April 13, 2001
Purdue honors nine Distinguished Science Alumni
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Nine outstanding graduates of Purdue University received Distinguished Alumni Awards from Purdue University's School of Science on April 20 during an annual awards banquet.
The awards were established in 1990 to recognize graduates' contributions and achievements in science and related fields. The group was honored during a daylong series of programs and events.
"A university and its programs are ultimately evaluated by the quality of their alumni," said Harry Morrison, dean of Purdue's School of Science. "The School of Science is proud of these individuals, who, by their accomplishments, provide the most compelling evidence of Purdue's tradition of graduating outstanding scientists and mathematicians."
The 2001 recipients are:
Eileen Bedell, a partner at Accenture, formerly Andersen Consulting, in New York City.
Donald Bilderback, associate director for the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source and an adjunct faculty member of the Cornell University School of Applied and Engineering Physics in Ithaca, N.Y.
Don G. Brady, manager for technology, services and facilities at Phillips Petroleum Company in Bartlesville, Okla.
Wendy Burt, a biology teacher at Seeger Junior-Senior High School in West Lebanon, Ind.
Paul Garrett, professor of mathematics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Alan Lopez, coordinator of the Epidemiology and Burden of Disease Unit of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ward Sanford, a research hydrologist with the United States Geological Survey in Reston, Va.
John Sninsky, vice president of the Discovery Research Division at Roche Molecular Systems Inc. and vice president of Roche Genetics U.S. in Alameda, Calif.
Michael Thurk, executive vice president of Ericsson Data Backbone and Optical Networks Division in Burlington, Mass.
Biographies of the 2001 recipients:
Eileen Bedell, bachelor of science in chemistry, 1974. Bedell is a partner at Accenture, formerly Andersen Consulting, in New York City, where she is responsible for the human performance practice for banks, capital markets and insurance companies in the United States and Canada. This practice covers organizational change strategy, work force transformation, human performance and knowledge/learning management. She specializes in business and organization strategy development and implementation for wholesale institutional banking and capital markets businesses. She also has extensive experience in executive leadership, new business ventures and board of director strategy. Prior to joining Andersen in 1998, Bedell was a strategy partner at Booz Allen & Hamilton, a partner at Greenwich Associates, a managing director at Bankers Trust and an officer of Mellon Bank. In addition to her bachelor's degree in chemistry, she also received a bachelor of science in industrial management and a master of science in industrial administration from Purdue. She is a member of the School of Science Dean's Advisory Council.
Donald Bilderback, Ph.D. in physics, 1975. Bilderback is associate director for the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source and an adjunct faculty member of the Cornell University School of Applied and Engineering Physics in Ithaca, N.Y. He is an experimental X-ray physicist with interests in synchrotron radiation research and instrumentation. At CHESS, he helped construct and develop a synchrotron radiation laboratory which is used in many interdisciplinary experiments, including X-ray scattering, X-ray microdiffraction and protein crystallography. Bilderback is the chief designer of the new CHESS G-line, a $5.5 million addition that will create new experimental capabilities. He is the inventor of the real-time, back-reflection Laue camera for the rapid orientation of single crystals, and is co-inventor of the Transmission X-ray Mirror. He was the first to propose using cryogenically-cooled silicon crystals for high-power capable X-ray optics, and shared the 1998 Compton Award for this achievement. He serves as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Small Business Administration on areas of X-ray instrumentation and X-ray science. He is a co-editor of the Journal of Synchrotron Radiation and one of the editors for a book series on synchrotron radiation for World Publishing.
Don G. Brady, Ph. D. in chemistry, 1966. Brady is manager for technology, services and facilities at Phillips Petroleum Company in Bartlesville, Okla. In this position, he is responsible for all research and engineering technologies associated with refining, marketing, transportation, low sulfur fuels, gas to liquids and analytical chemistry services. He also has responsibility for all facilities and engineering projects at the Phillips Research Center. Brady joined Phillips Petroleum in 1966 as a research chemist and has served in a number of supervisory and managerial positions. He holds 38 U.S. patents, has authored approximately 37 publications and has made numerous presentations at technical, business, industry and civic meetings. Brady is a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers and the American Chemical Society, and he serves on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Composite Materials.
Wendy Burt, bachelor and master of science degrees in biology education, 1976 and 1981. Burt has taught biology at Seeger Junior-Senior High School in West Lebanon, Ind., since 1980. She has been active in developing Seeger's science curricula and has served as science chair and faculty advisor since 1985. She also has served as a Science Academic Super Bowl coach, a member of the National Honor Society evaluation committee and a student teacher supervisor. She worked to develop Seeger courses in molecular biology, human genetics, microbiology and zoology, and was instrumental in establishing an advanced placement biology class. Burt has continued her professional development by completing additional graduate work and participating in workshops and summer institutes at four different universities. She is a member of the National Association of Biology Teachers, a charter member of the Indiana Association of Biology Teachers and a member of the Hoosier Association of Science Teachers. In 1993 she was named Teacher of the Year by the Warren County Farm Bureau, and in 1999 she was recognized as Outstanding Biology Teacher in Indiana by the NABT.
Paul Garrett, bachelor and master of science degrees in mathematics, both in 1973. Garrett is a professor of mathematics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where he has been a faculty member since 1982. After receiving degrees from Purdue and a Ph.D. from Princeton, he accepted a position as J. Willard Gibbs Instructor of Mathematics at Yale. He was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley in 1979-80, and he joined the faculty at Stanford University in 1980 as an assistant professor of mathematics. Garrett's research interests include automorphic forms, representations, L-functions and number theory, and he has authored or co-authored a number of publications, both online and in professional journals. In 2000, he sponsored six students in Research Experiences for Undergraduates, and has written a proposal for an NSF grant to support such projects in the future. Garrett has prototyped online software for calculus and other courses and was the designer, implementer, chief programmer and coordinator of a CD-ROM giving examples of interactive, animated graphical software useful in teaching calculus.
Alan Lopez, master of science degree in statistics, 1974. Lopez is coordinator of the Epidemiology and Burden of Disease Unit of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. In this position, he is responsible for directing and managing WHO's epidemiology and biostatistics activities within the Global Programme on Evidence for Health Policy. Since joining WHO in 1980, Lopez has served in a number of positions, including acting manager for the Programme on Substance Abuse, preceded by two years as chief of the Prevention, Advocacy and Promotion Unit of that program. In 1992 he began work, in collaboration with Professor Christopher Murray of Harvard, on the Global Burden of Disease Study for the 1993 World Development Report. This work included preparing global and regional estimates of incidence, prevalence, mortality, duration and severity for more than 100 diseases and injuries. These estimates were projected to 2020 as the major global evidence-based data set for setting priorities in the health sector. His work has resulted in the preparation of five volumes in the Global Burden of Disease series. Lopez is a member of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population and the International Epidemiological Association. He serves on scientific review panels for a number of professional journals.
Ward Sanford, bachelor of science in earth and atmospheric sciences, 1983. Sanford is a research hydrologist with the United States Geological Survey in Reston, Va. After earning his degree from Purdue, he went on to Penn State University, where he received his Ph.D. in hydrogeology and geology in 1987. While at Penn State, he spent several summers as an intern with the USGS and joined them as a research scientist upon graduation. He attained the rank of chief scientist of the research project on reaction-transport phenomena in 1992. Sanford has received numerous awards for his work in hydrogeology, including the Geological Society of America's Donath Medal, awarded annually to honor outstanding scientists in their early careers. The National Ground Water Association presented him with the 2000 John Hem Award for Excellence in Science and Engineering. He has written several papers on ground-water transport and is co-author of a book published by the Cambridge University Press in 1998. Sanford is a member of the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, the National Ground Water Association and the International Association of Hydrogeologists.
John Sninsky, Ph. D. in biological sciences, 1976. Sninsky is vice president of the Discovery Research Division at Roche Molecular Systems Inc. and vice president of Roche Genetics U.S. in Alameda, Calif. After receiving his Ph.D. from Purdue, he did postdoctoral work at Stanford University School of Medicine. In 1984, he went to Albert Einstein College of Medicine as assistant professor. He joined Cetus Corp. in 1984, becoming senior director of its diagnostics program and moved to Roche Molecular Systems in 1991. Sninsky did pioneering work on applying the polymerase chain reaction for the detection of known viral agents such as HIV, as well as unknown, related viral agents. He was directly or indirectly responsible for the development of many advances in PCR that were crucial in making it a practical diagnostic method. Sninsky has assumed a major role in forming Roche Genetics, a joint program of Roche's pharmaceutical and diagnostics divisions. The program is designed to rapidly transform information from the Human Genome Project into novel medicines and diagnostic tests to provide individualized treatment. Among honors he has received are the Charles C. Shepard Science Award from the Center for Disease Control, the Pan American Society's Clinical Virology Award and the Hoffmann-La Roche R&D Prize.
Michael Thurk, bachelor of computer science, 1975. Thurk is executive vice president of Ericsson Data Backbone and Optical Networks Division in Burlington, Mass. He is responsible for developing and implementing the division's overall strategy and integrating this strategy into the Ericsson organization. Thurk previously was CEO of Xyplex Networks, where he led the design, manufacturing and distribution support of data communications product lines for worldwide data networking markets. He also served as senior vice president of marketing and customer service at General DataComm Inc. He held several executive positions at Digital Equipment Corp., including vice president of networks and communications engineering and vice president of telecommunications. Thurk completed the Advanced Management Program at INSEAD in Fountainbleau, France, and he received his master of business administration degree from Babson College in Massachusetts. He is a founding member and serves on the board of the Massachusetts Telecommunications Council, and he is a board member for Mariposa Technology.
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