Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellowships at Purdue Engineering

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The Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellowships at Purdue Engineering are awarded in memory of Dr. Lillian Moller Gilbreth, Professor at Purdue from 1935-1948. A world renowned pioneer in the application of psychology to industrial engineering, Dr. Gilbreth’s work epitomized interdisciplinary research and broader impact on industry and society.


Dr. Lillian Gilbreth

Dr. Gilbreth laid the foundations of modern industrial engineering, invented designs of consumer appliances, hospital, office, and sport equipment to make work and life easier, and was a consultant to many major corporations. She was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 1965 and awarded the prestigious Hoover Medal in 1966 for “contributions to motion study and to recognition of the principle that management engineering and human relations are intertwined.” The NAE also established the Gilbreth Lecturership in 2001 as a means of recognizing outstanding young American engineers.

Beginning in 1930, by serving on President Hoover’s Emergency Committee on Employment, she was an advisor to five U.S. presidents on committees dealing with civil defense, war production, and rehabilitation of the handicapped. She also received more than twenty honorary doctorates from prestigious institutions. Purdue University’s e-archives and special collections feature many historical materials on Dr. Gilbreth’s life and career.


Program goals

The goal of the Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellowship Program at Purdue Engineering is to attract and prepare outstanding individuals with recently awarded PhDs for a career in engineering academia through interdisciplinary research, training, and professional development.

The Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellows are selected not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements and proposed innovative interdisciplinary research but also for their potential for broader impact on industry and society. They undertake research with faculty mentors in different fields and participate in professional development activities tailored to their chosen path in academia.


Eligibility

U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have either completed their PhD on or after Dec. 31, 2019, or are in the final year of their PhD program in engineering or related sciences, can apply. Non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents can apply only if they are currently in the U.S. AND have either completed their PhD on or after Dec. 31, 2019, or are in the final year of their PhD program in engineering or related sciences. Non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents currently residing outside of the U.S. can apply with endorsement from a Purdue Engineering faculty member, if they have either completed their PhD on or after Dec. 31, 2019, or are in the final year of their PhD program in engineering or related sciences. Applicants with PhDs granted on or after Dec. 31, 2018 will also be considered in cases of childbirth or adoption.

U.S. Scholars from underrepresented backgrounds (Black, Native, Latinx, women, LGBTQIA) are encouraged to apply.

Note: A candidate's Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellowship co-advisor(s) cannot include their PhD thesis advisor(s).


Program structure

Gilbreth Fellows will have two co-advisors. One faculty co-advisor must have a primary appointment in an Engineering school/division. The second must have a primary appointment in a different Engineering school/division or at a non-engineering department at Purdue. An additional third collaborator from within or outside Purdue can also participate in the project.

The Gilbreth Fellowship is a full time appointment and the Fellows undertake research with their faculty co-advisors, participate in professional development activities, and are required to prepare and submit short annual reports on their achievements.


Research project topics

Applicants can (a) propose their own innovative research proposal and list potential Purdue co-advisors, or (b) choose to develop their proposal based on interdisciplinary topics already posted by faculty on the fellowship website.

Potential faculty co-advisors are invited to upload brief 200 word descriptions and info for their proposed topics for a Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellow.


Benefits

Gilbreth Fellows are appointed for a two-year term, and receive an annual stipend of $70,000 and benefits. A $5,000 grant is also provided for professional development such as attending conferences or workshops and are mentored for their future academic careers through a variety of programs. 


Key Dates for 2022

  • May 23, 2022: call to engineering faculty to post research topics on the LGPF website
  • July 11, 2022: website with proposed topics made live to interested applicants
  • November 1, 2022: Deadline to receive full application packets with recommendation letters
  • January 2023: the 2022 Lillian Gilbreth postdoc fellows announced; 2023 cohort fellows can start their assignments as early as February 2023

Application

Application materials include the following items:

  1. Cover letter describing how the Gilbreth Fellowship will help the candidate progress toward their goals in Engineering academia.
  2. Curriculum Vitae including list of publications.
  3. One-page research statement that includes goals and significance of proposed interdisciplinary work and lists potential Purdue engineering faculty members who can be co-advisors.
  4. A one-page essay on the candidate’s proposed broader impact through education/outreach/engagement.
  5. Three letters of recommendation that include detailed assessments of (a) the candidate’s qualifications and (b) potential for success in academia through scholarly research and broader impact through research/education/engagement. Letters from potential Purdue co-advisors will not be accepted.
  6. Applications of non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents currently residing outside of the U.S. will be internally routed to proposed co-advisors for endorsement before submission to the selection committee for review.

Applications accepted beginning July 11, 2022. Apply at Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellowships 2023-24 by November 1, 2022.

Create an account by clicking on the Register button at the bottom of the Log In page. Here you will input your name and email address and click on Create Account. You will be asked to confirm your account via an email notification sent to the email address entered. Use this email address and established password to access the site. Please note that email domains affiliated with institutions, e.g., edu, are required.

If you have questions about the application process, please email us at coeoaa@purdue.edu.


Awa​rdees will be selected based on faculty committee recommendations and approval of co-advisors and school/division heads.

Fellowship start dates must be in 2023.

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Potential projects proposed by Purdue Engineering faculty

Applicants can (a) propose their own innovative research proposal and list potential Purdue co-advisors, or (b) choose to develop their proposal based on interdisciplinary topics posted by faculty below.

Potential faculty co-advisors are invited to upload brief 200 word descriptions and info for their proposed topics for a Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellow.

Research topics for the 2023-24 application cycle will be available on July 11, 2022.

  • Data and Engineering Applications
  • Engineering-Medicine
  • Autonomous and Connected Systems
  • Innovation and Making
  • CISLunar (Space science and Engineering)
  • Defense related projects (for US citizens only)
  • Smart City, Infrastructure, Transportation
  • Future Manufacturing
  • Micro-, Nano-, and Quantum Engineering
  • Power, Energy, and the Environment
  • Security and Privacy
  • Human-Machine/Computer Interaction, Human Factors, Human-Centered Design
  • Others
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News

2 Scholars Receive 2021-22 Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellowships

Purdue Engineering announces two promising engineering scholars as the next cohort of Lillian Gilbreth Fellows.

3 Scholars Receive 2020 Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellowships

On March 27, 2020, Purdue Engineering announced three promising engineering scholars as the next cohort of Lillian Gilbreth Fellows.

5 Scholars Receive Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellowships

On Sept. 27, 2019, Purdue Engineering launched five of the world’s most promising young engineering scholars on paths toward becoming pioneers in the spirit of the legendary Dr. Lillian Moller Gilbreth.

Purdue Engineering Names 2018 Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellows

The Purdue University College of Engineering has announced the five researchers selected as 2018 Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellows, a program that recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and innovative interdisciplinary research with a broad impact on society and industry.

Events

Celebration of Lillian Gilbreth, Purdue Engineering Professor 1935-1948

Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 1:30 - 4:00p.m. | Herman and Heddy Kurz Atrium, Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering | RSVP by February 25, 2022 or watch live.

Fellowship Awardees 2022

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AlaEddin Douba
Fellowship Awardee 2022
Mengxue Hou
Fellowship Awardee 2022
Izzet Sahin
Fellowship Awardee 2022
Hanjun Yang
Fellowship Awardee 2022
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AlaEddin Douba is completing a PhD in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at Columbia University. He will collaborate with co-advisors, Dr. Kendra Erk, Associate Professor of Materials Engineering, and Dr. Jan Olek, James H. and Carol H. Cure Professor in Civil Engineering, in the area of rheology and printability of cementitious mixtures. Dr. Douba’s field of research is the modification and characterization of cement and concrete including alternative binders such as polymer concrete and magnesium oxide concrete.
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Mengxue Hou is a PhD candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. She will work with Dr. Shaoshuai Mou, Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Dr. Shreyas Sundaram, Marie Gordon Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, in the field of resilience and learning for large-scale multi-agent autonomy. Dr. Hou's research interests include nonlinear filtering, learning and optimal control, underwater vehicle, human robot interaction
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Izzet Sahin earned a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University. He will conduct research in the area of revolutionary turbines for clean propulsion with Dr. Guillermo Paniagua, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Guang Lin, Professor of Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Sahin's research focus is on the development and advancement of gas turbine blade cooling technology for both aircraft propulsion and power generation.
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Hanjun Yang earned a PhD in Chemistry from Brown University. He has begun working with Dr. Letian Dou, Charles and Nancy Davidson Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Dr. Libai Huang, Professor of Chemistry, in the area of design exciton and spin functionalities in halide perovskite epitaxial heterostructures. Dr. Yang's research interest focuses on the synthesis, structure, and spectroscopy of perovskite materials.

Fellowship Awardees 2021

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Ria D. Corder
Fellowship Awardee 2021
David J. Gunderman
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Ria Corder earned her PhD in Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University. She is collaborating with co-advisors, Dr. Arezoo Ardekani, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Kendra Erk, Associate Professor of Materials Engineering, on research in the area of rheology of concentrated particle suspensions. Dr. Corder’s research focus is in applying principles from rheology, fluid dynamics, and polymer science in the design of soft composite materials.
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David Gunderman received his PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Colorado – Boulder. He is working with co-advisors Dr. Hector Gomez, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Craig Goergen, the Leslie A. Geddes Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, in the research of software framework for numerical algorithms for the high-order immersed boundary method in cardiovascular simulation. Dr. Gunderman's research expertise lies in computational science, high-performance computing, numerical methods for partial differential equations, and computational geometry.

Fellowship Awardees 2020

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Evgeniy Boyko
Fellowship Awardee 2020
Aishwarya V. Menon
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Yijing Xie
Fellowship Awardee 2020
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Evgeniy Boyko received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Prior to coming to Purdue, Dr. Boyko was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. He is working with co-advisors, Dr. Osman Basaran, Burton and Kathryn Gedge Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Dr. Ivan Christov, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, to explore fundamental fluid mechanical problems involving non-Newtonian fluids at the microscale. Dr. Boyko's research focuses on understanding and modeling microscale flow physics in the field of fluid-structure interaction and its coupling with electrokinetics.
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Aishwarya Menon earned her PhD in an interdisciplinary program within the Centre of Nanoscience and Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. She is conducting is research with co-advisors, Dr. Julie Liu, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Dr. Jonathan Wilker, Professor of Chemistry, to develop a series of adhesives that will connect tissues surrounded by blood, and create surgical adhesives and sealants for bonding soft, as well as hard, tissues. Dr. Menon’s research interests lie in the field of polymer materials with various applications including adhesives, self-healing materials, and stimuli-responsive materials.
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Yijing Xie received her PhD in Automation from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. She worked with co-advisors, Dr. Shaoshuai Mou, Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Dr. Shreyas Sundaram, Marie Gordon Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, to design distributed resilient algorithms for multi-agent systems with various constraints. Dr. Xie is currently an Assistant Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her research focuses on control theory and applications, including multi-agent systems, event-triggered control, learning control, and their applications in cyber-physical systems and smart grids.

Fellowship Awardees 2019

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Hamid R. Seyf
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Marie Maros
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Ke Ma
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Melinda A. Lake
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Daniel L. Gonzales
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Hamid Seyf received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He worked with co-advisors, Dr. Vilas Pol, Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Dr. Partha Mukherjee, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, to suppress lithium dendrites in Li-S batteries. His research interests included grid-scale energy conversion and storage, atomistic level modeling and simulation of thermal transport in various materials, solid-state energy conversion, and energy storage technologies. Dr. Seyf is currently employed in the Silicon Engineering Group at Apple as an SOC Thermal Engineer.
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Maria Maros earned a PhD in Information Science and Engineering from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. She worked with co-advisors, Dr. Gesualdo Scutari, Professor of Industrial Engineering, and Dr. Guang Cheng, Professor of Statistics, to develop a theory of the fundamental tradeoffs that govern statistical learning in a large-scale nonconvex networked setting. Her research interests include distributed optimization methods in time varying environments. She continues her postdoctoral research work with Dr. Scutari and in January 2022 the team published a study on sparse linear regression over a network of agents, modeled as an undirected graph and no server node.
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Ke Ma received a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado – Boulder. She worked with co-advisors, Dr. Letian Dou, Charles and Nancy Davidson Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Dr. Jianguo Mei, Associate Professor of Chemistry. She is continuing her postdoctoral research work in Dr. Dou's lab with a focus on the semiconducting material called perovskite, an emerging, promising material for future solar cell devices. Perovskite materials are used in solar cell devices as an alternative to expensive silicon crystals, because they can be manufactured at lower cost and using less energy.

Mentoring with multiple advisors

Ke Ma, a 2019 fellowship awardee, is continuing her postdoctoral research work in Letian Dou’s lab in Purdue’s Davidson School of Chemical Engineering. She earned her PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“My Gilbreth Fellowship research is focused on our device fabrication of solar cells, understanding the fundamental knowledge about them and trying to improve it,” explained Ma.

Ma measures solar cell performance.
(Purdue University photo/Vincent Walter)

Specifically, Ma studies the semiconducting material called perovskite, an emerging, promising material for future solar cell devices. Perovskite materials are used in solar cell devices as an alternative to expensive silicon crystals, because they can be manufactured at lower cost and using less energy. Her research uses combination of perovskite and organic semiconductors to solve the charge transfer and stability issue at the junction between two materials in perovskite solar cells and to construct efficient, stable next-generation solar cell devices. She hopes to market and commercialize the perovskite solar cells, and the fellowship has helped her advance this research.

“The Gilbreth Fellowship has allowed me to have multiple advisors — from chemical engineering and also from chemistry,” Ma said. “They provided the advices and suggestions from all different disciplines that allowed me to advance my technology and the knowledge in my research project.”

Ma examines a perovskite film.
(Purdue University photo/Vincent Walter)

Ma said that the fellowship offered her opportunities to diversity her research experience and learn different lab management styles from different professors. “That’s definitely a help for me as an independent researcher in the future,” she explained.

She also appreciated the opportunity to present her research at the 2021 Virtual MRS Spring Meeting “because of this opportunity through the fellowship, more people are noticing the importance of organic semiconducting interlayer in building stable and efficient perovskite solar cells. This joint effort allowed our group to be selected for an award by the Department of Energy”.

Ma checks the parameters of a solar similar.
(Purdue University photo/Vincent Walter)
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Melinda Lake was awarded a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University. She is continuing postdoctoral research with co-advisors, Dr. Jacqueline Linnes, Marta E. Gross Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Dr. Steven Wereley, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and collaborator, Dr. Tamara Kinzer-Ursem, Marta E. Gross Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering. During her fellowship, she developed microfluidic devices for point-of-care diagnostics of diseases such as malaria and HIV in blood and detection of Vibrio cholerae, which causes cholera, in water. Dr. Lake's research interests are in microelectrochemical systems (MEMS), microfluidic devices, and cell mechanics - lab-on-a-chip engineering solutions to solve critical health problems.

Interdisciplinary collaboration and career path

Melinda A. Lake was named a Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellow in 2019, and is continuing her fellowship research with her advisors, Dr. Jacqueline Linnes, Marta E. Gross Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Dr. Steven Wereley, Professor of Mechanical Engineering; and Dr. Tamara Kinzer-Ursem, Marta E. Gross Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering; all of Purdue University. Lake earned her PhD from The Ohio State University.

Lake sets up the smartphone platform to image a sample in her device.
(Purdue University photo/Vincent Walter)

“For my Gilbreth Fellowship Research, I developed microfluidic devices for point-of-care diagnostics of diseases such as malaria and HIV in blood and detection of Vibrio cholerae, which causes cholera, in water,” Lake explained. “The devices are intended to help eradicate these diseases someday by improving diagnostic tools.”

Lake appreciated the Fellowship’s emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration. “As a mechanical engineer, I work on teams of biologists and biomedical engineers so that we can develop this technology to be scalable,” she said. “Through the Gilbreth Fellowship, I have developed as a researcher because of the interdisciplinary collaboration to build my devices to be compatible with the biology that the biologists and biomedical engineers develop.”

In terms of professional development, in August 2019 Lake presented her PhD work at the Africa International Biotechnology & Biomedical Conference (AIBBC) in Mombasa, Kenya. In October 2021, she presented a poster on her HIV diagnostics project at MicroTAS 2021 in Palm Springs, CA, and also attended the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) 2021 conference to present at the Meet the Faculty Candidate poster session in Orlando, FL.

In her microfluidic device, Lake tests a blood sample.
(Purdue University photo/Vincent Walter)

Having the fellowship helped Lake know what she wants to do in her career. “The Gilbreth Fellowship helped clarify my path, and I’m currently seeking to become a tenure track assistant professor.”

The fellowship also helped Lake realize that she wants to develop her future lab to build translatable, scalable technology to help people. “With the tools that I’m developing, manufacturers could produce them in bulk and distribute them to populations that need them,” she said. “We could have these point-of-care devices tested in the field or used in hospitals and directly impact patients and improve their quality of life.”

Lake’s microfluidic device uses a smartphone to test for cholera, HIV and malaria.
(Purdue University photo/Vincent Walter)
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Daniel Gonzales received a PhD in Applied Physics from Rice University. He is collaborating with co-advisors, Dr. Krishna Jayant, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Dr. Scott Pluta, Assistant Professor of Biological Science, to develop a flexible nanoelectrode net to investigate sub-cellular integration at the cortical surface. His research focuses on bridging the gap between engineering and neuroscience through the development of brain-machine interfaces for capturing neurophysiology across scales. Dr. Gonzales was also selected into the Hanna Gray Fellowship of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which allows him to continue his postdoctoral research at Purdue Engineering.

Fellowship Awardees 2018

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Hai-Tian Zhang
Fellowship Awardee 2018
Kimberley A. Stevens
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Caitlin R. Proctor
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Jeffrey S. Lowe
Fellowship Awardee 2018
Chinmay C. Khandekar
Fellowship Awardee 2018
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Hai-Tian Zhang received a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He performed research with co-advisors, Dr. Shriram Ramanathan, Professor of Materials Engineering, and Dr. Kaushik Roy, Edward G. Tiedemann, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, to bridge the frontiers of quantum materials and brain-inspired computing and machine intelligence. His research interest was in the fabrication of energy efficient, brain-like electronic devices using quantum materials and he is now a professor at Beihang University, Beijing, China.
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Kimberley Stevens earned a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University. She collaborated with co-advisors, Dr. Ivan Christov, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Vitaliy Rayz, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, researching fluid-structure interactions for modeling blood vessels and biomedical devices. Dr. Steven's research was focused in the areas of phase-change heat transfer and superhydrophobic surfaces during her Gilbreth Fellowship. She is continuing her research as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Rochester.
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Caitlin Proctor was awarded a PhD in Life Sciences from the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland. Her experience in the area of microbiology, drinking water quality and building plumbing positively impacted the work of her co-advisors, Dr. John Howarter, Associate Professor of Materials Engineering and Environmental and Ecological Engineering, Dr. Paul Robinson, the SVM Professor Cytomics & Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Dr. Andrew Whelton, Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental and Ecological Engineering, and their drinking water and materials research project. Dr. Proctor is continuing her career at Purdue Engineering and is an Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Environmental and Ecological Engineering.

Research skills and freedom

Caitlin R. Proctor, assistant professor in Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Environmental and Ecological Engineering at Purdue University, was a member of the inaugural Gilbreth Fellowship cohort in 2018. Proctor was chosen from hundreds of applicants from around the world after earning her PhD in Life Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology at Eidgenössische Technische (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland.

“The Gilbreth Fellowship offered me a great opportunity because I did my PhD abroad,” Proctor said. “I had to become reacquainted with the American system for funding and research and how it’s done here. I was able to come back to the U.S. and learn some of those skills, including grant writing. And I was also able to take advantage of Purdue’s many professional development opportunities.”

For the fellowship, Proctor joined a drinking water and materials research project with Andrew Whelton, professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental and Ecological Engineering; John Howarter, associate professor of Materials Engineering and Environmental and Ecological Engineering; and J. Paul Robinson, the SVM Professor of Basic Medical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering. Proctor also mentored undergraduate and graduate students, and sat on several graduate committees.

Proctor gathers water samples in Hampton Hall’s Hydraulics Laboratory.
(Purdue University Photo/Vincent Walter)

Proctor appreciated the research freedom she had during her Gilbreth Fellowship. “I was able to apply for a number of grants and I’m still working on some of those research questions,” she said. “I’m working on the COVID-19 questions we have about stagnation in buildings, and we have an entire set-up in the hydraulics laboratory of Hampton Hall, where we’re continuing to test some hypotheses.”

She also took advantage of professional development opportunities. “During my post-doc, I was able to participate in many Purdue programs, including a valuable hands-on teaching workshop with external speakers,” Proctor said. “I was also able to travel to both international and national conferences, which helped me form connections and develop my faculty package.”

Proctor supervising graduate and undergraduate students analyzing water samples in Hampton Hall’s Hydraulics Laboratory for chlorine, pH, and temperature.
(Purdue University Photo/Vincent Walter)

“My fellowship really taught me that I loved academia, so I was able to have the freedom to work on different research projects to get involved with disaster response in those research projects and also work directly with graduate students on new problems that expanded my horizons,” Proctor said.

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Jeffrey Lowe received a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. He worked with co-advisors, Dr. Jeff Greeley, Charles D. and Nancy G. Davidson Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Dr. Christina Li, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, on research to develop a combined computational/experimental approach to develop structure-property relationships for electrocatalysts. Dr. Lowe now works at General Motors as an electrochemist in Advanced Battery Cell Engineering.

Collaboration, independence and peer review

Jeffrey S. Lowe, also a member of the 2018 fellowship cohort, is now an electrochemist at General Motors. Lowe earned his PhD from the University of Michigan. During his postdoctoral fellowship he worked with Jeff Greeley, professor of Chemical Engineering, and Christina Li, assistant professor of Chemistry, on research to develop a combined computational/experimental approach to develop structure-property relationships for electrocatalysts.

In his research, Lowe showed how a metal which is underexplored in catalysis, indium, may be promising for an important set of reactions in renewable energy. For example, he demonstrated how indium oxyhydroxide can be used to remove carbon monoxide contaminants in fuel cells, a longstanding challenge in renewable energy research. Potential future directions from his work are to consider indium-containing catalysts for other types of reactions, such as the renewable production of hydrogen.

Lowe created this image to demonstrate a promising concept in moving beyond current state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries to next-generation batteries for applications such as electric vehicles. In the nextgeneration battery, the graphite electrode (in Li-ion batteries) is replaced with a completely metallic anode, leading to significantly higher energy densities.
(Image/J. Lowe)

“Having the Gilbreth Fellowship enabled me to collaborate across departments, since the intent of the Gilbreth Fellowship is to be interdisciplinary in nature,” Lowe explained. “In my specific instance, I was able to collaborate in chemical engineering and in chemistry, which made my projects more impactful.”

Besides the collaboration, Lowe expanded his expertise by working more independently on research projects than he did during his PhD. “[The fellowship] really enabled me to develop my skills in the area of fuel cells and electrocatalysis, which are distinct from what I did during my PhD when I focused on next generation batteries,” he said. “In my position at GM, I’m able to develop unique strategies in this area based on my related experience at Purdue.”

Lowe presented his Gilbreth Fellowship molecular modeling research to Indiana policymakers at the Indiana Science Communication Day in early March 2020.
(Photo provided)

As part of the Gilbreth Fellowship cohort, Lowe and the other fellows met approximately weekly prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which enabled them to get together and write. “It was beneficial to be there as a cohort because we could also do some peer review for the various writings that we were working on,” he said.

Lowe is enthusiastic about the Gilbreth Fellowship. “It’s a great program, and I’m so happy to be a part of it,” he said.

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Chinmay Khandekar earned a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University. He conducted interdisciplinary work at nanoscale with co-advisors, Dr. Zubin Jacob, Elmore Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Dr. Adrian Buganza Tepole, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, in the areas of nonlinear thermal radiation, nanoscale heat transport and quantum nanophotonics. Dr. Khandekar is currently a senior diffractive optics engineer at Magic Leap, where he does design work on optics and display of augmented reality wearable for enterprise applications.