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40 Under 40 Cohort

The 40 Under 40 Award is given to engineering graduates 40 years of age and younger who are leaders in their professions, communities, and involvement with Penn State. In 2021, the first year of selection, 22 honorees received awards. Multiple alumni will be selected each year until the 40 Under 40 cohort is achieved. As members reach 40 years of age, they will be phased out of the cohort and replaced by new members.

Benjamin Cooper

2003 B.S., Bioengineering
Assistant professor, medical student clerkship director, director of proton therapy, and department operations faculty representative at New York University Langone Health

“The problem-solving ability I learned in the College of Engineering has been invaluable. From my first year in medical school, I noticed I approached patients and problems somewhat differently than my life science classmates. My engineering background has helped me approach patients in a creative and personalized manner.”

Michael Hargather

2004 B.S., Mechanical Engineering
2008 Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering
Associate professor of mechanical engineering and dean’s research scholar at New Mexico Tech; research scientist at Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center

“Connecting with alumni is easy and provides a quick way to build new relationships, and remembering places, people, and experiences at Penn State builds those relationships into strong friendships. Sharing a half-gallon of Creamery ice cream is always better with Penn State alumni!”

Kevin Irick

2006 M.S., Computer Science and Engineering
2009 Ph.D., Computer Science and Engineering
Founder and CEO of SiliconScapes, LLC

“The College of Engineering at Penn State was one of the most diverse academic environments that I had ever participated in. As such, I can attribute much of my career success to the ability and willingness to collaborate with other engineers and scientists that have routinely spanned language, cultural, and geographical barriers.”

Jeffrey Kutz

2005 B.S., Mechanical Engineering
Vice president of global engineering operations at Bridge Gap Engineering, LLC

“Learning to work as a team and using your collective knowledge to determine a project solution is paramount to solving every engineering problem. The best engineers work efficiently as part of a team. No individual engineer has all of the answers, but together we can find them.”

Paul Lynch

2004 B.S., Industrial Engineering
2007 M.S., Industrial Engineering
2011 Ph.D., Industrial Engineering
Associate professor of industrial engineering at Penn State Behrend

“The Penn State alumni networking community has been instrumental in helping me locate avenues by which I can connect with fellow professionals, gain career guidance, exchange ideas, and learn about advancements in my field. This strong foundation has allowed me to develop into a mentor and adviser to those who are now beginning their career journeys.”

Matthew Malone

2008 B.S., Mechanical Engineering
Vice president of operations at Barber-Nichols Inc.

“My greatest advice is take advantage of the vast opportunities that exist outside the classroom by participating in fundraisers, social events, athletic clubs, internship, etc. It promotes a healthy work-life balance that will be critical when you enter the professional workplace.”

Lourdes Medina

2009 M.S., Industrial Engineering
2012 Ph.D., Industrial Engineering
Assistant professor of industrial engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

“Embrace failures and look at them as opportunities to learn, think, and demonstrate change. I remember studying for my engineering courses, trying all the exercises, and having the wrong answer many times. After learning from my attempts, I could easily recognize how not to fail, but how to succeed.”

Natalie Miller

2009 B.A.E./M.A.E., Architectural Engineering
Senior project manager at Davis Construction

“My Penn State College of Engineering student experience provided me with the opportunity to join numerous career-specific organizations. These organizations allowed me to gain leadership experiences and learn to work with a variety of team members.”

Gopal Nadadur

2010 M.S., Mechanical Engineering
2012 Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering
Senior adviser at Clinton Health Access Initiative

“The generous financial support I received allowed me to start my career with minimal debt, which enabled me to make unconventional and risky but meaningful and rewarding career choices, like leaving a lucrative career pathway in the private sector and instead pursuing unknown but exciting and highly fulfilling roles in international development.”

Benjamin Ross

2006 B.S., Engineering Science
2007 M.S., Engineering Science
Founder and chief technology officer at POWR.io

“Penn State engineering gave me the tools to not be afraid of an epic problem, but instead to break it into little achievable pieces.”

Jason Ryan

2006 M.S., Engineering Science
2010 Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering
Project leader of magnetic resonance spectroscopy at the National Institute of Standards and Technology

“Most alumni you encounter will be eager to hear about your experiences and want to reminisce about their time at Penn State. This is a perfect icebreaker and an easy foot in the door toward much bigger things. Whether it be potential employers, research collaborators, or just professional friendships, I’ve benefited immensely in this capacity.”

Robert Salko

2006 B.S., Mechanical Engineering
2006 B.S., Nuclear Engineering
2010 M.S., Nuclear Engineering
2012 Ph.D., Nuclear Engineering
Staff research scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

“Having a strong network is an important aspect of your success. This will present you with opportunities in your career. Furthermore, as engineers, we seek to solve complex and challenging problems, which almost always requires a team of talented individuals. Having that network will be beneficial in building that team.”

Brodie Schultz

2015 B.S., Mechanical Engineering
2017 M.B.A.
Lead launch engineer at Ford Motor Company

“Moving away from my hometown to begin my career left me with a very small professional network. Through the alumni network in Michigan, I was able to meet other experienced professionals and gain valuable insights on how to be successful. It also gave me the opportunity to become more involved in the alumni community.”

Guneet Sethi

2004 M.S., Engineering Science
2008 Ph.D., Engineering Science and Mechanics
Senior manager of hardware reliability engineering at Amazon

“The College of Engineering provided me with opportunities to work in new, cutting-edge technology areas. The college had a wide variety of courses that I could choose from during my graduate and doctorate studies. Not only did these courses enhance my knowledge, but also opened a world of possibilities for me.”

Jill Seubert

2005 B.S., Aerospace Engineering
Navigation engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

“‘I don't know, but I'll figure it out’ is a perfectly good answer. For example, as orbit determination lead for the Mars Perseverance rover, I briefed the highest-level JPL engineers on challenges we faced. We leveraged decades of deep space exploration experience to devise creative solutions and safely deliver Perseverance to its landing site.”

Joseph Sinclair

2015 B.S., Mechanical Engineering
2015 B.S., Nuclear Engineering
2018 M.Eng., Additive Manufacturing and Design
Founder of Verde Mantis, LP

“Practice being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Try tackling problems that you have no business trying to tackle. You will find the more often you do this, the more confident you’ll become in your abilities to persevere where others falter and fail.”

Josh Sorkin

2005 B.S., Industrial Engineering
Vice president of solutions at Science Applications International Corporation

“Penn State has an incredibly impressive brand across the country and the College of Engineering program doubles down on that when it comes to garnering reputation and credibility. Penn State seems to have developed my and other graduates’ networking ability, so we always cross paths with other Penn Staters and help one another out.”

Umamahesh Srinivas

2009 M.S., Electrical Engineering
2013 Ph.D., Electrical Engineering
Senior scientist at Apple Inc.

“Don’t stop learning, ever. Keep an open mind. Stay humble. In the big picture, try to give back more than you take.”

Paul Suhey

2014 B.S., Chemical Engineering
Co-founder and chief operating officer at Revel

“Have fun! Don’t forget to enjoy the Penn State experience because it doesn’t last long.”

Kate Tice

2012 B.S., Industrial Engineering
Senior program reliability engineer at SpaceX

“It's important to have more than just one mentor — think of it like developing your own personal board of directors. Seek out people with different strengths, backgrounds, and areas of expertise from each other and from you. Doing so will result in well-rounded feedback and ultimately help you make the best decisions for you.”

John Waldeisen

2007 B.S., Engineering Science

“The Penn State environment cultivated a well-rounded student experience that recognizes the importance of personal traits that are often pitted against the pursuit of academic excellence. There was equal emphasis on academic rigor and soft skills like empathy, community, philanthropy, and maintaining a balanced social life.”

Xiaolong “Tom” Zhang

2015 Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering
U.S. head of bioanalysis and senior director of large molecule at WuXi AppTec

“Stay physically and financially healthy. Open up to new opportunities and get prepared for the failures. Keep networking.”