EEE graduate student spotlight: 2021 Ford Fellow Taymee Brandon
Purdue EEE graduate student Taymee Brandon was awarded a 2021 Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Accepting only 4-5% of applicants, this highly competitive program offers predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellowships to students who are committed to a career in teaching and research, with the goal of increasing faculty diversity at U.S. colleges and universities. Brandon was selected out of approximately 3000 applicants in multiple fields (STEM, Education, Life Sciences, Behavioral & Social Sciences, and Humanities) for her superior academic achievement, making her one of just 12 Purdue University students to be honored with the prestigious fellowship.
“The presence of wide-ranging perspectives and backgrounds is essential to academic, research, and career excellence,” says Brandon. “The Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship serves as a platform to share my unique story as a Native American (Ojibwe) woman and first-generation college student.”
A Montana Native and member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians community, Brandon views her role in academia through this cultural lens.
Brandon states, “I am dedicated to increasing the diversity of the science and engineering workforce through community outreach, mentorship, and teaching, which have consistently been an important supplement to my research and academic coursework.”
Brandon holds a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Montana (2016) and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Montana Technological University (2019). Her doctoral research in Purdue Environmental and Ecological Engineering is focused on finding sustainable solutions to improve water quality in impacted communities. She is currently working through the Arequipa Nexus Institute Soil and Water Quality on a subproject aimed at removing chromium from Tannery Wastewater in Arequipa, Peru.
Already, her accomplishments in EEE indicate a bright future for Brandon in academia. In addition to winning a Ford Fellowship, she is a Purdue Doctoral Fellow, Gates Millennium Scholar, Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership Scholar, and was recently honored with the 2021 Lighting the Pathway to Faculty Careers for Natives in STEM award, funded by the National Science Foundation and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. In 2020, Brandon received the Women & Hi-Tech Leading Light Awards Overall Top Graduate Student Scholarship, and is currently a member of Sigma Xi (Scientific Research Honor Society) and Iota Sigma Pi (National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry).
After completing her doctorate, Taymee Brandon aims to become a professor and pay her own success forward.
“I plan to use my personal experience, water quality research, and inclusive teaching pedagogy to encourage and mentor underrepresented students to be successful in academia,” she states.
Interested in competing for a 2022 Ford Foundation Fellowship? Register for an in-person session this Thursday, October 14th from 4:30-5:30 in WALC 3090 or a virtual session on October 19 from 8-9 p.m.