College hosts inaugural Design Expo and resumes relay run for students

Purdue Day of Giving, Design Expo highlight late-April week.
Students presenting projects at Design Expo
More than 70-plus teams showcased design projects at the Design Expo on April 29. (Photo: Vincent Walter)

Purdue Engineering held the 2022 Design Expo with the theme “A Celebration of Engineering Creativity” on April 29. It was the first year for the showcase, which included all Engineering programs and majors.

Photo of Joe Watkins
Joe Watkins was the keynote speaker at the Design Expo.

More than 500 students represented 70-plus teams in senior design, the Professional Master’s Program capstone, EPICS, Vertically Integrated Projects and student clubs shared their work and participated in design challenges.

Keynote speaker Joe Watkins, co-founder of the most successful all-student Purdue startup, spoke at the event. A South Bend native, Watkins’ entrepreneurial drive began in high school where he began working as a computer technology consultant, serving more than 600 clients. Following high school, the Class of ’17 Purdue Boilermaker engineer — together with Purdue undergraduates Yarkin Sakucoglu and Alihan Ozbayrak — co-founded Socio, a modern event technology platform that manages the full lifecycle of multi-session, multi-track virtual, in-person and hybrid conferences – from registration to post-event analytics. The success of Socio earned the trio a Forbes 30 Under 30 award in 2020. In July 2021, Fortune 100 company Cisco acquired Socio, now known as Webex Events, where Watkins serves as chief customer officer.

The event was held at the Purdue Armory and featured door prizes, snacks and more than $10,000 in team awards.

PDoG Relay Race

Mark Gee and Alexa Stern cross the finish at the relay race on Purdue Day of Giving
Mark Gee and Alexa Stern cross the finish line to conclude a 20.22-mile relay race on Purdue Day of Giving. Gee, a graduate student in agricultural and biological engineering, and Stern, a junior in ABE, were among 13 runners on Wednesday. 

On a beautiful spring day, the ninth annual Purdue Day of Giving was held on campus for the first time since 2019. In conjunction, the College of Engineering organized its second relay run with 13 participants representing students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Neil Armstrong statute with PDOG T-shirt
The Neil Armstrong statue in front of the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering had a new look Wednesday.

“We finished 20.22 miles as a team with six minutes to spare,” said Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering and executive vice president of Purdue University for strategic initiatives, who himself participated in the run and finished in 17 minutes.

During the event, Purdue Engineering commemorated the 111-day mark since the evacuation from campus due to the pandemic. In accordance, donors were encouraged to pledge $11.10, $111, and $1,110. Funds raised throughout the run were earmarked for student organizations.

The relay route drew attention to four key buildings on campus: Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering, Bechtel Innovation Design Center, Convergence at the Discovery Park District and the Krach Leadership Center. Runners crossed the finish line at the Gateway Arch, where supporters gathered to encourage participants in the last few steps of the course and celebrate the successful completion.

The event was powered by student leaders, many of whom were runners, and student volunteers who were members of the Purdue Engineering Student Council, Purdue Student Engineering Foundation and College of Engineering Ambassadors.

The runners included:

  • Léony Boudreau (BS BME ’21); Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering graduate student
  • Mung Chiang, Purdue executive vice president for strategic initiatives, John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering
  • Nuela Chidubem Enebechi (BS CS ’18); graduate teaching assistant, EPICS; School of Industrial Engineering graduate student
  • Priya Desarazu, senior, School of Industrial Engineering; Society of Women Engineers vice president
  • Jason Dietz, director of Financial Affairs, College of Engineering
  • Sam Dlott, junior, Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Purdue Student Engineering Foundation president
  • Nate Engelberth, director of Academic Advising, College of Engineering
  • Mark Gee (BS BME, Biochemistry, and Agronomy ’19); student trustee; Agricultural and Biological Engineering graduate student
  • Shreya Misra, junior, School of Aeronautics and Astronautics; College of Engineering ambassador
  • Becca Reinecke, senior, School of Aeronautics and Astronautics; AAE Student Advisory Council
  • Alexa Stern, junior, Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Purdue Engineering Student Council president
  • Alyssa Wilcox, chief of staff, College of Engineering
  • Carla Zoltowski, director of the Vertically Integrated Projects Program; assistant professor of Engineering Practice, Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

On the day, donors powered the university’s next giant leap with a resounding $68.2 million in contributions, outstripping last year’s $52.5 million and setting a record for most dollars raised for higher education through a single-day campaign. The College of Engineering totaled more than $24 million. 

The runners in the relay standing in front of the Boilermaker Special
Some of the runners who participated in the College of Engineering relay race on Purdue Day of Giving.