* Purdue HS-STEM Career Development Program
* Purdue Regional Visualization and Analytics Center
* Purdue Homeland Security Institute

January 8, 2009

5 Purdue students win homeland security STEM scholarships

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Five Purdue students have won research scholarships and fellowships totaling $300,000 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Career Development Program, university officials announced Thursday (Jan. 8).

The four graduate student winners are Rachel Suzanne Beard of Summerville, S.C., who is studying virology; Nwokedi Idika of Lanham, Md., computer science; Kyle Montgomery of Houston, electrical engineering; and Daniel Richardson of Springfield, Ohio, mechanical engineering.

The undergraduate student winner is Tyshia Gwin of Franklin, Ind., who is studying biology.

Program co-administrator David Ebert, a Purdue professor of electrical and computer engineering, said the scholarships for the upcoming spring semester will help Purdue grow the homeland security academic field and place students in careers that are in demand today.

"We had terrific interest in this program, now in its second year," said Ebert, who also is director of Purdue's Regional Visualization and Analytics Center in Discovery Park. "With these five selections, including our first undergraduate winner, we have a team with impressive backgrounds and diverse interests in homeland security and research to support this expanding field of study."

A breakfast honoring the five recipients is set for 7:30 a.m. Monday (Jan. 12) in the second floor atrium in Discovery Park's Gerald D. and Edna E. Mann Hall, 203 Martin Jischke Drive.

Recipients of the scholarships are eligible for $27,600 a year, or a maximum of $82,800 over three years. The students will attend several homeland security functions and submit semester summaries of their work and activities. They also will complete a year of service working in an approved homeland security-related position sanctioned by the Department of Homeland Security.

The federal scholarship program was launched in 2007 to encourage undergraduate and graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to pursue a career working or conducting research in homeland security. The university's program is led by Purdue's Regional Visualization and Analytics Center, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, and the Purdue Homeland Security Institute.

In the program's initial year, seven Purdue graduate students received scholarships as part of a $500,000 federal grant. They are now participating in research projects in terrorism and infectious diseases, cyber threats, analysis of linked animal and human health data, explosive and radiation detection, border security, and cargo container detection.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, (765) 496-3133,

Sources: David Ebert, (765) 494-9064,

Marti Burns, (765) 494-2216,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: Journalists who want to talk to any of the research scholarship winners can arrange interviews by contacting Phillip Fiorini, Purdue News Service, at (765) 496-3133, Journalists also are invited to cover the formal announcement of the scholarship winners at Monday's reception, beginning at 7:30 a.m. in the second floor atrium in Discovery Park's Gerald D. and Edna E. Mann Hall, 203 Martin Jischke Drive, in West Lafayette.

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