How dead is “Dead Week?”

The week before finals at many universities is dubbed “Dead Week,” supposedly because of how you will feel by the time the week is over (head over to the Wikipedia article for an interesting read). So the question remains: how dead is Dead Week?

Well, it really varies from semester to semester. In the fall, my dead week comprised of working deadline-to-deadline, having a project or a paper due from Tuesday until Friday. Needless to say, after many sleepless nights and almost zero time to relax, this picture epitomizes how I felt: 

That’s my roommate passed out on the floor of his room after working on a project for quite a few hours. Thankfully though, I was able to find my bed before passing out to catch up on sleep after my monster of a week.

On the other end of the spectrum, however, sometimes your dead week can be pretty mild: you might have one or two papers/projects to finish up, but after that you are set to go to start studying for your finals the following week.

During dead week, the university mandates that you cannot have a test or quiz in any class because of the close proximity to finals. Some libraries on campus start to transition to a 24-hour open schedule through finals week, so you can always count on a nice, quiet place to study. It’s nice because sometimes you can pick up some free food/drink while studying. My freshman year, the reps from Red Bull walked into the library with cases of their product and just put them right onto one of the open tables. People from all over the library descended upon the table and within a minute, all of it was gone. When I was studying for finals in the Potter Engineering Library junior year, I got some free coffee, donuts, and snacks that were regularly put out by the staff there.

It seems like the university gets quieter as things wind down and people are finishing up their classes or studying for their exams. Although no one is a big fan of having tests, they are the final gateway to the freedom of summer.

2012 AIAA Design/Build/Fly Competition

This past weekend, I was able to see the culmination of two semesters’ worth of work put into an aircraft design for the AIAA Design/Build/Fly (DBF) competition.

Every year, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) holds a competition where university teams from around the country and the world get the opportunity to design an RC airplane that can meet three specific mission requirements that are set by the competition planning members. This year’s three mission requirements included:

  • Mission 1: Fly 1,000 foot lap rotations and determine how many can be flown within 4 minutes.
  • Mission 2: Take a 3.75 pound payload of aluminum bars and successfully fly three lap rotations within 4 minutes.
  • Mission 3: Design a mechanism to release 2 liters of water after the plane successfully reaches 100 meters.

I took DBF to fulfill my senior design requirements, but also because I had garnered an interest in it after my two friends (now roommates) had talked about their experiences with the team last year. I had been looking for an opportunity to get experience with going through the entire design cycle of an aircraft, and DBF was exactly that.

The competition this year was held out in Wichita, KS, from April 13th to April 15th, so last Thursday 26 members of the DBF team took a nice 12-hour drive all the way out there. The competition is co-sponsored by Cessna and Raytheon (Cessna’s HQ is in Wichita, and Raytheon’s is in Tuscon, AZ) and the competition location rotates in between the two.

Even though the forecast called for thunderstorms all three days of the competition, the first day turned out to be absolutely beautiful. It was partly cloudy, low winds, and a really comfortable temperature out at the Cessna airfield, where the competition was held. It was also pretty cool, because the airfield is located next to McConnell Air Force Base, home to one of the country’s largest refueling fleets of KC-135s. So all throughout the day, the tankers were doing practice landing runs, and this became a pretty regular site:

Wichita also houses a former Boeing facility, and we got to see a Boeing Dreamlifter (one of 4 planes that was constructed to transport parts for the Boeing 787) make a landing at McConnell as well.

As interesting as seeing the planes land over at the AFB was, the opportunity to see all of these other teams from other engineering schools and their airplane designs was also really neat as well. There were 69 teams in total that entered the competition, but about 60 that actually showed up on-site for flights. Here is a picture of us with our plane:

There’s me on the left, with Lee, the pilot, in the middle, and Jason, the team leader, on the right. The plane itself was constructed using balsa wood and some carbon fiber elements as well. Our plane successfully completed Mission 1 and 2 on the first and second day of the competition. However, on the night of the second day (April 14th) an intense storm system brought a number of tornadoes to the region, including an F4 tornado that struck about 8 miles away from our hotel. The aftermath of the weather left multiple downed power lines that blocked off access to the Cessna airfield, and the DBF competition officials had to cancel the rest of the competition.

We drove back home all day yesterday, and although it wasn’t the best of endings to the competition, it was still a really great experience to go out there, see how our design compared with everyone else’s, and appreciate the engineering talents that all of the schools brought out to the competition.

6 States in 2 Months

Spring is a busy time and this year has been no exception.

As in past years the Dean of Engineering, Leah Jamieson, likes to take some time to meet face-to-face with students who have been admitted to Purdue Engineering along with our Alums in those areas.  The Dean’s Receptions are a great way for students to meet each other as well as learn first hand from our alums about what life is really like after graduation.  This year we’ve held Dean’s Receptions in California, Washington D.C., Georgia and right here in Indiana.

Dean's Reception 2012Dean's Reception 2012In addition to the Dean’s Receptions, the Office of Future Engineers co-hosted an Admitted-Alumni Event at the Shell Eco-marathon in Houston, TX with Shell, Purdue Solar Racing, the Engineering Alumni Association and the Purdue Alumni Association-Houston Chapter.  Approximately 50 people attended the event on Saturday afternoon getting to know each other and cheering on Celeritas the Purdue Solar car. http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2012/120326KingCeleritas.html

Last but not least I had the joyous opportunity of driving to Colorado over spring break where my husband and I exchanged vows at a little chapel at Camp Alexander, located near Lake George, CO which is in the mountains behind Pikes Peak. We were blessed to experience a beautiful spring day in the mountains of Colorado as the weather was a sunny 60 degrees.  (Virtually unheard of for this time of year.)

So that’s it; six states in two months.
While I’ve spent a lot of time on the road during the Spring semester, I have still been able to meet and greet many of our prospective students and their families right here on campus. Whether it is here on campus or traveling the nation, I am thankful everyday to have the opportunity to wake up in the morning and go to a “job” that I love.  It’s been said that if you love what you do; you will never work a day in your life.  I believe this to be true.

Projects, Exams and Admits OH MY!!

As a crazy busy semester is soon to end for our current students, it is new beginnings for our future Boilermakers as admit decisions started cycling out on Friday.

  •  Admits congratulations!! Start to explore coming to visit Purdue in the spring. We would love to see you!
  • Merit scholarships will be awarded starting the middle of this week and decisions will continue to be made through the middle of February.
  • Purdue Student Engineering Foundation (PSEF) Thanks for a Fantastic semester of tours and programs.
  • Good Luck on finals and Happy Break to all PU students!!
  • Props to our First year students who did some very cool Projects using Lab View-see pictures below.
  • GO Purdue Volleyball Team!! The final 4 is in our sights.
The Amazing Game
Automatic trash can

Happy Holidays to all!

David

Whoa, where did the semester go?

Just a few months ago, I was packing up all my things into my Corolla (a feat of engineering in and of itself) and driving eighteen hours to get to Houston.  Now, I’m starting to look around my room in Houston and go “How on Earth am I going to get all of this back to Indiana?”  While my friends at Purdue are all starting to study for finals, I’m wrapping up things at work and only have another week left (and only one more paycheck coming).  As an engineer, I like lists, so I’ve broken down my experience into the best parts and the worst parts of being on co-op.

The Best Things:

1. The Work –  I’ve had an opportunity to learn a lot about both the company I work for and a branch of engineering (technical sales) that I’ve never seen before.
2. The Food – This is entirely subjective, but TexMex and Texan BBQ are some of the best cuisines out there and having it at least once a week is pretty awesome.
3. The Weather –  It started off really hot (Over two straight weeks of 100 degree weather), but the temperate finally moderated and I haven’t had to worry about snow at all this semester.
4.  The Work (Redux) – Or lack thereof.  My job doesn’t have homework.  No late nights of working or studying for me.

The Worst Things: (Which Really Aren’t All That Bad)

1. The Social Aspect – In this age of Facebook/Twitter/G+, it’s easy to keep up to date with what is going on with your friends.  This is kind of a double edged sword though, as (at least my friends’) posts are always about the best things that are going on at school.  You start to miss school.
2.  Missing Football Season – We beat Ohio State.  Again.  We rushed the field. Again.  And again, I wasn’t on campus.  Eventually I’ll be around for Purdue pulling off a huge upset in football.

Actually, the worst things hardly qualify as needing a list…I am looking forward to a change of scenery and being back on campus in January.  Just in time for Big Ten basketball season.  Boiler Up!

A Trip to Kansas City

Hey everone,

One of my goals for this semester was to find an internship that would expand my experience in Software Engineering. I went to Purdue’s Industrial Roundtable, which is the largest student run job fair in the nation, and talked to as many software engineering firms as I could. I had the opportunity to talk to companies such as Microsoft, Lexmark, IBM, Garmin, Amazon, Lutron, and many more.

3 weeks later, I was offered the opportunity the fly out to Olathe, Kansas(a suburb of Kansas City) to visit the campus of Garmin International. It was an absolutely amazing experience! We were able to learn about all the different sectors of their company and how I could fit in as an intern. We also were given the chance to network with many of the engineers there while hanging out at Dave and Busters. So basically, I got to play video games with a group of Engineers! On the final day, we had two 30-minute interviews as well as a few more presentations. A week later, I was offered a position as a software engineering intern for next summer!

My trip to KC was an absolutely amazing experience! I was able to meet a lot of students from Purdue who were also applying there, many of whom may end up there this summer as well. I know that I wouldn’t have had such an amazing experience without Purdue. Purdue has provided me with so many opportunities to grow and succeed, and I am so thankful for that!

Goodbye November – Hello December

It’s hard to believe that – fall semester is almost over!!

Next week is dead week followed by finals.  No one is quite sure why the call it dead week because life is anything other than quiet. This is the time of year when I tell visiting families to please forgive the glazed eyes of our students who seem to be sporting the proverbial dear in they headlight look as they are wrapping up final projects, studying for final exams, and looking forward to the much needed 3 week break.

What am I doing for the long break?
Well normally I would be here at my desk with the holiday music turned up, catching up on paperwork and pre-planning for the spring semester.  This year I’ll be off the entire month of December, kicking it off with a tonsillectomy followed by a family wedding and then Christmas with the family.

I know that normal people have their tonsils out when they are young. Then again, why be normal?  I hear it’s a great excuse to eat lots of ice-cream and pudding.
What are your tips for recovery?

Two weddings in one year.  It’s kind of hard to imagine that two of my nephews are getting married in the same year. Then again these two nephews graduated from Purdue at the same time so getting married in the same year seems appropriate.

My parents will be here in Indiana for Christmas this year and it is rather exciting as they still live in Colorado Springs, CO; in the home where I grew up.  Even though I’ve had a chance to see them several times this past year, there is something special about having them here in my home for the holiday

Well I had better get back to wrapping up the year. I hope that you have had a great 2011 and are looking forward to 2012 with an excitement and expectancy that a new year brings.

Happy holidays!
Amy

Hello November!!

I hope every one is doing well and enjoying the last of Fall. It has been a fun time on campus. Here are some highlights.

  • Basketball season has started!! Boiler Up!
  • Leaves leaves and more leaves!!
  • Receiving lots of good press about having the largest incoming class of female engineers in Purdue’s history-YEA
  • Great event up at Hobart High school meeting with students and families
  • REMINDER- Scholarship deadline for completing admissions application is November 15th
  • We have had really nice weather here- except yesterday(;

Home again in Indiana

Three states – three time zones – six days.
It was a rush; but what a great time!

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Anaheim, CA for the first time to meet with students attending the SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) College fair. It was great having four of our top Purdue SHPE students join me in talking to future engineering students and answering questions about Purdue, Engineering and Student life.

While in California I had the opportunity to see Newport Beach, Crystal Cove, and had dinner at the Beachcomber on Crystal Cove (a must do if you are ever in southern CA).

After the college fair I hopped on a plane and headed to Colorful Colorado where during some downtime I had the opportunity to visit with family and friends over the weekend before heading to West Middle School (part of Cherry Creek Schools) in Greenwood Village, CO (Denver area) on Monday, October 31st.

I’m not sure if sitting through a class on “Engineering is Everywhere” was a Trick or Treat for the 360 8th grade Science students, but they all seemed to enjoy learning more about using Math and Science to change the world.

Women In Engineering Program (WIEP) Event

Last night I helped run a booth for PSEF at a Women in Engineering (WIEP) event.There was a great turn out and girls asked a ton of great questions so I thought I’d blog about a few of the frequent questions girls asked last night. I often got, are the classes really as scary as people make them out to be? You will often hear that first year engineering is just one huge weed out process, but I have found that as long as you keep up with your work, you’ll do just fine. It’s true that you know longer have your parents there to remind you to do your homework, but chances are that if you’re interested in Purdue Engineering, they probably don’t have to anyway.

I also got asked about whether or not they they had to know what type of engineering they wanted to go into before they got here.  All first year engineers start off as just that, First-Year Engineers (FYE’s). You don’t declare which school you want to be in until sophomore year. All FYE’s are required to take an engineering class that allows them to be exposed to all the different types of engineering disciplines. For example my engineering class is visited by at least two professional schools a week. They come into our class, give us a presentation trying to sell us their school, and then they are there to answer any school specific questions we may have. It’s nice because I came in thinking I wanted biomedical engineering but then learned that biological engineering was more what I wanted. Now I’m even thinking Industrial Engineering, something I didn’t even know what it was until the schools representatives came into my Engineering 131 class.

One last common question was about learning communities. I am in the Women in Engineering learning community and I take the Women in Enigneering Seminar. There is an application for learning communities on your myPortal account (what you used to apply to Purdue). Purdue offers many learning communities, some require you to live with the other members and some require you to take classes. Women in Engineering is a residency hall program that allows me to live with just other women engineers. It’s kind of nice because if I have a homework question, I can just walk down the hall and knock on doors until I find someone who can help me, because we’re all taking virtually the same classes. Another popular learning community is EPICS. This is another residency program where you live with other engineers in EPICS. You also take classes with them and work on a real world project. Many students who do EPICS put it down as real work experience on their resumes because they are projects that are actually implemented by the companies who hire Purdue’s EPICS program.

There are so many great things about being a Purdue Engineer. I never visited campus before I came here, I just knew what high regards Purdue Engineers were held in and knew I wanted it for myself. That’s not to say you shouldn’t visit, everyone should come get a tour of the engineering campus from PSEF! If you’re interested, you can even shadow one of us to our classes. :)

Office of Future Engineers Blog