Engagement Awards

The Office of Engagement presents several awards to recognize excellence and promote the scholarship of engagement, specifically:

  • reward outstanding accomplishments that exemplify the highest levels of excellence in the scholarship of engagement
  • reinforce the core characteristics of the scholarship of engagement
  • promote engagement as a powerful vehicle for fostering impactful

Faculty Engagement Fellow Award

Awarded to a full professor whose work has led to a strong record in the scholarship of engagement.


Allan Gray, professor of agricultural economics

Gray serves as director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business and the MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management. He works on developing and delivering educational materials to help managers of agribusiness firms develop a strategic focus for managing their businesses, ultimately contributing to a food supply chain that provides safe and abundant food, feed and fiber that is affordable for all.


Yuehwern Yih, professor of industrial engineering

Yih has worked with Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) to develop a system for distributing food to HIV patients in Kenya. Yih and some of her graduate students developed the Nutritional Information System (NIS), the first of its kind, in 2006. NIS has delivery scheduling and inventory tracking capabilities. It also tracks patient food prescriptions and connects the information with medical records so physicians and researchers can study the impact of nutrition on patient health. And it can tell donors the health outcomes and improvements resulting from their gifts. NIS provides support to more than 35,000 people. Although it was developed specifically for AMPATH, the system can be applied in other programs with similar missions.

Faculty Engagement Scholarship Award

Awarded to an assistant or associate professor with an outstanding record of early achievement in, and strong indication of future contribution to, the scholarship of engagement.


Nicole Olynk Widmar, associate professor of agricultural economics

Widmar's research and Purdue Extension activities are focused primarily on farm business management and production economics. She provides support to farmers as they make business decisions in an ever-changing market environment and contend with factors like environmental concerns and public perceptions of agricultural practices


James Elicker, associate professor in human development and family studies

Luciana de Oliveira, associate professor of curriculum and instruction

Elicker has worked to enhance the quality of early childhood education at Purdue and throughout the state, including through his multi-year evaluation of Paths to Quality, which establishes a metric that enables parents to assess the quality of programs as they enroll their children. He was instrumental in formulating Indiana’s early learning standards, the Foundations to Indiana Academic Standards for Children Birth to Five, and he founded and co-directed the Infant-Toddler Specialists of Indiana, a statewide professional development network for persons working with children under age 3.

De Oliveira focuses on issues relating to English language learners (ELL), especially in preparing teachers. She has worked with a number of communities and partners in developing ELL programs. One of the most notable is her work with the Frankfort, Ind., school system. From 2007 to 2009 she served as a professional development specialist for the Frankfort schools, which have 60 percent ELL students, fourth highest in the state. Before her arrival, less than 10 percent of the district's teachers had received services focused on ELL. While she was there, more than 60 percent did. She also worked with the Wabash Valley Education Center to provide professional development for in-service teachers across the state.

Corps of Engagement Award

Awarded to a team of faculty, staff, students, and/or community stakeholders for outstanding partnership and achievement in the scholarship of engagement.


Darcy Bullock, professor of civil engineering and JTRP director
Deborah Horton, JTRP managing director
Teresa Morris, JTRP communication specialist
Christopher Day, JTRP senior research scientist
Howell Li, JTRP senior software engineer
Alexander Hainen, graduate student
Stephen Remias, graduate student
Michelle Mekker, graduate student
Steven Lavrenz, graduate student

Bullock and his Joint Transportation Research Program (JTRP) team were recognized for developing performance measures for improving traffic performance based on real-time data they collected, as well as creating annual reports on travel characteristics using crowd-source data from mobile phones and vehicle telematics. Their nomination also cited their work on the Indianapolis South-Split project, Purdue football traffic management, and the help they provided the State of Indiana in recovering a greater portion of the cost of damage to state property during auto accidents. James Sturdevant, director of traffic management for the Indiana Department of Transportation, was among those providing letters of support.


Sonak Pastakia, associate professor of pharmacy practice

Ellen Schellhase, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice

Monica Miller, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice

Rakhi Karwa, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice

In 2003 the Purdue University College of Pharmacy formed the Purdue Kenya Program (PKP) with the goal of developing sustainable pharmacy infrastructure and services, and providing and expanding sustainable access to high-quality health care. PKP worked with AMPATH, Moi University School of Medicine, and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital to implement an all-encompassing program in clinical services, teaching, pharmacy management and research. The program also has assisted the rapidly growing population of street children in Eldoret, Kenya. Through these partnerships with local Kenyan pharmacists, PKP creates clinical pharmacy infrastructure to provide inpatient care, pharmacy-based antiretroviral medication management, contextualized diabetes care, anticoagulation monitoring services and a research program to investigate the understudied characteristics of patients in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, PKP directs one of the only experiential training programs in clinical pharmacy in sub-Saharan Africa, developing future leaders of global health pharmacy. PKP has helped usher in a much-needed shift in the practice of pharmacy in Kenya by developing opportunities for pharmacists to engage in a patient-focused practice rather than the traditional product-focused practice. PKP’s investment in developing both the physical infrastructure and health care workforce has improved outcomes for thousands of patients. Those numbers will continue to grow as these pharmacists expand their models throughout Kenya and other developing countries.

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