Ellen Zouras

Hometown: Skokie, Ill.
Major: Sophomore majoring in building construction management (BCM), minoring in organizational leadership and supervision, and natural resources and environmental science.

Her inspirational woman: Donna Beering, a 1986 Purdue aviation technology alumna and a flight officer with United Airlines.

Practical advice: Zouras first met Beering during a Technology 101 class in which Beering was a guest speaker. What resonated with Zouras the most was Beering's story of how she overcame obstacles in her life in order to pursue a career in an industry dominated by men. "She was very down-to-earth and practical, and offered us a lot of good advice, not just on being a woman in a male-dominated field, but also on how to combine being a wife and mother with a career, and just basically how to be a good person."

She's the boss: After graduation, Zouras wants to own a construction company that builds environmentally friendly (sustainable) hospitals and other health care facilities.

All eyes on her: Zouras says she is one of only a handful of women enrolled in the building construction management program, and sometimes that makes her feel a little different. "I'm used to it by now, but when I first started, I would walk into a classroom of about 90 guys and many would stare. I would be like 'Yes, I'm a girl.' But we are all very supportive of each other in the program and work together all the time, so gender is not really an issue."

Building on a dream: Zouras first had ambitions of being an architect, but was turned on to building construction management after attending a program when she was in high school called DOiT (Discovering Opportunities in Technology), offered by the College of Technology. "There were segments on different technology fields, but I remember there was a woman who led the segment on BCM. My friends thought it was boring, but I loved every minute of the presentation. When she talked about the managerial aspects and opportunities to be promoted, I knew that was something I wanted to do."

Let the music play: In her spare time, Zouras is involved in a variety of student groups and activities, as a College of Technology ambassador and treasurer of Women in Technology. She also has studied piano for 12 years, occasionally plays the violin and enjoys listening to music on www.8tracks.com.

By Kim Delker