Friday, June 9, 2017

Meet Danielle Render, Recipient of Interdisciplinary Engineering's 2017 Outstanding Service Award

Danielle Render is a very involved member in the Purdue community, and has emerged as a leader in several organizations. She is serving in her third year as an Ambassador for the College of Engineering, which consists of about 30 students who are involved in areas such as student recruitment to Purdue Engineering Alumni relations. She’s also an active participant in the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) where she often takes part in recruitment programs, encouraging minority engineering students to apply for and confirm their enrollment in Purdue University’s College of Engineering. Having been involved in the Mother Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) since she was a freshman, she has since risen to being the 2016-2017 Region IV Chairperson. In January, Danielle was awarded the IDE Outstanding Service Award, which is given each year to a senior who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and service skills. In addition to those accolades, Danielle is serving in the Zeta Theta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. as the Corresponding Secretary and the Sergeant-at-Arms. Her goal since being a freshman was to leave her mark on this campus, and being the 2017 IDE Outstanding Service Award recipient, Danielle's name will forever be marked in the hallway of Armstrong Hall. 

Danielle's current and future plans starts with continuing to serve in NSBE as the 2017-2018 Chair Emeritus of the Region IV Executive Board. She will be working Full-Time with Accenture as a Digital Business Integration Analyst starting in August. Danielle also plans to obtain an MBA in 2-3 years to aid her professional career.  

Danielle wanted to share one piece of advice with the generation that follows her - it doesn't take being "smart" to get through engineering. It takes diligence.

Friday, October 7, 2016

An Interview with Carina Olaru, Director of Latino Cultural Center

Carina Olaru is an educator first. She started as an associate professor of Modern Languages, teaching Spanish and Portuguese, at a small liberal arts college in Illinois. There, she was the only domestic professor of color. This led to many minority students reaching out to her and sparking her desire to increase diversity awareness on college campuses.  She started many programs at her prior university before starting at the director of Purdue’s Latino Cultural Center this July. She has been director for just about two months and is already making big waves her on campus. She intends to raise the visibility of the center and Latino students on campus. Her goals are to empower student, faculty, and staff and be a resource for the university as well as the West Lafayette and Lafayette communities. She also wants to assist the university in recruiting and retaining minority students.
            Carina Olaru believes all the cultural centers are important. In her opinion, they “represent the underrepresented” and work hard to provide a space for minority students. The cultural centers create a community, so students of minority groups don’t feel like they are the only ones. Olaru believes the cultural centers are integral to helping students graduate on time and to recruit and retain Purdue students. She praises the cultural centers on their level of collaboration. She says the centers aren’t afraid to work with one another, because they all come from the same place, and have the same goals. Carina Olaru is very proud of the cultural centers here on Purdue’s campus.

            For students interested in getting involved with the Latino Cultural Center, Olaru says the center is “what you make of it.” The center is located on north Russel street and is fully equipped with a lounge, conference room, fully-functional kitchen, as well as an ITaP computer lab and a sand volleyball court outside. “Students are more than welcome to just stop by between classes,” says Olaru, “some even nap in our lounge on the couches.” The center is open 9am-9pm Monday – Thursday, and 9am-5pm on Friday. Student organizations are able to reserve their conference room by making a reservation on their website. The center will be offering a variety of events this semester. From Spanish conversation tables, to theatre performances, and Los Dios de Los Muertos processional on October 27th. Each cultural center will have an alter to honor loved ones past, leading to the Latino Cultural Center, who will have their own alter, as well as activities and food, and the alter of the LGBTQ Center. All events hosted by the LCC are free and open to the public. Carina Olaru stresses that “everyone is welcome here,” and that the Latino Cultural Center is to serve as a home for Purdue Students. Check their website for a keep up with events and see what is happening next.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Emily Thomas: Fifth-Year Chemical Engineering Student

Emily Thomas is a fifth-year Chemical Engineering student at Purdue University. She chose Purdue because it was the first school that introduced her to what engineering is. When choosing a university, she says “it was important to me that I was challenged and that it had a plethora of opportunity and resources.” And she found that Purdue could offer her both. As she is in the middle of her last semester at Purdue, Emily says “my college career has been very fulfilling.” She has had the opportunity to participate in internships, co-ops, organizations on campus, and study abroad.

After graduation, Emily will be beginning a job at Emerson. She has been hired into the Engineers in Leadership Program which is a 2-year program that will allow her to work in various roles throughout the company in order to gain experience in several positions. This program also gives Emily the opportunity to work abroad in Singapore for a year which she says “is an opportunity I am looking forward to!”

Why engineering? Emily says “one of the best explanations I’ve heard about the difference between a scientist and an engineer is that a scientist asks why and an engineer asks why not.” She chose Chemical Engineering because “I realize that I have always asked why not when viewing and experiencing the world. My overall career goal is to be a conduit to help others and help people reach and realize their full potential. I plan on using my problem solving and analytical skills that I learned from engineering to change the world and to continue to ask why not.”

Sunday, February 21, 2016

HISTORY HIGHLIGHT: MEP Salutes the Memory of Mr. Edward Barnett for Laying the Foundation for the Purdue Black Society of Engineers.

Edward Barnett, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity was a founding father of the Purdue University Black Society of Engineers. After Ed graduated from Purdue, six engineering students from Chicago led a national effort to launch the Purdue model nation-wide. The rest is history. Read more about The National Society of Black Engineers.

In 1971, two Purdue undergraduate students, Edward Barnette (now deceased) and Fred Cooper approached the dean of engineering at Purdue University with the concept of starting the Black Society of Engineers (BSE). They wanted to establish a student organization to help improve the recruitment and retention of black engineering students. In the late 1960’s, a devastating 80 percent of the black freshmen entering the engineering program dropped out after the first year. The dean agreed to the idea and assigned the only black faculty member on staff, Arthur J. Bond, as advisor.
Ed Barnett served as the first president of the BSE. The Society met at what was then called the "Black House", now known at the Black Cultural Center at Purdue. Engineering students were expected to meet in the library daily to complete their homework and/or prepare for exams together. No one stood alone and everyone looked out for each other.  The Society became the strongest and most cohesive academic group on campus for black engineering students. Ed Barnett and Fred Cooper graduated and became corporate supporters of the students at Purdue. The activities of the members of the Black Society of Engineers resulted in increased retention and increased enrollment. In 1974, with the direction and encouragement of their advisor, Arthur J. Bond a leader within the group, Mr. Anthony Harris, led the initiative to explore the opportunity to make what was happening at Purdue a national standard. Under the leadership of Harris, the organization's name changed from the Black Society of Engineers to the Society of Black Engineers Several engineering universities had similar groups on their campuses and Anthony Harris, along with five friends from Chicago, now known as the "Chicago Six" challenged Purdue's membership to rise to the challenge of hosting this very important meeting and realizing a common goal to impact the nation. Anthony Harris, president of the Purdue chapter, wrote a letter to the presidents and deans of every accredited engineering program in the country (288), explained the Society of Black Engineers (SBE) concept, shared the retention successes experienced at Purdue, and asked them to identify black student leaders, organizations and faculty members who might be interested in attending a meeting at Purdue to support the effort of creating a national presence. The President of Purdue University at the time was Dr. Arthur G. Hansen who encouraged the initiative and became an key enabler during the formative stages of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Approximately 80 schools responded. Many had similar Black student organizations with similar objectives. A date was set for the first national meeting and 48 students representing 32 schools attended. Students from all over the nation and Canada drove during dangerous times through many states and deep into the cornfields of West Lafayette, Indiana to change the destiny of thousands. They risked personal safety and braved the challenge to pioneer a new venture that would impact the lives of African American children who otherwise might not have an opportunity to pursue engineering.  From April 10-12, 1975 the students from across the nation and the engineering students at Purdue University networked, bonded, and came to a conclusion that would affect the lives of thousands in years to come. All in attendance are credited with the birth of a new organization: The National Society of Black Engineers. The six engineering students from Purdue University that were key in bringing this event to fruition were Anthony Harris, Brian Harris, Stanley L. Kirtley, John W. Logan, Jr., Edward A. Coleman, and George A. Smith. There ware several engineering students on Purdue's campus that helped facilitate the event.  Their names are not mentioned here, however their impact was critical to the success of this effort.
It was at that historic meeting through majority vote, that The Society of Black Engineers became the National Society of Black Engineers. The NSBE logo was chosen and it remains a distinctively recognizable symbol representing the premier technical organization for African American engineering students and professionals worldwide. The NSBE logo consists of a lit torch with the letters 'S' 'B' and 'E' in the handle of the torch. There are two lightening bolts crossing in the middle of the torch.  Both are superimposed over the letter 'N' indicating national impact. The torch symbolizes lighting the way. The fire represents the members’ everlasting, burning desire to achieve success in a competitive society. The 'N' represents the national scope of positively affect ingthe quality of life for all people. The lightening bolts represent the striking impact (in all directions) that will be felt by the society and industry due to the contributions and accomplishments made by the dedicated members of the National Society of Black Engineers.

NSBE was eventually incorporated in Texas, in 1976 as 501©3 non-profit organization. John Cason, also of Purdue, served as the first elected president of NSBE. During the critical formative years, Virginia Booth, with the endorsement and encouragement of Purdue's President Arthur G. Hansen became the first female National Chairperson and the first to serve two terms 1978-1980. Under her leadership and mentorship of Dr. Arthur Hansen, Virginia Booth and the 1978 NSBE Executive Board led the chartering process for new chapters. That year, the chartered membership for the organization grew exponentially making NSBE a recognized presence on predominately white campuses. The organization grew from a few chapters to more than 50 chapters in 1978.  During Ms. Booth's second term of office more chapters were added in 1979 and a national agenda was framed.  NSBE has since grown from six to over 35,000 members within the United States and abroad. It has membership in countries all over the world, including Ghana, Nigeria, Canada, Germany, China, Jamaica, Trinidad, and others.  NSBE World Headquarters is located in Alexandria, Virginia.  

NSBE was born during an era where conditions for African Americans were dismal. It's genesis was after the death of great leaders, including President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X. In the heart of the civil rights movement, the atmosphere at Purdue University provided a catalyst for bringing about change in the 1970's. Today, the same university is determined to continue to IMPACT the world!

To the Edward Barnett's and Fred Coopers across the country that championed unity at their respective campuses, to the 'Chicago Six' who braved the nay-sayers and pressed the organization at Purdue to embrace and expand its borders, to the pioneers who braved the journey to come to Purdue to create a national body for positive change, many continue to express their thanks.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Dr. Dolores Cooper Shockley: First African American woman earning Ph.D. in Pharmacy, and she earned it at Purdue University!

Dolores Shockley was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. At an early age she demonstrated an interest in science. She received a BS in Pharmacy from Xavier University, New Orleans, Louisiana with the highest average in her graduating class. Although she became a registered pharmacist, she headed to Purdue for graduate studies. Some years later during an interview, retired Dean Glenn Jenkins said that they "decided to take a chance on Dolores from that little school in Louisiana". The 'chance' Purdue took resulted in the first African American woman to receive a PhD in Pharmacology in the United States. After graduation, Shockley used a Fulbright Fellowship to do postdoctoral research at the University of Copenhagen.
When Shockley returned to the United States, she accepted an appointment as assistant professor of pharmacology at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. She was greeted in her new job with a certain amount of suspicion, she later told an interviewer for Ebony, because "some men thought that I was just working temporarily." She soon put those doubts to rest and became a valued and respected member of the faculty. In 1967 Shockley was promoted to associate professor, and ten years later she became head of the college's department of microbiology. She has since served also as Meharry's foreign student advisor and its liaison for international activities to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Shockley's research interests have focused on the consequences of drug action on stress, the effects of hormones on connective tissue, the relationships between drugs and nutrition, and the measurement of non-narcotic analgesics (pain killers).
She was visiting assistant professor at the Einstein College of Medicine in New York City from 1959 to 1962 and was a recipient of the Lederle Faculty Award from 1963 to 1966. Dr. Shockley decided to do postdoctoral study in Europe; she had many conversations with Professor Rasmussen, a faculty member from Norway. She applied for a Fulbright fellowship to study with Professor Knud Moller at the Pharmacology Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. During her tenure, the Danish Fulbright office arranged for her to visit pharmacology departments in Sweden, Norway, and Finland.

Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee offered Dr. Shockley a faculty position in the pharmacology department. At Meharry, she met and married Thomas E. Shockley, PhD, a microbiology graduate of Ohio State.  Most of Dr. Shockley's professional career has been at Meharry where she advanced through the ranks to Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Pharmacology, thus becoming the first and only African American woman to chair a pharmacology department at an accredited medical school in the United States.
Dr. Shockley and her husband continued their research in New York City - she at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and he at the Rockefeller Institute (now University). They returned to Meharry where her husband was appointed Chairman of the Department of Microbiology.

Dr. Shockley served on numerous national committees including NIH, NSF, NRC, and FDA committees. She held offices in the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET). The Society established a travel award in her honor for student(s) to attend the national meeting - Experimental Biology. The Dolores C. Shockley Lectureship and Mentoring Award was inaugurated at the School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University in 2009.
She has mentored and served as preceptor for doctoral students, undergraduate college students and high school students. She enjoys teaching and has received numerous teaching awards.

Dr. Shockley's husband passed away after 43 years of marriage. They raised four children together. She enjoys spending time with grandchildren. Her hobbies include gardening, photography, and reading.

In her lineage are notable engineering graduates, including Fred Cooper, co founder of the Purdue Society of Black Engineers and Michelle Cooper, first female National Treasurer of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Monday, February 15, 2016

DeLean Tolbert PhD Student: Engineering Education

DeLean Tolbert is a 4th year PhD student studying Engineering Education. Her main reason for choosing Purdue was the INSPIRE Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering Education Research. The INSPIRE institute at Purdue focuses on “pre-college engineering education research and integration with science, technology, mathematics, and literacy.” The School of Engineering Education at Purdue is the first program in the world of its kind. DeLean comments “I really liked what Purdue had to offer. I am happy with my decision.” Her favorite part of Purdue includes “the relationships that I have formed during my time here. I really love people and love learning about people.”

While an undergrad, DeLean had several internship opportunities through NSBE, Inroads, and her personal mentors that include interning at GE-Transportation, DTE Energy, Verizon Wireless, and the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP). She adds “I have also done tons of research. I just love it!!”

After graduation, DeLean is looking into finding a faculty position. She says “we need more faculty members of color in our colleges of engineering. I really hope to show other students like me that we can be in positions like that.” DeLean would also like to open a family business with her siblings and travel the world. Her dream job includes serving as a liaison between various communities and becoming an advocate for reconciliation and collaboration. “Regardless of my job, I want to be a bridge builder.”

On campus, DeLean is involved with National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Collegians for Jesus, Chi Alpha, and Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA). During her free moments, she enjoys spending time with her family and learning to play the keyboard, which she plays for her Bible Study. DeLean’s passion for her work and her love of life are contagious. She says it best herself: “I have learned to give credit where it is due. So I thank God for the opportunity to come to Purdue, to learn and to meet so many people from different walks of life. Keep moving forward! You will make mistakes along the way. Of course, work to make things right but don’t let that keep you down. Remember to celebrate your accomplishments. We’ve got work to do.”

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Nicole Pitterson, PhD, Engineering Education

Nicole Pitterson recently graduated with a PhD in Engineering Education from Purdue University, with background degrees in both Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering. During her studies here at Purdue, Nicole was involved in various engineering organizations such as the American Society for Engineering Education and Women in Engineering, along with other groups such as the Black Graduate Student Association, Adventist Collegiate Fellowship at Purdue, and Boiler OUT - a group focused on engaging in community service projects that focus on outreach, understanding, and teamwork. Nicole was also involved in the Minority Engineering Program during her time at Purdue. When reflecting on her time with MEP, Nicole responds, “I really appreciated the support and engagement I received from being involved with the MEP summer programs and subsequent interactions through the academic year.” After graduating in December, Nicole is currently working as a postdoctoral scholar at Oregon State University.