The Purdue University Trailblazer Award

The Purdue University Trailblazer Award is an annual award for mid-career faculty in the College of Education, College of Liberal Arts, College of Health and Human Sciences, and the Purdue University Libraries whose recent research, scholarship or creative work has made a significant impact in the disciplines of humanities, social sciences, and information sciences. The nominee’s work should be pioneering and innovative.

The Award

The Purdue University Trailblazer Award consists of a monetary prize of $2,000, and the award is bestowed at the annual Faculty Awards Convocation in the spring.

Who is Eligible

  • Eligibility includes all tenured associate professors on the West Lafayette campus with a maximum of ten years in rank, who focus on humanities, social science, and/or information sciences in their work, from the College of Education, College of Liberal Arts, College of Health and Human Sciences, and/or the Purdue University Libraries.
  • Previous recipients of a Trailblazer Award are not eligible.

Nomination Instructions

Nomination packets should be submitted electronically as a single PDF file to  by March 15, 2024. The nomination packet should include in the following order:

  1. A two-page statement from the nominee describing the trajectory, scope, and significance of the candidate’s research program; please highlight recent work that merits consideration for the Trailblazer Award.
  2. The nominee’s curriculum vitae.
  3. A letter from the department/school head endorsing the nomination.
  4. Two letters of recommendation/support from external (non-Purdue) faculty who can assess the impact and significance of the nominee’s contributions to the field.
  5. Any additional supporting information (such as reviews or citations) that the candidate considers to be significant in assessing their accomplishments.

Review Process

A selection committee, composed of previous winners of the award and representatives from the Faculty Awards and Recognition Committee, will review nominations and select a winner in February. The recipient of the Purdue University Trailblazer Award is notified via the Provost’s Office.

Recipients of the Award


Stewart Chang Alexander,  Consumer Science
Mandy Rispoli, Educational Studies


Stacey Connaughton, Brian Lamb School of Communication
Daniel Kelly, Philosophy


Cheryl Cooky, Interdisciplinary Studies
Sébastien Hélie, Psychological Sciences, Health and Human Sciences


Karen Foli, School of Nursing
David Purpura, Human Development and Family Studies


Sara Schmitt, Human Development and Family Studies
Louis Tay, Industrial-Organizational Psychology


Heather Eicher-Miller, Nutrition Science
Kathryn Cramer Brownell
, Department of History


Trish Morita-Mullaney, Curriculum and Instruction
Zoe Taylor, Human Development and Family Studies

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