EPICS team designs, creates and donates bronze marker to honor Civil War hero
Thanks to a group of Purdue Engineering students, Lafayette’s Greenbush Cemetery has a new historical marker that pays tribute to a local Civil War colonel.
The EPICS MSE (materials engineering) Bronze Team, composed of students from various majors, is committed to creating plaques for historical sites and memorials. In its most recent project, the group partnered with community leaders to design and create a plaque to honor Colonel William Carroll, commander of the 10th Indiana Infantry and the highest-ranked Tippecanoe County officer. He was killed in 1863 at the Battle of Chickamauga in Tennessee.
Rachel Hruby, who graduated May 12 with her bachelor’s degree in MSE, led two groups of First-Year Engineering students in Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 to complete the plaque. They used laboratories provided by EPICS and MSE to sandcast the piece with precision and accuracy. The project required Hruby and her teams to try various processing and design methods.
“The main concern was galvanic corrosion between the steel fastenings and the plaque, but the plaque was powder-coated with press fit studs installed to account for this,” explained Hruby, who has participated in three EPICS teams since 2019. “The whole plaque was power-coated black, then the letters were sanded off to reveal a contrasting color between the letters and background.”
Hruby and her team worked with John Collier, assistant director of economic development for the City of Lafayette, and Monica Casanova, Fairfield Township trustee.
“They were very supportive during the whole project, coming to our design review presentations as well as inviting us to the Fairfield Township Trustee’s Office open house and holding an unveiling ceremony where we showed our plaque to the community,” Hruby said.
The plaque was dedicated at Greenbush Cemetery on April 27.
Hruby, who is headed to Textron Aviation for an internship as a materials and process engineer, said the EPICS program shaped her Purdue experience.
“I gained real-world experience designing products for real people as well as leadership experience as a project manager of teams and design lead of teams.”
The MSE Bronze Team was co-advised by Jorge Martinez, lead outreach program manager for EPICS, and Mohamad Zbib, visiting assistant professor in the Schools of Engineering Education and Materials Engineering.
“The tribute to Colonel Carroll, who served his country with honor and distinction, is a demonstration of the team’s commitment to preserving the history and heritage of the community. The project not only honors Colonel Carroll, but also raises awareness of the contributions made by veterans of the region,” Zbib said.
At the beginning of the Civil War, John Purdue formed an army known as Purdue’s Rifles to defend Lafayette from Confederate supporters terrorizing the city and to ensure that Confederate prisoners were properly guarded. Carroll first joined the Rifles before making the ultimate sacrifice. Purdue himself helped finance the stone monument in Greenbush Cemetery that marks Carroll’s final resting place.
The Greenbush project follows a previous success by another MSE team that created a plaque located at 115 N. Chauncey Ave. that highlights the oldest historic Civic Center in West Lafayette.
“The EPICS program's efforts in partnering with community organizations reflect the program's commitment to community service and provide valuable learning opportunities for students to apply their knowledge to real-world problems," Zbib said.