September 12, 2016

Indiana companies expand Purdue Pathmaker Internship Program

McCartney Wabash National Miranda Lung, a Purdue University student, is able to work in her technology field while still attending Purdue full-time through the Purdue Pathmaker Internship Program. Lung, who works at Wabash National in Lafayette, Indiana, says she has been develing a skill-set in in-demand technologies through her part-time Pathmaker job. Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University senior Miranda Lung admits to being surprised by how much she has been learning in her internship at Lafayette, Indiana-based Wabash National Corp.

"I've been fortunate enough to learn about new, industry-leading tech every single day," Lung says. "By the end of my first week I had been trained in two in-demand technologies."

Lung, and her employer Wabash National, are the latest participants in a program at Purdue that provides part-time internships for students on or near campus while they continue their studies.

The Purdue Pathmaker Internship Program launched three years ago by partnering with three multinational technology companies, HP, EMC2, and Intel, says Gerry McCartney, director of the Pathmaker Internship Program, and also Purdue's System CIO, vice president for Information Technology, and Oesterle Professor of Technology.

"These leading tech companies have an insatiable need for technical talent, and they recognized that there is a rich vein of talent that they could tap into at Purdue," he says. "But over the past six months or so, companies here in Indiana have seen what's happening, and want to join in."

Wabash National, DelMar Software Development, GyanSys, Imaginestics and Social Imposter join previous Indiana participants Interactive Intelligence, Delphi and the State of Indiana as Hoosier-based partners in the program.

Wabash National was recently named 24th in IndustryWeek's "50 Best U.S. Manufacturers," but in this modern business world, even manufacturing companies have broad needs for workers with digital and technical skills, says Jamie Lee, vice president and chief information officer.

"As our company continues to grow and diversify, our need for skilled associates increases across all areas of our business," he says.

Lee says that students in the internship program are being used in skill areas such as machine learning, data science, the Internet of Things and mobile app development. 

"Students benefit from applying their technical skills and knowledge to real-world problem-solving at a top industrial manufacturer," Lee says. "Meanwhile, the program helps us fill open positions with skilled associates who share our corporate values. "

Lung says she's gaining more experience from her internship than she had expected.

"My internship at Wabash National has helped prepare me for a career. It's put me in the pilot’s seat of real projects, things that people at the company are using," she says. "Because I’m driving the progress of a fresh project, my project management and communication skills have been improving."

McCartney says experiences like that of Lung are exactly the point of the program.

"Purdue has made a real effort to find out what makes people successful in their careers and in their lives through the Gallup-Purdue Index surveys, and what we've found is that a relevant internship is one of the experiences that can have a lifelong effect," he says. "With the Pathmaker  program, the students can have that experience while they continue their studies, while also providing benefit to an Indiana company."

About Purdue University's Pathmaker Internship Program

The Purdue University Internship Program is a university-private industry partnership that expands students' educational experiences while providing benefits to partnering corporations and organizations. Students in the program work 10 to 15 hours per week part-time during the academic year doing entry-level technical or engineering tasks on or near campus while continuing their studies. Corporations get work done and get a view of potential employees, while students gain real-world work experience and earn money for their education. Currently 14 companies and organizations and nearly 200 students participate in the Pathmaker program. For more information, visit http://www.itap.purdue.edu/pathmaker/

About Wabash National Corp.

Headquartered in Lafayette, Indiana, Wabash National Corporation (NYSE: WNC) is a diversified industrial manufacturer and North America’s leading producer of semi-trailers and liquid transportation systems. Established in 1985, the company manufactures a diverse range of products including: dry freight and refrigerated trailers, platform trailers, bulk tank trailers, dry and refrigerated truck bodies, truck-mounted tanks, intermodal equipment, aircraft refueling equipment, structural composite panels and products, trailer aerodynamic solutions, and specialty food grade and pharmaceutical equipment. Its innovative products are sold under the following brand names: Wabash National®, Beall®, Benson®, Brenner® Tank, Bulk Tank International, DuraPlate®, Extract Technology®, Garsite, Progress Tank, Transcraft®, Walker Engineered Products, and Walker Transport. Visit www.wabashnational.com to learn more. 

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

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

Miranda Lung: Please contact Steve Tally at steve@purdue.edu

Jamie Lee, jamie.lee@wabashnational.com

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