Category Archives: Student Writer

The importance of a Purdue Bucket List

By: Lindsay Piispanen

Lindsay,  on left, studying for finals with her roommate and best friend, Katie.
Lindsay, on left, studying for finals with her roommate and best friend, Katie.

As a brand new freshman at Purdue, I was extremely nervous about exam week before break. The nightmarish stories I had heard filled with constant studying and no sleep had me worried I might not survive until the end of finals. I had taken midterms, which were difficult, but having four exams in four days just felt overwhelming.

Not wanting to spend the entire finals week stressed out of my mind, my friends and I decided to make a bucket list. This bucket list provided some fun and happiness in the process of taking finals. Every day, we would complete at least one item on the bucket list. These items were either Purdue traditions or something enjoyable that we had always wanted to try. Some of the items we came up with were things like: a microwave Peep battle, watching a movie and eating an entire roll of cookie dough, and doing a fountain run. My personal favorite took place this past semester when we decided to combine two bucket list items into one – having an outdoor picnic and laying under the stars.

In the middle of exam week after completing an ENGR 142 exam and a PHYS 172 exam, most of us were worn out and our brains were fried. To refresh, we scheduled a bucket list item. We turned our picnic into a birthday party for the summer birthdays, and planned it late enough at night that we would be able to see the stars. To kick off the event, we got a cookie cake from Insomnia (chocolate chip topped with peanut butter cups), which was one of the best things I have ever eaten. We took it to Slayter Hill, and set up our towels/blankets to sit on. Once we had Taylor Swift playing from the Bluetooth speaker, we cut the cake and sang happy birthday. We ended up spending a few hours there, and it felt so nice to forget about stress and exams, even if it was just for a little while.

The bucket lists that we’ve made the past two semesters have definitely saved my sanity during exam week, because it gave me something to look forward to besides sleeping. So, to any incoming freshman, my advice is to make a list of fun things you want to do and make it a goal to check the items off your list during exam week to relieve some stress!

Summer RA Experience

My name is Christina Rash. I just finished my Sophomore year in Industrial Engineering and am looking forward to starting my Junior year here at Purdue. I spent the past year as a Resident Assistant (RA) in Shreve Hall with Honors College Freshmen. I decided to continue my time as an RA over the summer.

Being an RA has a lot of different roles. It means learning the balance between being a rule-enforcer as well as a confidante. On paper, an RA is someone who patrols the hallways enforcing quiet hours, hangs out in their room at certain hours, and fills out paperwork. It’s much more than that, though. The RA puts hours of thought, planning, and consideration into each bulletin board or bathroom newsletter. They take even more time to design door decorations. Along with all of these material things, an RA also puts an effort into each of their residents to ensure that they feel welcome in their hall.

While being an RA looks like a lot of work, I absolutely enjoy it. I see the work I do as an RA as a break from the rigorous coursework of my engineering classes. It also exposes me to a lot of different people. This job made me realize that I want to work in a place where I have a lot of exposure and interaction with people – and I am determined to make that happen.

Having a casual conversation in the hallway has very easily turned into a planning session for the next event for the entire floor. A conversation with a resident passing my room has turned into a meaningful conversation about what that resident is passionate about. It’s moments like these that can’t be organized ahead of time that I love this job. It gives me a rare connection to students on campus that I very well might not have met otherwise.

These are the reasons I became an RA. These are the reasons I chose to stay at Purdue for the summer.

Society of Women Engineers

My name is Kitara, and I am the current Secretary of the Purdue Society of Women Engineers (SWE) section, a widely decorated chapter of a worldwide organization that supports women in engineering. At Purdue, we are one of the largest organizations, comprised of 400+ general membersand 40+ board members. On campus, SWE has a hand in many events from Industrial Roundtable (the fall job fair), minority inclusion events, outreach programs, intramural sports, the Grand Prix race, Homecoming float building, and so much more.

I started with SWE during my sophomore year as a general member and soon fell in love. After attending almost all of the events (and I mean 3 to 4 events per week), I decided to apply to be a board member and help plan the events for an organization that makes my life at Purdue so much fun. I became the Corporate Relations Chair and invited companies to speak to SWE members about developing their professionalism, then took a giant leap and became one of four officers.

With such a large organization that plans and participates in so many events, the four officers are pretty busy all through the summer and continuing into the school year. To begin with, SWE has 8 directorships that oversee different areas of the organization. I am so lucky to be able to work with Competition Teams & Outreach to plan everything from Grand Prix to inviting high school seniors to spend the night with Purdue students to competing in the Homecoming festivities. Within Competition Teams, we are working this summer to complete our Team Tech presentation we will be presenting at the annual SWE conference in October. We have worked the past year with ADM to build a filtration prototype the company can use in their plants and factories. Outreach is just as much fun! We are working to develop new activities to motivate elementary through high school students to pursue engineering.

Working with these directorships is not all the secretary does; I also plan the annual trip to the SWE conference, which will be held in Nashville, TN this year. We are taking 16 Purdue students to meet with other professional and collegiate members from around the world to grow our organization’s network and learn new ways to improve our SWE chapter.

Being secretary has been such an enjoyable role so far, and it’s only just started. I can’t wait for this year to begin! Shout out to the other officers and board members that are putting in so much of their time this summer to help the Purdue Society of Women Engineers be even more AWESOME!


If you want to learn more about what I do or how to get involved with Purdue SWE please email me (kcrain@purdue.edu). I would love to hear from you!

Why Should I Be Involved on Campus?

Brad IIE Blog

Being involved is an important and fun part of being a college student. When you’re applying to colleges, you always hear admissions counselors telling you to be a well-rounded student involved in extra-curricular activities and clubs because it looks better and shows that you can balance a busy schedule. While this is definitely true, I’ve come to realize that one of the reasons they encourage this has to do with something totally different. They’re pushing you to be prepared for college, where being involved on campus can truly mean success both in and outside of the class room.

During my 4 years here on Purdue’s campus, I’ve been involved in a number of student organizations. Most noticeably I’ve been a large part of both The Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) and Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity. Both of these groups mix the professional aspects of a club as well as the social aspects and I’m going to talk a bit about both sides of any group you might join on campus.

Each semester, clubs will hold “call-outs,” which are usually short presentations showing what the club does on campus (and sometimes have free food!) In any given semester at Purdue, I’ve been invited to more club callouts than I can count, so it’s hard to know where to start. I simplified things by finding a handful of clubs that sounded interesting and made it a point to attend their call-outs. I remember walking into the IIE callout and instantly being excited by the number of people in the club that I already knew from my classes and major. I was nervous going into the first meeting as they started explaining all of the events I would be required to attend and wondering how I would handle it all, but luckily I didn’t try and walk out or give-up on the idea.

I spent the semester attending a plethora of events from Luncheons with the Faculty,  a career fair with 10 different companies, and one-on-one presentations from companies like Pepsico, FedEx, and Disney (yes Disney World!) These events were not only a great chance to network and gain experience talking to companies, and even getting to know some of my Professors in a more relaxed setting, but they also gave me the chance to make some great friends with the club members that I saw at every event.

It may not sound like much fun going to a ton of networking events but they actually did end up being a good time. On top of the networking events, IIE hosted even more fun social events throughout the semester! They had different fun things going on every couple of weeks throughout the semester which would range from things like going to a corn maze during the fall, renting out the Purdue Memorial Union bowling alley one night, or even sometimes just a get together at someone’s apartment where would all go and hang out to blow off some steam.

I think the biggest thing to be taken away from my experiences in IIE is that the true benefits of joining almost any group are usually intangible. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade anything for the great times I had nor do I under-appreciate all the help I’ve received in searching for internships and eventually full time jobs. However, the intangible benefit comes into effect when you walk into a class at the beginning of semester and you know over half of the people in it. From this first day, the opportunities for study sessions with friends, homework help, and once again just the opportunity to come together as a group and have fun becomes limitless.

I would encourage anyone reading this to really take the chance to become involved on campus at every turn in their college career. It can be tough and sometimes scary to attend callouts and try to impress the current club members enough into being invited to join. But the huge payout potential of putting yourself out there really is worth it! I always use the motto that “It doesn’t hurt to try something new at least once.” The worst that could happen is that you won’t enjoy it and you’ll move on, so go out there and get involved!

ROTC and Engineering at Purdue

Sometimes you’ll see us walking around on campus in our uniforms. Sometimes you’ll hear us chanting our running cadences in the early hours of the morning. Most people can recognize us from the way our hair is cut, how we walk, talk, and hold ourselves. It’s hard not to notice the 340+ ROTC cadets and midshipmen walking around campus…and if you were a male coming to Purdue between 1888 -1964, we’d be standing in formation together

ROTC stands for Reserve Officer Training Corp, and its ties to Purdue are almost as old as the university itself. What is now known as ROTC started as “The Corp” at Purdue in 1888, and up until 1964, all males were required to join. Purdue ROTC today is quite different that it was in 1888, but it continues to be one of the best college military training programs offered in the country.

Here’s how it works: you go to college whilst simultaneously receiving military training for four years through one of the four services – Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force (for the military buffs out there…yes, I know that Navy and Marines are the same branch, but good luck getting a Marine to admit that). You are both college student and a military officer in training. When you graduate Purdue, you’ll also commission as an officer in one of those branches. In exchange for the military helping you out with college expenses through scholarships, living stipends, and/or tuition assistance, you owe that branch anywhere from four to ten years active duty service. Not a bad deal, but of course after four years of Air Force ROTC myself, you can imagine I am rather biased at this point.

Purdue has one of the best Army, Navy, and Air Force ROTC programs in the nation (see my previous statement). Couple that with one of the best engineering schools in the country, and you’ve got a pretty formidable combination. Over half of the 340 Purdue ROTC cadets and midshipmen I mentioned before are engineering students, myself included.

Now, it’s no secret that Purdue’s engineering curriculum can be quite rigorous. Add to that physical training three times a week before the sun is up, an academic course one to two times a week, a two-hour Leadership Lab once a week, and various ROTC-related extracurriculars, and you’ve got one heck of a schedule. Welcome to the life of a Purdue ROTC engineering student.

If you catch an engineering ROTC student and ask them about their experiences and their degree choice, they’re likely to say that their choice of major has assisted them in their ROTC responsibilities and vice versa in several ways:

Time management—I’d bet that nearly every engineering student will tell you time management is critical to have a healthy college experience (let’s take healthy to mean decent grades, a social life, and sleep…we can ignore our late night eating habits for now). Engineering students have to practice time management every day. That practice comes in handy for ROTC students when they are juggling ROTC responsibilities on top of their academic ones – learning time management through one program helps you manage your responsibilities in the other.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving– Applying critical thinking to problem solving… ROTC or Engineering? If you answered both, you’re getting the point already. Much of our ROTC training is dedicated to learning how to critically think and make smart decisions under pressure (a skill I imagine faithful taxpayers want in the leaders of their military). Conveniently, getting a bachelor’s degree in engineering is essentially a four to five year-long course in critical thinking and problem solving. While the problems in engineering vs. ROTC might be different, the fundamentals of critical thinking stay the same. Practice in one helps you in the other.

Public Speaking & Presentations –Part of our academic ROTC curriculum includes learning how to construct and practicing how to give good briefings…sometimes a little too often (Death by PowerPoint is a hazard for us in the military). ROTC students are usually very comfortable–and if not comfortable, they are at least practiced in hiding it—with getting up in front of peers to give presentations. That comes in handy when it comes time to present your engineering project to your peers and professors.

Leadership –This is one area that I feel where ROTC engineering students get a slight advantage over non-ROTC engineering students. Don’t get me wrong, there are a TON of other places/clubs/organizations at Purdue that provide leadership development to rival ROTC. However, the driving purpose and ultimate objective of ROTC is to mold cadets and midshipmen into leaders. The Air Force ROTC’s mission is very literal about this, stating, “Develop quality leaders for the Air Force.” It’s hard to find a student organization like it anywhere else on campus. We learn the principals, ethics, morality, and legality of leadership, we do leadership studies, and we practice it among our peers. Having someone with that kind of experience can come in handy in a project team and in a project management setting as an engineer.

So, will being in ROTC automatically make you a better engineering student or vice versa? Nope. But the skills you practice and learn in one of those programs can transfer well over to the other if you know where to apply them. The funny thing is, the majority of cadets and midshipmen will not be engineers in the military when they graduate. So why do engineering and ROTC? Well, some do it for the scholarship opportunities…others just really really (really) like to take classes that sound like they’re out of Star Trek—“Transonic Aerodynamics” is an actual class (AAE 513). The truth may be somewhere in between. Regardless of why we chose Purdue ROTC and engineering, there’s no better place to do it than Purdue University.

 

 

10 Signs You’re Ready to Go Back to Purdue

  1. You feel like you’re going crazy at home.

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2.  You miss the co-rec and plan on going to the gym EVERY DAY.

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3.  Instead of getting home from class and going to hang out with friends like you would at school, you get home from work and attempt to pass out as quickly as possible.

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4.  You’ve realized you’re just not quite ready for the real world yet.

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5.  You’re ready to make this year “the best one yet.”

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6.  You’ve spent way too much money on supplies for your dorm or apartment.

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7.  You’ve started to become delirious and THINK you see friends/classmates wherever you are.

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8.  You’re sick of hearing how your high school friends/ co-workers think their university is better than Purdue.

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9.  Your social life consists of refreshing Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, and other social media, over and over again.

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10.  You get so excited when you realize you only have a few more weeks until you get to go back to your favorite place on earth…. BOILER UP!

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The Beauty of Purdue

Growing up in Florida,  I never had the opportunity to experience the change of seasons that so many people probably take for granted (our seasons were hot and less hot)…. Similar to how I took the sunny warm weather and beaches for granted (especially after this brutal winter)!

One of my favorite things since coming to Purdue is getting to watch the seasons change.  Being on campus over the summer,  I am finally getting to enjoy the warm beautiful weather Purdue has to offer, as it seems to quickly turn into fall when students return in August.  Below is a picture of me and my dog, Sasha, during every season from the same location on campus (right in front of the Beering fountain and in between Stone and University).

 Change of Seasons

The different seasons also signify different events during the school year.  What would a football game be like without the leaves changing colors and the cooler weather approaching?  And as much as we may hate winter, how would you be able to say you sled down Slayter hill if there wasn’t any snow?  What would Grand Prix be like without the warmer spring weather?

Purdue is simply a beautiful campus, regardless of the season, whether it be the fall leaves, the blooms in the spring, or the running of the fountain during the summer.  This is something I just don’t get to see when in Florida. With such a large number of people who come to Purdue from all around the world, the beauty you see from the change of seasons is new to many people as well.   So keep in mind that what you see on campus now is not what it always looks like!

 

A Taste of Tippy

Summer classes can be kind of a bummer, but they don’t have to completely ruin the hot season for you. There are all kinds of summer events in the Lafayette area to keep you entertained. Like the STAR program! You can heckle the incoming freshman before they’ve even been through BGR. Just kidding, that wouldn’t be cool. But I am serious about fun summer events, like the Taste of Tippecanoe Street festival in downtown Lafayette.

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This annual arts event has so far been the highlight of my summer. Downtown Lafayette come alive with music, food vendors, and a whole lot of people out to enjoy summer. It starts on the Sky Bridge and goes through the Depot Station and continues on Main St. about two blocks past the court house. The entire street is lined with food booths run by local restaurants, as well as a few local artists showcasing or selling their work. I bought a gyro from the Egyptian restaurant, and a snow cone from a church group who was there doing fundraising. Both were delicious, but I wish I would have saved my money for the Jack Daniels Terryaki tips from McGraw’s Steakhouse (my friend gave me a bite of his and almost mugged him right there for the rest). For those patrons who were of age, there was a beer and wine tasting area where many of the local breweries had booths.

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There are also three different music stages, with a variety of music being played on each of them. When I arrived, there was a contemporary Jazz band performing on the Depot stage, a Reggae band jammin’ by the courthouse, and a salsa band spicing things up on one of the side streets. I also saw that there was a band called Moonshine Mason & the Rot Gut Gang slated to perform later, so I think they had just about every genre covered.

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Although it’s already passed this summer, it’s something worth marking on your calendar if you’ll be back at Purdue for a summer in the future. If you want to read more about it, here is the link to their home page:

http://tasteoftippecanoe.org/about.html

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Dead Week

We’ve almost made it through another Dead Week here at Purdue!

Every year, Dead Week comes along. At first, it’s exciting! It’s the last week of classes! It’s almost summer!

StewYou’re going to be good this year and start studying for Finals early.

Or maybe not.

But then suddenly you realize that you have two lab reports, a project, and a presentation this week.

You learn that it’s not called Dead Week because campus is calm, but because they’re trying to kill you.

Somehow, you make it through and get everything turned in. You might have even done a decent job!

And at the end of it all your brain, like this week, is dead.

…Just in time for Finals!

Stay strong, friends! You can do it!

PSEF’s Engineering Expo 2014

Every year, the Purdue Student Engineering Foundation (PSEF) puts on Engineering Expo. Expo is a day-long event for high school students designed to teach students about and get them interested in engineering. For this year’s Expo, the theme was Out of This World! and focused on space exploration and Aeronautical Engineering concepts.

During Expo 2014, 406 high school and middle school students from 23 schools learned about engineering principles and Purdue’s rich history with the space program. Did you know that 23 astronauts graduated from Purdue University, including Neil Armstrong (the first man on the moon) and Gene Cernan (the last an on the moon)?

One of the rockets miiiiight have gotten stuck in the Ballroom's ceiling... but you didn't hear that from me.
One of the rockets miiiiight have gotten stuck in the Ballroom’s ceiling… but you didn’t hear that from me.

In the morning, students participated in a Quiz Bowl competition where they tested their knowledge of space history, engineering, and Purdue trivia. They then got to learn about different engineering clubs at the Academic Fair. Finally, they made small paper rockets, which they then launched across the Purdue Memorial Union North Ballroom by stomping on empty 2-liter bottles.

The cornerstone of Expo is the Impromptu Design Competition that took place in the afternoon. This year’s design challenge was a modified egg drop meant to simulate a shuttle’s re-entry capsule. Students could choose to protect between 1 and 5 “astronauts” (eggs) on their journey back to Earth. The more astronauts that made it to Earth safely, the higher the team’s score; any astronauts that sustained injuries meant large deductions. The teams were also scored based on design considerations and short presentations they made before testing their device. The top three teams win scholarships if they choose to attend Purdue at West Lafayette!

Students present their device to PSEF judges.
A team presents their device.
A student shows off her design.
A student shows off her design.

 

 

 

 

 

The capsules are thrown to Earth.
The capsules are thrown to Earth.

 

R.I.P. to the astronauts that did not survive.
R.I.P. to the astronauts that did not survive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year’s Expo was a huge success thanks to the hard work put in by everyone in PSEF and the awesome students and schools that participated. It’s a great event that helps students learn about engineering and get a chance to take part in an engaging design challenge. It’s been a huge privilege to direct Expo for the past two years. Thanks to everyone who came and made it great!

Katie