Want to be a Professor in Engineering?

Trailblazers in Engineering (TBE) is a multi-day workshop focused on preparing future outstanding engineering scholars for future engineering faculty careers who are also committed to increasing the success of underrepresented communities of engineers. Trailblazers in Engineering Fellows are selected not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements but also for their potential impact in expanding representation and diversity in engineering.

The workshop will provide Fellows the ability to network with leading faculty in engineering, thought leaders, program managers at key federal funding agencies, Purdue Engineering heads, and of course, each other. Participants will also meet current Trailblazers and benefit from their inspiring keynote talks.


PhD students/postdocs in engineering or related disciplines at US research universities who (a) are expected to complete their PhD/postdoctoral appointments at US universities in 2023 or 2024 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 underrepresented minorities, 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 Attend

  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. Gain insight into what academic success will look like post-pandemic.
  3. Participate in panel discussions.
    • Why choose an academic career?
    • How to apply & interview?
    • How to negotiate salary and start-up packages?
    • How to get early career research funding?
  4. Meet program managers from the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Institutes of Health and others; receive advice on your proposals; and 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 presented by recognized experts in faculty development.
  6. For non-Purdue Fellows, we are reimbursing up to $800.00 per Economy flight and transportation (cab fare, shuttle, mileage, and/or parking to/from Purdue). For all Fellows, all lodging and meals will be provided during the workshop, July 24-27, as will per diem for travel days of July 24 (with a 4:00 PM (EDT) expected arrival time) & July 27 (with an 11:00 AM (EDT) departure time). Additional details will be provided.

Key Dates

  • February 27, 2023: TBE Application cycle opens
  • May 24, 2023: Applications, including cover letters, CVs, research, education statements are due. Applicants must 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.
  • June 30, 2023: TBE Fellows announced
  • Monday, July 24 - Thursday, July 27, 2023: Trailblazers in Engineering Workshop


  • TBE 2023 will be held in person on Purdue's beautiful West Lafayette, IN campus July 24 - 27, 2023.


Required application materials include the following items:

  • Cover letter should summarize why applicants are interested in the program and how it would benefit them; should also indicate their experiences, activities, and/or goals to promote, as a future engineering faculty, a climate that values diversity and inclusion through research, teaching, and/or engagement
  • Research and education plan as a future faculty trailblazer in engineering (maximum 2 pages)
  • Curriculum Vitae including list of publications
  • Applicants must 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.

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 5/24/2023 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 Marsha Freeland, mjfreeland@purdue.edu.

Keynote Speakers

Cato T. Laurencin

Cato T. Laurencin

University Professor

Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Professor of Biomedical EngineeringCenter for Resilient Materials and Systems

Director, The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences

Chief Executive Officer, The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering

The University of Connecticut

Wednesday, July 26, 2023 at 8:30-9:30 AM

Cecilia R. Aragon

Cecilia R. Aragon

Professor, Director, Human-Centered Data Science Lab, Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle

Wednesday, July 26, 2023 at 10:15-11:15 AM

Two years later: 94 TBE fellows total (34 black, 2 Native American, 46 Latinx) have participated in the program and are changing the landscape of engineering academia. Already 6 Black and 11 Latinx hold faculty positions, 15 Black, 1 Native American, and 11 Latinx are postdoctoral fellows at prestigious institutions, 12 are in industry, and 28 are finishing their PhDs.

Fellow comments: This is the best workshop I have ever been at or participated in because of how well-organized it was, how deep in content, and how deep in important things we need to know as grad students. | I wasn't planning to apply... My mentor motivated me... Looking Back, it was the best decision I ever made! | I have learned much from this event, but the contacts built through the speakers will help ensure my future success as a faculty member.

Participating National Agencies & Sponsors

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