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Purdue Ag honors outstanding students

The College of Agriculture has honored its top students for the 2012–13 academic year. They are:

Gabriel Rangel, BS '13, Indianapolis, Outstanding Senior.


Rangel has maintained a 4.0 GPA in biochemistry. He is a College of Agriculture Dean's Scholar and was the first student to be named the college's outstanding student each of his four years at Purdue.

Rangel has worked on cancer and malaria research projects in laboratories at Purdue, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis and the University of Maryland.

In 2012, Rangel participated in the summer program in biological sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health, where he helped develop an imaging protocol for characterizing morphological changes that occur during maturation of the malaria parasite.

Rangel received the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study. He was named a Sen. Richard G. Lugar Scholar, Lilly Endowment Community Scholar and National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar.

Erin Whittaker, West Lafayette, Outstanding Junior.


Whittaker is majoring in quantitative agricultural economics and French, and is in the Dean's Scholars program. She is involved in the Department of Agricultural Economics Undergraduate Research Program, where she completed a thesis titled "Grain Market Analysis and Pricing."

Whittaker participates in the College of Agriculture Leadership Development Certificate Program, represented the College of Agriculture at the 2011 Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference in Kansas City and serves as a Purdue Ag Ambassador, Agricultural Council secretary, director of programming for Purdue Student Government and treasurer for the Return to Agriculture organization.

Whittaker interned in Washington, D.C., where she researched and wrote key parts of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 for U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts. She is interning with Archer Daniels Midland this summer as a commodity merchandiser.

Emily Erickson, Clark's Hill, Ind., Outstanding Sophomore.


Erickson is majoring in biochemistry and is in the Dean's Scholars program. She has worked with Michael Zanis of Purdue's Department of Botany and Plant Pathology studying adaptive evolution of grasses and in Karen Plaut's mammary biology lab.

Erickson is interning at the National Institutes of Health in the mammary stem cell biology section, where researchers are developing biological models to investigate breast cancer.

Erickson is a member of the Purdue Philharmonic Orchestra and recently was named principal viola player. She is a member of the American Dairy Goat Association and 4-H, and started the Purdue Goat Club.

She received the Purdue College of Agriculture Award of Excellence, Edwin T. Mertz Scholarship in Biochemistry and Leath Scholarship. Erickson won reserve grand champion at the 2011 North American International Livestock Exposition.

Sarah Cox, Chillicothe, Ohio, Outstanding Freshman.


Cox is majoring in pre-agricultural and biological engineering and pharmaceutical sciences, and is a Dean's Scholar. She is active in the Navy ROTC program and is a member of Dingy armed drill team.

Cox participates in Purdue's Global Engineering Program as a member of the Ecuador Pharmaceutical Transport Team, which is designing carrying cases for laptops that Timmy Global Health will use for keeping medical records in the Amazon.

In 2012, she was a World Food Prize USDA Wallace-Carver intern in Poplarville, Miss., where she investigated the use of natural plant-derived oil mixtures to combat crown rot in strawberries.

Cox is working this summer as an environmental intern for General Mills in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She was awarded the Purdue University Presidential Scholarship and Purdue Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Scholarship.

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West Lafayette, IN 47907-2053 USA, (765) 494-8396
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