Summer 2006 Newsletter

From the Dean

Dean Leah Jamieson

We have great hope in the future of our graduate students. Whether they are called to solve a public health crisis in Mumbai, or design and build the next great civil works project in Alaska, the graduate students in our classrooms are eager for an experience that is as realistic, exciting, and engaging as their careers will be upon graduation.

They will work in a world where technology is advancing at a remarkable rate, and where people are coming together to solve challenges such as energy, environment, and poverty. In short, we are inspiring and encouraging graduate students to engineer a better life for all.

Leah H. Jamieson
Interim Dean

Feature: Inspiring Leaders

A strong graduate program is essential to fulfilling Purdue Engineering’s mission to prepare leaders and innovators for academia, industry, and government. Our graduate program is currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. Improving that ranking will require an increase in the number and quality of PhD graduates.

Our strategic plan calls for renewing our commitment to strengthening our nationally recognized graduate program, particularly the PhD program. In Fall ’05, an internal assessment committee was established to review three aspects of graduate education: recruitment, retention, and assessment.

The college’s Graduate Education office is working with the schools’ graduate chairs and graduate administrators as well as members of the Engineering Leadership Team to develop and implement a detailed plan that will move Purdue Engineering’s graduate program toward achieving its goals.

Graduate Program Strategic Plan Goals

The plan, being drafted this summer, will serve as a starting point for discussions in Fall ’06. It takes into account preliminary recommendations by the internal assessment committee and information gleaned during early discussions with each school. The plan to improve and promote the graduate programs will be revised and immediately implemented following an early–fall meeting.

While parallel efforts on recruiting and retention must be maintained, our focus during the 2006–07 academic year is expected to be on recruitment. Once an enhanced recruitment process is established, with mechanisms in place to maintain that process, we can shift our focus to retaining our enrolled graduate students by creating opportunities for mentoring and professional development.

Engineering Graduate Programs—Total Enrollment 1999-2005 Trends

Recruiting Domestic, Women, and Minority PhD Students

Currently, more than half of Purdue Engineering’s PhD students are international, and as graduate education and career opportunities in other countries improve, the number of international students willing to come to the U.S. for an education and stay for a career will decrease. Our strategic plan calls for an increase in the number of domestic PhD students. The need for domestic PhD engineers is especially critical at national laboratories and in government agencies devoted to defense and security.

We would also like to increase the number of women and minority students—a largely untapped pool of domestic talent. Employers who hire our students are seeking to diversify their workforce and have a strong preference for hiring from institutions that can provide that diversity.

Doctoral students become leaders in academia, industrial research programs, and in formulating national policy. To remain competitive, the U.S. needs a continuous stream of leading thinkers. To maintain its influence and reputation, Purdue needs to produce a significant number of those leaders. That is why we will recruit the best and brightest for our PhD programs, with an emphasis on recruiting domestic, women, and minority students.

Possible future components of the recruiting effort include:

  • Collaboration among the many Purdue programs that involve undergraduates in research on campus during the summer, such as SURF, MARC-AIM, and programs managed by the Minority Engineering Program, the Women in Engineering Program, and the Graduate School.
  • Identifying potential graduate students around the nation early in their undergraduate careers and making them aware of opportunities at Purdue.
  • Developing connections with potential graduate students through current faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
  • Identifying pools of non-traditional students who are, or could soon be prepared for graduate work in engineering, such as strong math and science students at liberal arts schools.
  • Emphasizing that Purdue provides not only an opportunity for an outstanding technical education, but also opportunities for personal and professional development that prepare a person for leadership positions in academia, industry, or government.

Mentoring, Retention, and Professional Opportunities

The college is seeking to motivate, mentor, and nurture our graduate students to increase the retention rate and to ensure that our graduates are among the most highly sought worldwide. Providing graduate students with active advising, faculty and peer mentoring, learning communities, rich research experiences, and professional role models will help us reach this goal.

Professional development opportunities are crucial when preparing our graduates for leadership roles. Some of these opportunities will include:

  • Interdisciplinary research
    The nine signature areas established by Purdue Engineering, along with the facilities at Discovery Park, make it possible to offer graduate students a wide range of interdisciplinary experiences.
  • International experiences
    Many faculty in the college have international collaborators. Multinational corporations are seeking employees with international experience and are, in some cases, willing to create international opportunities for students.
  • Extensive and meaningful participation in professional societies
    Students will be strongly encouraged to attend national meetings, present papers, participate in technical groups within the society, and build strong professional networks.

We are committed to graduating larger numbers of PhD students prepared for leadership positions, especially for faculty appointments where they can influence the next generation of engineering leaders. In addition, emphasis will be placed on enhancing the quality of the student’s graduate education experience, including shortening the average time for degree completion.


An assessment plan will be developed to run parallel with all of the recruiting and retention initiatives. Some of the initiatives will require more time than others to show results, but all will be reviewed periodically and revised or terminated as appropriate.

Moving Forward

We are at an amazing period in the history of science and technology. Far-reaching scientific and technological advances are happening more quickly than ever. We’ve seen the decoding of the human genome and the rapid growth of biotech and information technology. We are on the brink of a truly global economy, and we need every resource available to us, every form of “human capital.” That’s why we’re placing our graduate program among the college’s top priorities.

Up Close: Alumni Dr. Gene Meieran

Predicting the Challenges of the 21st Century

Dr. Gene Meieran (BSMetE ’59,) a Senior Intel Fellow located in Chandler, Arizona, presents his list of the top 20 accomplishments we hope to see in this new century.

Editor’s Note: This article was recently published in the Purdue Materials Engineering Impact magazine. Dr. Gene Meieran received the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus award in 1996 and an Honorary Doctorate in 2004.

In 2003, the National Academy of Engineering published A Century of Innovation, a wonderful book that looks at the 20 greatest engineering achievements of the past century.

Purdue alum Neil Armstrong’s opening words in the forward of this book (we all remember his words when he became the first human to walk on the moon!) describe the tremendous success of 20th century innovations and inventions that shaped today’s world.

New materials, the laser, space flight, refrigeration, the airplane, automobile and telephone, clean water, and above all, the electrification of the world contributed to make the last century humanity’s greatest in terms of advancing our quality of life.

The technological accomplishments listed above, along with their scientific counterparts—quantum and relativity theory, nuclear energy, high–energy particle and cosmology physics, understanding DNA, cloning and genome splicing, and many others—are difficult to match. However, matched they must be by similar or even greater accomplishments in the 21st century!

To progress, it is worthwhile to chart a course for the next 100 years. Unfortunately, no one sat around in 1901 and asked, “What would be the great technology accomplishments of the coming 20th century?” These accomplishments were just selected and ranked after the fact in 2000 by the NAE.

In this article, I predict the top 20 technical accomplishments for this century—made possible by the work of engineers and scientists. Most assuredly, some of these predictions will be incorrect. In 2101 when the National Academy of Engineering looks back at this century and presents a new list of accomplishments, perhaps many of these predictions will appear as challenges we have overcome. My non-prioritized list appears below.

  • Resource protection: water, air, land, and space
  • Genetic manipulation and human cloning
  • Food production and distribution
  • Energy development and conservation
  • Waste management: conservation, cleanup, and reuse
  • Internet: knowledge-sharing and globalization
  • Artificial intelligence, improved human-machine interfaces, and robotics
  • Prolonging life through medicine
  • Space exploration and the commercial use of extraterrestrial resources
  • Weather and natural disaster prediction and control
  • Public and personal security and counterterrorism
  • Population logistics (traffic control, avoiding sprawl, etc.)
  • Integration of the electronic environment
  • New and improved forms of entertainment
  • Global wireless communication
  • MEMS and nanotechnology for general use
  • Global warming
  • Global education
  • Low-cost housing
  • Preservation of historical and biological artifacts

This list covers what many consider today’s biggest problems as well as exploits what appear to be major opportunities for the creation of economic wealth—a similar focus of 20th century innovation. Upon careful examination of this list, two significant themes emerge: information sharing and environment.

Most of the issues that I consider essential to the technological development of the 21st century involve the distribution and application of information (probably through the wireless Internet), much as the innovations of the 20th century centered on the distribution and application of energy through generators and transmission wires.

The application of the technologies in my list will solve or resolve many serious environmental issues, including traffic and logistic control, providing sufficient clean water and clean energy, improving waste management, weather and disaster prediction, and possibly even weather control.

It seems that the use and application of the great innovations of the 20th century led to a significantly greater quality and length of human life, but also led to equally daunting environmental problems that plague us in this century. For example, nuclear power led to nuclear waste problems; plastics led to non-biodegradable waste products. Not a coincidence, Purdue has launched Discovery Park, whose divisions aim at dealing with many of the issues originating in our past.

For me, environmental issues are the main issues we all need to deal with if this century is to be an improvement over the last century, rather than a leap backward to the 11th century—where the world is a less hospitable place.

If there is ever a time, it is now for engineers to contribute to the advancement of humankind through positive environmental management. Our planet and our people demand no less.

Students in Action

Connections, interactions, and global networking are words used constantly in academia and industry. Their relevance is impressed upon us everyday when we look upon the faces of the engineering students coming in from so many countries to connect and interact with other students and faculty at Purdue.

Women in Engineering Graduate Mentoring Program

The Women in Engineering Program’s (WIEP) Graduate Mentoring Program (GMP) is just one of the resources that help to establish these critical connections for underrepresented engineering students. WIEP has been actively recruiting and retaining undergraduate students at Purdue for 36 years. However, the GMP has been in existence only since 1994, when it began with 50 participants. Over the last three years, participation has increased to close to 100 students. Although the GMP continues to reach as many of the 396 female graduate students in engineering as possible, the program is not just about the numbers. Given their strenuous curriculum and busy lives, perhaps 40 of these 396 students come to any given GMP meeting, but all students are drawn into meaningful mentoring relationships and given multiple resources for their academic, personal, and professional development. The focus is on providing useful information and a supportive environment that results in a less stressful, more productive, and more confident approach to graduate studies. Programs like the Graduate Mentoring Program help to retain women students and to change attitudes held by these students, their peers, and their professors.

The GMP offers a mix of presentations on academic skills and stress-relief as well as fun activities. A small sample of past topics by dynamic, experienced corporate speakers and faculty include technical writing, job searches and interviewing, resolving conflicts, cooking on a budget, and financial management. This year, a poster session on women engineering graduate student research will be included. Sharing their accomplishments and inspiring each other by their academic productivity increases confidence and offers the encouragement that ensures women engineers succeed!

For more information visit:

Minority Engineering Summer Programs

Academic Boot Camp: July 1-August 4.

Multi-ethnic students accepted and planning to attend Purdue are exposed to the coursework, lifestyle, and pace of college life. Incoming freshman engineering students also learn the time-management skills required to succeed throughout their academic careers at Purdue. The Academic Boot Camp is key to students—the Minority Engineering Program has data suggesting that, if a student maintains a high GPA their first three semesters, they are likely to overcome difficult semesters later.

2005 Academic Boot Camp:

  • 24 Participants
    • 11 African American
    • 10 Hispanic
    • 3 Caucasian
  • Average GPA: 2.96
  • 11 Students achieved a 3.0 or higher GPA
  • Courses: Chemistry 115, Engineering 106 (MATLAB), Math 161, English 106, Team Based Project

2006 Academic Boot Camp Expansion:

  • 25 engineering students, 15 science, 15 technology, 10 sophomores
  • Sophomore-level Development (EE201, ME200, Concepts)

Summer Engineering Workshops (SEW): (June 18 – June 22, 6th and 7th grades), (June 25 – June 29, 8th grade)

Developed in 1976, the Summer Engineering Workshops (SEW) work to increase the pool of interested and qualified students choosing to study engineering, particularly those interested in Purdue Engineering. Participation in SEW is usually a student's first exposure to engineering and to college life. Workshop activities consist of hands-on projects, campus tours, discussions with engineering students, and presentations on the importance of enrolling in the appropriate junior and senior high school courses in preparation for technical studies in college. In addition, a Life Planning session covers topics like setting goals, values exploration and clarification, and time-management and study techniques. Since its inception, SEW has touched the lives of more than 3,000 underrepresented minority students.

Fall 2006 Diversity Forum

The Multicultural Forum, a multiple–day, off–campus experiential workshop conducted by professional facilitators, will be held Monday, October 16, through Wednesday, October 18. Within a small–group setting, faculty, staff, students, and alumni will discuss meaningful topics surrounding diversity. The forum is balanced between instructive information about race and ethnicity along with individual sharing about personal experiences.

The College of Engineering values alumni participation for the unique perspective they bring to the forums. Past alumni participants have said that they gained a great deal of insight that assists them personally and professionally. It is a unique opportunity that allows an interchange of experiences by participants, improving the climate at Purdue for current and future students.

To address questions about the content of the Diversity Forum, a Web site has been developed with helpful information at The forum will take place at Camp Tecumseh (20–25 minute drive from West Lafayette) beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday, October 16, and concluding at noon on Wednesday, October 18. All meals are provided, as well as a room at the Purdue Memorial Union for October 16th and 17th (or longer, if needed), and travel expenses. A Purdue van will be available each day to transport alumni.

This has been an extremely positive experience for the engineering alumni, faculty, and staff who have participated in the past. If interested in attending, please call (765) 494–5341 for more information.

Prof. Hua to be Interim Head of the Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering

The College of Engineering is launching the new Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering following a two-year study.

Related Link: /Intranet/Groups/Administration/DOE/Announcements/ProfHuaToHeadEEE

Upcoming Events

With a variety of topics and locations to choose from, the coming months offer a wealth of opportunities for alumni to reunite.

Purdue Day at the Indiana State Fair
August 16, 2006
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Visit the College of Engineering booths at the Indiana State Fair's annual Purdue Day in Indianapolis. For more information, visit or contact Cele Flanary at

ECE Silicon Valley Symposium
August 23, 2006
Breakfast from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Garden Court Hotel, Palo Alto, California
Come hear Charles Bouman, Purdue professor of electrical and computer engineering, speak about "The Magic of Imaging." For more information, contact Robin Canada at or (765) 494 – 3441.

TechMakers Lecture
September 21, 2006
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Hear Kathie Kozik, vice president of information technology for Motorola's Network Business Unit, speak about technology at Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Center, room 121. For more information, contact Robin Canada at or (765) 494 – 3441.

Biomedical Engineering Building Dedication
September 22, 2006
10:30 a.m.

Come celebrate the dedication of the College of Engineering's newest facility—the Biomedical Engineering Building—located in Purdue's Discovery Park. This is the new home of the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. For more information, contact Cele Flanary at

Engineering Dean's Club Annual Luncheon
September 22, 2006

By Invitation Only
Enjoy lunch with Interim Dean Leah Jamieson and fellow Engineering Dean's Club members. Celebrate the excitement surrounding the progress being made with the College of Engineering's strategic plan. For more information, contact Cele Flanary at

ECE Symposium in conjunction with HKN's Centennial Celebration
September 22, 2006
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Join fellow Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty, alumni, and friends to celebrate the anniversary of HKN at the Dauch Alumni Center.

Surprise Symposium in honor of Dr. Leslie Geddes
September 22, 2006
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Join renowned speakers for a discussion on the impact Dr. Leslie Geddes, the Showalter Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Bioengineering, has made in biomedical engineering, healthcare, and higher education. For more information, contact Brian Knoy at or (765) 464 – 6241.

Homecoming Celebration
September 20 – 23, 2006

Along with a parade, pep rally, fireworks, and lots of Boilermaker cheering, the College of Engineering will once again be participate in the Homecoming "On the Mall Celebration" from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on September 23. Visit booths from each school located in the MSEE atrium and have your picture taken on the "football field" at the college's tent located on the MSEE patio. Bring this e-mail to the tent to receive a special gift. For more information on Homecoming activities, visit or contact Natalie Kubat at

Rolls-Royce Lecture Series
October 19, 2006
3:30 p.m.

This event, held in the PMU South Ballroom, is open to the public who would like to hear from Frank Cappuccio, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' Advanced Development Programs. Mr. Cappauccio is tasked with the pursuit, capture, and selective execution of new business. He has 30 years of comprehensive and diverse management and engineering experience associated with the acquisition, development, and deployment of high-tech products—tactical missiles, fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, navigational computers, gyroscopic equipment, automatic test equipment—to name a few. His level of diversity is the result of a steady progression in the technical ranks coupled with the planning, decision-making, and implementation skills acquired in executing programs. Augmenting his operational experience is his corporate experience in strategic planning, acquisitions, mergers, and technology management. The blending of this experience has yielded an effective operational leadership style and a versatile resource management capability. For more information, contact Cele Flanary at

ECE Chicago Alumni Luncheon
October 20, 2006

This event will be held at Maggiano's in Schaumburg, Illinois. The guest speaker is David Beering. For more information, contact Robin Canada at or (765) 494 – 3441.

ECE San Diego Alumni Dinner
November 1, 2006

This event will be held at the La Jolla Hyatt Regency in San Diego, California. For more information, contact Robin Canada at or (765) 494 – 3441.

ECE Los Angeles Alumni Dinner
November 2, 2006

This event will be held at the Ayres Hotel in Hawthorne, California. For more information, contact Robin Canada at or (765) 494 – 3441.

Purdue Alumni Association News

The Purdue Alumni Association will begin offering a new locally based credit card for its more than 67,000 members. This card will allow members personalized service and increased benefits with the Purdue Alumni Association. The Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union (PEFCU), based in West Lafayette, began offering the new card July 1, 2006. For more information, visit

Are you a member of PAA?

Connecting the Purdue family forever… Membership in the Purdue Alumni Association brings you benefits like the Purdue Alumnus magazine, travel opportunities, event news and discounts. Your membership supports Purdue academics, clubs, and scholarship programs across the country. Call (800) 414-1541 or visit for more information on upcoming events in your area.

Contact Us

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