• YEAR: Freshman
  • MAJOR: English
  • HOMETOWN: West Lafayette, Indiana

Elena Sparger

Elena Sparger loves words. Whether they are on the pages of a book, in a newspaper or crafted as poetry in her favorite rap song, words paint vivid portraits for her. But with the critical eye of an editor, she's not afraid to take the brush and alter the image.

The birth of passion

In elementary school, the budding writer crafted stories for classmates, releasing them chapter-by-chapter, and leaving them begging for more. Excelling in her high school AP English class, she honed her skills as a reader, writer and editor. These days she wears multiple hats as a reporter for The Exponent and judge for The Bell Tower, Purdue's creative writing magazine.

Beyond the fourth estate

When it comes to a future career, Elena knows that it will include writing and editing. "I'm good at being very critical and noticing all of the little weak points of a writing," she says. "Journalism isn't really my dream - writing is." Writers she admires include John Irving, Ralph Ellison and Franz Kafka, but if stuck on a desert island, she would settle in with her mom's giant book of Edgar Allan Poe stories.

Living life big

At just 5 feet tall, this petite wordsmith would title her autobiography, "The Short Life," but surprisingly she was the tallest girl in her elementary school class. She loves chocolate but despises fast food - so much that she's taking an honors class titled The McDonaldization of Society.

Coming home

It's no wonder that Elena considers Purdue home. And it's not just because she's a hometown girl. Boilermaker blood flows in her family: mom, dad, brother Ted, and grandmother Judy and grandfather Steve all call the campus home. To Elena, a Boilermaker is "successful, outspoken, full of spirit and ambitious. I am ambitious, and I know Purdue has the resources to get me wherever I want to be in life."