Want to be a Professor in Engineering?

Purdue Engineering is aiming for maximum impact outcomes in our mission areas by 2030, one of them being the development of the largest, best-prepared, and most diverse engineering talent pool in the nation. Casting our view even beyond our campus, Trailblazers in Engineering (TBE) is an initiative intended to increase the number and success of engineering faculty in the US, who, in turn, will blaze new trails with new discoveries, innovations, and social impact and serve as role models for the next generation of engineers.

The goal of the TBE program at Purdue Engineering is to prepare future trailblazing faculty in engineering. TBE Fellows are selected not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements but also for their potential impact in broadening participation in engineering. These exceptional individuals will attend an in-person three-day workshop that will provide opportunities for scientific interactions, career-oriented discussions, and networking.

Since 2020: 131 TBE fellows total (47 black, 3 Native American, 65 Latinx, 16 other) have 
                      participated in the program and are changing the landscape of engineering academia. Already 8 
                      Black, 19 Latinx, 1 Native American, and 8 others hold faculty positions. 12 Black, 14 Latinx, and 
                      4 others are postdoctoral fellows at prestigious institutions. 31 are in industry and 28 are 
                      finishing their PhDs. Note: position information unavailable for 6 fellows.

Fellow Comments

“The best thing about the workshop is the diverse cohort that you identified and gathered.”
“This workshop rekindled my lost motivation and passion for becoming a professor.”
“I will value relationships and connections that I made during TBE for the rest of my academic journey and beyond.”
“There are a lot of strategies that I will be applying in my career, but most importantly, I am extremely motivated to pursue a career in academia.”
“The TBE workshop was a profound experience and I was so honored to be a part of it.”
“Amazing experience. I definitely recommend and am so grateful for the opportunity.”
“My experience at TBE was more than what I could've imagined.”


PhD students/postdocs in engineering or related disciplines at US research universities who - are expected to complete their PhD/postdoctoral appointments at US universities in 2024 or 2025 are eligible to apply. This opportunity is open to all students, regardless of race or national origin, whose experiences have shaped their ability to operate in a diverse environment or who demonstrate a commitment to increasing opportunities for members of underserved groups, breaking down stereotypes, and enabling others to better understand and support individuals of different races and national origins. Up to 35 talented TBE fellows will be selected.

Reasons to Participate

  1. Network with leading trailblazing faculty in engineering, thought leaders, program managers at key federal funding agencies, Purdue Engineering school heads, and scientists who will present keynote speeches and talks throughout the program.
  2. Participate in panel discussions:
    • Why choose an academic career?
    • Key components of a strong application package
    • Preparing to interview, negotiating your best salary and start up package
    • Securing early career research funding
  3. Meet and collaborate with program managers from the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Institutes of Health and others.
  4. Participate in a poster session to pitch your research and teaching plans and get feedback from would-be employers.
  5. Attend a session for early career teaching and success strategies presented by recognized experts in faculty development.


For non-Purdue Fellows, reimbursement up to $800.00 per economy flight plus transportation (cab fare, shuttle, mileage, and/or parking to/from Purdue).

For all Fellows, all lodging and meals will be provided during the workshop dates July 22-25, as well as per diem for travel days of July 22 (with a 3:00 PM (EDT) expected arrival time) & July 25 (with an 3:00 PM (EDT) departure time). Additional details will be provided.

Key Dates

  • February 29, 2024: Application cycle opens
  • May 15, 2024: Final acceptance date for all applications, cover letters, CVs, research/education statements and recommendation letters.
  • June 7, 2024: Fellows selected and notified
  • Monday, July 22 - Thursday, July 25, 2024: Workshop Dates


Purdue's beautiful campus in West Lafayette, Indiana


Required application materials include the following items:

  • Cover letter - Summarize why applicants are interested in the program and how it would benefit them. They should describe their experiences in broadening participation in engineering and contributing to the success of students of all backgrounds. These could include, but are not limited to, activities in research, teaching, and/or engagement (service, mentoring, community activities).
  • Research and Education Plan - What does a future faculty trailblazer in engineering look like? (maximum 2 pages)
  • Curriculum Vitae - Include list of publications and other scholarly accomplishments
  • Letter of Recommendation - Obtain a letter of recommendation from a faculty member or a supervisor that addresses the potential of the applicant to be a future trailblazing faculty member in engineering that includes:
    • Research accomplishments
    • Teaching and/or mentoring effectiveness
    • Applicant’s track record and dedication to service
    • Motivation, work ethic, sense of responsibility
    • How the applicant compares among peers
    • Any other comments

Apply at InfoReady on the Purdue University Internal Competitions and Limited Submissions page by clicking on "Trailblazers in Engineering". You may search by the due date of 5/15/2024 to access it more readily.

Create an account by clicking on "Register". 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 contact Darla Mazur, djmazur@purdue.edu.

Keynote Speakers

President Makola M. Abdullah, Ph.D.

Makola M. Abdullah, Ph.D.

President of Virginia State University

Rebecca W. Doerge

Rebecca W. Doerge, Ph.D.

Provost of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Participating National Agencies & Sponsors

U.S. Airforce Logo
U.S. Navy Logo
NIH Logo
NSF Logo
IoT4Ag Logo
US Department of Energy Logo