Dear undergraduates,

Wishing you an auspicious start to the semester!

As you stride into the year, and the semester, spend a moment to leaf through our most recent suite of resources regarding the environmental sphere.

First, we highlight the Agricultural and Biological Engineering degree programs, which comprise an array of interdisciplinary majors and specializations. With our focus on ABE, we also take a look at the course AGRY/NRES 25500. Also, read about the ABE program from Jenna Bradford, a sophomore in the program who was recently selected as an Emerging Leader for the Land O'Lakes Global Food Challenge, to be held this summer.

We march on with our year-long program of discussions and focus on environmental justice, in the shape of the documentary-film, Return to the Andes. You can engage further with our regional symposium entitled, “Next Steps – Environment Justice, Climate Change, and Racial Justice,” in partnership on campus organizations and higher education bodies in Indiana as well as our upcoming panel discussion on the challenges BIPOC farmers face, hosted in partnership with College of Agriculture and College of Health and Human Sciences.

Lastly, if you have participated in undergraduate research, consider presenting your work at the Spring 2021 Undergraduate Research Conference, held virtually from April 12, 2020 through 19.
 Additional upcoming research opportunities are also available from the Office of Undergraduate Research, the Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship and SROP.

Thank you for your support! If you would like to suggest a feature on an event, student club, story, or any other feedback, please contact Siddharth Sinha, our Research and Communications Intern, at

Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Chosen as the best undergraduate program by US News & World Report for the sixth year in a row, the Purdue Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) department offers three interdisciplinary degrees in two colleges (Ag and Engineering). Jenna Bradford, a sophomore in ABE, said, "There are so many opportunities as an ABE undergrad, and one of them that I have particularly appreciated is being able to participate in real research as a part of my curriculum. ABE 226 and ABE 227 are labs that I have/am currently participating in for discovering and genetically sequencing novel bacteriophages. I think these two classes particularly emphasize why I love my major so much--I feel like I am doing real work that I enjoy while also getting the best education. There is such a focus on interdisciplinarity and meaningful experiences that I know will prepare me for wherever my career takes me." Bradford has been selected as an Emerging Leader for Land O'Lakes Global Food Challenge, held this summer. We share more about her achievement below. 

One of ABE's environmentally-focused streams is the Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering (ENRE) concentration offered through the College of Engineering. Its topics readily apply to current issues in agriculture and help toward the augment of industry practices. In Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, students learn about the intricate relationship between human activities and complex ecosystems to devise solutions that contribute to sustainability. Students are introduced to advanced technological approaches such as:
  • GIS
  • finite element analysis
  • sensor design
  • basic engineering principles
These skills and approaches prepare students to tackle challenges involving soil and plant environments, surface and groundwater quality, air quality, animal environments, and food safety. Graduates of ENRE can explore career options in federal, state, and local government, engineering consulting firms, industry, and graduate study opportunities. 

Boasting an esteemed biochemical technology research program, the Bioprocess Engineering degree offered by the College of Engineering focuses on avenues in the rapidly advancing sphere of genetic engineering. Topics in the program include:
  • bioenergy and renewable resources utilization
  • bioenergy/renewable energy production
  • bioprocessing of biomass into biofuels, biochemicals, and biopolymers
  • biofuel utilization
  • bioreactor design and modeling 
  • enzyme and biocatalysis development 
  • metabolic engineering
  • bioseparations
Visit the Bioprocess Engineering page to learn more.


AGRY 25500 - Soil Science

Credit Hours: 3.00.
Offered in Spring and fall. 

AGRY/NRES 25500 introduces students to fundamental and meticulous topics surrounding soils, in and outside the classroom, with the aim that students apply the concepts to explain soil issues and processes. Subjects like differences in physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils, genesis, and the association between soil and land-use problems like pollution complement field trips and weekly labs to offer holistic learning. Ultimately, students will be able to use their knowledge to inform their decisions in soil management, including soil and plant tissue analyses, assessing soil health, water quality and quantity issues, and processes like erosion, and soil (bio) remediation. This class applies to several majors in programs including ABE and EAPS.
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) is a scientific and educational body committed to advancing engineering in agriculture, food, and biological systems. The Purdue chapter of ASABE welcomes all engineering and non-engineering students who harbor an interest in the application of engineering in areas surrounding food and process engineering; power and machinery; soil and water; and ergonomics, safety, and health. 

This semester, Purdue ASABE is planning a career fair prep, resume review night, hosting guest speakers like past alumni presenting on their time at Purdue and their current careers, certificate opportunities, and fun socials. Follow the club's Instagram for updates on events and meetings.
Environmental Justice Film Series: Return to the Andes

Thursday, February 18, 6 PM | Zoom

Join us for the next installment in the 2020-2021 Environmental Justice Film Series, featuring the film Return to the Andes, a documentary about Nelida Silva who returns to her Peru birthplace with a dream of helping rural women start businesses. Following the film, there will be a post screening discussion with Silva and director Mitch Teplitski. Register here.

Next Steps: Environmental Justice, Climate Change, and Racial Justice Conference

March 25-26 | Virtual

The Center for the Environment is working with several organizations on campus and in conjunction with several other institutions of higher education in Indiana (Notre Dame, IUPUI, IU Bloomington) to organize a free two-day virtual, regional, symposium, “Next Steps – Environment Justice, Climate Change, and Racial Justice.” This effort is being led by professor of Anthropology and recent associate director of the Center for the Environment, Laura Zanotti.  Zanotti received financial support from Purdue’s Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership as one of five grant recipients for project proposals enabling inclusion at Purdue. More information, including a schedule, here.
Registration is required to attend the Conference - register by clicking here.
BIPOC Farmers in Sustainable Agriculture

January 28, 2021 | Virtual

The Center for the Environment has partnered with the College of Agriculture and the College of Health & Human Sciences to present this panel discussion as part of the colleges’ joint observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Awareness Week. In America and around the world, farmers who are Black, Indigenous and people of color face unique challenges in equitable access to grow food while practicing environmental stewardship. Representatives from Purdue faculty, Purdue Extension’s Urban Agriculture program, Purdue’s Center for Global Food Security and Indiana’s BIPOC farming community will outline these challenges and potential solutions. Currently scheduled panelists include: 

  • Gary Burniske, managing director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security
  • Zhao Ma, professor, Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
  • Sharrona Moore (CEO / garden manager), Lawrence Community Gardens in Indianapolis
  • Nathan Shoaf, urban agriculture coordinator, Purdue Extension
  • Ariana Torres, assistant professor, Purdue University Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture / Department of Agricultural Economics
  • Curtis Whittaker, Sr. (owner / founder) and Freida Graves (farm manager), Faith Farms in Gary, Indiana

Tamara Benjamin, assistant program leader for Purdue Extension’s Diversified Farming and Food Systems program, will moderate this event. Register here.

Nudged by her high school teachers to pursue a college career in engineering, Jenna Bradford (Agricultural and Biological Engineering), took her aspirations a step further. Leaning toward an interdisciplinary arena of work, Jenna now weaves her passion for math and science with the drive to bring about change. “I have always been ambitious and knew that helping people was my calling, but when I was in FYE and learned about everything involved in ABE, I felt like a whole new world of opportunities had opened. Food security and sustainability especially were subjects I became passionate about solving,” Bradford said.

She explained to Emma Ambrose of the College of Agriculture, “The pandemic exposed a lot of weaknesses in our food supply chain, domestically and globally. The food is there, but it’s not always able to get to the right people. I’m interested in learning how to resolve some of those issues.” This summer, Bradford joins students from across the country to serve as an Emerging Leader at the Land O’ Lakes Food Challenge. Now Bradford has won herself the opportunity to study the meticulous components of the U.S.’s food supply systems, and embark on a journey to Africa, should the travel restrictions allow.

Hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR), the Spring 2021 Undergraduate Research Conference caters a stellar opportunity to showcase your research endeavors and studies to Purdue faculty and the public. The conference will be held virtually from April 12 - 19, and the deadline to submit research abstracts ends March 11, 2021. Click here to learn more.

Haven’t participated in any undergraduate research yet? Not an issue! Check out OUR’s website to learn how to launch your very own undergraduate study. 

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