Why I’m Thankful for Purdue

Happy Thanksgiving! Here at Purdue the fall semester is winding down. After we get back from break we’ll have one week of classes, dead week, and then….finals.

Dead Week is the week before finals week every semester. Teachers won’t give exams or quizzes for the most part and you hopefully shouldn’t be assigned homework. It’s one week where you can solely focus on studying for finals.

But before that madness, I thought I’d leave you with 8 reasons why I am Thankful for Purdue….

1. My friends – Purdue makes it easy to meet other engineers. From the first week of classes you’re put on team with other like minded individuals. Then if you join engineering student orgs – EVEN MORE FRIENDS. I do all of my homework in a computer lab in Forney (the chemical engineering building) with the best friends a person could ask for – they’re family.

2. My opportunities – there are a lot of Purdue alumni out there, and they love hiring other Purdue engineers. We are a family that transcends graduation date.  Once a boilermaker, always a boilermaker. Once I got a job offer from a company because the reciter and I bonded over a student organization we were both in here at Purdue.

3. The Organizations – There are over 1000 here at Purdue. Organizations are where you find your place at a big university. I have a little brother in high school right now and the one piece of advice I would give him is to JOIN AN ORGANIZATION right away. You don’t have to be one person in a lecture hall of 300. You can be a big part of an organization right away. It helps you acclimate to campus and feel at home right off the bat.

4. Proximity to Indianapolis – It’s only an hour away! This has been so much help when flying off to job interviews. Last weekend my friends and I decided we needed to get off campus for a few hours to destress after the last round of exams so we just drove to the outlet mall in Indy. It was an easy trip to make and my favorite day of the semester.

5. Breakfast club – it’s where you dress up in costume the morning of a home football game and go to the bars (21+). I’m thankful to go to a school with such a fun and lighthearted tradition. My roommates and I have been beanie babies, sesame street, Peter Pan characters, and fairy princesses. I’ve made some of my favorite memories at 6 am on Chauncey Hill.

6. The dorms – although I don’t live there anymore, I still have so many friends I made while living there. The friends you make freshman year have a special bond with you. They struggled to get used to college in the same place as you, and you were there for each other. I can’t ever imagine going back to sharing a bedroom with another college student, but I am thankful that I spent time living in Earhart and Windsor.

7. My landlord – our oven is significantly sub-pare and all it took was an email to him for him to come fix it. He didn’t even try to blame it on us. Thanks George – best landlord ever!

8. My roommates – I am a huge proponent of roommates in college. Heck, I always want to have a roommate. They’re always there to talk to you, they cook with you from time to time, and you learn so much about yourself just from living with them. You have to self monitor yourself as to not upset them. I have so much love for my roommates, especially now that our house has been Christmafyed (Friendsgiving was over okay….).

 

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.

 

 

Industrial Round Table 2014

Hello future engineers!

As you may have heard, Purdue has an annual event called IR – or the Industrial Roundtable. This year at IR we have over 400 companies coming to set up shop for 2 days on Memorial Mall (outside the Stewart Center).

There is an app you can download in the app store called “Purdue Career Fair,” that has a list of all of the companies who will be visiting. You can filter these by major, year they’re looking for, day they’ll be present, jobs they’ll be filling, and work authorizations. On top of looking ahead at companies, students are busy updating and perfecting their resumes, practicing their elevator pitches, and formulating interview answers. I’ve attached some links to some helpful site about preparing for job fairs and interviews.

Wet Feet – Has tons of helpful articles about preparing for job fairs and interviews! Explore away!

Interview Questions – Here is a helpful list of the top 50 interview questions you are likely to be asked.

Glass Door – It’s a great place to look into different companies.

Where Would You Prefer to Work?

Hey guys! As many of you will realize after starting your engineering degree, there are many options for you after graduation. One choice you’ll get to make is if you prefer working at a staff location (in an office) or in manufacturing.

office

As of right now I have worked for Kimberly Clark twice. Once in research and development at a staff location and once again in process engineering at a manufacturing facility. The advantages of working for the same company twice is that the second time you get to hit the ground running and that you often get to try a new role within that company.

Here are three difference I have found between staff and manufacturing location (note: these are just my opinions and based on my exposure)….

Staff:

1. Timelines are sometimes months or even years in the future – as an intern it’s hard to see projects through because of this.

2. You work with PhD’s and people who are considered experts in their fields. While this is intimidating, it’s also a great learning experience.

3. You work with innovative new products and cost saving initiatives. Exposure to products that have yet to be patented is common and thrilling!

Manufacturing:

1. Timelines are the next 24 hours – so it’s much faster paced. Adrenaline junkies, here is your calling.

2. You work with machine operators and engineers trying to optimize the lines. Corporate always want products faster. Less run time means more money.

3. Every day is a mystery about what you’ll be working on. Sure you have long term optimization projects, but they often get pushed for more pressing issues.

 

 

Study Abroad!

Last semester I spent 4 months in Singapore studying chemical engineering. I kept a very extensive travel blog that you can read here

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I wanted to share with you all the top 10 things about studying abroad in Singapore.

1. The food.

The food in Singapore alone is a good enough reason to want to study abroad. It’s amazing there. There was Indian, Indonesia, Singaporean, Chinese, Western, Korean, Thai, and Malaysian all in the food court next to my door. And it was all delicious.

2. Talking about current events.

The coolest thing ever is being able to talk about global current events with people who are from those countries. For example, Dusan was an exchange student from the Ukraine, and it was awesome being able to get his perspective on Putin claiming Crimea. I also had a lot of Malaysian friends who had opinions about the missing Malaysian airline flight.

3. Having to learn everything on my own.

This was both a positive and a negative. It was not always fun, but it forced me to not rely on anyone else.

4. Those mornings I woke up early to get Starbucks.

Every time I had an exam, I’d wake up at 6 am and trek to Starbucks. It’s the only time of day when it’s cool enough to be outdoors in Singapore and something about being at Starbucks made me feel at home.

5. Getting to speak French.

This has only happened a few times when I met French exchange students, but every time it’s happened, I felt like the coolest person in the world. Those four years of high school French finally got put to use!

6. Getting to go to Hong Kong with friends from Purdue.

Probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I got to travel to a country where none of us really spoke the language (Mandarin) with a bunch of people I was comfortable with. It was unlike any other traveling I did.

7. Getting climb down into volcanoes in Indonesia.

8. Visiting the killing fields in Cambodia – a part of history I didn’t even know existed.

9. Learning to use the public transit in new countries on the fly – specifically Malaysia. Very few people spoke English so we really had to use intuition.

10. Above all I am happy I studied abroad for the experience of coming home.

I got to come home after one of the hardest semesters in Chemical Engineering to a family I loved, friends I missed dearly, and a job I was ecstatic about – shout out to Kimberly Clark!

Studying abroad taught me that it’s not about where you end up or how quickly you get there, only that you appreciate everything along the way.

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

Office of Future Engineers Blog