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April 15, 2007

Purdue students honored at annual awards convocation

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue students will be recognized for their academic achievements and leadership on Sunday (April 15) during the university's annual Honor Convocations at Elliott Hall of Music.

Carlos Kemeny, a mechanical engineering major from Alpine, Utah, will receive the $500 G.A. Ross Award for the outstanding graduating man. He has been involved as a member of Engineering Ambassadors, Mortar Board, Purdue Student Government and the Purdue Musical Organizations group "Heart and Soul." He also is a violinist in the Purdue Symphony and director of his church's choir.  He has volunteered in drug and alcohol abuse programs on campus and is a resident assistant at Hilltop Apartments. The G.A. Ross Award is made possible through a gift from Ross, a 1916 alumnus.

Rachel Cumberbatch, an animal science and pre-veterinary medicine major from Lebanon, Ind., will receive the $500 Flora Roberts Award for the outstanding graduating woman. She is the student representative on Purdue's Board of Trustees and has served as an animal sciences ambassador. She is a member of Mortar Board, the President's Leadership Class and the Student Radio Advisory Board, while also volunteering for the Tippecanoe Humane Society, Boilermaker Volunteer Network and the Timmy Foundation during spring break trips to third-world countries. The award is made possible through a bequest by Flora Roberts of the Purdue class of 1887.

Steven Lee, a junior in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering from West Lafayette, Ind., will receive the $1,000 Bruce Helfert Memorial Award for outstanding junior majoring in science or engineering. He has been involved as a Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering Ambassador, implemented a peer-monitoring program for Honors Engineering and serves as president of Purdue's Engineering World Health, a student organization he helped establish to cater to the needs of the disadvantaged. Lee participated in an internship with Stryker Corp. and did volunteer work with the Timmy Foundation, which strives to improve the availability of quality health care to children worldwide. The Helfert Award is made possible through a gift from Sylvia Helfert in memory of her son, Bruce Helfert, a 1964 Purdue graduate. He was a surgeon at March Air Force Base in California, when he died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

Pirita See, a psychology and sociology major from Helsinki, Finland, will receive the $1,000 Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity Arts Scholarship. She is a member of the Purduettes, has been performing since she was a child and has written more than 150 songs. The scholarship is endowed by the Purdue chapter of Alpha Chi Omega and presented annually to a freshman, sophomore or junior with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 and whose life is enhanced by a passion for the visual or performing arts.

Three students, Ai-Nhan Do, Amanda Fox and Blair Martin, were chosen as recipients of the Amelia Earhart Scholarship, given to students who demonstrate a desire to succeed in their fields. Recipients of the $1,000 scholarship must be U.S. citizens, have a minimum 3.2 grade-point average and exhibit leadership skills, determination and potential.

Do is a sophomore from Indianapolis and is majoring in pharmacy. She emigrated from Vietnam 11 years ago. She helps support her family while finding time to volunteer at Rosewalk Nursing Home, Trinity Mission in Lafayette and with Boiler Blast Cleanup in West Lafayette. She also helped with debris cleanup in New Orleans last August as the community service coordinator for the Vietnamese Student Association.

Fox is a junior from Indianapolis and is majoring in elementary education. She has been president of the Student Education Council, director of risk management for the Panhellenic Association, vice president of Kappa Alpha Theta women's fraternity, a host for the Old Masters Program and a volunteer at the Lyn Treece Boys and Girls Club in Lafayette.

Martin is a sophomore from Elkhart, Ind., majoring in pre-pharmacy. She has been president of Diabetics United at Purdue, a member of Navigators and Campus Crusade for Christ, and a site leader for the Boiler Volunteer Network, while doing additional volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity, Southern Care Hospice and Ribbon of Hope Cancer Ministries.

Seven students will receive the Charles O. McGaughey Leadership awards, which were established by McGaughey, a 1939 Purdue graduate, to honor students with leadership potential. To be eligible for these awards, students must have completed at least two years of full-time study at Purdue with at least a 3.0 grade-point average. They are selected on the basis of their contributions to the university and community.

Recipients of the McGaughey Awards are Henry Chou of Fishers, Ind., Anne Marie Diener of Five Points, Calif., Shawn Dorgan of Warsaw, Ind., Christopher Kutanovski of Crown Point, Ind., Danielle Middlesworth of Marion, Ind., Chelsea Mohler of South Bend, Ind., and Amy Penner of Wabash, Ind.

The honorees each received $3,125 and a crystal paperweight commemorating the award.

Chou is a senior majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology. He has been president of Purdue Science Student Council, a Science Ambassador, secretary of Mortar Board and a team supervisor for Boiler Gold Rush, while also being involved with the Timmy Foundation, Habitat for Humanity and Honors Undergraduate Research in Biochemistry.

Diener is a senior majoring in food industry market management. She has served as president of the Purdue Foundation Student Board and has held positions of responsibility in several other organizations, including Mortar Board, Iron Key Honors Society, Old Masters, the Athletic Affairs Committee, Agricultural Council and Alpha Chi Omega sorority, while also helping with Meals on Wheels.

Dorgan is a senior majoring in management. He has served as member of Old Masters Central Committee, Mortar Board and Purdue Foundation Student Board, while also being active with Boiler Gold Rush. Dorgan has been a leader for the Indiana Army National Guard, having served on a peacekeeping mission to Bosnia in 2003 and in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan for 13 months beginning in 2004. He will graduate in December.

Kutanovski is a senior majoring in general health science. He has served as president of Sigma Chi Fraternity and director of campus relations for Purdue Student Government. He also is involved with Old Masters, Gimlet Leadership Honorary, Order of Iron Key and Skull & Crescent on campus. He volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the West Lafayette Parks Department and Lincolnshire Retirement Village.

Middlesworth is a senior majoring in elementary education. She has served as president of Ambassadors for Children, vice president of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and a trainee for undergraduate research. She has been active on campus with Purdue Student Education Association, Higher Ground Dance Co. and Purdue Christian Campus House. Off campus, she has been an aide at Murdock Elementary School and Rainbow Kids Children's Ministry.

Mohler is a senior double majoring in biological and food processing engineering and pharmaceutical science. She has served as student body vice president and secretary, while also performing in leadership roles for the Women in Leadership Conference, the Indiana Campus Compact, Mortar Board, Iron Key and Purdue hurricane relief and doing volunteer work for Ronald McDonald House.

Penner is a senior majoring in biological and food processing engineering. She has been president of Iron Key Senior Honor Society and vice president for the Society of Women Engineers, while also being active with Purdue's Study Abroad program, the Mentors and Mentees program, Boiler Gold Football Recruiting Ambassadors and the Presidential Advisory Search Committee. Off campus, she has been a Bible study leader, Mary Kay sales consultant and a mission trip participant to Juarez, Mexico.

Graduating seniors who maintained a 4.0 grade-point average also will be honored during the convocation. Sixty-seven of Purdue's graduates from May 2007 and August and December 2006 achieved that honor.

Writer: Christy Jones, (765) 494-1089,

Source: Jim Vruggink, director of special projects, (765) 494-2086,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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