Engineering announces PRIME grant recipients

Purdue’s College of Engineering has announced the 10 inaugural recipients of its new Professional Renewal in Maximizing Excellence (PRIME) grant program. The grants support College of Engineering staff members who wish to pursue professional development activities that will contribute to achieving career goals.
Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering
Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering

Each grant recipient is reimbursed up to $1,500 and able to use up to five days for work-related professional development opportunities that could include career-enhancing courses or certifications, travel to professional conferences and other professional development activities.

“Purdue Engineering has amazing staff colleagues who move the College forward to the pinnacle of excellence at scale. Their contributions each day are deep and wide. The new PRIME program is one of several ways whereby we recognize and support their professional growth,” says Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering.

Amy Glenn, associate director and co-founder of the College of Engineering’s Office of Future Engineers, will apply her $1,500 grant towards participation in Leadership Lafayette, a program that nurtures civic engagement through leadership and community awareness activities. The Office of Future Engineers is responsible for the outreach and recruitment of all undergraduate students to the College of Engineering. The staff interacts with over 35,000 people annually through over 350 on and off campus events, with the goal of inspiring more students to consider engineering careers.

“Leadership Lafayette sessions, such as Education, Inclusion, Youth Advocacy and Exploring Non-Profit Organization, will provide opportunities to identify and create relationships with community leaders with the goal of developing meaningful collaborations and improved messaging to local families on the benefits and value of a Purdue degree,” Glenn says.

PRIME recipient Brian Kerns, a senior IT systems analyst for Purdue Online Engineering who oversees that department’s database, website and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, will use the grant to obtain certifications from Oracle and Salesforce (CRM software).

“The systems are currently being used to improve efficiency throughout the department, and I believe that with proper training I could further boost our efficiency, saving the division time and money. I also see the certifications as being highly recognized throughout the industry and a nice push forward along my career path,” Kerns says.

Joanne Lax, College of Engineering graduate technical communications and professional development specialist, used the grant to attend the M.I.T. Engineering Communication Lab Summer Institute in July. She plans to use what she learned in workshops she conducts and services she provides to students.

“I always feel recharged when I have the opportunity to learn about innovations in helping engineering students improve their communication skills,” Lax says.

Will Sondgerath, assistant dean for staff and director of administration, says his office received more than 30 applications for the 10 PRIME grants.

“We have found a tremendous need to support our staff in developing their professional skills. Two of the biggest obstacles staff face are not having the financial support, as well as not having the time to pursue these developmental opportunities. The PRIME Grant Award addresses both of these issues. We know there is a strong demand for such a program, and will definitely be sponsoring grants again in 2020,” he says.

The 10 recipients are:

  • Heather Coar (OFE/WIEP/MEP)
  • Morgan Delaney (AAE)
  • Neil Dilley (ECE/Birck)
  • Amy Glenn (OFE)
  • Rhonda Haan (GEPP)
  • Brian Kerns (POL)
  • Joanne Lax (Dean’s Office)
  • Daniel Leaird (ECE)
  • Ruth Rothstein (MEERCat)
  • DeEtte Starr (IE)