Exploratory Studies Explore. Discover. Decide

Jennifer McDonald

Senior Academic Advisor 

Office: Young Hall (YONG), 6th floor
(765) 494-0843
E-mail: jmcdonald@purdue.edu


I was born in Indianapolis, IN.  After bouncing around to various cities in Indiana (including Bloomington), I now call West Lafayette home.


  • M.Cert., Instructional Design & Technology, Purdue University Global
  • M.L.S., Library and Information Science, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis
  • M.S.Ed., Educational Psychology (Counseling), Purdue University
  • B.A., Psychology, Purdue University


I've been an Exploratory Studies Advisor since 2006.  Before that, I was a Career Consultant at the Center for Career Opportunities (Purdue), an advisor and instructor in First-Year Engineering (Purdue), and an Adjunct Instructor (Ivy Tech).  


  • Bravo Award - for volunteerism (2018)
  • PACADA Professional Development Grant (2015)
  • R.W. McDowell Best Counselor Award in Engineering Education (2005)
  • The Purdue Deans Fund (2001) – grant for M.S.Ed research

Advice for the Future Boilermaker

  • Be persistent.  What I usually see from freshman is a "hot start," then a sudden mid-semester drop off in motivation, resulting in a lackluster grades.  Each semester of college is like a marathon, not a sprint.  It requires setting long-term and short-term goals, then employing consistent action and unflagging determination to reach them.   
  • Be open to learning . . . from everyone and everything.  This is harder than it sounds - it takes real discipline and humbleness.  Be curious and pro-actively engaged in your education.  Talk to a lot of people to gain new perspective on old issues. 
  • Be realistic.  Recognize and respect your strengths and your limitations.  Knowing and accepting yourself allows you to be open to new opportunities that you never realized existed.
  • Realize that career exploration is a complex, life-long process:  Career exploration can sometimes seem like a “hurry up and wait” proposition.  Everyone wants you to pick a major right now! :)  But what you really need to make a good career decision is experiences, information, and time.  Get involved on campus and explore careers early and often.  

Fun Facts

I cultivate a lot of interests which ebb and flow into the foreground, including film, music, fashion, science, education and learning, culture, technology, and history.  I spend a lot of time outside walking, working on my yard, and taking my two cats for a walk (yes, on a leash).