Purdue Engineering Impact Magazine Fall 2009

Chemical Engineering The secret life of polymers - how new materials are solving old problems

Welcome to Chemical Engineering Impact magazine. The economy is the main subject of this edition—how it impacts our graduating students, research awards, building renovation efforts, and all day-to-day activities.

This year, we awarded 103 BSChE, 5 MS, and 24 PhD degrees. We are sending these graduates into one of the most challenging work environments in recent memory. Yet, we are confident that the skills and knowledge they acquired in our school will serve them well in their pursuit of building successful and meaningful careers, while making a positive impact on our economy and society.

While compiling news from our alumni to include in this issue, we were impressed by the vast array of responses. We heard from ChEs going to serve as Peace Corps volunteers to teach science to underprivileged children abroad, professionals fulfilling increasing responsibilities and receiving promotions, entrepreneurs working hard to maintain their companies afloat, young graduates pursuing advanced engineering or law degrees or careers in medical sciences, and retirees more involved than ever in consulting and service activities, in an effort to share their wealth of knowledge and experience. This is a living testimony that ChEs can do anything, and the principles and experience gained from our program serve well in every aspect of our society: industry, academia, government and service.

During difficult economic times, it is reassuring to see that the loyalty, dedication and commitment of our alumni are as strong as ever. We are faced with great challenges, but we are meeting them with hard work, innovation, and enthusiasm.

Hail Purdue!

Arvind Varma
R. Games Slayter Distinguished Professor and Head

How new materials are solving old problems
September 16, 2009
Novel polymer composite materials are enabling teams of engineers in both the academy and industry to make quantum leaps forward. From world-competitive fleets of fuel-efficient aircraft to major pharmaceutical breakthroughs in cancer therapies, polymer composites promise to have a major impact on the world of engineering and the economies that flow from it.
Polymer composites and a cancer cure
September 16, 2009
You-Yeon Won, assistant professor of chemical engineering, is an example of the cross-pollination of expertise and enthusiasm within the College of Engineering.
Weathering the economic storm - staying true to a long-term vision is key
September 16, 2009
As companies face tough economic decisions and strategies for survival, ChE alumnus Michael J. Graff, a veteran of the industry with more than 30 years of experience, offers some insights. As president and chief executive officer of Air Liquide USA, he has seen the crisis up close and believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Faculty member invests in collaboration and innovation
September 16, 2009
Doraiswami Ramkrishna’s approach to research in chemical engineering, unlike those of many engineering colleagues, has a uniquely mathematical focus.
Student research fuels advances in tissue engineering
September 16, 2009
Julie Kadrmas grew up on the prairie frontier, in a rural area in southwest North Dakota. Now, as a rising star in the world of tissue engineering, she is on the frontier of modern medicine.
Graduating engineers face a tough economy
September 16, 2009
It all began with a high school road trip from his Southern Indiana home to Virginia Beach. There, on the side of the interstate, sat a Marathon refinery. Its stacks and columns intrigued Nick Kissel, so much that, when he got home, he researched industrial chemistry and decided that was what he wanted to do in life.
Six individuals support the school's many daily activities
September 16, 2009
They are the glue that holds the School of Chemical Engineering together. They are the nails that connect the planks of students and teachers. They are the office support system of the school.
Hard work and passion are keys to weathering economic downturn
September 16, 2009
With downbeat talk on the current economic crisis dominating the news, Jeffrey Hemmer takes a slightly different view, referring to a famous quote from Winston Churchill. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”