> > > 8-month mission on "Mars": FUNdraising

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Purdue Day of Giving – an annual university-wide effort to build a better, stronger, more affordable Purdue – is next Wednesday, April 29th. There are several contests and competitions that make this FUNdraising effort into a truly FUN event. Get involved, promote the event on social media, and watch your favorite Purdue units climb the leaderboard! Click HERE to learn more.

I’m giving from “Mars” but don't be intimidated if you’re aiming for the "Donation from Person Living Furthest from Campus" challenge from 7-8pm (EDT) on April 29th, as simulated Mars is only 4200 miles away on the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. However, I will be keeping an eye on the "Most Unique Photo with Purdue Day of Giving Logo” challenge from 11am - noon (EDT), as recently I went out on EVA to create the photo below. Boiler up!

Purdue Day of Giving flag on simulated Mars (Photo Credit: Neil Scheibelhut)

In the spirit of Purdue Day of Giving, I'm donating to two outstanding schools at Purdue, as I am forever grateful to the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering for giving me the chance to begin graduate school at Purdue and to the School of Industrial Engineering for enabling me to extend my stay at Purdue for doctoral studies!

My Purdue story begins in the summer of 2009, after graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I was still eager to keep studying and jumped at the opportunity to begin graduate school at Purdue, also known as the cradle of astronauts! After 21 years of Florida sunshine, I packed up all my belongings and embarked on the road trip to Indiana. 

The view out my window changed from Florida orange groves to the wide open fields of Georgia, then I stopped for a couple nights to recharge in the Smoky mountains of North Carolina. On the road again, I snapped some photos of the rolling hills of Tennessee, passed through the horse farms of Kentucky, and I couldn’t miss the corn fields of Indiana! The sight of the Purdue billboards on I-65 confirmed that at last I had arrived!

During my master's studies in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, I furthered the development of biological scaffold for the repair and replacement of vascularized tissue under the advisement of Dr. Eric Nauman in the Human Injury Repair and Replacement Technologies (HIRRT) lab. It was “good stuff” as Eric would say! For my doctoral studies in the School of Industrial Engineering, I am developing data analytics for automated detection of health and stress states via wearable devices, such as Jawbone UP wristbands. By leveraging data to promote health and human performance, I aspire to improve the health of astronaut crews in space as well as citizens on Earth!

The 8-month mission here on simulated Mars is quickly coming to a close. I must say that I am increasingly excited to get back to West LaLa! I can't wait to be on-campus in August and soak in the freshness that comes with the beginning of a new academic year. I look forward to reuniting with my colleagues and waving at some new faces on the "Hello Walk" :) I will never again take that sidewalk for granted! After 8 months of confinement with only five other people, it'll be refreshing to see hundreds of Boilermakers on campus!