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Outstanding Students: College of Science

The faculty of the College of Science recognize the following students for outstanding academic achievement and co-curricular involvement, such as leadership, community service, and undergraduate research.



Actuarial Science

Lauren Sturges

Actuarial Science Honors, Applied Statistics, Spanish 

During her four years at Purdue, Lauren has been awarded Dean’s List and Semester Honors each semester. She has also received numerous awards and scholarships for actuarial science, including the Outstanding Freshman Student in Actuarial Science 2018-2019 Award and the Christine Bell Heim Memorial Award for an Outstanding Actuary in Academics and Community Service in April 2021. Lauren has been a member of the Purdue Actuarial Club since her freshman year, where she has had the opportunity to mentor younger Purdue actuarial science students and to guide and form closer relationships with them. Lauren has also been very involved in her church since freshman year, and she is one of two leaders of this semester’s Boiler Awakening retreat, which consists of managing over 100 students in various roles. Lauren has held a couple different undergraduate teaching assistant roles through Purdue. These experiences helped her gain valuable skills that she was able to apply to her two life insurance actuarial internships with OneAmerica Financial Partners and Nationwide Financial. Lauren has accepted a full-time job offer with Ohio National Financial Services, a life insurance company in Cincinnati, OH.


Biological Sciences

Cassidy Hardin

Biochemistry Honors

Cassidy Hardin has excelled in the classroom, in the research lab, and on the basketball court.  She has conducted research in the lab of Dr. Andrew Mesecar since January 2020.  Her work included performing inhibitor assays on the papain-like protease of various coronaviruses to find a universal inhibitor and analyzing protein structure and inhibitor binding sites using x-ray crystallography.   Cassidy is a student-athlete on the Purdue Women’s Basketball Team.  Her excellent classroom performance resulted in being named Academic All-Big Ten and a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.  In addition to her basketball, Cassidy also found time to participate in the Brain Exercise Initiative Club and the National Society of Leadership and Success.  Community service events included the Purdue Special Olympics, Purdue Hunger Hike, Carry the Torch Walk, and the Purdue Riley Dance Marathon.  Cassidy was admitted to the Indiana University School of Medicine for this fall but has now decided to defer her admission, play another year of Purdue basketball, and begin medical school thereafter. 



Ian Woolsey

B.S. Chemistry Biochemistry

Ian Woolsey has been conducting research with Dr. Pansy Parkinson on using molecular dynamics simulations to study protein-ligand interactions since his first semester at Purdue. He will be finishing his Honors in Chemistry thesis project this semester, and his research resulted in a paper published in the journal ACS Chemical Biology. Ian is a member of the American Chemical Society Student Affiliate group and served as Vice-President. His junior year he was an undergraduate Teaching Assistant for General Chemistry, and his Senior year for physical chemistry.  He also received the Chemistry Department’s Undergraduate Summer Research Award in 2021. During his time at Purdue Ian has been awarded Semester’s honors and Dean’s List for each semester.  Next year he plans to attend the University of California Berkeley for graduate school.


Computer Science

James Joko

Computer Science, Data Science

James has been highly involved with many elements of Purdue and the greater community.  He is a dual major with Computer Science and Data Science, the co-founder of the student organization Boilers for Education, served as a TA, participated in research, and has done two internships.  He joined The Data Mine learning community as a freshman, taking on the role of a team leader for a project with Rolls-Royce in his first year.  He has continued an active role within The Data Mine as a TA and team leader, serving as a point of contact for both students and corporate partners, and has presented at the Corporate Partners Symposium. In the summers of 2020 and 2021, James interned with Cummins where he worked in both the areas of data science and software engineering.  He is currently participating in undergraduate research with Merck. In his work with Boilers for Education, James works to inspire equitable change in the education space by hosting bi-weekly discussions on educational barriers with industry speakers.  James served as the organization’s Director of Projects to develop client relations with education non-profits and the Purdue College of Education (CoE). James led a consulting project with the Purdue CoE that reconstructed its recruitment plan with effective strategies to recruit and retain underrepresented minority (URM) students, leading to a 5% annual growth of underrepresented minorities in teaching programs.  Additionally, James established a pipeline that connects Purdue students with local volunteering opportunities such as tutoring adult English language learners in Lafayette Adult Resource Academy and mentoring graduating students from Purdue Polytechnic High School.


Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences

Joseph Robinson

Atmospheric Science

Joe Robinson is an Atmospheric Science major with a 3.92 GPA and has been part of the Honor’s College since he began his career at Purdue in Fall 2018.  Joe has been on the Dean’s List and received Semester Honor’s for the past four years. He has been a member of the Purdue College of Science Global Science Partners for two years and a Leadership Team Member for the last year. Joe has been a member of the Purdue Meteorological Association (PUMA) for four years, serving as Secretary for a year, and is currently in the role of Vice President. He has been an active member of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club for four years. Joe has been the recipient of many scholarships and awards including, but not limited to the Purdue Varsity Glee Club Ziegler Award, an award given to one member of the 75-member Glee Club for dedication and commitment to the community both within and outside the Glee Club, and has earned the Learning Beyond the Classroom Certificate. Joe has been an undergraduate researcher for the past two years in the Atmospheric Chemistry Lab working with the Cloud Condensation Nuclei Counter (CCNC) and the Spectrometer for Ice Nuclei (SPIN) from Droplet Measurement Technologies, taking and analyzing data from an agricultural area owned by Purdue University to establish a relationship between agricultural activity and cloud condensation and ice nuclei. He is planning to publish findings in the Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research during the spring of 2022 with ambitions to publish in a peer reviewed journal. Joe also had the opportunity to work as a Research Intern at the University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment. He worked on a National Environmental Research Council (NERC) Panorama DTP funded Research Experience Placement on Professor Ben Murray’s research team, analyzed laboratory data from volcanic ash aerosol to measure its ice-nucleating activity, and processed data from the Portable Ice Nucleation Experiment Instrument (PINE) to assist a PhD student in achieving a publication.



Juliet Aygun

Mathematics Honors

During her time at Purdue, Juliet has completed many math graduate courses and was awarded the Dean’s List every semester. Her sophomore year, Juliet interned at Purdue’s Discovery Park and created a mathematical model to predict postoperative delirium following intracranial surgery. The following summer, she researched the geometry of almost abelian Lie groups at UC Santa Barbara. Most notably, last summer Juliet researched cylinder configurations on translation surfaces at Yale University. She is currently working on her senior thesis on sphere systems on 3-manifolds, advised by Dr. Jeremy Miller. Outside of math at Purdue, she has been involved since her freshman year in Gamma Phi Beta sorority and Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. Next year, Juliet will continue her study of low-dimensional topology as a Mathematics Ph.D. student on fellowship at TBA (either Cornell University or The University of Texas at Austin).


Physics and Astronomy

Justin Copenhaver

Physics Honors, Mathematics Honors

Justin Copenhaver is a senior Physics and Mathematics dual major. He has been involved with various research groups throughout his undergraduate education and is now a member of Prof. Jukka Vayrynen’s condensed matter theory group. His recent research has focused on topological phases of matter, superconductivity, and disordered systems. Previously, he was involved with quantum computing research through the Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship (DURI) program. Through his research, Justin has published two papers: the first on applying quantum annealing algorithms to electronic structure calculations, and the second on spin transport in disordered topological insulators. In his junior year, Justin was named a 2021 Goldwater Scholar. He has also received a Purdue University Presidential Scholarship, an Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) Scholarship, and the Physics Department’s Richard W. King Award. Justin plans to continue his research by pursuing a Ph.D. in Physics focused on quantum condensed matter theory.



Stephen Everett

Data Science and Applied Statistics

Stephen Everett is a double major in Applied Statistics and Data Science. While at Purdue, Stephen has maintained a high academic standard and has been awarded Dean's List and Semester Honors each semester. He has participated in the Honor Pledge Task Force, Sports Analytics at Purdue, and The Data Mine. He was also able to work as a lab information intern at Whirlpool during the summer. Stephen has accepted a position to work as a software developer at Epic upon graduation.



Actuarial Science Eve Smith
Biological Sciences Kal Holder
Chemistry Alexandra Fresh
Computer Science Ishita Agarwal

Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Imani Lawrence
Mathematics Sterling Saint Rain
Physics and Astronomy Colton Griffin
Statistics Grace Kowalski



Actuarial Science Sam Chilson
Biological Sciences Mahesh Gupta
Chemistry Annie Gowan
Computer Science Yash Agarwal

Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Vada Kirsch
Mathematics Samantha DePoy
Physics and Astronomy Arianna McNamara
Statistics Dylan Clarke

First Year

Actuarial Science Grace Zhang
Biological Sciences Mia Fleisher-de Kozan
Chemistry Tanvi Breinig
Computer Science Austin Lovell

Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Riley Welsh
Mathematics Caden Matthews
Physics and Astronomy Jaiveer Dutta
Statistics Yunye Liang


Science Ambassadors Graduating Seniors

The Science Ambassadors are a select group of undergraduates who represent the College of Science and the undergraduate science experience to prospective students and families, and other entities, including the Dean's Leadership Council and College of Science Alumni Board.

Alex Woods - Biochemistry (Chemistry)

Allison Earnhardt - Physics

Andrea Wittekind - Biological Sciences

Andrew Espeland - Genetics

Ann Marie Krolczyk - Biology

Blake Johnson - Computer Science

Brandi Daddario - Planetary Sciences

Calvin Hays - Ecol, Evol & Environ Biology

Christopher Lehman - Data Science

Izzy Bent - Neurobiology & Physiology

Jacob Bruss - Atmospheric Science

Jasmine Singh - Planetary Sciences, Atmospheric Science

Joe d'Aliberti - Chemistry

Maddie Cullison - Biochemistry (Chemistry)

Madeleine Tremblay - Biochemistry (Chemistry)

Megan Jurek - Chemistry

Morgan Farrand - Genetics

Nicole Osborn - Physics

Noor Abduallah - Biological Sciences

Owen Pierce - Actuarial Science

Peyton Staab - Genetics

Rachel Tat - Biochemistry (Chemistry)

Shobana Iyer - Applied Statistics

Shreya Desai - Biological Sciences

Sunil Green - Computer Science

Theresa Bottoroff - Biological Sciences

Tom Appenzeller - Computer Science

Vikas Srinivasa - Biochemistry (Biology)

Zainab Nasser - Actuarial Science


Science Data Managers Graduating Seniors

The Science Student Data Managers are a select group of undergraduates who represent the College of Science and the College of Science Data Manager in helping support and update reports for the college and its departments.

Jack Arnold - Data Science and Computer Science

Peyton Kreiss - Economics, concentration in Data Analytics

Sahana Rayan - Applied Statistics and Computer Science


Purdue Science Student Council Graduating Seniors

The Purdue Science Student Council provides academically-oriented services and promotes professional growth opportunities to students in the College of Science.

Kaitlyn Stangl - Actuarial Science

Mallory Roach - Biological Sciences

Rachel Tat - Chemistry

Sahana Rayan - Computer Science

Tom Patrick Appenzeller - Computer Science


Learning Beyond the Classroom Graduating Seniors

The Learning Beyond the Classroom Certificate Program is a way for students to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world situations. Students learn to negotiate multiple cultures, develop confidence as professionals, view themselves in new ways, prioritize tasks, navigate the world and pursue life-long learning. The certificate is awarded when students complete activities in three categories (career and professional development, service, citizenship and leadership and experience with domestic and international diversity) and is noted on their official Purdue transcript.

Abigail Wuethrich - Biological Sciences

Alekya Raghavan - Biological Sciences

Andrea Wittekind - Biological Sciences

Angelina Burkett - Biological Sciences

Anna Jurgonski - Chemistry

Courtney Woodruff - Biological Sciences

Ilakkiya Venkatachalam - Biological Sciences

Jinan Ayub - Biological Sciences

Joseph Robinson - Atmospheric Science

Joseph Veltri - Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics

Josiah Gottfried - Statistics

Justin Postma - Biological Sciences

Kaitlyn Cooper - Biological Sciences

Kathryn Lotharius - Biological Sciences

Lillia Blasius - Biological Sciences

Melissa Chi Shi - Actuarial Science and Applied Statistics

Molly Gillig - Biological Sciences

Naveen Vivek - Mathematics

Rebecca Shelley - Biological Sciences

Rina Jiang - Biological Sciences

Sarra Debbabi - Biological Sciences


Bridging Cultures Award

The Bridging Cultures Award is presented to student leaders from the Global Science Partners Program — a program dedicated to helping students become interculturally competent. These students have demonstrated the ability to bridge cultural gaps between themselves and others — shifting perspectives, attuning emotions and adapting their behavior in respectful and appropriate ways.

Courtney Woodruff - Genetics and Spanish

Joseph Robinson - Atmospheric Sciences

Lulu Davis - Biology and Sociology

Melissa Cai Shi - Actuarial Science and Applied Statistics

Rachael DeChant - Environmental Biology and Japanese

Zoe Lackey - Computer Science


Promoting Career Development Award

Students promote career development to peers while using this opportunity to develop themselves professionally. Professional growth occurs by working independently, generating new ideas, and implementing these ideas through career programming, career education, and career resources

Sarra Debbabi - Biological Sciences


Championing Diversity Award

The Championing Diversity Award is given to students who have been active participants in the programs sponsored by Science Diversity over several years of their career at Purdue. Through participation in these programs they have enriched the experience of their classmates by ensuring that all students have the opportunity to be educated in a more diverse environment. They have grown personally and professionally by taking leadership roles within the College of Science.

Alekya K Raghavan - Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology

Angelina M. Burkett - Neurobiology & Physiology

Camryn O. Hilgeman - Biology

Claire V. Landgraf - Physics Honors

Claudia B. Duncan - Data Science

Danielle Harrison - Actuarial Science

Hannah I. Lambuth - Neurobiology & Physiology

Isabella S. Sirit Prusza - Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology

Jasmine K. Singh - Planetary Sciences, Atmospheric Science

Jennifer M. Beckman - Neurobiology & Physiology

Jinan M. Ayub - Genetics

Kaetlyn J. Dressendorfer - Genetics, Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology

Katherine M. Juarez - Genetics

Lisette Skiba - Biology

Madeleine I. Tremblay - Biochemistry (Chemistry)

Mallory K. Roach - Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology, Genetics

Melissa Cai Shi - Actuarial Science Honors, Applied Statistics

Miranda C. Carter - Microbiology

Morgan E. Farrand - Genetics

Owen T. Pierce - Actuarial Science

Rebecca A. Shelley - Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology

Samuel Westendorf - Biology

Sneha Nachimuthu - Environmental Geoscience

Valeria Garcia - Planetary Sciences


Faculty Awards

Top Undergraduate Teacher

Each year, science undergraduate students are polled by the Science Student Council to select a faculty member whose teaching has had the greatest impact on science majors.

Shalini Low-Nam - Chemistry Department

Outstanding Contributions to Teaching by an Assistant Professor

This award honors faculty with the rank of assistant professor for outstanding undergraduate teaching.

Professor Michael Eddy, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Exceptional Early Career Teaching Award

The Exceptional Early Career Teaching Award recognizes outstanding undergraduate teaching among Purdue’s early career faculty. Recipients of the award will receive a $5,000 award with additional funds for a department business account.

Danny Milisavljevic, Assistant professor of Physics and Astronomy


Student Success Stories

Selected by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education and the Student Success Team based on applications, these students exemplify the range of experiences and opportunities provided to undergraduate students in the College of Science. As graduating seniors they share their stories to inspire and motivate others.

Jack Arnold, Data Science & Computer Science, Through the Data Min, I worked on an AI team doing graduate-level research in just my second year at Purdue. I came here not knowing how to code, and now I couldn't imagine even a week without it

Jinan Ayub, Biological Sciences, Involvement in research, leadership roles, global studies courses, and teaching has shaped the scientist I have become and my outlook on the world. As a physician, I hope to advocate for patients and global health equity.

Melissa Cai Shi, Actuarial Science, The idea of uncertainty is something the intrigues me. Being able to quantify it, finding ways to minimize it, and having the power to change it into financial stability amazes me.  

Nikhil Jay D'Souza, Data Science, The healthcare and life sciences industries can effectively use data to generate helpful insights to improve patient quality of life. I want to be a part of leading breakthroughs in AI and health.

Brandi A. Daddario, EAPS, While performing research, you sometimes go in the totally wrong direction and have to start over; that experience allows you to learn from your mistake and translate it into success.

Isaiah Jeffery Ertal, Physics and Astronomy, Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Complete your work ahead of time. If you have a question, try to research it yourself. By doing so, you will develop your critical thinking skills.

Valeria Garcia, EAPS, At Purdue, I discovered a passion for Atmospheric Science and a confidence in my ability to succeed in a STEM career. I feel the same giddy excitement to begin graduate school as I did four years ago as a freshman.

Patrick Kelly, Computer Science, As a tutor for students with disabilities, I found that explaining CS concepts to students who access course material in a different way than me has given me an appreciation for the different ways others view the world.

Maria Mouchaham, Chemistry, During RA training, after opening up and becoming vulnerable, I discovered the complexities of each individual and learned to appreciate out differences.

Erin O'Farrell, Biological Sciences, Something important to realize is that it's okay to make changes. During your time here, you will grow into a new version of yourself. It was after volunteering in Peru that I knew I wanted a career in reproductive health.

Justin Postma, Biological Sciences, The skills that I gained through leadership activities outside of class are countless. Earning the LBC Certificate has enabled me to highlight my experiences in applications and interviews.

John Putziger, Chemistry, My study abroad in Colombia showed how leveraging national recourses can help solve global problems and drove me to work in government. I plan to utilize chemistry to tackle issues in sustainability and to promote international collaboration.

Joseph Robinson, EAPS, The Purdue Varsity Glee Club allowed me to spend time doing something I enjoy away from the stresses of academics. I traveled to Texas, Florida and New York, as well as to the UK, where my family saw me perform.

Rebecca Shelley, Biological Sciences, The mentors that I have had in my research experiences have been invaluable; they have pushed me to ask questions, reach beyond my comfort zone, and believe strongly in my abilities as a scientist.

Yash Uppal, Actuarial Scince, What I'm most excited about is not just using my knowledge and skills in new and innovative ways, but also sharing my experiences with the community of actuarial students.

Joey Veltri: Mathematics, Working full-time one a problem that enthralled me through the REU I participated in was an unforgettable experience. It was refreshing to collaborate with other students just as passionate about math as I am.




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