Purdue College of Agriculture names top students for 2012-13

April 16, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University's College of Agriculture has honored its top students for the 2012-13 academic year. They are:

Gabriel Rangel of Indianapolis, Outstanding Senior. Rangel is majoring in biochemistry and has maintained a 4.0 GPA. He is a College of Agriculture Dean's Scholar and was the first student to be named the college's outstanding student each of his four years at Purdue. Rangel has worked on cancer and malaria research projects in laboratories at Purdue, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the University of Maryland. This past summer, Rangel participated in the summer program in biological sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health, where he helped develop an imaging protocol for characterizing morphological changes that occur during maturation of the malaria parasite. Rangel received the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study. He was named a Sen. Richard G. Lugar Scholar, Lilly Endowment Community Scholar and National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar.

Erin Whittaker of West Lafayette, Outstanding Junior. Whittaker is majoring in quantitative agricultural economics and French and is in the Dean's Scholars program. She is involved in the Department of Agricultural Economics Undergraduate Research Program, where she completed a thesis, titled "Grain Market Analysis and Pricing." Whittaker participates in the College of Agriculture Leadership Certificate program, represented the College of Agriculture at the 2011 Ag Future of America Leadership Conference in Kansas City and serves as a Purdue Ag Ambassador, Agriculture Council secretary, director of programming for Purdue student government and treasurer for the Return to Agriculture organization. Whittaker interned in Washington, D.C., where she researched and wrote key parts of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 for U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts. She will intern with Archer Daniels Midland this summer as a commodity merchandiser.

Emily Erickson of Clark's Hill, Ind., Outstanding Sophomore. Erickson is majoring in biochemistry and is in the Dean's Scholars program. She has worked with Michael Zanis of Purdue's Department of Botany and Plant Pathology studying adaptive evolution of grasses, and in Karen Plaut's mammary biology lab. This summer, Erickson will intern at the National Institutes of Health in the mammary stem cell biology section, where researchers are developing biological models to investigate breast cancer. Erickson is a member of the Purdue Philharmonic Orchestra and recently was named principal viola player. She is a member of the American Dairy Goat Association and 4-H and started the Purdue Goat Club. She received the Purdue College of Agriculture Award of Excellence, Edwin T. Mertz Scholarship in Biochemistry and Leath Scholarship. Erickson's Junior Oberhasli was reserve grand champion at the 2011 North American International Livestock Exposition.

Sarah Cox of Chillicothe, Ohio, Outstanding Freshman. Cox is majoring in pre-agricultural and biological engineering and pharmaceutical sciences and is a Dean's Scholar. She is active in the Navy ROTC program and is a member of Dingy armed drill team. Cox participates in Purdue's Global Engineering Program as a member of the Ecuador Pharmaceutical Transport Team, which is designing carrying cases for laptops that Timmy Global Health will use for keeping medical records in the Amazon. In 2012, she was a World Food Prize Wallace-Carver USDA intern in Poplarville, Miss., where she investigated the use of natural plant-derived oil mixtures to combat Crown Rot in strawberries. Cox will work this summer as an environmental intern for General Mills in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She was awarded the Purdue University Presidential and Purdue University Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarships. 

Writer: Steve Leer, 765-494-8415, sleer@purdue.edu 

Source: Tim Kerr, Purdue Agriculture Academic Programs, 765-494-8470, kerrtp@purdue.edu

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Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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