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Purdue Science inducts 16 Outstanding Alumni for 2016



The College of Science welcomed 16 new names at Outstanding Alumni during a ceremony held Sept. 23 in Lawson Commons.

Interim dean Craig Svensson announced the men and women, who have all made great impact in their respective fields. All seven departments and the Actuarial Science program were well represented.

  • Vicki Capadona, Computer Science -- After being one of the first women to earn a Computer Science undergraduate degree, her career started as an application programmer on the top computers at the time – which then held about the same memory as a Word document. Capadona’s work went next level when she began designing application systems for Allstate Insurance Company and Blue Cross of Wisconsin. Since those days on those old IBM computers, technology and the Purdue Computer Science program has expanded tremendously.
  • Amy Connolly, Physics and Astronomy -- Connolly’s first taste of research came as an undergraduate in Physics and Astronomy. She worked on the STAR experiment at Purdue as well as the ZEUS experiment at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. As she climbed the academic ladder with positions at UC-Berkeley, UCLA and University College of London, Connolly grew her research in detecting cosmic neutrinos and she continues the work as an assistant professor of physics at The Ohio State University.
  • Gregory C. Davis, Chemistry -- Davis quickly started his professional career with Monsanto before moving on to the biotechnology group at Upjohn Company. Davis finished his career as a valued member of the biotechnology group and many other areas at Eli Lilly.
  • Martin Doyle, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences – Doyle is a professor at Duke University with positions at the Nicholas School of the Environment and Institute for Environmental Policy. His science background – which he honed during his PhD studies for the Purdue Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences – is combined with policy know-how. Doyle has made an impact in river management and restoration as well as research on hydraulics and sediment transport in rivers. His work is crucial in preserving river ecosystems.
  • Catherine Erickson, Chemistry – Erickson started her own company decades before the term “start-up” became a buzzword in the science community. Lacamas Laboratories has manufactured fine chemicals and pharmaceutical intermediates for more than 30 years. Successes include an early HIV drug, an Alzheimer drug and a catalyst for Lipitor manufacturing.
  • Jin-Shuh Jean, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences -- Jean earned his PhD from the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences before taking his talents to Taiwan, where he has taught at National Cheng Kung University for almost 30 years. Jean was recently named president of the Taiwan Chapter of International Medical Geology Association while maintaining editor status for the Journal of Hydrology. He also received distinguished professor status a few years ago.
  • Carol Duddy de Branges Jobusch, Statistics -- After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, Jobusch started her graduate studies for Purdue Statistics. Jobusch’s academic work included a statistical regression model of faculty salaries that was one of the first in the nation to satisfy EEO regulations for affirmative action equity, under the guidance of Purdue Stats legends Virgil Anderson and George McCabe. She took her work to the CIA where she developed statistical analysis software to help many different aspects of the agency.
  • Gayle C. Johnston, Biological Sciences -- Johnston used her Biological Sciences degree as a foundation for her rise in pharmaceutical companies. She is currently president of CuraScript Specialty Distribution, a holding company of Express Scripts. She is also on the board of directors for the Healthcare Distribution Management Association.
  • Wai-Kwong Kwok, Physics and Astronomy -- Kwok is a Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory with research focusing on thermodynamic studies of novel and exotic superconductors, dynamic studies of vortex behavior in high temperature superconductors and exploration of novel physical phenomena. His PhD from Purdue Physics and Astronomy helped him get to Argonne and thrive there. Today, he is a group leader of Superconductivity and Magnetism in the Materials Science Division.
  • Christopher P. Leamon, Chemistry -- Leamon has spent 28 years working in the drug delivery field, and he is credited for conducting the groundbreaking experiments in folate-targeted technology as well as for exemplifying this novel therapeutic approach for treating cancer. Leamon has published over 80 articles and is an inventor on more than 50 issued or submitted patents involving drug targeting He is currently vice president of research at Endocyte.
  • John McGinnis, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences – McGinnis has more than 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, in both business and research. He is currently the President of Seneca Resources Corporation, the exploration and production segment of National Fuel Gas Company.
  • Julie Overbeck, Biological Sciences -- After 17 years at Eli Lilly and Company, Overbeck joined her brother’s wholesale agricultural seed organization called Remington Seeds. The business began with only an Indiana state revenue development bond and a credit card in 1983 and it has since grown to include 28 plants in seven states, production of 8 million bushels of seed corn (approximately 25 percent of the U.S. market) and 15 million bushels of seed soybeans. As president, she leads 500 full time employees with several hundred more employed on a seasonal basis. The annual revenue of this Hoosier born business is now more than $500 million.
  • Craig Pfeifer, Computer Science -- As principal artificial intelligence engineer at the MITRE Corporation, Pfeifer is responsible for bridging the gap between research and production in the field of natural language processing. His primary area of interest is extraction of structured information from unstructured text.
  • Sheldon M. Ross, Mathematics -- Ross has been a force in his field for more than 50 years. He earned his masters degree from Purdue Mathematics, which helped him become an expert in such varied fields as probability, quantitative management, dynamic programming and much more. These days, Dr. Ross can be found at the University of Southern California where he is still teaching and penning the next great American textbook.
  • Paul Schultz, Actuarial Science -- Schultz is responsible for oversight of the actuarial and underwriting functions as well as developing pricing, filings, forecasts and reserves for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Vermont’s products, Qualified Health Plans, and large group and Medicare Supplement programs.
  • Ko-Yang Wang, Computer Science – Wang is a leader in the Taiwan tech scene while also having extensive experience in IT consulting and strategic business management. Over the years, he has led the Cloud System Software Research Institute and was responsible for the organization's strategy, research and development, industry partnership and business development.

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