Purdue showcases five students who are inventors
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - In keeping with Purdue's strategic goals of launching tomorrow's leaders and discovery with delivery, a special Web site is featuring five Purdue students who are inventors.
These students have used their imaginations and materials from the world around them -- from pieces of fabric to soybeans -- to make an impact, by creating everything from life-saving medicines to designer apparel.
Purdue Marketing and Media created the site, which includes photos and biographical information about the students. The Web page can be accessed at http://www.purdue.edu/fivestudents/
Students featured include:
* Rush Lloyd Bartlett, a doctoral candidate in biomedical engineering, wants to have his first patent as well as start a successful company before he graduates.
Bartlett, along with a team of Purdue students, has already developed a medicine that would enable diabetics to raise their glucose levels faster during an emergency than they can with current treatments.
"What we have developed, working with Rose-Hulman Ventures Program, a rapid prototyping company, is a Chap Stick-sized container where you simply remove the cap, compress at the site of injection and it does the rest," Bartlett said. "It mixes the powder with a liquid, injects the liquid and retracts the needle so you never see it. It has a long shelf life, and the ease of use means it's more likely to be successfully used."
Bartlett, who lists Austin, Texas; Casper, Wyo.; and Tulsa, Okla., as his hometowns, said he always wanted to be an inventor and has kept an "idea book" since he was in elementary school.
Bartlett's future plans also include entering a postdoctoral program or pursuing a professorship.
* Danielle Carpenter from Plainfield, Ind., is a senior majoring in agricultural and biological engineering and pharmaceutical sciences.
Carpenter and her three peers won the 2010 Soybean Innovation Competition in March for inventing SOYATABS, a process and product which creates tablets out of soy in a more energy-efficient and less expensive process. In addition to the $20,000 prize, the team won the ear of large companies who might be interested in commercializing the product.
Tablets currently are mostly made in a five-stage process that includes wet granulation and drying. Carpenter's SOYATABS creates tablets out of soy in four steps because roller compaction replaces the wet granulation and drying stages. Consequently, the process saves energy. In addition, soy is cheaper and more bio-friendly than what is currently in use.
"There are four members on our team, and we wanted to do something that would involve both engineering and pharmaceuticals," Carpenter said. "We're really excited about the possibilities from here."
* Samantha Holappa of Lake Zurich, Ill., is a senior majoring in apparel design and technology. Eight of her creations will appear in the Purdue Fashion Association's spring show.
Holappa, who draws her inspiration from the world around her, had her senior collection planned since her freshmen year.
"I always knew it was going to be inspired by the 1970s," she said. "I love how colorful and bright it is. Black is so overdone."
In the future, Holappa wants to open a boutique featuring her designs. She also wants to try out for the TV show "Project Runway."
"I'd like to be on one of those shows," she said. "I hope it sticks around for two more seasons. I think I could handle it."
* Sydney Minnis, who's a senior majoring in industrial design, has already won awards for her work while at Purdue. Her latest design -- an artificial leg that allows above-the-knee amputees to rock climb -- could help veterans and accident victims lead more active lives.
"I like industrial design because you can apply art to real-life things," said Minnis, who's from Indianapolis. "The ultimate goal for me is to see a product I designed helping people."
After graduation, she plans to pursue industrial design in the corporate world.
* Matt Wolf of Newburgh, Ind., is majoring in biological and food process engineering. He will start working for Kraft Foods once he graduates in May.
Wolf's team won the 2008 Sara Lee Innovation Award competition, which challenges students to create new food products. Wolf helped develop a healthy whole-wheat, high-fiber, low-fat biscotti that can be swirled in any hot liquid to add sweetener, flavor and creamer to the beverage.
"I've always seen shows on TV on how food was made, so when I saw that there was a major in it as part of freshman engineering, I went and talked to the department and have never really looked back," he said.
Writer: Soumitro Sen, 765-496-9711, firstname.lastname@example.org