Featured Graduate Students

Jialiang Tang, We reported a facile synthesis of carbonaceous fibers directly from Tyromyces fissilis wild fungus through a controlled carbonization process. Electron micrograph observations revealed that as-prepared carbon fibers are composed of 40–60 μm long solid and tubular fibers mimicking their natural texture.

Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction indicated that these carbon fibers are possessing disordered carbon structure with larger interlayer spacing (0.386 nm) than graphite (0.335 nm). These carbon fibers delivered specific reversible capacity of 340 mAh/g at C/10 rate and 300 mAh/g at C/5 rate. Electrochemical performance of as-prepared carbon fibers was further improved by uniform decoration of cobalt oxide particles via solid state thermal processing. CoO–carbon fiber hybrid anode delivered higher reversible capacity, 530 mAh/g at C/10 rate with only 10 mol % of CoO loading.

This improvement is attributed to the synergistic effect, namely conductive network of cross-linked carbon fibers and facile electrochemical reaction with deposited monodispersed CoO nanoclusters. Cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy on both carbon fiber and hybrid anodes were conducted to comprehend the lithiation and delithiation processes. 

Molly Goldstein is in the school of Engineering Education working on a PhD and investigating the differences in design behaviors of novice engineering designers. My goal is to understand design decision-making patterns among pre-engineering students and engineering students.

Taking the next step toward attaining this goal, I will study the student design process and design artifacts in conjunction with student conceptions of design (i.e. what they do and what they think). I am exploring  a novel approach to understanding the student design process by using learning analytics (e.g., logs of student design files within a CAD system). Learning analytics, traditional test and student reflections will be used to group students based on the patterns they exhibit related to decision-making. My rationale is that identifying these patterns will help K-16 educators (1) understand students’ starting points in decision-making and (2) incorporate appropriate design activities into their curricula.

I graduated from the University of Illinois with a Masters Degree in Systems and Entrepreneurial Engineering following my undergraduate degree in General Engineering.  My undergraduate degree emphasized engineering design and project management integration, with a focus on establishing critical problem-solving skills applied across many disciplines. My graduate degree built upon my multi-disciplinary engineering background with a focus in decision and risk analysis. During my MS, I had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant for a freshmen engineering course and found that I loved teaching engineering students and enjoyed starting to understand how people learn. Around that time I learned about Purdue’s Engineering Education program. I was very intrigued but ultimately decided to go into industry to gain experience as an engineer.

In my last professional role before returning to graduate school I worked as a senior engineer in air quality.  In this role, I provided technical and analytical support to clients.  I learned how to translate written policy into actionable steps and managed multiple projects at concurrent times including teams of internal staff, client relationships, budget, and project deliverables.

Nicole Pitterson in her cap and gown Nicole Pitterson recently graduated from Purdue with a PhD in Engineering Education. Nicole holds other degrees in manufacturing engineering (Western Illinois University) and electrical engineering (University of Technology, Jamaica). Her research interests are difficult concepts in engineering, increasing students’ conceptual understanding of complex circuit concepts and promoting collaboration through active engagement. Currently, Nicole is a postdoctoral scholar at Oregon State University.

After completing my undergraduate and master’s degrees in electrical and manufacturing engineering respectively, I took a job as a high school electrical and electronic engineering teacher because my passion was to interact with people and to play a role in educating future engineers. It was natural that this path led me to a PhD in Engineering Education. The manner in which I found the engineering education program at Purdue is quite interesting as I had quite honestly done a google search of “research and teaching in engineering”. Purdue’s School of Engineering Education webpage was second in the list of the search results. To say I knew very little about Purdue before enrolling in my program would have been a grave understatement. However, I found the engineering education program in the College of Engineering was the first in the country and the way I saw it if I was going to pursue the highest degree, it was pertinent to do so at the place where it all started. Despite my uncertainties, I decided to accept the admission and attend Purdue. What I found when I went to Purdue was a warm and welcoming community of scholars who were the very best in their field and highly recognized in the engineering community in general.

During my tenure at Purdue, I was constantly impressed by all the other amazing things the university is known for such as top engineering and science programs in the country, outstanding outreach initiatives for minorities and other underrepresented groups and just the ease at which these resources could be accessed. I must truly say that I am a proud alumna of the School of Engineering Education and I am ever grateful for the opportunity to have studied at Purdue.     

Dev Verma in the lab

Devendra Verma is a PhD candidate in the school of Aeronautics and Astronautics working with Dr. Vikas Tomar on microstructure dependent dynamic fracture prediction and interface strength measurements.

At times, he thinks of himself as a charismatic (with humility of course) and almost successful person/researcher whereas at other times (like his fellow grad students) wonders where his life is going. His life revolves around two basements, one in ARMS where he spends most of his days (and nights) nurturing his brain and the other one in Purdue Corec nurturing his other muscles.

While doing so, he has been fortunate enough to have a successful time in the graduate school. His two latest achievements are, 1) Publishing a book ‘Multiscale Characterization of Biological Systems: Spectroscopy and Modeling’ with his advisor Dr. Vikas Tomar and other colleagues and 2) he recently woke up to welcome his ‘little’ abs after a yearlong chiseling in the gym.

Apart from this, he has published 10 journal papers and has received several awards such as Outstanding Service Scholarship (2015), Graduate Student Excellence Award (2014), and travel awards from SES, ASME, USACM, NSF.

He says that he is having a wonderful time at Purdue and feels blessed to have so many friends from different walks of life.

I-Fan Lin at a piano

I-Fan Lin is a student leader in Purdue's Boiler Out Volunteer program, I've racked up over 300 hours of volunteer work. I still remember the event that started it all.

On Thanksgiving Day in 2012, I attended a free lunch at a church. I saw the Purdue students serving and wanted to get involved. I was told to apply for Purdue's Boiler Out Volunteer Program.

Since being accepted to Boiler Out in 2013, I've had so many opportunities to give back to the community. In addition to being a student leader for Boiler Out, I've served as president of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Student Association (ECEGSA) and president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN), Beta Chapter.

I've found that I enjoy every service, even when it's challenging. Whether it's a tree planted or a meal served — if hard work puts a smile on someone's face, then it's all worth it.