There are many reasons why students decide to attend Purdue. For Kelly Featherstone, mechanical engineering and Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation student, she was impressed that the culture at Purdue was not solely focused on classroom learning, but how to apply classroom learning to real-world situations.
“Besides being at a Big 10 school where I could stay involved in extracurricular and school pride events, I wanted a school where learning outside the classroom was just as important to what was taught in the classroom,” Featherstone said. “I am so happy I chose Purdue because I found all the opportunities I was looking for.”
As a first year engineering student, Featherstone took ENGR 13100 and heard about the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation during a class presentation. Looking to add business courses to her engineering degree, she thought the certificate program would be a perfect fit.
“I knew having a business skillset would complement my engineering background. When I heard about the certificate program it seemed like a perfect fit. I thought to be an entrepreneur you had to have great ideas and be creative in many ways, but through the program I learned it is about how to make an idea great.”
Featherstone uses her entrepreneurship knowledge routinely in her engineering classes.
“In group projects we have to look beyond the design, we have to think about aspects like marketability or financial analyses. I am able to lead those conversations because of what I learned in the certificate program.”
In December Featherstone will be graduating and taking a job with 3M as a project manager in corporate engineering.
“During the interview process it was an honor to be at a table with other applicants from top universities from across the nation. I remember my time to speak with the 3M representative. I was able to have a conversation about 3M and their business practices because of my entrepreneurial knowledge.”
As a project manager Featherstone will oversee many engineering projects at one time, create proposals, maintain a budget and apply networking and negotiation skills on a daily basis.
“I feel like the certificate program prepared me for a large part of what I will be doing as a project manager. Although I am not starting my own business, I will be using my entrepreneurship and innovation skills within a large company. I can strategically think about how I can help the company grow.”
A highlight to the end of her academic career at Purdue, Featherstone was the student responder at the December 2016 College of Engineering commencement ceremony, an honor she describes as a moment to thank those who have helped her in her journey to success.