March 2, 2018

Appointments, honors and activities

Faculty and staff honors:

- Christopher J. Lukasik, an associate professor of English and American studies, was recently chosen to join the 2018 Society of Fellows at the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies. The fellowship brings leading thinkers and fresh perspectives to the study of American illustration art between 1850 and the present. Lukasik’s research has received over 20 fellowships, he has presented over 80 papers on three continents, and his work has been published in over a dozen journals. For more information, visit

- Amy Wright, assistant director of financial affairs for the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships  Office, and Donna Brown, assistant director of financial affairs for Discovery Park, are the inaugural recipients of the Stacy L. Brown Outstanding Performance Award. The award was established last year by the EVPRP in memory of Brown, who served as the office’s director of financial affairs until her death in 2017.

- A Purdue chemical engineering research team headed by Professor Linda Wang received the silver prize in the 2018 Mobile World Congress Scholar Challenge for their project, “Waste Coal Ash Could Provide Wealth of Rare Earth Elements.” Wang, the Maxine Spencer Nichols Professor of Chemical Engineering, and graduate students Hoon Choi, David Harvey, and Yi Ding are developing new efficient and inexpensive technologies that could allow the extraction of rare earth elements, which are critical components of many electronics and green products, from waste coal ash. The award was announced during the Mobile World Congress 2018 meetings in Barcelona, Spain, held Feb. 26 through March 1. For more information, visit



- A pair of alumni from the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management recently took home a share of $75,000 in prize money at the 2018 Veteran EDGE Conference held Feb. 16-18 in Austin, Texas, sponsored by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. Mike Waldron, executive director of 23rd Veteran and a 2013 Purdue EBV graduate, won a second-place prize of $15,000 for the Best Venture Impacting Veterans in the VetSmallBiz Growth Challenge competition. The Esko, Minnesota, company provides a long-term transition process for veterans leaving the military, as well as for those who were never properly transitioned. Gary Peterson, a U.S. Air Force veteran and 2017 graduate of the Purdue EBV program, won $5,000 for the Best Social Venture. His company, One Community Auto LLC, refurbishes and sells donated cars in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to help area charities raise money for their causes. More information here:

- The Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Program with the Henry Luce Foundation recently awarded Purdue a $300,000 grant to support two incoming female graduate students, one in the College of Engineering and one in the College of Science, for two years each starting in the 2018-19 academic year. U.S. citizens applying to the Colleges will automatically be placed in a pool and considered for the Clare Boothe Luce Graduate Fellowship among other possible fellowships. Promising students intending to study any area of engineering or science (except biological, medical and health sciences) and pursue a faculty career will be eligible, with priority given to those interested in mechanical engineering or mathematics. The CBL Fellowship program at Purdue is administered by professors Patricia Davies and Klod Kokini in Engineering and professors Christie Sahley and Gregery Buzzard in Science. The colleges have just begun the candidate selection process and will consult the staff at the CBL Program before extending offers. Since its first grants in 1989 the CBL Program has become one of the single most significant sources of private support for women in science, mathematics and engineering in the U.S. Clare Boothe Luce, the widow of Henry R. Luce, was a playwright, journalist, U.S. ambassador to Italy, and the first woman elected to Congress from Connecticut. In her bequest establishing this program, she sought “to encourage women to enter, study, graduate, and teach” in science, mathematics and engineering. To date, the program has supported more than 2,300 women.


Alumni honors:

- Purdue Chemical Engineering alumnus Eleftherios (Terry) Papoutsakis (MSChE '77, PhD '80) has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for his “contributions to metabolic engineering, especially the industrial biotechnology of Clostridia, and to biomanufacturing of therapeutic proteins.” Papoutsakis is the Eugene du Pont Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware. He is one of 83 new members and 16 foreign members in the 2018 class, which will be formally inducted in a ceremony at the NAE Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30. For more information, visit

- “The Effect of Minimum Wages on Employment: A Factor Model Approach” by Evan Totty, a 2016 PhD graduate in economics, was selected by Economic Inquiry as its best paper of 2017. Totty currently works as an economist in the United States Census Bureau’s Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division.


Student honors:

- At the Annual Meeting of the Indiana Association of Historians, graduate student Molly Mersmann won the inaugural Walter Nugent Graduate Student Paper Award. Molly's paper is titled "Foreign Aid to the Rescue: Global Interests in Rebuilding the Post-Civil War South." Walter Nugent was a longtime distinguished member of the departments of history at Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame. 

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