Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award

Established in 1966, the Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed by the College of Engineering and recognizes graduates who have reached exceptional levels of professional achievement.

2023 Recipients

Brian Boyer

Brian Boyer

Nuclear Engineering

Brian Boyer, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) section head for the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO), has been an expert on nuclear safeguards and the nuclear fuel cycle working in various organizations for more than 40 years. After graduating from Penn State with his bachelor of science in nuclear engineering in 1980, Boyer worked for Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in reactor physics design.

Boyer returned to Penn State for graduate school in 1983 where he earned a master of science in nuclear engineering in 1985 and a doctoral degree in nuclear engineering and graduate minor in mechanical engineering in 1992. After working in nuclear safety analysis at Brookhaven National Laboratory for four years, he moved on to the IAEA and nuclear safeguards in Vienna, Austria in 1997. There he served as a safeguards inspector, traveling across Europe to inspect various nuclear fuel cycle facilities. Boyer returned to the United States (U.S.) in 2002, working at Brookhaven and Los Alamos National Laboratories, and making significant contributions to international safeguards concepts and training for the U.S. government and IAEA.

In 2013, the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INMM) awarded Boyer the Edway R. Johnson Meritorious Service Award for his technical research in international safeguards and mentoring of university students and young professionals in nuclear materials management.

In 2015, he returned to IAEA as a safeguards analyst. In 2019, Boyer was promoted to section head of INPRO in the IAEA’s nuclear energy department, leading the IAEA’s only integrated and forward-looking activity in a role that combines engineering, management, and international diplomacy.

Boyer is also a senior member of the INMM, a former INMM and American Nuclear Society chapter president, and Silver certificate recipient for 25 years of membership in the American Nuclear Society.

Benjamin Cooper

Benjamin Cooper

Biomedical Engineering

Benjamin Cooper, M.D., is a board-certified radiation oncologist in the Department of Radiation Oncology at New York University’s (NYU) Langone Health in New York City. Cooper is the director of proton therapy and treats patients with pediatric, central nervous system, and lung cancers. Cooper graduated cum laude from The Schreyer Honors College at Penn State with a bachelor of science in bioengineering. He then received his medical doctorate with Alpha Omega Alpha distinction from Temple University followed by a residency at NYU School of Medicine. Cooper has been extensively involved in clinical research involving pediatric tumors and many adult malignancies. He serves as the young investigator lead and first author of the spinal cord section of the international PENTEC initiative to define radiation dose constraints in pediatric patients. He has presented at American Association for Cancer Research, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and American Society for Radiation Oncology meetings, among others. He serves on the editorial board for Neurosurgey, is a peer-reviewer for multiple other journals, and has more than 90 peer-reviewed publications, abstracts, and textbook chapters.

As an advocate for medical education, Cooper has returned to Penn State to give advice to aspiring medical students. Additionally, he served as the medical student clerkship director at NYU in the Department of Radiation Oncology and oversaw the transition to a virtual curriculum during the COVID-19 pandemic when medical students were not permitted rotations at outside institutions.

Clinically, Cooper currently serves as the cancer liaison physician and is tasked with maintaining quality metrics for the NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center. He was recently appointed as site director for the Perlmutter Cancer Center radiation oncology site, which treats nearly 100 complex cancer patients a day.


John "Jack" Diviney

Civil Engineering

Born and raised in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, Jack Diviney was the first in his family to attend college. He earned his bachelor of science in civil engineering in 1968 and his master of engineering in 1977. He and his wife, Linda, currently reside in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Diviney started his career at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as a geotechnical engineer before joining Gannett Fleming, Inc., a 2,500-person international architectural and engineering design firm.

At Gannett Fleming, Diviney was instrumental in establishing and growing the firm’s geotechnical practice. Some of his major accomplishments include tunnel designs for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, stability rehabilitation of the Eisenhower Lock on the Saint Lawrence Seaway, and emergency subsidence repairs of Interstate 70 in Ohio.

In 1990, Diviney became an owner of Gannett Fleming and served as senior vice president until his retirement. Today, he continues to serve Gannett Fleming as a senior engineering consultant.

Diviney is a registered professional engineer. He has been active in the American Society of Civil Engineers, where he was president of the Central Pennsylvania section in 1984; and the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE), where he served as president of the Harrisburg section in 1997. In 1998, he was recognized by ASHE Harrisburg as “Engineer of the Year.”

Diviney has been an active Penn State alumnus. He served on the Department of Civil Engineering Industrial and Professional Advisory Council from 2010-15, is currently the president of the Civil Engineering Alumni Society, and serves on the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society (PSEAS) board of directors. He was honored by PSEAS in 2015 with the group’s Distinguished Service Award.

The Divineys have endowed two student scholarships, one of which benefits students in the College of Engineering.


Amy Ericson

Chemical Engineering

Amy Ericson has dedicated her career to leading solutions-oriented businesses in global corporations. As senior vice president of PPG’s Protective and Marine Coatings, Ericson champions PPG’s efforts to protect and beautify the world.

Ericson joined PPG in 2018 as a senior vice president, leading both the global Packaging Coatings and Specialty Coatings and Materials business units. In that dual role, she drove profitable growth for both businesses through a focus on sustainable metal packaging coatings innovations and an array of specialty coatings and materials that enable efficiency.

In January 2023, she was appointed senior vice president of Protective and Marine Coatings where she focuses on positioning PPG as a global leader in sustainable coatings that protect and beautify industrial assets exposed to extreme conditions. She also gained oversight of PPG’s Latin American region.

Prior to joining PPG, Ericson was the president of SUEZ Chemical Monitoring and Solutions after SUEZ acquired General Electric’s water services company, where she similarly served as president.

During a 20-year tenure at Alstom, where she held several titles culminating with president and CEO of Alstom in the United States (U.S.), Ericson was instrumental in the energy and integrated transport system-focused corporation’s carbon capture efforts. She played a leading role in signing the first commercial offshore wind contract in the U.S. and, at the request of the U.S. Energy Secretary, she chaired a study assessing the value proposition for global carbon capture and storage. Ericson also worked for Exxon Corporation, Mobil Oil, and DuPont in the early years of her career.

She is passionate about mentoring and supporting women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and is the executive sponsor of PPG’s Women’s Leadership Network. Ericson is also a member of the Penn State College of Engineering Industrial and Professional Advisory Council.

She holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Penn State, is a Schreyer Honors College alumna, and received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. An avid reader, lifelong swimmer, and Pilates enthusiast, Ericson is a mother to four daughters and resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and dogs.

Dan Grillo

Dan Grillo

Computer Science

Dan Grillo began his software career as an undergraduate at Penn State by working for NeXT Computer and the Department of Computer Science. After graduating with his bachelor of science in computer science in 1992, Grillo continued his career in Silicon Valley.

Throughout his career, Grillo has been an early employee who helped to build successful companies with interesting outcomes: NeXT, purchased by Apple; 280, purchased by Infoseek; Infoseek, purchased by Disney; Ariba, purchased by SAP; and LinkedIn, purchased by Microsoft.

For more than 20 years, Grillo has held senior engineering leadership positions. As an early employee at Ariba, he led the infrastructure teams behind the creation of the Ariba Business Network, which now processes $3.8 trillion in transactions per year. During the last 13 years as a vice president of engineering at LinkedIn, Grillo and his peers built the technology to power growth from $70 million to $17 billion in annual revenue. As a member of the executive team at LinkedIn, he oversaw the expansion of the engineering team from 100 to 7,300 people.

As an undergraduate student, Grillo served as the student representative for the committee that evaluated merging computer science and computer engineering. Now, as a member of the College of Engineering Industrial and Professional Advisory Council, he looks forward to sharing his experience as an engineering leader, startup investor, and adviser. Grillo previously served as a member of the Industry Advisory Board for the Department of Computer Science & Software Engineering at California Polytechnic State University. In his spare time, Grillo enjoys tracking sports cars and traveling. Currently, he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and their two children.

Amy Purdy Hirst

Amy Purdy Hirst

Electrical Engineering

Amy Purdy Hirst is a vice president in storage software development in IBM’s Systems Group. After graduating from Penn State's College of Engineering and Schreyer Honors College in 2000 with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering with high distinction, she joined IBM in Poughkeepsie, New York.

While at IBM, she earned a master of engineering in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Throughout her more than 22-year career, Hirst has held varied technical and leadership roles of increasing responsibility. She has won multiple awards, such as IBM People Management Excellent Awards and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve from the United States Army. Hirst also holds two patents.

She currently leads a global team of more than 570 people focused on developing innovative storage software solutions including data protection, parallel file systems, and storage insights. These software solutions enable high-performance computing, data resiliency, and data-intensive machine learning applications.

Previously, Hirst held positions in supply chain engineering, hardware development, and technical training. She directed the worldwide team that developed training content for IBM’s hardware and delivered technical training events on six continents. She also led the engineering organization that developed electronic and mechanical subsystems for high-end power and mainframe servers.

During her career, Hirst has been active at the IBM Poughkeepsie site, having led initiatives such as Mid-Hudson Valley National Engineering Week activities, mentoring many employees at various stages of their careers, and serving as executive co-chair of the Poughkeepsie New Hire Network. She also retained close ties to Penn State, including recruiting on-campus, guest lecturing engineering courses, and serving on the College of Engineering’s Industrial and Professional Advisory Council for the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, including serving as its president in 2018-19.

Aravind Melligeri

Aravind Melligeri

Mechanical Engineering

Aravind Melligeri is the chairman & CEO of Aequs, a global diversified manufacturing Platform, which he founded in 2009. In 1997, he co-founded Quest Global, a leading provider of outsourced engineering services. Melligeri continues to serve on the board of Quest Global.

He has been instrumental in establishing vertical focused manufacturing ecosystems that drive scale and efficiency through co-located capabilities delivering end-to-end value streams across the aerospace, toy, and consumer durable goods sectors.

The vertically integrated aerospace ecosystem that Melligeri built at Belagavi, in Karnataka, India, was awarded the “Global Airbus Innovation Award” in 2016 and is recognized as the first of its kind in the world. Aequs has since expanded its global footprint with operations in Asia, North America, and Europe that employ more than 5,000 people.

Melligeri is committed to transforming India into a global manufacturing hub and has established the country’s first toys manufacturing ecosystem apart from India’s first consumer durable goods cluster.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology in Karnataka, India, and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Penn State.

His focus on strategic initiatives and long-term growth has led India to increase in-country value and gain a competitive advantage. Melligeri believes that modern manufacturing is driven by two forces: continuous innovation and uninhibited collaboration.

Melligeri is the recipient of the Young Achiever Award by the Indo-American Society, the Super Entrepreneur 2019 Award by The Machinist magazine, and the News18 Business Leaders and Excellence Award for his contributions to the aerospace manufacturing sector in India.


Greg Tomb

Architectural Engineering

As president of Zoom, Greg Tomb oversees the company’s Go-to-Market strategy, along with managing revenue efforts and the office of the global CEO. He has played an instrumental role in helping transform Zoom into a multi-product platform that provides flexible solutions for modern team collaboration.

Prior to his position at Zoom, Tomb served as vice president at Google, managing the Workspace SMB, Data & Analytics, Geo Enterprises, and Security Sales teams for Google Cloud.

Prior to Google, he was the president of sales and GTM for SAP’s cloud offerings, including Intelligent Spend, SuccessFactors, Customer Experience, Digital Supply Chain, and Concur, as well as SAP Business Technology Platform.

Tomb also previously served as CEO of Vivido Labs, Inc. and has held management positions at Accenture Consulting and Comergent Technologies, Inc. He currently serves on the board of directors for Pure Storage Corporation.

Tomb holds a bachelor of architectural engineering in architectural engineering from Penn State and an M.B.A. from Loyola University Chicago.

Vijay Varadan

Vijay Varadan

Engineering Science and Mechanics

Vijay Varadan, distinguished professor emeritus of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State, has been instrumental in the development of wireless nanosensors, microelectricalmechanical systems, smart materials, and e-textiles. After receiving his master of science at Penn State, he pursued a doctoral degree at Northwestern University. Varadan obtained honorary doctorate of science in nanotechnologies and biotechnologies and medical doctor degrees from India, Australia, and Korea. After receiving his doctorate, he served as a faculty member at Cornell University and Ohio State. In 1983, he returned to Penn State as a professor of engineering science and mechanics. In 2005, Varadan joined the University of Arkansas as the 21st Century Endowed Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering and Neurosurgery. He returned to Penn State in 2015 as a distinguished professor emeritus where he remains actively involved in teaching and research in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics and the College of Medicine’s Department of Neurosurgery.

Varadan is a co-founder of Nanowear, located at Penn State’s Innovation Park, with his son, Venk Varadan. Nanowear is the leading developer of a patented, FDA-approved, textile-based nanosensor technology with applications in cardiac, neurological, and sports medicine through artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. As an entrepreneur, Varadan has also worked to set up mobile clinics overseas.

He has developed a neurostimulator for epilepsy, sleep apnea, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases. Varadan is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Smart Materials and Structures and the Journal of Nanotechnology in Engineering and Medicine. He has published more than 550 journal papers, 15 books, and 26 patents in health care.

With more than 42 years of teaching experience, Varadan has advised and mentored 58 doctoral students, 56 master’s students, and two medical fellows in neurosurgery. He is a fellow of SPIE, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of Physics, and the Acoustical Society of America. Varadan is also a founding chair of SPIE-SMS.

Matt White

Matt White

Industrial Engineering

Matt White is the executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO) for Linde plc. He previously served as Praxair’s senior vice president and CFO. White joined Praxair in 2004 as the financial director for the company’s largest business unit, North American Industrial Gases. In 2008, he became vice president and controller of Praxair, Inc., then was named vice president and treasurer in 2010. In 2011, White was named president of Praxair Canada. Before joining Praxair, White held roles at Fisher Scientific and GenTek.

White oversaw a roughly $90 billion merger in 2019 between international companies to create the biggest industrial gas producer in the world.

White earned a bachelor of science in industrial engineering from Penn State and an M.B.A. with a focus in finance from the University of Delaware. He is a certified public accountant and a chartered financial analyst.

Brian Yutko

Brian Yutko

Aerospace Engineering

Brian Yutko is currently the chief executive officer of Wisk Aero, an aerospace technology company pursuing the world’s first certified passenger-carrying autonomous aircraft. Wisk Aero is a joint venture between Boeing and Larry Page’s Kittyhawk Corporation and has been a pioneer in the development of electric, autonomous aviation.

Prior to joining Wisk as its CEO in February 2023, Yutko served as vice president and chief engineer for sustainability and future mobility at Boeing, where he led a team that ensured the company’s technical expertise and market leadership in sustainability technologies, as well as emerging, advanced aerial mobility applications. He served on Wisk’s board of directors and oversaw contributions to SkyGrid, an airspace technology startup. Yutko joined Boeing as chief technologist for Boeing NeXt, a business unit focused on advanced aerospace technologies and emerging applications.

Prior to Boeing, Yutko was senior vice president of programs at Aurora Flight Sciences, a leader in aerospace rapid prototyping and autonomy. Before this role and during Boeing’s acquisition of Aurora, he served as the company’s vice president of research and technology.

Prior to joining Aurora, Yutko was a research engineer and postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research focused on the simultaneous design and optimization of aircraft and the complex systems in which they operate. He built software tools that use machine learning to rapidly predict aircraft performance in large-scale system simulations for the purpose of assessing and reducing the environmental impact of aviation. During his time at Penn State, Yutko worked as a mechanical design engineer at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in a group that designed, fabricated, and deployed hardware for the space shuttle, space launch vehicles, and ground support equipment.

Yutko earned a doctorate and a master of science in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT and a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering from Penn State. He is a Schreyer Honors College alumnus, a private pilot, an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate Fellow, and a member of Penn State College of Engineering’s Industrial and Professional Advisory Council.