42 CoE faculty and staff receive inaugural Bravo Awards

Leah Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering, has announced the first College of Engineering recipients of the university's Bravo Awards recognizing extraordinary achievement by faculty and staff. The awards recognize outstanding contributions in four categories: moving the University forward, operational excellence, innovation/creativity, and fiscal stewardship.

“All of these staff and faculty members have distinguished themselves with outstanding effort and achievement, and I congratulate each one," Jamieson said. "Our college can accomplish nothing without its people. These individuals exemplify the dedication and hard work that keeps us moving forward.”

Each recipient receives a non-recurring cash payment ranging from $250 to $1,000 based on the scope and impact of achievement. Employees who have worked at the University for at least one year are eligible for two Bravo Awards each year.

The next round of Bravo Awards will be announced in December. Nominations should be submitted to the nominee’s unit head or program director by no later than Nov. 14, 2014.

The inaugural recipients, by award category, are:

Moving the University Forward

John Abraham, Professor of Mechanical Engineering (ME) – for providing outstanding leadership in expeditiously stewarding a key faculty search with efficiency and a clear vision. He engaged faculty while simultaneously building consensus and diversity.

Shana Bordner, Account Assistant (ME)* – for volunteering to serve on the University's Concur Travel team and the Ariba Purchasing System team. Her participation has provided valuable input and feedback for the school and the college.

Vicki Cline, Academic Program Administrator (MSE) – for advocating and encouraging MSE students to participate in study abroad activities. She has played an integral role in the successful relationship with Imperial College in London.

Elias Franses, Professor of Chemical Engineering (ChE)* – for authoring a sophomore-level thermodynamics book, the first such textbook written for undergraduates by a Purdue ChE professor in over 25 years.

Brandon Fulk, CEM Director of Internships (CEM) – for making a lasting impact in leading a global design team that has benefited a small mountain village in Ecuador in many positive ways.

Samuel Labi, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering (CE) – for authoring a textbook on civil engineering systems that will have a profound impact on the civil engineering curriculum at Purdue and other universities.

Xiulin Ruan, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering (ME)* for making significant contributions to theories and simulations of thermal radiative and conductive transport.  His work has moved the University forward by achieving impact that is widely recognized as best-in-class research.

Kristy Smith, Administrative Assistant to the Dean (Dean’s Office)*for managing and supporting the inaugural CoE Preeminent Teams competition, including communicating with teams and panels, handling all logistics, troubleshooting, as well as managing onsite operations during the competition.

Justin Weibel, Research Assistant Professor (ME)* – for demonstrating excellence in his thorough organization of review meetings with the Cooling Technologies Research Center. He has tirelessly promoted the Center, which has attracted more interest, membership, and funding.

Operational Excellence

Barbara Albrecht, Employer Information Coordinator (OPP) – for her efforts which led to a 10% increase in employer participation, an increase in OPP revenue, and a 10% growth in student participation in OPP activities.

Carl Black, Multimedia Production Manager (EPE) – for planning and implementing the new A/V services in Wang Hall.

Joe Bougher, Digital Systems Laboratory Engineer (ECE) – for displaying excellence in making the EE labs operational in less than one week following the tragedy in January. He also supported and mentored senior design students.

Tarri Brickler, Director of Advising (ME) – for initiating the ME Female Social, designed to introduce first-year female students to the ME school. She also has served as the advisor for many ME student organizations.

Donna Cackley, Administrative Assistant (ME) – for being instrumental in making the transition to the new Herrick Laboratories successful. She took the initiative to handle the details during all the phases of the transition.

Jill Churchill, Program Assistant (GEP) – for playing a major role in supporting the development of four new faculty-led study abroad programs. Her efforts helped grow the number of students participating in these programs.

Carrie Clark, Secretary V (EPE) – for sharing her application process expertise with the Virtual Open Houses, leading to a strong increase in the yield of applicants for EPE.

David Corti, Professor of Chemical Engineering (ChE) – for superbly serving as ChE's ABET coordinator during this past year. He has streamlined the procedures for course assessments and feedbacks, enabling the accreditation process to move along smoothly.

Phillip Dunston, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering (CE) – for investing countless hours gathering information and preparing data to ensure that CEM met and exceeded all ABET requirements during the recent accreditation phase.

Virginia Ewing, Secretary (ChE) – for going the extra mile in assisting with all aspects of the planning of faculty candidate visits. The number of these visits doubled in the past year and she accepted this extra work without hesitation.

Cristina Farmus, Administrative Director (ChE)* – for playing an integral role in modernizing a key ChE laboratory. She also found new ways for ChE to save a significant amount of money in the school’s budget.

Rebeka Frakes, Administrative Assistant (Dean’s Office)* – for planning, organizing, and managing the first Purdue Prospective Faculty Workshop, which brought 30 postdocs and PhD candidates from top engineering programs around the country to Purdue.

Bert Gramelspacher, Electronic Design Engineer (ME) – for playing an integral role in designing, building, and supporting instructional equipment on a tight timeline, having completed three major lab expansions.

Jeff Gray, Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE)* – for his leadership in guiding ECE and the College through the ABET accreditation process. He led the collection and organization of years' worth of student performance data and liaised with the ABET visitors on behalf of ECE and the College.

Deborah Horton, JTRP Managing Director (CE)* – for being a key player in the successful operation of the JTRP Center. Over 2,500 individuals participated in this year's 2014 Road Show.

Cheng-Kok Koh, Associate Head of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) – for preparing ECE for its move to Wang Hall, rendering exceptional service during all phases of this project.

Ricky McGlothlin, Laboratory Associate (ChE) – for investing a great deal of time and effort in preparing the school’s Unit Operations Laboratory for renovation under a very tight timeframe.

David Meyer, Engine Test Cell Technician (MSE) – for leading MSE's efforts to revamp and rebuild instruments for the experimental laboratory facilities, which now serve more than twice the number of students as they did just a few years ago.

Gabriela Nagy, Director of Industrial Education (ChE) – for making several improvements to the safety of the school of ChE, as she initiated a seminar series for students to raise awareness of safe laboratory practices.

Sharon Nemeth, Account Clerk (CE) – for continually providing assistance and guidance to her customers during the implementation of the Concur and Arriba systems. She sought solutions and resolutions when challenges were encountered while always maintaining a focus on her customer needs.

Tammy Siemers, Professional Masters Program Coordinator (EPE) – for taking the initiative to contact schools whose students qualified for the new on-campus Engineering Management Program, resulting in an increase in admissions by 100% over the previous year. She also played a critical role in preparing the department for its move to Wang Hall.

Matthew Swabey, Deputy Director, Instructional Laboratories (ECE) – for immediately assisting at the scene of the January tragedy, helping students evacuate the area and accompanying them to a safe location, and for providing stability and comfort to those impacted by the event.

Hadley Thomas, Administrative Assistant (Dean’s Office) – for playing a pivotal role in organizing the very successful international alumni receptions in Korea and Taiwan, handling the invitations, arranging locations and catering services, and preparing materials for the events.

Carla Zoltowski, Co-Director of EPICS – for assuming many roles for the director while he fulfilled a provost fellowship and providing seamless leadership for the EPICS program.


Bryan Boudouris, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering (ChE)*for becoming among the most highly rated instructors in ChE, securing multiple grants from competitive federal sources, and directing the research of eight PhD and two master’s students.

Joshua Brown, Multimedia Production Engineer (EPE) – for spending extra hours throughout the year producing videos for the marketing campaigns at Virtual Open Houses, resulting in an increase in the number of applicants.

Toni Cook, Graduate Program Assistant (EPE) – for creating an effective process for handling students to ensure they stayed on track for graduation, enabling EPE to more quickly find those students who are at risk of not graduating.

Jennifer Groh, Associate Director, Women in Engineering Program (WIEP)*for transforming WIEP's outreach programming and successfully taking on the responsibility of writing grant proposals, many of which were funded.

Marsha Nance, Professional Development Program Coordinator (EPE) – for tirelessly keeping the professional development programs moving smoothly, providing a high-level of service to students.

Mihal Sinani, Manufacturing Engineer & Process Development Manager (ECE)* – for making the effort to publish his work as a staff member; also for placing the needs of the faculty and students first as he often worked extra hours to ensure project deadlines were met. 

Lisa Stacey, Secretary IV (MSE) – for finding new and novel ways to improve MSE's faculty search process and using technology to allow the school to transition to an electronic-based tracking system.

Yury Zvinevich, Director of Instrumentation (ChE) – for being instrumental in getting a key ChE laboratory up and running while working on a very tight deadline and providing incredible, innovative modifications to equipment to ensure that it became quickly operational.

Fiscal Stewardship

Michelle Sarault, Account Assistant (ME)* – for thoughtfully managing her work, devoting extra time and effort to ensure all purchase requests, travel forms, and other business office documents were completely accurate.

* Individual was nominated in multiple categories