Undergrads get engineering jobs at Purdue in new pilot program

September 27, 2013  


Rachel Pereira Satellite Discovery Lab

Rachel Pereira, a senior at Purdue University, stands outside the new HP Satellite Discovery Lab. The new lab allows students to have paid HP internships and work on campus while continuing their education. The lab is part of Purdue's new Pathmaker program, which helps students get well-paid internships or part-time jobs in engineering and technology areas while still continuing their studies. (Purdue University photo by Stephen Yang)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Students at Purdue University can now get real-world work experience and good-paying jobs without leaving campus, thanks to partnership with leading tech companies through a new program called Purdue Pathmaker.

In the pilot program, nine Purdue students and one full-time HP staff member are now working in the newly opened HP Satellite Discovery Lab, which is located in Purdue’s Envision Center for Data Visualization.

Through the program, Purdue students are able to get part-time engineering jobs or internships on or near campus while still pursuing their education full-time.

HP joins Purdue partners Intel and EMC as charter members of the Pathmaker program. EMC employs approximately 30 students in the Purdue Research Park, and Intel will soon begin hiring students to work on scientific applications.

Information about the program is available at the website http://www.purdue.edu/pathmaker.

According to Purdue President Mitch Daniels, the Purdue Pathmaker program is a perfect fit for the recently launched Purdue Moves initiative.

"This is a great example of the enhanced educational opportunities we want to provide for our students," Daniels said. "They get real-world work experience that will help them get jobs when they leave here, and our partner companies get help with short-term engineering projects and access to prospective employees. As we grow our College of Engineering, this program can only benefit our students and those who seek to employ them."

Ben Pluckebaum, Jona Ea Satellite Discovery Lab

Purdue students Ben Pluckebaum (left) and Jonah Ea confer on a project in the newly opened HP Satellite Discovery Lab. The students are doing paid engineering work on campus through a new program called Purdue Pathmakers, which brings leading tech companies to campus to hire students to do engineering jobs while they remain full-time students.  (Purdue University photo by Stephen Yang) 
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According to the ManpowerGroup’s annual talent shortage survey of U.S. companies, engineer positions have been among the 10 hardest jobs to fill each of the past five years.

Purdue, on the other hand, produces the highest number of graduates with degrees in engineering or engineering-related technology fields of any institution in the United States, according to yearly data from the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

In the new HP Satellite Discovery Lab, student interns have the opportunity to work on new technologies such as the new HP Moonshot servers, which are built from chips more commonly found in smartphones and tablets, which are more cost- and energy-efficient. The HP interns are benchmark testing the new servers and performing network simulations. Future projects in the HP Satellite Discovery Lab will include scientific and engineering software applications that will be used in research at Purdue.

This past summer, the students trained with HP engineers in the HP Discovery Labs in Houston and Palo Alto, Calif., HP's two main research and development facilities.

Students employed by EMC are working on monitoring computer security, and students who will be employed by Intel will be optimizing Purdue's NEMO 3-D scientific visualization software to run on Intel's Xeon Phi coprocessor.

Gerry McCartney, Purdue University's CIO, vice president for information technology and Olga Oesterle England Professor of Technology, says the HP Satellite Discovery Lab is the first of what he hopes are many such partnerships.

"HP has worked hard to help make the launch of this program a success, and we would not have been able to do this without their efforts and insights," McCartney says. "This program brings important benefits to both our partner companies and our students, and we hope other tech companies follow the lead of HP and the other charter companies in playing an active role in our students' education."

HP is one of five companies that are a part of Purdue's Foundational IT Partners Program, and recently partnered with Purdue to build Conte, the nation's fastest campus supercomputer.

Art Malinin, Jonah Ea, Rachel Periera, Juan Corredor Satellite Discovery Lab

A new Purdue University facility called the HP Satellite Discovery Lab brings good-paying student jobs that provide relevant work experience to campus. The students are working on the latest HP technologies, including the recently announced Moonshot servers. Among the student interns are (clockwise from center) Art Malinin, Jonah Ea, Rachel Periera,, and Juan Corredor. (Purdue University photo by Stephen Yang) 
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Janice Zdankus, vice president of Enterprise Group Quality and Knowledge Management, and HP's Executive Sponsor for Purdue, says that Purdue's HP Satellite Discovery Lead and the Purdue Pathmaker program are great opportunities to further students' education using the HP Moonshot and SDN technologies.

"The technology industry continues to progress at a breakneck pace due to the growth of mobility, big data, and cloud computing, and in order to remain competitive we need a workforce that can help build the datacenter of the future," Zdankus says. "This partnership provides students with the opportunity to expand their skill set by conducting real-life workloads on HP Moonshot servers and exposes them to new technologies under development. This encourages a passion for a career in engineering at HP."

Rachel Pereira, a senior majoring in electrical and computer engineering from the Chicago suburb of Bartlett, Ill., says the Purdue Pathmaker experience benefits her now as a student, and she expects those benefits to continue later into her professional career.

"Everything I'm learning here relates to what I do at school and in class," she says. "I really enjoy what I'm working on, and I want it to become a full-time career. I would definitely recommend this program to other students. It's a unique opportunity, being able to work part-time at school and to work on such innovative products. Not many students have an opportunity like this, so anyone who is in the program is really fortunate." 

Writer: Steve Tally, 765-494-9809, tally@purdue.edu, Twitter: sciencewriter 

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu 

Gerry McCartney, 765-496-2270, mccart@purdue.edu, Twitter: @gerrymccartney

Rachel Pereira: contact Steve Tally at tally@purdue.edu  to arrange an interview

Note to Journalists: A media availability on the new Purdue HP Satellite Discovery Lab will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, in Purdue’s Envision Center, which is located off the underground tunnel connecting the Purdue Memorial Union and Stewart Center. To arrange an interview with the student quoted in this release, contact Steve Tally at 765-494-9809, or at tally@purdue.edu 

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