College highlights faculty's wide-ranging merits with Excellence Awards
The internal awards recognize, encourage and promote outstanding contributions of faculty in the College of Engineering and Purdue University.
This year's group was lauded for significant achievements in such areas as course development, instructional methods, mentorship, innovative online teaching, new opportunities in the commercial spaceflight industry, game-changing inventions and discoveries, and service leadership.
In delivering his comments before the ceremony, Dean Mung Chiang addressed the awardees and acknowledged the difficulties associated with instruction during the pandemic.
“I know that the last 12 months have been particularly challenging, so thank you for your tenacity, dedication and creativity. As we continue the pursuit toward the Pinnacle of Excellence at Scale at Purdue Engineering, we deeply appreciate, value and treasure all of our faculty colleagues,” said Chiang, executive vice president for strategic initiatives, John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering, and Roscoe H. George Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Arvind Raman echoed the dean’s comments, saying that the awards procedure is not taken lightly.
“The nomination and selection process is not easy. It often requires external letters and student testimonials. An experienced Faculty Awards Committee reviews these very carefully before making the selection,” said Raman, Purdue College of Engineering executive associate dean, Robert V. Adams Professor in Mechanical Engineering, and professor of materials engineering (by courtesy).
“To recruit, retain and reward our faculty colleagues is one of the most important tasks we have,” Chiang added.
2021 Award Recipients
Dean A.A. Potter Undergraduate Teaching Award
Thomas J. and Wendy Engibous Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
For his well-established track record of teaching excellence and pioneering course development, including the world’s first senior digital signal processing course covering advanced image processing.
Zoltowski is an avid user of Matlab-enhanced visual learning in the classroom and was one of the first users of Matlab at Purdue. He was one member of a three-person team to develop the senior capstone course ECE Digital Signal Processing, which provides an extensive treatment on the advanced graduate topics of audio processing and image processing. Purdue was the first university in the world to offer the trailblazing course.
Among many previous honors, Zoltowski is the recipient of the Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Teacher Award and the Wilfred Hesselberth Award for Teaching Excellence.
Early Career Teaching Award
Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
For the use of innovative, evidence-based instructional methods in his classes, and for spearheading significant improvements to the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ undergraduate curriculum.
Tallman integrates in-class experiments and demonstrations, allowing students to gain a visual understanding of the underlying concepts, such as shear transmission, buckling shapes, brittle failure, and area moment of inertia. In his lecture notes, he uses research-backed pedagogy to develop comprehensive resources that contain extra examples, as well as real-world applications and detailed solution strategies.
He previously was honored with the Elmer F. Bruhn Award, presented annually to an outstanding AAE teacher and determined by undergraduate voting.
Graduate Student Mentorship Award
Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering (by courtesy)
For high-impact graduate student mentorship that has enabled her students to win highly prestigious awards and obtain positions at universities and in leading chemical engineering industries.
There is a common trend among the graduate students Julie Liu mentors: success. Under her guidance, her students have been awarded NSF graduate research fellowships and Purdue Bottorff Fellowships. Two of her PhD students have obtained university positions, and others have landed jobs with leading industries. She also integrates undergraduate and high school students into her research group to provide opportunities for her graduate students to supervise junior researchers.
A highly honored educator, Liu also is the recipient of the Chemical Engineering Outstanding Mentor Award.
Online Education Award
Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
For the development of highly successful online courses for the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s degree partnership with edX and the College of Engineering’s digital badge course series in Data Science.
Kulkarni is taking risks and reaping rewards in online learning, and his approach to online course development serves as a blueprint for other faculty members. In 2020, Kulkarni created and taught a new online course series in Compilers for the recently launched ECE degree partnership with edX. He is the first faculty member in the College to develop and teach courses for the Data Science digital badge, with more than 230 industry participants to date earning certificates.
Among his previous honors are the Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Teaching Award and the College of Engineering Exceptional Early Career Teaching Award.
Early Career Research Award
Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
For his invention, Electro-Quasistatic Human Body Communication, which is opening new possibilities for secure, low-power communication around the body, and leading to major innovations in connected health care, human-computer-interaction and brain-machine interfaces.
Sen's body-as-a-wire technology is paving the way toward widespread use of electronics on and inside the human body. He has integrated physics, engineering and the human body to develop safe and energy-efficient connected devices. His Electro-Quasistatic Human Body Communication (EQS-HBC) invention is covered by multiple patents, and industry leaders are exploring commercial applications. In 2019, he presented his invention at TEDx Indianapolis, which had widespread influence in highlighting its impact.
Publicized in more than 250 news articles, Sen also has appeared in national and international television outlets. In 2018, he was named one of the top 10 Indian inventors worldwide with the MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 award.
Impact on Industry Award
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
For leading the development of the Nanoelectronic Modeling (NEMO) tools suite, a major staple in the technical computer-aided design world enabling top-tier semiconductor companies to do path-finding research for the next generation of transistor technology.
With a career spanning the private sector, national labs, and academia, Klimeck has propelled major advances in the nanoelectronics industry. His development of NEMO has set the modeling standard for today’s industrial nanoscale devices. Its design and calibration are used in billions of electronics worldwide. He holds seven U.S. patents generated with NEMO framework, and he has written more than 500 publications with nearly 20,000 citations.
Klimeck’s contributions have been recognized with the Humboldt Research Prize and R&D 100 Award, among others.
Alfred J. McAllister Professor of Mechanical Engineering
For propelling critical advances in combustion, energy utilization, and thermodynamics, including the development of a high-performing alloy composite propellant that minimizes environmental impact.
Son is forging groundbreaking discoveries in the field of energetic materials and has a reputation as the top experimentalist in the world in the area of combustion and decomposition processes in condensed-phase and novel energetic materials. His work has resulted in 13 patents and patent applications, and he has been a catalyst behind the emergence of Purdue as the preeminent university in energetic research.
As a leader in his field, Son is a decorated educator. Among his honors is the Research Excellence Award from the Combustion Institute in 2020.
SERVICE AND ENGAGEMENT AWARDS
Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
For his national leadership in championing new research and educational opportunities made possible by the commercial spaceflight industry.
Collicott brings his passion for space, exploration and education to everything he does. His engagement activities have impacted congressional funding for NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, established new collaborations with leading commercial spaceflight companies, and provided a low-cost means for Purdue students as well as K-12 educators and students to fly experiments on suborbital space flights.
His work has led to prestigious honors, including being named the inaugural recipient of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s Patti Grace Smith STEM Award.
Dean H.T. Yang Leadership in Service Award
Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Agricultural and Biological Engineering
For service leadership that has advanced the career aspirations of Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering faculty, staff and students; minimized disruption of research during the COVID-19 pandemic; and fostered new research collaborations between Weldon School faculty and external stakeholders in Indiana.
Umulis is well known in the biomedical engineering community for his selfless leadership, tireless support of colleagues, and can-do attitude. In 2020, he led an effort to establish a new research collaboration between Purdue BME and external stakeholders in Indiana by organizing the Indiana CTSI (Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute) Retreat. During the COVID-19 pandemic and the University’s transition to remote work, he was responsible for protecting irreplaceable research assets, including cells, animals and reagents. He volunteered his time to review more than 50 SOP documents to ensure that BME labs could go back to safe and full operation.
His efforts as the leader of BME's highly active Awards Committee have led to a substantial increase in the number of nominations and awards for faculty, staff and students.