Engineering Fellows program grows; seven graduating seniors to receive $20K

Seven seniors have been announced as 2022-2023 Purdue Engineering Fellows, becoming the fourth class of recipients since the program’s inception.

Seven seniors have been announced as 2022-2023 Purdue Engineering Fellows, becoming the fourth class of recipients since the program’s inception.

Each student will be awarded $20,000 upon graduation and may use the money in any desired endeavor. The gifts are made possible through the generosity of benefactors Robert H. Buckman (BSChE ’59) and his wife, Joyce A. Mollerup.

Students on stage who were named fellows
The 2022-2023 Purdue Engineering Fellows were named during a Sept. 12 ceremony at Fowler Hall. Pictured (R-L) are: Carl Russell III, Chintan Rank, Nicholas Mori, Robert Buckman, Joyce Mollerup, Denae Galloway, Alexa Stern, Lauren Sparber and Daniel Harrington.

The program has grown since the 2021 presentation. Previously, there were five recipients who each received $10,000. Buckman made the decision to increase the amount of the gifts and the number of recipients based on growth in the College.

“When we analyzed the College of Engineering, we came up with seven as a more representative number,” said Buckman, of Memphis, Tennessee.

The program was designed to recognize the accomplishments, contributions and potential of outstanding seniors. Fellows are nominated as juniors by faculty and staff. All Engineering students at this stage of their college career are eligible to be nominated. A committee then makes final decisions.

“In sum, Fellows will be students who demonstrate impressive abilities to think creatively and to develop innovative solutions to problems — whether in the classroom, in student life or in the community. Opening windows of opportunity for those who make a difference is what this initiative is all about,” Buckman said.

Robert Buckman Mitch Daniels Joyce Mollerup
Purdue President Mitch Daniels honored Robert Buckman (BSChE 59) with the President's Council Crystal Train in recognition of his generosity to Purdue Engineering.

After graduating from Purdue, Buckman earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and returned home to join his father in operating the family chemical business, Buckman Laboratories, which was in the process of going global. Interestingly, his father lived with Fredrick Hovde (Purdue president from 1946-1971) while in college at the University of Minnesota.

“After setting up operations in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia, I became CEO and led the company for 22 years. A lot of our success was based on the movement of knowledge across the boundaries of global companies to meet the needs of our customers,” Buckman said. “My engineering education at Purdue taught me how to get outside the box and think creatively in advancing a global organization.”

Having already awarded $150,000 in the first three years of the Purdue Engineering Fellows program, Buckman and Mollerup are gratified to receive feedback from past recipients of their philanthropy.

“It has been varied all over the map,” Buckman said. “From paying off loans, to opening up graduate school possibilities, to having a great vacation in Europe, to seeing daylight in a lot of ways. This was expected.”

As a friend of Purdue and the Engineering students she and Buckman support, Mollerup has enjoyed her trips to the Purdue campus.

“It’s fun to hear Bob tell about his adventures and how much things have changed. We’ve met lots of nice people and have enjoyed being with the Purdue Engineering Fellows. They have all been interesting, intelligent people,” said Mollerup, who attended this year’s ceremony with her husband.

The couple looks forward to the future of the Fellows program and the dividends it will yield.

“Our hope is that the award will continue to stimulate Purdue Engineering students to think outside of the box of conventional thinking. That is how we will achieve progress in the future,” Buckman said.

The 2022-2023 Purdue Engineering Fellows:

Denae Galloway, Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Galloway, of Orland Hills, Illinois, is minoring in organizational leadership. She is the current president of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Student Society, student facilitator for the Civic Engagement & Leadership Development Office and serves as an ambassador for both the College of Engineering and the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). In 2021, Galloway started a First-Year Engineering mentor program for students transitioning into ECE. She created the curriculum and conducted bi-weekly check-ins with the mentors. For the last two summers, she has interned at GE Gas Power. Her favorite thing about Purdue has been the tight-knit community and wide variety of opportunities provided to students. Post-graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in the power industry and land a leadership position.

From her nominator: “It is such a difficult task to recommend her in one letter without writing volumes. Denae has distinguished herself as a student that is filled with passion, enthusiasm and excitement about learning.”

Daniel Harrington, School of Mechanical Engineering

Harrington, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has served as the treasurer and public relations committee head of the student-run Purdue Mechanical Engineering Ambassadors (PMEA), which promotes unity between students, faculty, alumni and other student groups through various social, academic and professional events. He has made the dean’s list and earned semester honors every semester since he was a freshman. In summer 2022 as an intern at the Ray Ewry Sports Engineering Center, he continued his work on an innovative athletic shoe sole. This semester, he is working with his senior design team on an improved Braille embossing device to assist people with visual impairments. Upon graduation, Harrington will begin a career in industry. The thing he loves most about Purdue is football season and cheering on the Boilermakers with his friends at Ross-Ade Stadium.

From his nominator: “Danny has accomplished and contributed to the College of Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering and the lives of others by having notable problem-solving skills and innovated ideas.”

Nicholas Mori, School of Industrial Engineering

Mori, of Washington, D.C., is minoring in global engineering studies. He is president of the Global Engineering Alliance Research and Education (GEARE) Ambassadors, a member of Mortar Board, and a TA for the Office of Professional Practice’s ENGR 103 course. He has conducted research in the Urban Sustainability Mobility and Research Team (uSMART) Lab under Professor Hua Cai in two EV/AV modeling projects. Off campus, Mori has performed and published research at George Mason University in collaboration with GrubHub, interned at Tesla in Fremont, California, and later in Tilburg, Netherlands. As part of GEARE, Mori studied at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and returned to the United States to intern with Microsoft as a hardware project manager. Post-graduation, he looks forward to working in industry at the forefront of new technologies. What he loves most about Purdue is the variety of opportunities to get involved in activities.

From his nominator: “He is well-rounded in his experiences, intentional and passionate about service. He excels in diverse working environments with the goal of making a global impact and committed to giving back to others.”

Chintan Rank, School of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Rank, of Gujarat, India, is minoring in business economics. He has been part of Purdue Orbital for three semesters and a public speaking club for two semesters. He joined the Boilermaker-founded Project Polaris, an international GEARE initiative aimed at designing a rover capable of traveling to and operating on Titan. He has served as head of the project’s Mission Profile Team, and, this September, presented research at the 73rd International Astronautical Congress in Paris. In Spring 2022, he was part of the first class of AAE undergraduate teaching assistants and has been working as a resident assistant and an undergraduate research assistant at Zucrow Laboratories. Rank’s favorite thing about Purdue is its community and people. After graduation, he plans to start his master’s degree at Purdue AAE with the long-term plan of working at an aerospace and defense firm developing cutting-edge propulsion systems.

From his nominator: “As the head of Mission Profile in Project Polaris, he was able to develop meeting strategies that would ensure that each member gets to give their opinion and that their opinions are as valued as anyone else’s.”

Carl Russell III, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering

Russell, of San Ramon, California, recently completed his co-op experience in quality engineering at Zimmer Biomet and R&D at Cook Medical. Currently performing biosensor research in the Laboratory of Implantable Microsystems Research, he has previous experience in a biomechanics lab and has directed a systematic review with his classmates. The review has now transformed into a project partnering Purdue EPICS with the National Kidney Foundation to develop a diet management mobile application for patients with chronic kidney disease. Russell has overseen five EPICS projects and also serves as president of the Caduceus Club, secretary of the BME Honor Society and the Engineering liaison and social media chair of the Undergraduate Research Society of Purdue. He hopes to attend medical school and apply his BME education to the next generation of patient care. His favorite thing about Purdue is the BME building, where he has gained a sense of collaboration paired with healthy competition.

From his nominator: “Carl has a tenacious personality that I think exemplifies an ideal undergraduate student with his commitment to leadership, service and scholarly excellence. His aptitude for collaboration and team leadership really shines.”

Lauren Sparber, Lyles School of Civil Engineering

Sparber, of Maple Park, Illinois, is the president of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) at Purdue, where she works with international partners, professional engineers and fellow students with the goal of designing and implementing infrastructure projects. As part of the EWB team, she traveled to Rwanda to complete an assessment for a water distribution system. She has been involved with the Women in Engineering PAIR mentoring program and was a peer teacher for First-Year Engineering classes. She also is a Zumba and barre instructor at the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center. Sparber was a transportation engineer intern the last two summers for the HNTB consulting firm, where she will continue to work in the Chicago office after graduation. Her favorite part about Purdue is the opportunity to work on multidisciplinary teams full of passionate people.

From her nominator: “If I was to create a hall of fame for the top group, Lauren would be there for sure. She is exceptional as an engineer and has saved us technically a number of times. She has an extraordinary work capacity. She is a tremendous leader who empowers her team and builds relationships.”

Alexa Stern, School of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Stern, of Saline, Michigan, is minoring in biotechnology. She is the president of the Purdue Engineering Student Council, and as the co-president of the Purdue Engineering President’s Council, has guided the organization back to fully in-person events. She is an Agricultural and Biological Engineering ambassador, a College of Engineering ambassador and a TA for an ABE biotechnology lab course. She creates computational models of diseases in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and has interned for Cayman Chemical Company and Eli Lilly and Company. Stern has assisted with multiple wellbeing initiatives to support Engineering students and plans to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in bioengineering. Her favorite thing about Purdue is the small community that she has found within such a large school, which has helped make campus feel like home.

From her nominator: “I’ve been consistently impressed with the maturity and thoughtfulness Alexa brought to conversations, and her eagerness to solve problems for the Engineering student body. I knew she would bring the same level of excellence to the ambassadors program.”

Robert Buckman Joyce Mollerup
Through a gift from Robert Buckman (BSChE ’59) and his wife, Joyce Mollerup, seven outstanding Engineering seniors will each be awarded $20,000 upon graduation.