Trine recognizes distinguished students for Class of 2021

ANGOLA — Trine University has named Alexander Pessell, a biomedical engineering major from Arcadia, Ohio, as the winner of its Robert B. Stewart Award for its Class of 2021.

The university also has named Distinguished Students from each of its academic schools.

Alexander Pessell

The Robert B. Stewart Award is presented to the graduate who most clearly exemplifies the traditions and values of Trine University through achievement in scholarship, leadership and citizenship. Each academic school at Trine nominates a graduating senior for this award; Pessell represented the Allen School of Engineering and Computing.

Pessell maintained a 4.0 grade point average during his time at Trine. He completed a research experience for undergraduates during the summer of 2019 at the University of Maryland, and has been involved with research for Blaire Biomedical, a local company developing a handheld device that performs blood tests when linked to a smartphone.

He also was part of a group at Trine that worked on a research project funded by the Indiana Space Grant Consortium. Pessell wrote the application that was accepted for the grant funding.

He has presented research posters at Trine University’s STEM Symposium, the Biomedical Engineering Society national conference, the International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, and the Food and Drug Administration.

Pessell has served as a resident director and resident assistant at Trine. He is part of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, is past social media chair for Trine’s chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society, serves on the Recruitment and Selection and Immersion Excursion committees for the Ehinger Fellows, and serves as president of Trine’s Alpha Eta Mu Beta biomedical engineering honor society, which he founded.

He serves as treasurer for Skull and Bones and vice president of Trine Thunder Ultimate Frisbee. He also played baseball at Trine for three years.

Off-campus, he volunteers at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital.

He was recently selected for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. The oldest science, technology, engineering and mathematics fellowship program in the United States, the GRFP, through a competitive selection process, recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees.

Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science (Intern)

A collaboration between the Director Mitch Luman at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science and Indiana Space Grant Consortium, has provided a wonderful 10 week summer internship for an outstanding Purdue University student. Carlisle Wishard, a graduate student working toward her Ph.D. in planetary sciences, is the newest intern at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science. Ms. Wishard has a deep interest in the intersection of science research and community engagement and will be presenting programs & working on projects in the Museum’s  Koch Immersive Theater and Planetarium. According to Mitch Luman, mentor and INSGC Affiliate Director, “Carlisle’s past museum experience and research interests are a perfect fit to contributing to education in a planetarium environment”.  Support for internship is made possible by the Indiana Space Grant Consortium.

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2021-22 Indiana Space Grant Consortium Fellowship Awardees

  • G. Burrell (M) PFW
  • B. Kimesey-Miller (M) IU
  • I. Marrs (M) IU
  • C. Toorongian (M) PNW


  • E. Beilke (PhD) ISU
  • R. Salvador (PhD) PU
  • L. Organski (PhD) PU
  • A. Meyer (PhD) PU
  • A. Depoian-Baxter (PhD) PU
  • M. Smith (PhD) IU
  • L. Gray (PhD) IU


Check out this awesome project below:

  • Project: Engaging Community College Student in research: Intestinal host defense mechanism

Trine University has participated in the NASA Human Exploration Challenge competition since 2014 as part of its senior capstone design course sequence.  This provides our seniors and underclassman the opportunity to apply engineering skills and problem solving to a critical mission task for NASA, the future exploration of other planets by astronauts.  The team pictured here for 2020-21 is designing and building a 2 person vehicle capable of navigating obstacles routinely found on our moon and other planets.  The team appreciates the support of the Indiana Space Grant Consortium to complete this project and improve STEM skills.

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Will Steffel says he knew nothing about rotorcraft before the summer began, but the Trine University senior learned about them in a big way.

Trine Student

Trine University Team Designs a Human Powered Vehicle

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This group of Trine University engineering students Alex Munger, Carma Cherry, Dr. Tim Jenkins (advisor), Ian Price, Tyler Blanton, Emily Atwell and Sandeeb Kurian fulfilling an opportunity to validate both the analytical and practical skills to “create a vehicle designed to traverse the simulated surface of another world” at the NASA Rover Challenge. Congratulations for all of their hard work!

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