Liz Rostro Represents
Two Firsts for Purdue Chemical Engineering
This summer, Dr. Lizbeth Rostro completed her PhD,
representing two firsts for the School.
She is the first of Dr. Bryan Boudouris' graduate
students to earn a PhD and the first Native American
student to earn a graduate degree from Purdue
“Lizbeth is one of the hardest working and dedicated
people with whom I have had the pleasure to work.
The scientific vision and results that were produced
during her doctoral thesis led to the discovery of new
fundamental physics in the polymer electronics world;
she is a true leader in the field," said Boudouris.
Those efforts in the synthesis and characterization
of a new class of conducting radical polymers with
specialized applications, such as organic solar cells,
resulted in four first-author publications during her
graduate program. She has another in press. She also
was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate
Research Fellowship and the School's 2015 Faculty
Rostro says she was pleasantly surprised to win the
award, which honors outstanding achievement
in scholarly research and publication by a Purdue
Chemical Engineering graduate student. She counts
the experience as a fulfilling one since it allowed her
to talk about her work with the entire department and
particularly the younger graduate students.
As one of Boudouris' first graduate students, she
helped set up his new lab in Forney Hall. She counts
the experience of going from an empty room to a
complete lab as an incredibly rare opportunity that is
not usually afforded to most graduate students.
Rostro's path to graduate school began during
Co-Op assignments with Dow Chemical Company.
Through the course of her undergraduate studies at
the University of Arkansas, Rostro completed three
Co-Ops with the company, which sparked her interest
in scientific research. She was a sought-after graduate
student, and she credits the ChE student colloquium
with her eventual decision to complete graduate
school at Purdue.
“Purdue had the most complete set-up for the initial
student visits. Right from the time that we arrived at
the airport, to the time we left, there were no missing
links,” she said. “The faculty was involved during
the colloquium and the graduate students seemed
welcoming and just happier."
With her school days behind her, Rostro is excited
about her next career step, a full-time position at the
Dow Chemical Company.
As for being the first Native American to earn a graduate
degree from Purdue Chemical Engineering, Rostro says
her family was her biggest source of inspiration through
graduate school, but she downplays the distinction.
For our part, the School wishes her the best as she
continues in her research career.
by Agnes Mendonca
Dr. Lizbeth Rostro was instrumental in setting up Dr. Bryan
Boudouris' new laboratory.