• YEAR: Junior
  • MAJOR: Chemical Engineering
  • HOMETOWN: New Palestine, Indiana

Chris Hanselman

"The Hanselman household bleeds gold and black." So says Christopher Hanselman, whose parents met and fell in love as Purdue students in the 1980s. A very smart love story: His mother, Elaine, graduated with an electrical engineering degree in 1984. His father, Tim, was a Krannert Scholar with the top GPA in his program when he earned his master's in management in 1989.

"It was about as close as you can get to being a no-doubter," says Chris on his choice to follow suit. The familiar campus seemed like a second home. He came here for academic summer camps and routinely patrolled his parents' old Boilermaker stomping grounds. A winner of a prestigious Beering Scholarship his freshman year, Chris could eventually hold three Purdue degrees.

'That wasn't here when we were here'

Anyone who's witnessed the change in the campus landscape just since 2000 might be shocked to see the difference three decades can make. Tim and Elaine Hanselman lived all over campus, including Married Student Housing. Chris says he has long endured his parents' exclamations about the many buildings and amenities that have cropped up since their schooldays.

On being a Beering

Created by Purdue's ninth president, Steven C. Beering, the Beering Scholarship is no small-change giveaway. In 2010, Chris was one of six first-year students to enter Purdue with a chance to earn an almost unlimited educational opportunity without incurring any debt. The awardees can pursue one bachelor's degree, one master's degree or an MBA and one doctoral degree at Purdue or medical school through Indiana University.

"I'm in it for the long haul," says Chris, who plans on earning a PhD. "After I finish, I want to go into industry. I'm particularly interested in pharmaceuticals and hope to find something that makes me feel like I'm making a difference by helping people."

SURF's up at Purdue

This past summer, Chris participated in Purdue's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. SURF is renowned for exposing students to the research world. Working under the guidance of Julie Liu, assistant professor of chemical engineering, he investigated recombinant elastic proteins with the purpose of using them for a tissue engineering scaffold.

"My work was really just laying the groundwork for a small piece of protein characterization that fits into the larger puzzle of tissue engineering," he says. "It's awe-inspiring and encouraging to work in such a complicated field that could someday yield treatments for arthritis and a variety of other conditions."

See you at PMU

It's not all chemical engineering labs and homework for this Hanselman. He's heavily involved with the Purdue Student Union Board, a group of students working behind the scenes to put on free events around campus and in the Union. As a director, he organizes a committee responsible for events like the Boiler Culinary Throwdown, a cooking competition similar to "Iron Chef." The Union also has been one of his favorite places to hang out with friends and study. And it's still home to the Sweet Shop - something very familiar to his parents.

Legacy links
  • Mother: Elaine Hanselman,
    BS '84, electrical engineering
  • Father: Tim Hanselman,
    MS '89, management
  • Aunt: Susan Corey,
    BS '88, early childhood education
  • Uncle: Doug Corey,
    BS '94, chemical engineering