Appointments, honors and activities


Faculty and staff honors:

- Jamillah R. Gabriel, Black Cultural Center librarian, has been accepted to the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship scheduled to take place in July at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. After scholars submit a research proposal, the institute provides training in research design and statistical methods, followed by a year of ongoing mentoring and support while participants conduct research and prepare results for dissemination. Gabriel is currently pursuing a master of arts in museum studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

- John Larson, professor of history, has been named a fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University during the 2015-16 academic year. Larson, whose research focuses on business, political and environmental American history, will conduct research and participate in a workshop on "The History of American Capitalism" during the fellowship.  Larson also is director of graduate education in the Department of History.


- WBAA, public radio from Purdue University, has won a 2015 Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association. The winning entry, "Purdue Block Party," was written and produced by Kristin Malavenda. It aired on Nov. 18, 2014. You can listen to the story here. WBAA's entries were judged against stories produced by radio stations in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. WBAA and other regional award winners will compete for national recognition at RTDNA's annual awards banquet Oct. 12 in New York City. WBAA operates AM 920 and 101.3 FM, covering Greater Lafayette.

Alumni honors:

- Alumna Joanne Barrick received the 2015 Pharmacy Women's Leadership Award during the Pharmacy Women for Purdue spring conference on April 17. Barrick is an adviser in the Global Validation Support group within Technical Services/Manufacturing Science at Eli Lilly and Co. in Indianapolis. PWFP presents the Pharmacy Women's Leadership Award annually to recognize an alumna of Purdue's College of Pharmacy who has made significant contributions to and demonstrated exemplary involvement with the college. The recipient must demonstrate significant and sustained volunteer leadership through service to the professional community as well as demonstrate engagement in the mentorship of colleagues and students. 

- Alumnus Jón Atli Benediktsson has been elected rector of the University of Iceland. Benediktsson earned both his master's degree (1987) and his doctorate (1990) in electrical engineering from Purdue. He is currently pro rector of science and academic affairs and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Iceland. The rector serves essentially the same role as a university president. The University of Iceland was established in 1911, with an enrollment of 45 students. In the 2013-14 academic year, the latest for which statistics are available, there were about 14,000 students enrolled. The university has five academic schools: education, engineering and natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences.

- The Lyles School of Civil Engineering has named six recipients of its Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Award for 2015. Honorees are chosen for excellence in achievement and contributions to the civil engineering profession.

The honorees are:

* Kevin J. Fitzpatrick, who received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Purdue in 1985. He is executive vice president of Alfred Benesch & Co, Naperville, Illinois.

* Gerald V. Lyles, who received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1964 and a master’s degree in industrial administration in 1971. He is senior voice president of Lyles Diversified Inc. and president of Lyles United LLC, Fresno, California.

* Donald F. Meinheit, who received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1966. He is a principal at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. and a consultant with DFMSE Consulting, Chicago.

* Jalal A. Nafakh, who received a bachelor's degree in 1983, master's in 1984 and doctorate in 1987, all in civil engineering. He is chief transportation planner for Arriyadh Development Authority in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

* Milo E. Riverso, who received a master's degree in 1982 and a doctorate in 1984, both in civil engineering. He is CEO and president of STV Group Inc., New York City.

* Robert N. Schrock, who received a bachelor's degree in 1976 and a master’s in 1977, both in civil engineering. He is chief executive officer of DJ Construction Company Inc., Goshen, Indiana.

More information on the awards and the honorees is available at

Student honors:

- A student team from Purdue University won first- and second-place prizes in the "innovation and design" and "workmanship" categories, respectively, during the 2015 Parker Hannifin Chainless Challenge earlier this month in Irvine, California. The goal of the annual competition is to design and build a "human assisted green powered vehicle" that improves on the basic chain-driven bicycle platform. The Purdue students competed against eight other teams from across the nation, creating innovative bicycle designs that incorporate hydraulics and other technologies. Their work is based at Purdue's Maha Fluid Power Research Center. The team members were undergraduates Michael Croy, Jefferson Pike, Alanie Hooton and Changao Cai. They worked under the supervision of Andrea Vacca, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering and of mechanical engineering, who was the project adviser. Providing support was visiting scholar Riccardo Bianchi. Maha Lab Manager Anthony Franklin coordinated the vehicle construction and assembling processes.

- A team of Krannert School of Management undergraduate students took top honors in the first Kraft Data Diver Challenge. Twenty teams of students were given 23 hours to solve a problem by digging into Kraft Foods Group's database of customer intelligence. The teams then presented their findings to a panel of judges. The Krannert team won the $5,000 first-place prize. The students are Rachel Crouch, Isa Watanabe, Kristen Spina, Lukia Chen and Michelle Wang.

- Oswin Chackochan, a sophomore from South Bend, Indiana, was one of three college students who participated Thursday (April 23) in the 2015 Feeding the Planet Summit, part of George Washington University's Planet Forward initiative. The students, who are part of the Land O'Lakes Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders for Food Security fellowship program, discussed their work on food security issues with Chris Policinski, Land O'Lakes CEO. Chakochan is studying management and marketing in the Krannert School of Management. Other Purdue representatives involved in the Feeding the Planet initiative are sophomores Jacquelyn Brown, a sophomore in the College of Agriculture; Linnea Cline, a sophomore in Krannert; Jessica Miller, a freshman in Krannert; Mike Gunderson, who is studying agricultural economics; Melissa Evens, a student in Krannert; and John Lumkes, associate professor of agricultural and biological sciences.


- The Purdue Center for Professional Selling in the Department of Consumer Science has been named a top university program for 2015 by the Sales Education Foundation. Schools are chosen based on criteria including a graduate program, specialty area, competition participation, internships, faculty size and percentage of graduates placed in jobs. More information is available at

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