Derek Kultgen serves as the lead engineer for the Mechanisms Engineering Test Loop (METL) at Argonne National Laboratory, designing equipment to be used in a molten sodium environment, developing experiments for testing next-generation nuclear reactor equipment, writing a data acquisition and control program, and reporting project progress to the Department of Energy, among other duties.
“Former classmates and I reminisce about Purdue, and one topic that always surfaces is how great the faculty is,” Kultgen says. “Professor Bill Hutzel’s thermodynamics and heat transfer course is where my passion for energy production and efficiency stemmed from. His laboratories made the first and second laws come alive. He also included lectures on topics like legislation and foreign policy that affect how we produce and consume energy.”
Kultgen also remembers Professor Mark French. “His optimization class was extremely interesting, and he has a gift for explaining higher level mathematics.”
“My Purdue degree started working for me before I even received it,” Kultgen says. “As an undergraduate attending industry conferences, I would discuss the industry and products with company representatives. Once they learned I was a Purdue student graduating soon, they handed me their business cards and asked if I was interested in a job.”
“A lot of Purdue alumni work at Argonne National Laboratory,” Kultgen says. “My Purdue connection provides a huge network and continues to work for me to this day.”
Kultgen lives in Chicago, Illinois.