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External Partners Council

The mission of the council is to assist the Department of Consumer Science in reaching and maintaining its goal to be the premier education and research institution for selling and sales management, retail management, financial counseling and planning, and apparel design and technology.


  • Janet Alberts, Wardrobe Consulting Services
  • Melanie Downing, Kohl's Department Store 
  • Bob Falk, Purdue Employee Federal Credit Union
  • Kathleen Longo, Accredited Investors Inc.
  • Tina Perkins, 1st Source Bank Corporation
  • Ryan Peterson, Walmart
  • Mary Slater, Shell Oil Company
  • Marty Schager, Aerotek
  • Amanda Wilhelmi, Aerotek
  • Christina Wright, HHS Development; Purdue University
  • Sugato Chakravarty, Consumer Science; Purdue University


  • Provide professional perspective to the department regarding industry trends.
  • Serve on sub-committees as needed to address strategic activities within the department.
  • Critique marketing and communication materials as requested.
  • Attend annual Council meeting and, when possible, additional department events.
  • Create opportunities for students to experience industry in a broader context, such as participation in industry conferences and professional exposure to field sites.
  • Make available professional development opportunities such as student internships and mentoring.
  • Participate in student-related activities such as the department's classroom speaker series when available/appropriate.
  • Be an advocate for department programs.
  • Serve as a leader for the Department of Consumer Science's strategic initiatives.
  • Support department/faculty research through collaboration.


  • Privileged recruitment opportunities, including priority scheduling with the Consumer Science Professional Development Center for on-campus visits, and access to resumes of Consumer Science graduates associated with recruiting efforts.
  • Special recognition signage and priority booth location during annual Consumer Science job fair. Plus recognition at the job fair's senior candidates' dinner.
  • Distinct recognition on the Consumer Science Web site and in select department and College publications.
  • Personal assistance for securing tickets to University, College, and Department events, as appropriate/available.
  • Preferential invitation to participate in a variety of Consumer Science student events such as:
    • Fall reception for senior candidates
    • Quicken Loans Executive in the Classroom series and other classroom presentations
    • Preconference extravaganza workshop for students
    • Involvement with student organizations
    • Consumer Science Company Day
    • Sales competitions and case studies


Candidates are selected based on their ability to provide:

  • Volunteer leadership for the development of Consumer Sciences student programs
  • Financial support to the department of Consumer Science via annual membership dues
  • Professional perspective regarding industry trends
  • Connections to key industry professionals

Members are invited to serve on the council at the discretion of the department head. Membership is renewable annually. Terms are renewable indefinitely upon mutual agreement of the member and department head. Annual membership dues assist a variety of initiatives in all areas of instruction. Dues also support:

  • Professional Development Center
  • Department head scholarship fund
  • Instructional technology and software purchases
  • Student travel to educational conferences and competitions
  • Student organizations within each major

Contact Us

For more information about the External Partners Council contact:

Director of External Relations
Sally Harmon
Department of Consumer Science
Matthews Hall, Room 302C
812 W. State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2060
(765) 494-8306