honors distinguished service and accomplishments by Hoosiers to the Governor or the State. Dietz efforts were also saluted and celebrated by several IDHS staffers and partners at the award reception in his honor on March 14, 2008.

Newly-appointed IDHS Executive Director Joe Wainscott had the honor of presenting the coveted award in the absence of Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, unable to attend because her presence was required at the Statehouse.

Dietz’s IDHS service, initially an exchange agreement of only two years between Purdue and IDHS, was extended to cover one extra year. Upon leaving IDHS, Professor Dietz returned to work on March 17, 2008, at Purdue University as a faculty member and researcher in the College of Technology’s Computer Information Technology Department. It is his hope to work on defense-related projects with the Homeland Security Institute at Purdue.

John C. Martin (BS 1973), has been elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Dr. Martin was recognized for "the invention, development, and commercialization of anti-viral medicines, especially treatments for HIV/AIDS." Dr. Martin is currently the president and chief executive officer of Gilead Sciences Inc.

Read more about Dr. Martin's election.

Lisa Brannon-Peppas (MS 1986, PhD 1988), has been elected a Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering, the highest international recognition in the field of biomaterials. Dr. Brannon-Peppas was recognized for her pioneering work on degradable polymers and drug delivery products, particularly for cancer treatment. Dr. Brannon-Peppas is currently a Research Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas.


Lynn Takala (BS 2004), has been named one of 14 "New Faces of Engineering" as part of the nationwide celebration of Engineers Week 2008. She was one of 14 engineers, 30 or younger, who were recognized. Ms. Takala is a process engineer at Fluor's Chemical Technology Center in Greenville and was nominated by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Read about Lynn Takala's award in The Greenville News.

Kristi Anseth (BS 1992), was named Distinguished Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder on January 23, 2008. "The distinguished professor title is bestowed on CU faculty members who have a record of distinguished performance in research and creative work, a record of excellence in both classroom teaching and supervision of individual learning and a record of outstanding service to the profession and to CU."


Richard Korsmeyer (MS 1980, PhD 1983), Balaji Narasimhan (PhD 1997), and Julia Ross (BS 1990), have been elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). AIMBE is considered to be the academy of biological and medical engineers and has 1,100 Fellows. Previous Purdue chemical engineering graduates who have been elected as AIMBE Fellows include Terry Papoutsakis, Mike Ladish, Tony Mikos, Surya Mallapragada, Lisa Brannon-Peppas, Chris Bowman, Kristi Anseth, Tony Lowman and David Meadows.

Christopher N. Bowman (BS 1988, PhD 1991), the James and Catherine Patten Endowed Chair at the University of Colorado at Boulder, was appointed associate dean for research in the College of Engineering and Applied Science effective August 2007. Dr. Bowman had served as the chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering from 2003 to 2007.

Petr Bures (PhD 2001), has been appointed to head the new Polyester Resins Group within the Coatings, Adhesives and Sealants (CAS) Business Unit of the Bayer MaterialScience AG. All commercial functions, including Sales, Marketing, Business Development, Product Management and Supply Chain, and Procurement, will report administratively and functionally to Dr. Bures.


Jennifer Sinclair Curtis (BS 1983) has received the 2007 Particle Forum Lectureship Award in Fluidization from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. The award recognizes her research contributions in the field of fluidization and fluid-particle flow technology. Dr. Sinclair Curtis is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida. 

Dr. Sinclair Curtis has also been nominated to the AIChE Board of Directors for a term of 2008-2010.

Antonios G. Mikos (MS 1985, PhD 1988) has received the 2007 Alpha Chi Sigma Award for Chemical Engineering Research from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Dr. Mikos was recognized for his pioneering contributions to biomolecular engineering, tissue engineering, biomaterials and drug delivery systems. Dr. Mikos is the J.W. Cox Professor of Bioengineering and Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University.

Balaji Narasimhan (PhD 1996), professor in chemical and biological engineering, has been appointed as associate dean for research and economic development in the College of Engineering at Iowa State University, effective August 8, 2007.

E. Terry Papoutsakis (MS 1977, PhD 1980) received the 2007 James M. Van Lanen Distinguished Service Award from the Biochemical Technology Division of the American Chemical Society. Dr. Papoutsakis became the Eugene DuPont Professor of Chemical Engineering and The Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) Fellow at the University of Delaware on July 1, 2007.

Julia M. Ross (BS 1990) has received the 2007 ASEE Sharon Keillor Award for Women in Engineering Education for 2007. The award recognizes her exceptional contributions as a researcher, educator, and administrator. Dr. Ross is currently Professor and Chair of the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). 

Vern W. Weekman Jr. (BS 1953, PhD 1963, Distinguished Engineering Alumnus 1980), Lecturer in Chemical Engineering at Princeton University, was one of three recipients of an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Purdue University on May 12, 2007. Dr. Weekman, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, was recognized for his distinguished career in the energy and petrochemical industries and his national leadership in chemical engineering. He is past president of AIChE and recipient of the Institute Lecturer Award, Wilhelm Award in Reaction Engineering and Amundson Reaction Engineering Award. Dr. Weekman is also a founding member of the New Directions Industrial Advisory Council of Purdue's School of Chemical Engineering (1990-97).