2023 Purdue Engagement Awards winners

The Purdue Engagement Awards recognize engaged scholars who raise the profile of Purdue University with exemplary engaged scholarship, elevating Purdue’s societal impact to national and international renown.

On April 25, 2023, the Purdue Office of Engagement hosted the annual engagement awards luncheon, recognizing engaged scholars who raise the profile of Purdue University through engaged scholarship, elevating Purdue’s societal impact to national and international renown.

CICP Faculty Commercialization Award

An annual award given to tenure-track faculty, clinical/professional faculty and researchers who have contributed to the commercialization of Purdue generated or owned technologies.

Xiulin Ruan | Professor, College of Engineering

Funded by the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), this award is an official acknowledgement of the importance of technology commercialization by Purdue faculty and its relevance for preeminence in the discovery, learning, and engagement priorities of the university. Ruan is recognized for the development of the world’s whitest white paint, an innovation that has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records, among many others. Typical commercial white paint gets warmer rather than cooler when subjected to sunlight or other light sources, and paints currently on the market to reject heat reflect 80% to 90% of sunlight and can’t make surfaces cooler than their surroundings. In comparison, the world’s whitest paint reflects 98.1% of solar heat away from its surface. The paint, which continues to be refined, could radiate heat away from cars, trains, airplanes and even spacecraft. Purdue researchers look forward to what the paint could accomplish – reducing the need for air conditioning, reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and radiating the heat into deep space, which directly cools down our planet.

Christian J. Foster Award

Awarded to a faculty member who has contributed to K-12 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in Indiana.

Betsy Parkinson | Professor, Purdue College of Science

Parkinson is recognized for her work serving K-12 students through hands-on STEM learning experiences. In collaboration with Purdue Science K-12 Outreach, Parkinson and her team have created a virtual lab, From Microbes to Medicines, for high school science teachers, using materials commonly found in most high schools. Parkinson scaled the lab to be accessible for younger, elementary audiences at Imagination Station in Lafayette, Terre Haute Children’s Museum and the Boys and Girls Club (Keenan Stahl location) in Indianapolis. Parkinson ships lab kits of materials for From Microbes to Medicines to schools across the country, expanding Purdue’s impact on STEM education nationwide.

Faculty Engagement Fellow Award

Awarded to a full professor whose work has led to a strong record in the Scholarship of Engagement.

Paul Ebner | Professor, Department of Animal Sciences

Ebner, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, has created highly integrated programs across the three land-grant missions, contributing to the scholarship of discovery, learning, and engagement. His outreach programming includes impactful partnerships with universities, governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as private businesses domestically and abroad. Ebner’s recent work in Columbia involved efforts to improve production and consumption of nutrient-rich foods. The team’s research integrates microbiology, behavior and gender theory, and communities in an effort to identify and introduce practices that are effective and adoptable by producers and vendors in Cambodia’s informal vegetable markets. Ebner is conducting a five-year project which aims to improve sanitary measures in Dominican Republic food production, and, in doing so, improve both trade capacity in the Dominican Republic and the safety of domestically consumed foods. Ebner’s international work to improve the world’s food supply has included partnerships in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Romania, and Egypt.

Karen J. Foli | Professor, School of Nursing

Over the past 20 years, Foli has impacted the lives of nontraditional families (i.e., adoptive, kinship, and foster families) by filling the gaps in practicing nurses’ and adoption community members’ understanding of the challenges the families face. She has curated scholarships and partnered with adoption organizations so that professionals can provide trauma-informed, adoption-competent services to adoptive, kinship, and foster families, and particularly in the area of parental post-adoption depression. Dr. Foli’s book, Nursing Care of Adoption and Kinship Families: A Clinical Guide for Advanced Practice Nurses (2017) was the first and only book specifically for nurses in caring for this group of families. Foli has created a substantial portfolio of scholarship and engagement activity.

Faculty Engagement Scholar Award

Awarded to an assistant or associate professor with an outstanding record of early achievement in, and strong indication of future contribution to, the Scholarship of Engagement.

Dieudonné Baributsa | Associate Professor, Department of Entomology

Baributsa leads an international extension and engagement program delivering innovative postharvest solutions to smallholder farmers around the world. His program aims to serve 500 million smallholder farmers. The programs promote pest management innovations to reduce grain handling and storage losses. Farmers lose substantial quantities of grain to insect pests due to ineffective storage methods and limited access to extension services. Baributsa has been instrumental in scaling a cost-effective hermetic technology – the Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bag – that eliminates storage pests without the use of insecticides and mitigates development of carcinogenic aflatoxins. PICS bags allow rural communities to improve household food security and increase their income. As a result, an estimated 10 million farmers in 70,000 villages representing 20 million households have been impacted, with benefits reaching 75 to 100 million people.

Wanju Huang | Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Education

Huang is an action research practitioner, who utilizes the spiral model – plan, apply, observe, and reflect – to evaluate and improve instruction. Since Spring 2020, Huang has led the analysis of data related to student use of the (Comprehensive Assessment of Team Member Effectiveness) CATME-based self-and-peer-assessment tool in order to identify learning gaps and develop instructional interventions that enhance students’ professional skill development, team performance, and better prepare them for working in industry. During the pandemic, she was recruited by the University of Louisville School of Nursing to consult with faculty members and assist in redesigning courses for online learning.

Staff Engagement Award

Awarded to a staff member who has collaborated in sustained synergistic partnerships within his or her community; embodies the scholarship of engagement, not only to strengthen Purdue University, but also community partners; and continually gives back, through community service, in order to improve the lives of others.

David Sederberg | Outreach Coordinator, Purdue Department of Physics and Astronomy

Sederberg has led the STEM outreach efforts of the Purdue Department of Physics and Astronomy for more than a decade. His mission is to create and enhance science enrichment opportunities for K-12 students and their teachers in central Indiana and beyond. Sederberg forges partnerships with local and remote K-12 schools and provides students and teachers with science curriculum and activities, educational materials and a supportive network to excel STEM teaching and learning. He has also initiated programs like Science on the Road, Sidewalk Science, NanoDays, Saturday Morning Astrophysics at Purdue (SMAP), Physics Inside Out (PIO), summer workshops for middle and high school teachers, and the Science Express loan program for high school STEM teachers – programs that have reached thousands of students and teachers.

Corps of Engagement Award

Awarded to a team of faculty, staff, students, and/or community stakeholders for outstanding partnership and achievement in the scholarship of engagement.

Rena Sterrett, Jake Newton, Andrea Wellnitz, Heather Eicher-Miller, Kathy Broniarczyk, Dave Topp, Doug Sneddon, Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth| Purdue Military Family Research Institute Partners

Reaching Rural Veterans (RRV) is a collaboration between the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University and faith-based food pantries in rural communities. The program brings communities together to provide resources and services that address the needs of military and veteran families, including connecting veterans with healthcare, education, employment, and financial services organizations. The RRV program is collaborative, utilizing partnerships at the local, state and national levels. RRV is engaged in multiple  states, expanding the collaboration’s impact on veterans and their families.

Special Engagement Award

Honoring excellence in achieving recognition for the university.

Carly Evich | Graduate Teaching Assistant, Office of Engagement

Evich is recognized for service-learning advocacy. Evich was instrumental in the creation of Purdue’s first strategic plan for service-learning in 2019. Since then, Evich has led the development of Brightspace support modules for instructors, collaboratively redesigned the service-learning fellows program and community partner toolkit, and mentored multiple undergraduate teams as they developed infrastructure for the Office of Engagement. Evich is commended for her commitment to the organization, the high quality of her work, and her impact on service-learning at Purdue.

JoAnn Miller Exemplary Community Partner Award

An annual award to recognize a local nonprofit, school, or governmental unit that contributes to the educational growth of Purdue students through volunteer and service-learning opportunities.

Indiana Medical History Museum

This year’s recipient, the Indiana Medical History Museum, is located on the grounds of the former Central State Hospital. Through a service-learning collaboration with Purdue, the museum provided students a “living laboratory” in which to apply concepts learned in the classroom to a real-world situation, under faculty guidance. The students conducted air monitoring, surface wipe sampling, and x-ray fluorescence to identify hazardous conditions in the museum. The Purdue students also met with museum studies students from IUPUI to teach them about health and safety. As part of a graduate-level safety management course, Purdue students were given the opportunity to conduct a live safety training session at the museum.

Read more about this year’s winner.

Jefferson Awards

An annual award sponsored by Multiplying Good to recognize and celebrate outstanding public service by individual Purdue employees.

Susie Crowe | Global Health and Health Equity Fellow, College of Pharmacy

Mary Gardner | Senior Program Coordinator, Purdue Office of Engagement

*Karen Hudmon | Professor, College of Pharmacy

Tong Jin Kim | Professor, College of Liberal Arts

Kathryn Siegfried-Spellar | Associate Professor, Polytechnic Institute

Combined with the efforts of community partners, this year’s award winners have made lasting impacts on their communities, domestically and abroad. Their collaborations have influenced foreign policy, produced curriculum for future healthcare providers, provided accessible health services in under-resourced communities, combatted internet crimes against children, and brought life-long learning opportunities to our community. Learn more about each of this year’s winners, who were recognized in the fall.

*Karen Hudmon has been selected by Multiplying Good to compete for national recognition later this year.

Source: Office of Engagement Intern Emily Bergman