Sydney Minnis

Major: Industrial design
Hometown: Indianapolis
Future plans: Pursue industrial design in the corporate world.

Surmounting obstacles: Minnis has won awards for her designs while at Purdue. Her latest work, an artificial leg that allows above-the-knee amputees to rock climb, could help veterans and accident victims lead more active lives.

"I wanted to do something for rock climbers who are disabled," Minnis says. "I love the sport. I love that rush of climbing to the top of a huge wall and then dropping down really fast."

Artistic roots: "I had always been on the fine arts side of things, but my parents are both bankers. I have a pretty logical mindset. I like industrial design because you can apply art to real-life things."

The here and now: "Since we're an engineering university, we end up paying a lot of attention to the realistic aspect of design. We create many designs that work with technology that already exists."

A helping hand: "People who can see their jobs making a difference in everyday life are happier overall. The ultimate goal for me is to see a product I designed helping people."

By Tanya Brown