Category Archives: Student Writer

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

Dreaming of a white… Spring Break?

Spring is in the air! The crazy winter is finally coming to an end! In the past couple of days we’ve been getting days with temperatures in the 50’s! What a nice break after the long days of cold and snow! There is always a sense of excitement in the air as us students get ready to break out the shorts and sunglasses. In fact I busted out my shorts and boat shoes on both Monday and Tuesday.

It’s a great feeling when you can sit outside in the sunshine getting some homework done or even running to grab a Den Pop on Chauncey Hill. One of my favorite spots to sit between classes is on the grass in the area surrounding the clapping circles. It’s a great place to sit and do some homework or even to lay back and catch some Z’s listening to Purdue students flying airplanes overhead.

Clapping Circles

My favorite thing about the spring here is that despite the ever looming threat of finals nearing, Purdue provides tons of great things to break up the studying. For example, I just bought tickets for a Justin Moore concert that will be in Elliot Hall on Thursday! Yeehaw! You bet I’ll be there in my cowboy boots and plaid shirt! As someone from good ole Floyds Knobs Indiana I have to represent my country side every now and then. On top of Justin Moore, I have tickets to go to Life in Color in April. This will be my second year going and I can’t wait to hear MGK, Cash Cash, and Adventure Club doing their thing!

Life in Color 2013
Last Years Life in Color!

Spring is this awesome sign to us students that WE MADE IT! After realizing that you weathered a cold snowy winter at Purdue there’s nothing that can stop you! The professors try and bring your good mood down with exams but even those can’t stop you! In fact, my professors decided to team up on me and schedule three exams in the same week. Talk about lots to do! However, with Spring break only a week away I just keep telling myself that all of my hard work will be rewarded! I’m not heading to the sunny beaches of Florida this Spring break like a lot of my friends, but I know that Indiana will treat me well!

With the weather warming up you have to love the excitement in the air! The only thing that can get you down is a return of that nasty winter weather. Unfortunately despite the excitement over the increasing temperatures, crazy Indiana weather decided to strike again! I woke up this morning ready to throw on some shorts only to realize that there were a couple fresh inches of snow on the group! What a bummer.  Hopefully the snow will all melt for Spring Break! No one dreams of a white Spring Break!

Anyways, I’ve got two exams later today and another tomorrow! I’ve been working hard and I’m ready to kick some butt! I Hope all of you are as excited for Spring as I am! Just three quick hurdles (exams) that I have to jump and then I’ll ready to enjoy the warming weather to its fullest! Here goes nothing! Wish me luck!

The Six Stages of a New Semester

Whether this was your last first day of school or you’re still trying to figure out the printing on campus (or both), you’re probably experiencing the same highs and lows of a new semester. After what seems like a record-setting month of winter break winds down…

1. You have to leave your family.

For a lot of us, this looks something like this:

6Stages_crying

After all, who else is going to hang out with you 16 hours a day and only get annoyed at you a few (dozen) times?

And for the rest, this may be a more accurate picture:

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You love them, but 4 weeks is a long time.

2. You finally get to see your friends!

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Don’t pretend you haven’t missed their weird little quirks.

3. But only after you buy your books for the semester.

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So much for that laptop you had your eye on. Also the boots I wanted to buy will have to stay in my dreams.

4. You just know you’re going to be so much more on top of things this semester.

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ALL of your credit hours are engineering classes? No big. You and your multi-colored pens are totally prepared.

5. But then you realize it’s 11:30 the night before classes.

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Actually, you’re not totally prepared. And your graphing calculator is begging for new batteries. Where did the day go?!

But by some miracle (AKA your own capabilities), you pull everything together and have a totally focused and productive first day.

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Good luck this semester, Boilermakers – you’re smart, talented and off to a great start! For any help or advice you may need staying on top of academics this semester, check out some of our academic support resources here.

(gifs taken from reactiongifcollection.tumblr.com)

The Changing Seasons

If you live in the Midwest, you probably already know that the weather is unpredictableIf you don’t live in the Midwest, I hope you came prepared.

What I’ve learned in my 2.5 years attending Purdue is to never leave the apartment without first checking the weather forecast. Do not rely on the alleged ‘season of the year’ or how nice it was yesterday, because the weather will betray you. Oh, you think it’s Fall? How about some snow. It was 40 degrees out yesterday, so you’re wearing two coats? Let’s warm it up to 80 degrees. And sometimes, not even the weather forecast can save you; I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve left the apartment wearing rain boots only to not have it rain a drop.

But even though the Midwest basically makes up the seasons as it goes along, there’s something exciting about the transitions to Fall and Winter.

I mean, sure, there are bad things; allergies flare up, it gets dark too soon, the fountains shut off, and no matter how beautiful fresh-fallen snow is, trudging through the sludge it becomes on the street is just not a pleasant experience.

I think these things are made worth it by the good things that come with the new seasons. In the Fall, campus becomes more beautiful then ever with the changing leaves. And who doesn’t love sweater weather?! There’s nothing better than cozying up in a cardigan with some hot chocolate to watch a movie with friends. And then you’ve got your typical Fall activities, like picking apples, visiting corn mazes, and of course carving pumpkins for Halloween!

Photo Credit: Alisha Tungare
Photo Credit: Alisha Tungare
Photo Credit: Alex Baker
Photo Credit: Alex Baker

And though it gets cold in Winter, it’s impossible not to get excited for Starbucks’ seasonal drinks (and the red cups!), the social acceptability of a wardrobe consisting exclusively of Uggs and yoga pants, and using our resources and engineering creativity to go sledding down Slayter Hill (couch on skis, anyone?).sledding-slayter-hill

So don’t let the changing seasons get you down! Although the warmer weather may be gone for now, there are still plenty of ways to stay entertained.

Katie