Melissa Gillbanks

Melissa Gillbanks

Melissa Gillbanks anticipates becoming a design or manufacturing engineer after graduating from Purdue University’s College of Engineering in May ’18. In this position, she can help companies research new product ideas and design efficient manufacturing processes.

Born on Vancouver Island but raised in Houston, Texas, Gillbanks has spent most of her life living in between expectations. She chose the Interdisciplinary Engineering Program to study across engineering topics and fields while in the College of Engineering. 

“When I visited Purdue, I met staff and students that were very friendly and always willing to help,” Gillbanks said. “It really made a difference compared to the other schools I visited, and I felt like I belonged here immediately.” 

Before she graduates, Gillbanks wants to develop a professional network and skills for unique problem solving. She would like to learn a wider variety of marketable skills before leaving. Already, she is building these skills by working with and mentoring other classmates. 

“I am an ambassador for the Engineering Honors program,” Gillbanks said. “In this program, I recruit prospective students and mentor first year engineering students. Also, I work as a teaching assistant in the Bechtel Innovation and Design Center.” 

Gillbanks said that she hopes her maturity and integrity will be unique and important attributes in her coming career. She cultivates these character traits as a member of the Back a Boiler Income Share Agreement program. 

“I know that my student loan bills will not pile up immeasurably and send me into unmanageable debt, regardless of my employment status,” Gillbanks said. “Plus, I get to help pave the way for future Purdue students. They will be able to pay for school without borrowing an incredibly large amount of money.” 

Before joining the program, Gillbanks and her family paid her tuition through private loans and federal Stafford loans. However, the threat of unmanageable student loans encouraged Gillbanks to find other financing opportunities for her education. 

“I used to feel the looming menace of crippling debt, but now I have peace of mind about paying for school,” Gillbanks said. “Back a Boiler is a fantastic way to prevent current and future students, like me, from getting into a crushing amount of debt after graduation.”

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