Distinguished Science Alums Honored
Every year, the College of Science honors alumni who are shining examples of the giant leaps that take us into new frontiers. Through their accomplishments, they grow the college’s reputation and reach. And through their continued engagement with the college, they motivate the next generation of Purdue Science students and alumni.
The 2023 honorees are:
Snehal Antani (BS ’02 Computer Science) Distinguished Science Alumni, is an entrepreneur, technologist, and investor. He is CEO & Founder of Horizon3.ai, a growth-stage cyber security company using AI to deliver autonomous penetration testing. Prior to Horizon3, Antani served as the first Chief Technology Officer for Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). As a member of the Commander’s executive team, he led data analytics, cloud/edge computing, and cybersecurity initiatives. Prior to serving within US Special Operations, he was CTO & SVP at Splunk, held multiple CIO roles at GE Capital, and started his career as a Software Engineer at IBM. Antani holds 18 patents and is one of the youngest executives in GE history, one of the youngest CIO’s in financial services history, one of the youngest corporate officers of a publicly traded company, and one of the youngest highly qualified experts (HQE) in US Department of Defense history.
Luca Capogna (PhD ’96 Mathematics) Distinguished Science Alumni, is a professor of Mathematics, and department chair, at Smith College, in Northampton, MA. Before joining Smith, he held positions at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, and at the University of Arkansas. For his work in research and education he was awarded a National Science Foundation Early Career Award. Luca is also passionate about his K12 outreach: He served as co-leader of the American Mathematical Society workshop for Math Chairs, served as associate director of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, co-organized many conferences over the years, and has led numerous professional development workshops aimed at underrepresented groups in the Mathematical Sciences.
Ming-Hui Chen (MS ’91 Statistics, PhD ’93 Statistics) Distinguished Science Alumni, is currently Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Statistics at the University of Connecticut (UConn). He was elected to Fellow of International Society for Bayesian Analysis in 2016, Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in 2007, Fellow of American Statistical Association in 2005. He received the University of Connecticut AAUP Research Excellence Award, the UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Excellence in Research Award, the UConn Alumni Association’s University Award for Faculty Excellence in Research and Creativity, and ICSA Distinguished Achievement Award. He has served as Executive Director of ICSA, President of ICSA, Chair of Eastern Asia Chapter of ISBA, President of New England Statistical Society, Representative from Districts 1-3, ASA Caucus of Academic Representatives, and the 2022 JSM Program Chair.
Martin Doyle (PhD ’02 EAPS) Distinguished Science Alumni, is a professor at Duke University focused on water science and policy. In addition to hundreds of scientific publications, he has written several books, including The Source, a history of America’s rivers named by Amazon as a top-10 history book of 2018. He has been selected as a Kavli Fellow for the Frontiers of Science by the National Academy of Sciences, a Guggenheim Fellow for his work in history and social sciences, and a Walton Family Fellow for his contributions to water sustainability in the US. Beyond academia, Doyle has served in the Department of Interior, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and beginning in May, will be the Senior Water Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Army.
Harry Kloor (MS ’91 Physics, PhD ’94 Physics, PhD ‘94 Chemistry) Distinguished Science Alumni, is the CEO and Executive Founder of Beyond Imagination, a company that has developed a suite of exponential technology solutions that deploys AI, AR, Robotics, Machine Learning and human-computer interaction technology. Kloor has worked with a large number of scientific organizations, universities, and companies to advance exponential technologies ranging from robotics, holographic capture, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, deep machine learning, sensor networks, IOT, volumetric capture, haptics, holography, etc. He also sits on the board of Brain Mapping and Therapeutics Society, and serves as their Chief Scientific Advisor and Educational Outreach Coordinator.
Naresh Menon (BS ’93 Physics, PhD ’99 Physics) winner of the Entrepreneur Award, founded ChromoLogic, where he develops novel transformational technologies that address some of the challenges of our times: healthcare, national security and the environment. In 2017, Naresh received the Outstanding Alumni Award and he has served on the External Board of Advisors for the University of Maryland Bioengineering, Penn State University Engineering, and NSF PREM. He has also served as a Board Member for the Volunteer Center of San Gabriel Valley and the Adaptive Business Leaders Healthcare Round Table.
Charles Munsell III (BS ’80 Mathematics) Distinguished Science Alumni, after receiving his degree, entered the business world at a small actuarial consulting firm in Indianapolis. In 1991 Charles moved to the The Nyhart Company, also in Indianapolis, which at the time was a medium sized regional actuarial consulting firm. Over the next thirty years through a combination of introducing innovative new designs and strategic growth Charles and his partners grew Nyhart into one of the nation’s largest independent actuarial firms with nine offices spread across the country.
Karen Vogel Pinette (PhD ’95 Chemistry) Distinguished Science Alumni, PhD research focused on de novo peptide and protein design with applications for enzyme-catalyzed semisynthesis, and the development of liposomal drug delivery systems. After advancing her research training, Karen began her career Eli Lilly where she held positions in Discovery Research, Medical R&D and Regulatory Affairs. The experience gained at Lilly led to roles of increasing scope and responsibility with Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi, Biogen, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Most notable was a position with Biogen located in Tokyo, Japan as Head, International Markets Medical Excellence & Operations supporting Medical Affairs activities in Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and International Partner Markets. Karen currently holds the position of Senior Director, Global Medical Affairs Operations & Strategic Planning at Sage Therapeutics.
Jessica Young (PhD ’94 Biology) Distinguished Science Alumni, has served Western Colorado University as both a faculty member and in senior administrative roles since 1996 including her current position as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. For two decades, she has mentored faculty leaders and co-chaired sessions of the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ Project Kaleidoscope STEM leadership institute following her initial participation in 1999. As a Purdue graduate student, Young studied the Gunnison Sage Grouse, which she ultimately helped identify as a new species in 2000.
Anji Li Zhao (BS ’15 Actuarial Science) winner of the Early Career Award, was a member of Purdue’s Women’s Swimming team while a student. Anji moved to Chicago to start her actuarial career at Ernst & Young. In 2017, she joined Munich Re Life and is currently an AVP & Actuary in the valuation department. She earned her Fellowship of the Society of Actuaries in 2019 and has volunteered extensively with the Society of Actuaries. Since the events that shook the U.S. in 2020, Anji has been a vocal advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in the actuarial profession. She is a Board Member of the Organization of Latino Actuaries and sits on Munich Re North American Life’s Diversity, Belonging and Inclusion committee.
This year, guests gathered at the Convergence Center in West Lafayette to celebrate the honorees. Imani Lawrence, a student in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences welcomed the attendees and Interim Dean Jean Chmielewski gave remarks. Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, Lucy Flesch, presented the awards.