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

Spring Break in the Smokies

It’s the first week back from spring break – I’m happy to be back on campus and see my friends, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the time off from assignments and tests! For spring break, I went to the Smoky Mountains with a group of friends and spent a few days camping. I’m not the most outdoorsy person in the world, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but it was a great time!

The first two days/3 nights were primitive camping, which means we packed up all of our stuff and hiked a few miles into the woods to our campsite. Our site was a bit of a clearing with a fire ring and pulley system to raise our stuff up at night to discourage any curious bears that might be wandering through. (We didn’t see any bears during the week, which was a little disappointing, but also we’re all still alive, which is nice.) The second day, we went on a 14 mile hike, where a few cool things happened.

Also, this was the general consensus after all that hiking.
Also, this was the general consensus after all that hiking.

The first cool thing was this – about 4 or 5 miles into the hike, we reached the top of one of the mountains, where we came across a group of people from Purdue – some of which we knew! Purdue is a big school, but who could have imagined running into other students – some of them engineering students – at the literal top of a mountain 8 hours away from campus? After talking for a while, we continued on our hike until we reached Abrams Falls, where we climbed down a path that turned out not to be a real path and came across this:

Abrams Falls
Abrams Falls

Beautiful, right? The third cool thing was this: about 12 miles into our hike, it got dark and we were all tired and more than ready to be sitting around a campfire eating. Unfortunately, it had rained all night and for part of the day, meaning all the wood was wet, and we also were not the best fire makers, as had been demonstrated the night before.

As we got closer to our campsite, though, we saw a light, which was kind of weird. Eventually, we got to our campsite and saw a man sitting next to a huge fire in the fire ring. I’ll be honest, for a moment I was less focused on the fire and more focused on an escape plan, but when we introduced ourselves, it turns out he was a Purdue alum! He hung out with us and talked around the fire for a few hours before we went to bed. (Also, apparently in the Smoky Mountains it works out that you’re often camping at the same camp site as other groups of people you don’t necessarily know, at least for the sites capable of holding bigger groups.)

I couldn’t believe that we had traveled south for spring break and run across so many people from Purdue IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MOUNTAINS. Every week I give presentations to visiting families and talk about how large and widespread our alumni network is, but it was really cool to see that played out! Plus, the guy at our campsite definitely saved us from another night of peanut butter on tortillas.

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:

6stages_wavingbye

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

2. You finally get to see your friends!

 6stages_happyteletubbies

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.

 6stages_productive

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.

 6stages_shocked 

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.

 6stages_proud

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

Study Notes from a Procrastinator

Everyone tells you that college is a lot of work, but if you’re anything like me, it’s tempting to think “maybe it was hard for that person, but it won’t be a problem for me.” (Conceited, I know, but I have to be honest with you if my experiences are going to help at all.) You may have excellent study habits in high school, and if you do, then congratulations, you’re on your way to success! Half the battle is building those habits.

I was the opposite of those incoming students with excellent study habits. I coasted through high school on minimal effort, not because I was genius level smart, but because I was lazy. My senior showcase essay for AP Composition was written about procrastination, since I didn’t start it until the night before it was due and I knew I could get away with it by crafting some clever sentences about how it was a fitting topic. I still remember the conclusion – a pretty lame Harry Potter joke, followed by the quip “I could think of a better analogy than Harry Potter, but it’s getting late and I have math homework to finish.”

As it turns out, engineering classes don’t accept jokes about popular culture in place of the correct answer, something I quickly learned upon arrival at Purdue. I’ll be honest – I was not a model student when it came to studying. Or finishing homework. Or going to class. As a matter of fact, I probably attended 50 percent of my Calc I classes. DO NOT DO THAT. I had taken calculus in high school and had gotten a good score on the AP test, but had decided to retake the class since I didn’t feel ready to move on to Calc II. “I can totally do this, Calc wasn’t even hard in high school” I rationalized every time I didn’t feel like waking up for class. The 37% I got on the second test of the year shocked me into studying, but by that point I had tanked my grade enough that I got a C in the class, which is not easy to admit.

I would argue that learning to study was my hardest assignment that first year. There was a lot of trial and error, and I learned that studying for hours if you’re distracted or if you’re studying things you don’t really need to review is not as effective as diligently focusing on the right things for a shorter amount of time. You have to find what works for you – I get by on my monstrous to-do lists, color coded calendars and by keeping myself busy, since I’m more likely to study if I know this is my only opportunity to do so.

I’m not going to pretend that I now have it all together, and frankly there are much better people to take study advice from. There are so many parts of my study habits that I am trying to improve upon, and I still fall into the trap of thinking I can handle more than I actually can. I also can’t pretend that the bad grade I received my first semester kicked me into gear and suddenly I studied diligently between classes from 8 AM to 6 PM (which is not a bad strategy, honestly); even my junior year of college, I stepped back and realized “yikes, I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing to study.” But the sooner you realize that you need to put consistent, dedicated time and effort into your classes, the better – your grades will improve, your stress levels will drop, and you can stop living entire days hopped up on deadline adrenaline. Procrastination feels good in the moment; a well-earned grade keeps you proud and confident for days.

Engineering Abroad

The cool thing about being an engineer is that you can see the impact of engineering everywhere you look. There are examples of bad engineering – like the kitchen in my apartment, which looks spacious but has extremely limited and inefficient storage; every time I go to grab something out of an inconveniently placed cabinet I think about how an engineer clearly had nothing to do with the design. But there are also examples of incredible engineering.

I’m sure most of you have heard of the London Eye: the giant Ferris Wheel in the middle of London, on the shore of the Thames, where tourists stand in glass carriages and look out over the whole of the city.Image

I’m Katie Phillips, a Junior in Chemical Engineering here at Purdue. For Spring Break 2013, I visited London with my mom and my sisters-in-law. I had heard of the London Eye, but I didn’t know anything about it – especially the amazing feat of engineering that it is.

The London eye has a diameter of nearly 400ft (which is nearly equivalent to a 40-story building) and stands about 450ft high. Each of the 32 glass capsules weigh over 22,000 lbs and can hold 25 people. All of this would be incredible in itself; but did you know that the London Eye is supported on only one side?Image

Hundreds of thousands of pounds, supported by two beams and several cables. That’s what the London Eye is. Being there in such a great city and seeing how cool engineering could be made me fall in love with my major all over again (although, as a Chemical Engineer my major had admittedly little to do with the London eye).

Engineering is everywhere. It’s all around you. And it is awesome.

-Katie

Office of Future Engineers Blog