The core or heart of any institution or organization is its people. They are the
ones who fulfill the mission and affect life-changing impact. It has been a
great privilege for me in my short term as interim dean to get to know more
fully the great people in our College of Science. They are the college.
It is our faculty and staff who equip and assist our students from across the
campus to achieve the bright promise of their youth. And of course students
are our raison d’etre as an educational institution. Collectively, it is our
people that make your College of Science such a special place. This is why
we are so pleased that this issue is focused on providing you with greater
insight into the lives of our people.
In this issue of Insights, we explore and document how packed and
hectic a “day in the life” is for College of Science faculty members and
students. From the moment they devour breakfast or finish walking the dogs,
they are thinking, researching, learning and teaching cutting-edge science
and mathematics. We follow these men and women into the classroom, the
lab, the meeting room and the much-needed coffee break.
This summer, we were glued to our televisions and mobile devices
watching the Olympics. I am proud to report that alumna Amanda Elmore
was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. women’s rowing team. Her
performance was amazing and she has come a long way from a walk-on
freshman for Purdue Crew. Elmore balanced her Biological Sciences studies
with rowing and achieved tremendous success in both fields. Elmore is
currently a biomedical sciences graduate student at University of Michigan.
The resurrection of virtual reality as well as smartphone apps like
Pokémon Go’s amazing popularity has made the Computer Graphics and
Visualization track a popular choice for students. Professor Daniel Aliaga
helps lead a program that expertly teaches the back end, or how the graphics
work, as well as methods to make those algorithms look so good.
We also take you to CERN — always the hub of the next discovery in
particle physics — and the tops of Ecuadorian volcanoes. Sheridan Ackiss, a
graduate student in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary
Sciences, is studying ancient Martian volcanoes thanks to NASA imagery.
She is comparing some of Earth’s most impressive volcanoes with what she
has learned from those under the ice on Mars.
These and other untold stories are the reason our College of Science has
such a bright future. Though the challenges facing higher education are
substantial, I am very confident that our people will effectively take on these
challenges and seize the opportunities that lie before us.