Winter 2006-2007 Newsletter

From the Dean

Dean Leah Jamieson

Purdue celebrated National Engineers Week from February 19 to February 23. This week of events is always a great opportunity to honor the careers and accomplishments of our engineers, and it gives us a chance to examine engineering’s impact on our community, nation, and world.

To broaden our global perspective and to address issues of global importance, the College of Engineering sponsors an annual lecture during National Engineers Week that brings renowned experts and leaders to campus. This year’s lecture included a presentation by retired general and former secretary of state Colin Powell.

We also recognized the career achievements of 10 alumni during our Distinguished Engineering Alumni Convocation. The week concluded with the always exciting local Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.

We recap our National Engineers Week events for you below.

Also in this newsletter is an update on our research success. Purdue Engineering, through its discovery and research enterprise, seeks solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. The technological breakthroughs we create provide new approaches to energy, to the environment, to healthcare, and more.

Our nationally recognized centers and labs bring together experts from across disciplines to foster such breakthroughs, placing engineers side by side with biologists, psychologists, food scientists, corporate partners, and individuals from a host of other disciplines.

We're pleased to present our research success, and we thank our faculty, students, and partners who work each day to turn ideas into technology that impacts our world.


Leah H. Jamieson
John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering

Feature: Innovation Impact

The vision of Purdue Engineering’s research enterprise is to expand the realm of knowledge, achieve innovative engineering solutions, and define new frontiers for scientific investigation across engineering and its related disciplines.

Our key strategies for achieving this vision involve pursuing multidisciplinary opportunities with other universities and colleges; engaging industry and state and federal governments; encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship; and connecting with our core academic mission by promoting discovery-based learning.

The following outlines our research progress throughout the past five years of the college’s strategic plan (2001-2006) and points to the exciting possibilities ahead.

Contributor: Jay Gore, associate dean for research and entrepreneurship

Multidisciplinary Engineering Research Centers (ERCs)
Purdue Engineering has received and renewed some very prestigious large center awards, including:

NSF ERC for Structured Organic Composites

The center’s efforts at Purdue are led by Rex Reklaitis, the Edward W. Comings Professor of Chemical Engineering. Purdue and its partners are researching and improving the way pharmaceuticals, foods, and agricultural products are developed and manufactured. Drawing from Purdue’s pharmacy and engineering strengths, the center will enhance the quality and consistency of solid-dosage-form drug nutraceuticals, processed foods, agrichemicals, and other products that consist of structured combinations of solid organic materials.

It takes an average of 12 years—and as much as $1.7 billion—for a drug to travel the route from discovery to the pharmacy counter. By improving the development of pharmaceuticals, costs will in turn be reduced and medicine will be more widely available. Research in the agrichemical business will help deliver fertilizers, fungicides, and pesticides more directly to crops and reduce contamination to handlers and the environment.



NSF ERC for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power

This center is housed at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus. At Purdue, Monika Ivantysynova, the MAHA Professor of Fluid Power Systems and professor of mechanical engineering, leads one of the center’s research labs located in the MAHA Fluid Power Laboratory.

Fluid power is a $33 billion industry worldwide and encompasses most applications that use liquids or gases to transmit power in the form of pressurized fluid. These applications range from a simple hydraulic car lift to sophisticated airplane flight control actuators that rely on high-pressure hydraulic systems.

Researchers at the center will study ways to use fluid power more efficiently in off-road and on-road vehicles, in manufacturing, and in new applications like rescue and surgery robots. Each 10 percent improvement in the efficiency of fluid power uses in these industries would save about $7 billion a year in U.S. energy costs. Researchers will also work to develop hydraulic hybrid passenger cars that are less expensive and more efficient than current electric hybrids. A 10 percent improvement in efficiency in national passenger car energy use would save about $10 billion a year.


USDOT NEXTRANS Regional University Transportation Center

Purdue is the lead institution for this center. NEXTRANS—located in Discovery Park— is led by civil engineering professor Srinivas Peeta. Research at the center will focus on the nation’s transportation future by trying to boost the efficiency of highways, rail lines, airports, waterways, and pipelines. Purdue won a regional competition to lead the center, becoming the home of one of 10 university transportation centers sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

NSF Network for Computational Nanotechnology
NCN is led by Mark Lundstrom, the Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The network is attracting world-renowned experts to Purdue, offering opportunities to work with leaders in the nanotechnology field. NCN is leading research to understand, simulate, and design electronic devices comprised of single molecules and is designed to be the center of excellence for simulation at the nanoscale level in the United States. Its science gateway, the nanoHub, has become a major resource for online simulation, collaboration, and education.

The Rolls-Royce University Technology Center (UTC) in High-Mach Number Flight
This is Rolls-Royce’s first university technology center, where Purdue engineers research jet engine technology for high-speed aircraft that may fly as fast as seven times the speed of sound. Possible uses for these jet engines include vehicles that launch satellites or transport crews to space labs or colonies. They could also be used in high-speed military vehicles traveling at 5,000 to 6,000 miles per hour, which could reach any point on Earth within two hours. Researchers are concentrating on problems of highly efficient heat transfer and combustion, with the goal to make a working engine that operates at very high speeds. This is a $5.2 million, three-year effort. The center is under the leadership of Steve Heister, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics.

The Institute of (P-12) Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE)
INSPIRE at Purdue was established in 2006 to help educators investigate how students learn and to instill a desire, from elementary to high school, to study engineering. The goal is to use this information to prepare and place engineering teachers in K-12 classrooms, increase classroom activities that build science, technology, engineering, and math skills, and ultimately increase the number of students majoring in engineering disciplines at the university level. INSPIRE is supported by a $5 million research gift from the Bechtel Foundation and is led by Kamyar Haghighi, professor and head of the Department of Engineering Education.

Discovery-Based Learning

Another exciting stride in our research progress is the continuation of undergraduate research opportunities through the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Discovery-based learning within the SURF program, and within other undergraduate research programs, continues to enhance the diversity and quality of our students while expanding their worldview.

The key goals of these programs are to enhance the quality of the undergraduate learning experience, to encourage more students to seek graduate education in science and engineering, and to enhance the diversity of our graduate student body by providing research experience to undergraduates from Purdue and other participating universities.

Launched in 2003, and now in its fourth year, SURF continues to grow and expand in number and opportunities. In each of the first two years, about 50 Purdue undergraduates participated in the two-month program. In 2006, the program grew to 175 students from about 20 different colleges and universities. They were mentored by 115 faculty members and 140 graduate students. The students represented a wide range of majors with an average GPA of 3.4. We hope to continue an increase of 15 percent a year until participation reaches 450 students and to maintain a high level of participation among women and minorities.

The 2006 SURF program also provided the opportunity to promote global engineering at Purdue. The program included one SURF student who conducted research in Spain, one GEARE (Global Engineering Alliance for Research and Education) student from India, and six IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) trainees from Austria, Croatia, France, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic. In addition to enhancing the diversity of the SURF student body, IAESTE provides a reciprocal opportunity for six Purdue students to seek internships abroad.

A first last year, the program established a partnership with the Edward Waters College in Florida, allowing six science or engineering students from Edward Waters to gain research skills and experience at Purdue during the summer. This partnership was supported by a grant from the U.S. Army Research Office to Edward Waters and is anticipated to continue through 2007.

With support from Intel and DaimlerChrysler, undergraduate students at Purdue are able to expand their research experience into the fall and spring semesters in the SURF year-round program. This allows students to participate in research activities throughout their undergraduate years. As a result, they have an opportunity to make significant contributions to a research project and further enhance their research skills in preparation for graduate school and their professional careers. 


Novel Graduate and Doctoral Program Support

A vibrant research program provides tremendous opportunities for the recruitment and financial support of graduate students. Outstanding graduate students directly and indirectly contribute to the financial support of research. Many of these students receive prestigious fellowships from federal and state agencies as well as foundations. In addition, Purdue Engineering’s Research and Entrepreneurship Office partnered with Cummins, Inc., Sandia National Laboratories, and the U.S. Army to establish special support systems for graduate students. The Chorafas Foundation—an international awards program recognizing the best doctoral students at 23 partner universities—is helping us identify the 10 best dissertation proposals and provide a significant award for the top proposal. In the spirit of encouraging all of our graduate students, the college provides awards for the remaining nine nominees. In upcoming years, our research enterprise will support the graduate program in many more imaginative ways.

Our faculty’s research continues to contribute to regional and national economic development. During the last five years, the number of invention disclosures and provisional patents submitted by the college’s faculty has more than doubled from 80 in 2001 to almost 180 in 2005. At the same time, the number of issued patents has increased from 21 in 2001 to 40 in 2005. Likewise, the royalty income from intellectual property has increased from $1.8 million to $3 million in the last five years.

Future Challenges and Opportunities
n response to the National Research Council’s 2005 publication Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, the federal government’s Domestic Policy Council of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has proposed an initiative called the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) in February 2006. This study proposes that competitiveness should be enhanced through investments in education and research, and forming global partnerships in these two areas. Specifically, the nation’s investments in research in the physical sciences will be doubled over the next 10-year period. The grand challenge problems of energy, environment, education, peace, water, hunger, poverty, disease, terrorism, and population await strong contributions from our outstanding faculty’s research.

The changing global landscape requires us to continue our efforts and investments to improve humankind through discovery and innovation. This year, the Research and Entrepreneurship Office has identified the following three priorities:

  • Promote the development of research communities around signature areas, campus initiatives, Discovery Park centers, and grand challenge problems.

  • Support educational priorities through research-based learning, recruitment, and recognition such as the SURF program, the Chorafas award, and fellowship support.

  • Support the development of the college’s next strategic plan in the area of discovery, starting with an internal and external assessment of the research program.

Up Close: Alumni

Purdue Alumni Club of Southwest Michigan
Members reach out to future engineers.

Career interest in engineering among high school seniors has dropped in the past ten years by more than 35 percent, while, paradoxically, engineering and science jobs in the United States—and abroad—are growing at three times the rate of any other profession in the United States.

“Modern youth have many things to challenge their interests,” says Purdue alumnus Howard Poole (BS Ag ’65, PhD ’71 Educational Research), director of the Purdue Alumni Club of Southwest Michigan. “It’s critical to develop school-based engineering experience at the elementary, middle school, and high school level to encourage youth to consider engineering as a possible future career.”

Poole and other Purdue alumni in southwest Michigan are pairing with local high school math and science centers to help students explore careers in engineering, allow them to visit engineering schools, and provide hands-on experiences. “We are working with highly talented and motivated students to provide them with more experiences related to engineering,” explains Poole. “We’re hoping the result will be that these students enter engineering at the college level.”

High student interest in the alumni club’s activities leaves its members seeking support from Purdue and engineering colleges at Notre Dame and Western Michigan. “We’re looking to connect with someone within Purdue Engineering to speak to our students up here and to arrange a visit to the West Lafayette campus,” says Poole. “We’ve been able to set up a tour of Western Michigan’s paper and printing engineering program and their Rapid Prototyping Lab. Notre Dame has expressed an interest, and we’re trying to make connections with local industry.”

Real-world, hands-on experiences are vital to encouraging students to enter the engineering profession. Purdue Engineering recently became the first college in the nation to dedicate an academic department solely to engineering education. “Our Department of Engineering Education is researching how students learn engineering skills and how we can bring engineering concepts to students in elementary through high school,” says Leah Jamieson, Purdue’s John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering. “We’re doing this to spark an interest in engineering in our nation’s youth.

“Our alumni in Michigan are doing exactly what’s needed to promote engineering careers. I encourage our alumni around the United States and beyond to also connect with our youth and help prepare them for engineering at the college level,” Jamieson adds.

Poole agrees and recalls formative experiences in his own youth that prompted his own career path. “Alumni in our club can all go back to unique experiences in our youth that later shaped our career goals,” he says. “Those of us interested in supporting engineering need to create those unique experiences and opportunities for today’s youth in any way that we can.”

For more information, contact Howard Poole at

Join the Engineering Alumni Recruitment Network (EARN)

The Engineering Alumni Recruitment Network (EARN) is an energetic group of alumni dedicated to recruiting a diverse and talented undergraduate student body to Purdue's College of Engineering. It’s becoming more competitive to attract top students, and we are uniting our most powerful resource—our alumni—to spread the word on the value of a Purdue education. This is also an opportunity to share your experiences to encourage high school students to consider engineering as a career.

Visit the EARN web site to view various options for participation and sign-up.

Please contact us at with any questions.

Up Close: Students

Laura Berryman (BSChE 2008)

Chemical engineering junior Laura Berryman is gaining practical experience through the Professional Practice Program—formerly known as Co-Op. She finishes the program this summer after completing a five-term co-op with DuPont Titanium Technologies.

Why did you decide to become a chemical engineer? 
I decided to become a chemical engineer because I’ve always been interested in how things work, and I enjoy chemistry. I also enjoy seeing something that looks like nothing—such as raw materials—and making something functional out of it. 

Why did you decide to participate in the Professional Practice Program?
I decided to participate in the Professional Practice Program for multiple reasons. First, I wanted to make myself marketable upon graduation. The program gives me more work experience than alternative ways at Purdue. I also wanted to see the work and daily tasks engineers did within companies. Through my co-op, I have the opportunity to work with engineering mentors. I see first-hand what I could be doing when I graduate. Finally, I enjoy school, but I learn better with hands-on experience. As a co-op, I learn engineering material before having a class on it. So, when I do take the class, it’s much easier to understand the material.

Describe a typical day at DuPont.
A typical day at DuPont starts around 7:00 a.m., when I usually make a list of my project’s goals to be completed. Around 7:30 a.m., I leave the co-op office and go to the plant’s morning production meeting, which lasts about an hour. Then, I meet with individuals that I need to talk to about my project and get any questions answered. In the afternoon, I go out to the plant to run tests and gather data. After work, we often get together and play basketball, football, or ultimate Frisbee at the plant’s recreational center.

What are your responsibilities at DuPont?  Did they increase over time?
When I started at DuPont, I received a lot of guidance from my mentor on my first project. The main point was to get accustomed to working in a manufacturing environment and understanding the general overall plant process. This last co-op session, I was assigned to a project and completed it myself. I met with my mentor at the beginning of the session to get the project and then at the end to give a summary of what was done to complete the project.

What benefits do you hope to gain from this experience?
From this experience, I hope to gain a better understanding of the different
career paths that chemical engineers can take. I also have a better
understanding of how to take a consumer problem or a problem in running the plant and correct it.

Has participating in the program helped in planning your future career?
Participating in the program has helped me plan my future career. I have seen
what different engineering positions do within a plant and also had the chance to
work in different parts of the plant’s operations. This has allowed me to have the knowledge of where I would best fit in the plant, and now I have a better understanding of the type of job I would like.

What would you say to a student considering the Professional Practice Program?
The Professional Practice Program gives students the opportunity to have a hands-on experience of the type of work that they’ll be doing when they graduate. It also allows students to gain more work experience, which will make them more marketable. In addition, co-op positions are well compensated!

For more information on the Professional Practice Program, contact Cheryl Krueckeberg at

 Purdue Engineering seeks to place its graduates in top engineering positions. If you're interested in obtaining Laura's resume, contact her directly at


National Engineers Week Recap February 19-23, 2007

General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.)
Diplomacy: Persuasion, Trust & Values

Former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell spoke in front of a sold-out audience in Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse. Powell described the delicate process of forging alliances, bringing people and countries together, and promoting universal human ideals of democracy and peace around the world.The presentation was broadcast live in two additional campus locations to accommodate the large number of people wanting to hear him speak.

Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards Luncheon and Convocation
The Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award is presented to engineering alumni who have distinguished themselves in professional and related fields of endeavor. This year’s distinguished alumni are:

Allen H. Alley
BSME ’76
Chairman, Pixelworks, Inc.
Deputy Chief of Staff, Governor’s Office
State of Oregon

Marcia P. Alstott
BSME ’79
Vice President, Data Management
Operations and Systems Infrastructure
Sun Microsystems, Inc.


Robert A. Altenkirch
BSME ’70, PhD ’75
(Mechanical Engineering)
New Jersey Institute of Technology


C. J. Chang
PhD ’79
(Civil Engineering)
Chung Hua University


William H. Gerstenmaier
Associate Administrator for Space Operations

John H. Hager
BSME ’58
Assistant Secretary, Special Education
And Rehabilitative Services
U.S. Department of Education

Michael H. Ott
BSChE ’74
President and CEO
Polysciences Inc.


Rick Roberts
BSChE ’76
Senior Vice President, Manufacturing
Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP

Joseph P. Schoendorf
BSEE ’66
Executive Partner
Accel Partners

Thomas D. Weldon
BSIE ’77
The Innovation Factory

Phi Chapter of Theta Tau Fraternity Rube Goldberg Machine Contest (Local)
Purdue Rube Goldberg team wins for third consecutive year.

The Purdue University Society of Professional Engineers put the squeeze on the competition Saturday, February 24, 2007, and took top honors during the 24th annual Rube Goldberg Regional Machine Contest by finding a new - and more inefficient - way to make orange juice.

2007 Regional winners
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Engineering Alumni Association Survey

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The Engineering Alumni Association wants to hear from you! Please take a few minutes and fill out the following survey:

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Upcoming Events

With a variety of events to choose from, the coming months offer plenty of opportunities for alumni to reunite.

TechMakers Lecture
March 19, 2007 – 1:30 PM
Brown Hall of Chemistry, Purdue University
Speaker:  David Beering, Vice President of Advanced Networks, MorganFranklin Corporation
Topic:  “The City of Chicago’s Unified Command System…Riding the Wave of Innovation from Concept to Operation in 10 Months”
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

AMD Day at Purdue
March 20, 2007
10:00-3:00 PM
Purdue University, MSEE Atrium
Corporate Representatives:  Hair Fair, AMD Fellow; Ben Cochran, Product Development Engineer; Suhanya Ramakrishnan, Design Engineer; and Denise Douroux, University Relations
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

ECE Chicago Alumni Dinner
March 23, 2007 – 6:30 PM
Chicago Athletic Association
12 So. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
Speaker:  Ray Sokola, CTO, Motorola’s Connected Home Business
Topic:  “Innovation in the World of Fixed/Mobile Convergence”
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

Silicon Valley Symposium
March 27, 2007 – 6:30 PM
Clara Marriott Hotel, Santa Clara, CA
Speaker:  Dan Hirleman, Head, School of Mechanical Engineering
Topic:  “Light Scattering for Rapid,Label-free Identification of Bacterial Colonies”
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

Outstanding Industrial Engineering Awards
March 30, 2007
This event, in honor of eight industrial engineering alumni, will be held at the Lafayette Country Club. For more information, contact Dan Folta at

TechMakers Lecture
April 5, 2007 – 1:30 PM
Brown Hall of Chemistry, Purdue University
Speaker:  Larry Marquess, Attorney, Littler-Mendelson
Topic:  “Thoughts On Law And Engineering And How They Can Mix ...By A Purdue Engineer After 30 Years Of Practicing Law”
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

TechMakers Lecture
April 12, 2007 – 1:30 PM
Brown Hall of Chemistry, Purdue University
Speaker:  Steven Cuppy
Topic: TBD
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

Evolving Trends in Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Education: Opportunities and Challenges
Friday, April 13, 2007 (Gala Alumni Weekend)
Mark you calendar to celebrate 100 years of Purdue’s chemical engineering curriculum. This day-long event includes tours of Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering and Discovery Park. There will be a symposium and panel discussions about the historical evolution of Purdue ChE, innovative trends in engineering education, and the recruitment and retention of today’s undergraduate students. The day concludes with a celebration dinner. For more information, call 765-494-4075. Information is posted on our Web site at

Eaton Excellence in Design Award Technical Lecture
April 13, 2007 – 2:30 PM
Electrical Engineering Building #270
Speaker:  Joseph Richards, Senior Design Verification Engineer, Broadcom Corporation
Topic:  Design Verification
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

ECE Faculty and Alumni Awards Banquet
April 13, 2007 – 6:30 PM
Purdue Memorial Union North Ballroom
Host:  Mark Smith, Head, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

ECE Southern California Alumni Dinner

April 16, 2007 – 6:30 PM
Ayres Hotel, Laguna Woods, CA
Speaker:  Jan Allebach, Michael J. and Katherine R. Birck Professor
Topic:  “Training-based Approaches in Digital Imaging and Printing -- Real Solutions to Real Problems”
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

Silicon Valley Symposium
April 24, 2007 – 6:30 PM
Marriott Hotel, Santa Clara, CA
Speaker:  Jay Gore, Associate Dean for Research and Entrepreneurship
Topic:  “Energy Center in Discovery Park”
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

ECE Austin Alumni Luncheon
May 15, 2007 – 12:00 PM
Marriott Hotel, Austin, TX
Speaker:  David Wolf, Astronaut
Topic:  “Frontiers of Flight”
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

ECE Dallas Alumni Dinner
May 15, 2007 – 6:30 PM
Pappadeaux Restaurant, Dallas, TX
Speaker:  Mark Smith, Head, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Topic:  Future Directions in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

Silicon Valley Symposium
May 22, 2007 – 6:30 PM
Marriott Hotel, Santa Clara, CA
Speaker:  Tim Sands, Professor and Director, Birck Nanotechnology Center
Topic:  “The Birck Nanotechnology Center:  A Collaborative Environment for Enhancing the Kinetics of Discovery and Innovation”
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

Silicon Valley Symposium
June 26, 2007 – 6:30 PM
Hyatt Vineyard Creek, Santa Rosa, CA
Speaker:  Avi Kak, Professor
Topic:  “Wired and Wireless Camera Sensors Networks”
Contact: Robin Canada-, 765-494-3441

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