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2021 Alumni Awards


The Distinguished Science Awards were hosted by the Purdue University College of Science with a virtual event on April 14, 2021. At Purdue, we are in “The Persistent Pursuit of the Next Giant Leap.”  The College of Science continually strives to seek the next great discovery, innovation, or leader in their field. We recognize alumni who have taken the leap in pursuit of scientific and mathematical knowledge that is improving the world. 

Early Career Scientist Award

The Early Career Scientist Award is granted to alumni who have graduated in the last 10 years or are under the age of 40. These outstanding alumni illustrate the promise of becoming a leader among their peers. This group of early-career scientists has risen to the challenge by leaving their mark on how science plays a role in our everyday lives. 

This year, the College of Science honors Dr. Hoda Eldardiry as the 2021 Early Career Scientist Award winner. Dr. Eldardiry earned an MS and PhD in Computer Science in 2006 and 2012 respectively. Additionally, she earned an MBA from Purdue University in 2011. Dr. Eldardiry’s research on artificial intelligence has led to the development of AI and machine learning that tackle complicated modern issues such as fraudulent medical claims, cyber threat protection and sensors that can assist with panic attacks. She has made numerous contributions to the global computing research community and serves as associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. Her distinctions include the Creative Young Engineer Award and the Xerox Innovation Group Research Recognition Award. Determined to support tomorrow’s future scientists, she has also served as a professional mentor for the U.S. State Department TechWoman Program, a Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs initiative to combine global business, technology, and education power.

Professor Hoda Eldardiry

Congratulations to Dr. Hoda Eldardiry as a Distinguished Science Award Early Career Scientist for her enormous contributions to artificial intelligence and the computing research community at large. 

Philanthropy Award

The Philanthropy Award recognizes a philanthropist who has positively impacted the world. These alumni demonstrate loyalty to the College of Science in advancing its stated mission and goals.

The College of Science recognized the Philanthropy Award recipients, Dr. Stephen and Mrs. Janet Tolopka. Dr. Tolopka earned an MS and PhD in Computer Science in 1976 and 1981 respectively. Mrs. Tolopka earned her MS in Mathematics from Purdue in 1979. Dr. Tolopka retired as Senior Principal Engineer from Intel Labs in January 2011 after nearly three decades at Intel. Dr. Tolopka’s professional background at Intel includes operating system architecture, Computer Supported Collaboration, videoconferencing, networking, PC manageability, and Digital Home technology. His most recent role was Director of Trusted Platform Research, developing silicon technologies for trusted applications and services. He holds nine U.S. patents and received two Intel Achievement Awards. Dr. Tolopka has a long-running interest in improving career paths for technical women, co-chairing the National Center for Women & Information Technology’s Workforce Alliance on behalf of Intel from its inception in 2005 until his retirement. Mrs. Tolopka’s career spanned almost 25 years as an accountant and financial analyst, beginning at Intel in 1988 as an Accountant followed by five years in a CPA firm primarily auditing governmental entities. She ended her career at Metro (the Portland area’s regional government) as a Senior Management Analyst.

Stephen and Janet Tolopka

Dr. and Mrs. Tolopka serve on the Board of Directors as board president / music director and treasurer (respectively) for The Beat Goes On Marching Band and have performed with the band at major events in locations as far-flung as Calgary, San Antonio, San Francisco, Alaska, the Netherlands, and Shanghai. Mrs. Tolopka also serves as a board member and treasurer for The Immigrant Story, a small nonprofit that features accomplishments of immigrants.  The Tolopka’s have supported many areas of Purdue over the years, including the President’s fund, Women in Science, and the Department of Computer Science, as well as naming the Tolopka Terrace in the Lawson Computer Sciene building. They are also active members in Purdue’s Griffin Society and President’s Council. 

The College of Science recognized Dr. Steve and Mrs. Janet Tolopka as a Distinguished Science Philanthropy Awardees for their tremendous commitment to furthering the College of Science and Purdue University as a whole. 

Distinguished Alumni Award 

The Distinguished Alumni Award is awarded to exceptional alumni who provide significant leadership within their chosen field as well as noteworthy professional accomplishments that reflect favorably on their profession, the College of Science, Purdue University and society. The award recipients represent the very best of our alumni and we are honored to celebrate their significant achievements in the field and around the world.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recipient is Mr. Darwin Ling. Darwin Ling is the founding general partner of Good AI Capital, a mission-driven venture fund focusing on early-stage AI companies in Fintech, Healthcare, and B2B SaaS. Prior to that, he is an entrepreneur with multiple exits, a technologist as well as an angel investor in successful unicorns such as SoFi. Most recently, Darwin served as the CTO and co-founder of SmarterMe, which aims to improve sales productivity by bringing AI / Intelligence to the flow of work. Counting enterprise customers such as Danaher (Fortune 500 medical device), Home Depot and GE, SmarterMe was recently acquired. As a distinguished alumnus of Purdue University, Darwin was featured as one of Purdue's Tech Titans and is serving on the leadership council for the School of Science. In 2017, Mr. Ling and his wife Stephanie established the Darwin and Stephanie Ling Scholarship for Women in STEM at Purdue. Darwin received his MBA with honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He also holds a BS (Phi Beta Kappa) with distinction in Computer Science and Mathematics and an MS in Computer Science, both from Purdue University. 

Darwin Ling

The College of Science recognizes Mr. Darwin Ling as a Distinguished Alumni for his significant entrepreneurial successes in technology.



To all of our Distinguished Science Awards recipients, we congratulate you and are honored to celebrate your accomplishments and tremendous impacts. We would like to thank all of the honorees for their commitment to the Department of Computer Science, the College of Science and Purdue University. 

Last Updated: Apr 6, 2022 1:06 PM

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