News Details

Birck selects inaugural class of graduate student ambassadors

August 10, 2010

Nine top Purdue University graduate students at the Birck Nanotechnology Center will form the inaugural class in the Discovery Park center's new Graduate Ambassador Program.

As Birck Nanotechnology ambassadors, the student researchers will assist with Birck and Discovery Park outreach and engagements efforts, including tours, special events, presentations, research conferences and other activities over the next 12 months.

In return, the nine students will be eligible for travel grants of $500 or $250 to assist with attending and presenting their research at technical conferences, said Monica Allain, managing director at Birck. A year-end banquet also is planned to recognize the graduate student ambassadors for their efforts.

The graduate students and their faculty advisers are:

* Drew Candebat, working with electrical and computer engineering professor Joerg Appenzeller.

* Kuo-Ping Chen, with electrical and computer engineering professor Vladimir Shalaev.

* Pankaj Jha, with Purdue Provost Timothy Sands, who also is an electrical and computer engineering professor.

* Sunhee Lee, with electrical and computer engineering professor Gerhard Klimeck.

* Kachi Odoemene, with agricultural and biological engineering professor Marshall Porterfield.

* Lisa Reece, with basic medical sciences professor James Leary.               

* Bob Sayer and Kyle Smith, with mechanical engineering professor Tim Fisher.

* John Wilcox, with electrical and computer engineering professor Jeff Gray.

"The program is modeled after the many ambassador programs at Purdue and other major universities, but this is unique at Purdue because it's tailored to graduate students, particularly those working in interdisciplinary research involving the advancement and development of products through nanotechnology," Allain said.

"These are some of the brightest students on campus, assisting faculty members on major research projects in Discovery Park in the areas of energy, sensors, solar cells, bionanotechnology, nanophotonics and nanoelectronics. Several of the ambassadors also are Purdue Nanotechnology Student Advisory Council members, demonstrating the high quality of students at Birck and their leadership qualities."

The Birck Graduate Ambassadors Program is a joint effort between the Birck Nanotechnology Center and Purdue's Discovery Park.

The Birck Nanotechnology Center, a $58 million facility that opened in 2005, involves more than 300 faculty, staff and graduate students from 36 schools and departments at Purdue, advancing research in nanoscale science and engineering with applications in areas such as health care, energy, computer technology and food safety.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources:   Monica Allain, 765-494-5138, 
                    Candiss Vibbert, 765-494-9404,

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