Purdue Polytechnic honors and awards

Originally published in the 2015 edition of Innovation magazine

Individuals and teams across all disciplines of the Purdue Polytechnic have been rewarded for their creativity and research acumen over the past year. Here is a sampling of some of their achievements.


Alejandra Magana, PhD, associate professor of computer and information technology, received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. The $500,000 award, to be used over five years, will fund Magana’s research on identifying the best way to incorporate modeling and simulation practices into undergraduate engineering education. The official title of her award is “Authentic Modeling and Simulation Practices for Enhancing Model-Based Reasoning in Engineering Education.”

Nathan Hartman, EdD, director of the Purdue University Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Center of Excellence and professor of computer graphics technology, was a keynote presenter at the launch meeting for the PLM International Research Foundation (PLM-IRF) in Brussels, Belgium, in January. The PLM-IRF aims to establish a central mechanism to integrate international research into the most advanced future capabilities of PLM.

An international research team led by Yingjie “Victor” Chen, PhD, assistant professor of computer graphics technology, earned the Sponsor’s Award for Novel Visualization in the Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST) Challenge 2014. The challenge is an international contest among visual analytics researchers and developers who compete in solving data analytics problems. The team included faculty and graduate students from Purdue University and Harbin Institute of Technology in China. Teams used datasets from GPS records, Twitter posts, and various text documents to investigate a hypothetical kidnapping case.

Maureen Fang, a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering technology, is the inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Fellow for ASME, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Fang began her yearlong term in January. She is based at the Youngstown, Ohio, headquarters of the America Makes innovation center.

Priyanka Brunese, a PhD candidate in the Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation, is one of two Purdue students selected for the second class of Emerging Leaders in Science and Society (ELISS). The leadership development program, hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, includes 15 students from Purdue, Stanford University, University of Washington, and University of Pennsylvania. This year’s students will address epidemic preparedness across America.

Spotter, a startup founded by two students in the Department of Computer and Information Technology, took top honors and $5,000 during “Demo Day” at the second annual Boiler Mini-Accelerator Competition. Founders Daniel Golant and Christopher Price were seniors in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute at the time of the competition. The company is commercializing technology that attaches to workout equipment and tracks the user’s reps to maintain fitness data.

A research team for the Department of Aviation Technology’s Hangar of the Future was selected as a co-winner of Boeing Corp.’s inaugural Information Technology Case Competition for designing an object-recognition software application. Joelle Chia, aeronautical engineering technology, Yun Keryse Deng, aviation management, and Steven Pugia, School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, collaborated to create Buzzle, an application that detects and differentiates between natural objects and those created by people.

A team of five engineering technology students — Brandon Bender, Brandon Cox, Zach Eastman, Kaci Kelsey and Ryan Lewis — competed in the international “xplore New Automation” competition sponsored by Phoenix Contact, an electrical engineering automation company based in Germany. The students, all manufacturing engineering technology majors, designed and built an assembly system to construct a Purdue cube that lights up with an LED bulb. The system uses a pick-and-place gantry robot system, and a Phoenix Contact controller is used to assemble the team’s plastic injection-molded cube components.