Section 2018 Distinguished Engineering Alumni/Alumnae
The Distinguished Engineering Alumni/Alumnae Award is presented to men and women who have distinguished themselves in any field in ways that reflect favorably on Purdue University, the engineering profession or society in general. The distinction of DEA has been bestowed upon 540 outstanding individuals.
Amy Hess’ career aspirations, even as a young girl growing up in Jeffersonville, Indiana, had been “to be an astronaut or an FBI agent.” The inspiration for the latter grew stronger when she toured FBI headquarters on a trip with her parents when she was 11 years old.
Kimberly Underhill was initially reluctant to follow the path that eventually led her to a diverse international career in business and management. She was a chemical engineer who wanted to focus on research. But she had an opportunity to work in marketing. And after a year of testing the waters in business, she never looked back.
During the 1980s, Carlos Odio was keenly aware that coffee production yielded economic, social and political stability in his home country of Costa Rica. But there was one issue he wanted to address: How can lower-altitude places that can’t grow coffee still flourish? The answer from this Purdue-educated industrial engineer: Grow citrus.
As president of Virgin Galactic, a company devising technologies to send tourists and researchers into space, Michael Moses employs the critical-thinking skills he learned at Purdue and refined during a 16-year career at NASA. “Purdue taught me how to solve problems that didn’t have answers in the back of the book,” he says.
Paul McEnroe had a desire to make a difference in the world, and through his graduate studies in electrical engineering at Purdue, he was equipped with the skills necessary to have that impact.
“I came to realize that as an engineer I may have the opportunity of applying technology to make a contribution to society,” McEnroe says. Make a difference he did.
Thomas Beutner believes a good education is the best preparation for life. “Some of the ideas I became interested in at Purdue later became career opportunities,” he says. As a co-op student, he had the opportunity to work on advanced design efforts in industry while still an undergrad. “Nothing could have been more compelling.”
When Christine Barman came to Purdue, she thought her mechanical engineering degree would set her on the path to medical school. But summer internships in the automotive industry changed that path. After a career with several executive positions in the Chrysler family of companies, she is now principal at New Shore LLC.