Alumni Connection

Our Purdue University alumni have laid the foundation of academic excellence, rich cultural work, generous giving, as well as continuous activism and advocacy for diversity, equity, and inclusion. We enjoy the opportunity in welcoming some of you back in different ways: campus visit, virtual interviews, career highlights, guest speakers, and others. We love hearing from you, so please consider sending us an email to aaarcc@purdue.edu or call us at 765-496-0488 to let us know how you are doing!

Table of Contents

Dr. June Chen
Tina Chen
Iksan Lewono
Victoria Loong, MPP, MA
Mr. Santo Purnama
Kenneth Tan
Dr. Reini Wirahadikusumah

 

Interviews

Iksan Lewono - August 19, 2020

A link to his interview can be found here.

 

 

Dr. June Chen - May 15, 2020

Transcript - Dr. Chen

Kenneth Tan - May 8, 2020

Kenneth Tan Transcript

Tina Chen - May 7, 2020

Click here for interview with Tina Chen

Purdue AAARCC had the pleasure of interviewing Tina Chen, a Purdue alum who is currently working as a Technical Program Manager at Facebook AR/VR. Our interview consists of her sharing part of her life story and how she came to Purdue, her career and the value she is holding on to in bringing people together, and encouragement in navigating career development during this COVID-19 crisis.

 

Mr. Santo Purnama - April 23, 2020

 

Transcript of Interview

Last week we had the opportunity to get to know our Purdue alumni, Mr. Santo Purnama. Santo graduated with his Bachelor’s degree from Purdue’s Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1995. He is a Co-founder of Sensing Self, a company that has contributed in producing a rapid testing pre-screening kit for early detection of COVID-19. In the interview, Santo generously shares this rapid test kit and his company value. Santo also shares with us his professional entrepreneurship journey, and sends his greetings to current and future students in this time of pandemic.

Here are a few words from him:

“If I had to say some advice to entrepreneurs, I would say just to continue to focus on what you're trying to do. Success is not definitely measured by the likes of YouTube or Google… [To current students of Purdue University], I feel like these are maybe really good times to assess what your goal is and plan things out and start to pursue it. When the economy opens up, when our labs are back to normal, you can hit the ground running. These next few weeks are a very good time to do that.”

We hope that this interview gives you encouragement about the academic, extracurricular, and social activities that you have been pursuing. We at Purdue AAARCC wish you and your loved ones good health today.

You can read news about Santo Purnama here

 

Victoria Loong, MPP, MA.

Sunset  First AAARCC

Victoria is currently a Program Coordinator, Environmental Fellows Program at the School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan.

In an email exchange with Purdue AAARCC, Victoria describes her life in a particular day amidst the COVID-19 quarantine time. She stated, "In my current home in Michigan, the shelter-in-place order was a difficult transition. Then, one morning, we saw this beautiful sunrise and I found solace in its beauty. (Photo 1) Weekday mornings were always such a rush that I never took notices of the sunrise, but that morning, everything was bathed in this purple-orange glow. Suddenly, the stillness in the empty streets below didn't feel quite so eerie anymore - just calm. My daily life is now defined by finding new perspective, even in fleeting moments like that morning." 
Reminiscing about one of her favorite memories at Purdue University, she sent us such a powerful photo that you can see in image 2. Victoria tells the story behind that image that, "This is the first photo I took on the day the AAARCC officially opened. Being able to walk in and sit at my desk after years of pushing with my friends and colleagues to open this center was an honor I'll never forget. It was such a surreal moment for me and I wish I'd gotten a better picture. But this has, and always will, mean so much to me." Victoria closes our exchanges with a message of encouragement to our Purdue community amidst this pandemic. "These are challenging times. But it is when we are challenged that gives us the opportunity to lift up the best of who we are and what we can be. Let us remember, through all of this, that solidarity gives and solidarity receives. So find strength in our community and lend help to the communities around you. Together, we are stronger"

Victoria Loong, Purdue Alumna and Founding Director of the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center

 

Dr. Reini Wirahadikusumah

R1.png  R2.png

Pictured above is Dr. Reini Wirahadikusumah and her family at the Purdue University sign (do you still remember the sign). It was 1998, and Dr. Wirahadikusumah was one of Purdue University’s international students. She was a Ph.D. student in Civil Engineering, advised by Dr. Dulcy Abraham. Dr. Wirahadikusumah started at Purdue in 1996 as a Master of Science student in Civil Engineering (MSCE), at the Construction Engineering and Management Program. Dr. Wirahadikusumah earned her Ph.D. in 1999 and completed a dissertation titled “Optimization modeling for management of large combined sewer networks.”

Our distinguished alumna is now the President of Institut Teknologi Bandung, a renown university located in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. She was confirmed by the ITB Board of Trustees to hold the position from 2020 to 2025. The university is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year, and Dr. Wirahadikusumah is also the first woman President in the 100-year history of the university. She comments, “It is about time that ITB has a woman President- we have 40% woman students in our university. For me, there is a hope to lift up gender issues and conversations. I do not have specific working programs related to gender, but I will do the mandate as best as I can by giving examples to my communities, especially for young girls and young woman professionals.”

Her leadership model? Dr. Wirahadikusumah states that she got a lot of mentoring from the ITB family and communities. She further emphasizes that “I always tell my children, nieces/nephews, and students, to just take good things from me and do not take the bad things. I am just a human being. They should be able to judge and differentiate, which ones are good, which ones they need to follow and even increase in their future.”

Her leadership goal is that “I want to be an inspiration to the young generation through the examples of actions, with my strengths and weaknesses.”

The vision for ITB is “In Harmonia Progessio - Becoming a Globally Respected and Locally Relevant University.”

Walking down the memory lane, Dr. Wirahadikusumah told us that she was actively involved in the Indonesian Student Association when she was at Purdue, helping with event catering/food and also Islamic prayer recitation events [Indonesian: pengajian].

She attended different meetings of the Purdue Women in Engineering Program. During her time at Purdue, she states that she lived  at the Married Student Housing (MSH). Both Dr. Wirahadikusumah and her husband, Dr. Erza Rismantojo (also a faculty member at ITB), were going to campus everyday as graduate students. We took our son to the daycare in the morning, and we picked him up late afternoon. I took turns with my husband to pick him up. My son has the fondest memories of West Lafayette. At the Married Student Housing, after school, the kids from many different parts of the world played together at the playgrounds. We were always busy taking him for a soccer practice, baseball practice, etc. Snowdays, with thick snow and cancelation of elementary school, were also really memorable.

Her words of encouragement for current Purdue students are “You are lucky that you are gaining knowledge at the best place, and interacting with the best professors and students. Please use this opportunity as best as you can so that you can contribute optimally wherever you will work later.”

For future Purdue University students, Dr. Wirahadikusumah says, “They will surely enjoy a productive time of studying at the best place, The environment and communities of West Lafayette have nice people!”

 

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