Researching at WMU

My name is Katherine Rothe, and I am a sophomore Computer Engineering Major at Purdue. This summer, I am working at Western Michigan University as a Research Assistant in the Speech Pathology Department. The great thing about being a programmer is that there are lots of available fields to work in. The project I am working on is looking at middle ear contractions as a reaction to loud noises. I am programming many facets of the project, from data acquisition to analysis to essentially a video game for distraction purposes. It’s a very educational experience, because I get to work with a new programming language (MATLAB) and learn about the biology behind the middle ear contractions. I also get to learn how to measure muscle reactions, and do otoscopy (looking in the ear).

The great thing about having a research internship, especially at a university, is that it opens a lot of doors. The main thing that I get out of this internship is great experience: I work with different types of equipment, programming languages, and am becoming adept at things employers value, like data analysis and research. I also have a good measure of autonomy on my projects, which means I am told what to do and have a degree of freedom for the tasks.

Overall, the internship has been really fun and educational. It opens a lot of doors, as well, primarily experience which is important to employers.

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 members and 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 ( 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!

The Magic of Purdue

Let’s be honest guys: the weather right now is clearly not the greatest – at all. Currently, it is all of FIVE degrees Fahrenheit in West Lafayette. In Alaska, it’s more like 18 degrees. How about that? We are officially colder than Alaska. And then you factor in the wind chill and it’s pretty cold. But, even though it’s cold, and it has been cold on this campus for a pretty long time now, there’s something about this college, something warm, something that makes these cold days worthwhile.

Take it from someone who’s been here. I’ve watched this campus change over the course of twelve and a half years. That’s right, I’ve been coming to this campus for 12 and a half years; thankfully, only two and a half of them have been as a student myself. The rest are thanks to my brother. He also went to this school as a Mechanical Engineer, and then we just kept coming back to this wonderful place.

The surface of Purdue is wonderful to start with – just the physical look to the school. All of the buildings in some way incorporate brick into their design, and it’s amazing. The continuity of buildings, of every part of this campus, has not changed one bit since this school first opened in 1869. Let me say that again, in the almost 150 years Purdue has been, the campus remains one integrated campus – there is no “old” part nor a “new” part. This just adds to the History here. In every building you go into, there are things, reminders from times past right next to modern technology. Take the Mechanical Engineering building – there is a beautiful hand-wound clock, taller than me (and I’m 5’6″) which was lost in storage for at least 40 years. There are so many other little things like this at Purdue, pictures of graduating classes from the 20s, 30s, and 40s, in all of these wonderful buildings.

Buildings along don’t make a campus – it’s the people here too. I had some amazing friends in high school, several of whom I miss dearly. But here? I’ve got a family here, a group of people who enrich my life like never before. They have directly influenced my life in the best ways possible; if I didn’t know them, I’d feel that there was something lacking in my life. They’re the crazy kids who I want to work with, the ones I want to have at all the major moments in my life, the ones who I don’t know how to say good-bye for, even if it’s just a couple months.

The Magic of Purdue comes from all the quiet moments this campus has to offer. Staying up working on homework with friends, going down to the Landing for a night out, moving some weight in the CoRec, just taking in the campus during a walk to class, all of the simple moments we don’t think much of. They are the Magic of Purdue – and they are everywhere you look on this campus.  They are what makes this campus so worthwhile, despite the frigid winters. So come, find them when you visit, and imagine what it would be like to live for four years on this wonderful campus.

Newly Admitted Students

Hey guys!

Some of you might be wondering – “I got accepted to Purdue Engineering, (woohoo congratulations!) but what do I do next?”

1. Take a deep breath – You just made it into an awesome university and you’ve been working all of high school to achieve this. Pat yourself on the back, and then go post it to Facebook for some likes.

2. Consider your options – We know Purdue isn’t the only school you’ve applied to, but we’re hoping it’s the one you see yourself at the most. So sign up for a webinar, come to a “Purdue’s For Me” day, email the Purdue Student Engineering Foundation with some questions for current students, and read more of this blog! Immerse yourself in Purdue and start to understand how much we have to offer!

3. Accept your Offer – If you click on this link, it will take you to the admissions site that lays it out very clearly. You simply need to…set up your online career account and accept your offer through myPurdue. After this, there is a May 1st deadline for guaranteed on-campus housing. I’d recommend looking into a Learning Community as well.  It’s a way for you to live with like-minded engineers!

4. Schedule Your STAR day! – STAR is one day over the summer that you come to see campus and schedule for your first semester. It’s nice because you’ll get to meet with an advisor to help you make the best decisions for what classes to take.

5. Sign up for BGR! – BGR is our freshman orientation program. You should ABSOLUTELY do it! You come to campus one week before school starts and explore. You get put on team of 10-12 (not only engineers but any major) and you go to a ton of events.  You’ll do a fountain run, get a den pop, and walk your schedule. So join us for BGR :)

Hope to see you soon!




Do I Need a Car?

Hello Future Engineers!

I get this question all the time on tours, “Can I bring a car freshman year? Do I need one?”

Technically you are allowed to bring a car after October Break freshman year (October Break is just a  Monday and Tuesday they graciously give us off in October to catch up or take a breather from school).  That being said, you do not need one. There are bus loops that run all over campus and through the city of Lafayette. You can get to the mall or Walmart using public transportation if you need to go there. But on campus there is a grocery store, a CVS, restaurants, book stores, an eye glasses place, multiple Starbucks, cafes, and more. Campus is pretty self-sustaining.

If you need to fly home at the end of the semester, there are bus services that can pick you up on campus and take you straight to the airports for a small fee (i.e. Lafayette Limo).

Hope to see you all on campus soon :)


Purdue Inside Scoop


Hello there potential Boilermaker!

Please feel free to email with any questions you might still have after this post!

1. How hard is it? Like really hard? Or really really hard?

It really comes down to time management. Your professors will never give you something they know you can’t handle. While some classes are harder than others, resources exist for all of them. Between office hours, help rooms, supplementary instruction classes, teammates, and most importantly YouTube, you’ll all do great! There is plenty of time for clubs and socializing, just plan your days ahead of time and don’t waste hours on reddit.

2. Is it better for engineering than other schools in the area?

It really comes down to what you’re looking for. Purdue is a large university with a lot of potential. With over 80,000 alumni, there are lots of people in industry looking to hire people from their own alma mater. This is HUGELY advantageous when you’re looking for a job. Purdue’s reputation for teaching engineering well is known worldwide.

3. What’s a co-op and why should that make me want to go to Purdue?

A co-op is like an ongoing internship. You toggle back and forth between going to school and working for a company (always the same company). This does extend your graduation date, but it means by the time you graduate, you will have 2 years of experience working for a company. The whole time you’re working you’re making money – and good money at that (somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000 per work term). That kind of experience with a company will make you more attractive to them when it comes time for graduation. If you choose to change industries, it will also make you look more appealing to other companies. Purdue’s program is well developed with companies that come every February to hire more Purdue engineers into their programs. Below is an image that explains how the terms work.


4. Are the classes so big you can’t learn? Exactly what are the class sizes like?

Some of the lectures in your freshman year can get up to 300 people. That being said, those large classes will always be paired with a smaller recitation class. These classes are led by graduate TA’s that know the material very well and only have 20-30 students in them. Recitation is a great time to ask any lingering questions as you practice the material learned in lecture. As you get older, class sizes do get smaller too.

5. Do you feel like a number?

Yes and no. I know my student ID like the back of my hand, but as long as you put in the effort to get to know your teachers, they’ll know you. Especially when you get to senior year, when class sizes have gotten smaller. A friend of mine once said on a tour, “It’s easy to make a big school feel smaller, but hard to make a small school feel bigger.” So it’s really all about perspective.

6. Is it too cold there?

It’s sure cold, but we have warm hearts. The key is in the layers.

7. What’s the graduation rate?

In engineering, 90% of students successfully transition from freshman to sophomore year. From freshman year to graduation there is a 60% retention rate, which is higher than the national average! Woohoo boiler up!

8. Can I start out at a Mechanical Engineer right away?

All engineers here start out as First Year Engineers. This is great because it gives you a year to change your mind without committing to anything. I changed my theoretical major 4 times freshman year. Trust me, it’s an advantage. You still can test out of classes required for your freshman year, with AP’s and IB classes (there’s a database online if you google it), but those first two semesters, you’ll still be a freshman engineer.

9. What AP classes transfer?

Here is the link I mentioned above!

My recommendation (note the word opinion) is that you should always take the credit when you can. Some advisors will tell you that you should retake classes you could skip because you already know the material and that it’ll make your semester easier. No – it will probably make you complacent in that class since you “already know”. And that class here is probably harder than the one in high school.

10. What do Purdue Engineers do for fun?

We do lots of things! With over 1000 clubs on campus, we are never bored. Run Club, intramural sports, Dr. Who Club, Boiler Steam (tour guides), band, Society of Women in Engineering, FYESAC (first year engineering student advisory council), GroupX and many many more.

On top of clubs, there’s a lot to do in the area. A movie theater is within walking distance, Indianapolis is a short drive, and Chicago is a long drive. The city of Lafayette itself has lots of cute restaurants and shops.



Have more questions? Follow this link for some more answers or email!

Why Purdue?

Love Purdue

“I chose Purdue because of the placement rate after graduation. 94% of students are placed within 6 months of graduation. There are over 80,000 alumni all over the world, so your network is already huge.” – Sam Mitchell, Engineering student

“I chose Purdue because of it’s history of making leaders. Neil Armstrong, Amelia Earhart, Eugene Cernan, and Don Thompson are all Boilermakers. Engineering is a great way to become a leader of a company one day, and Purdue is a great place to start.” – Molly Chamberlin, Senior in Chemical Engineering

“I chose Purdue engineering because of its programs allowing undergraduates to be exposed to research opportunities early on in their schooling. I know I want to go to graduate school so being exposed to such prospects as early as possible really made Purdue stand out. ” –Kyle Aitken, Graduate Student in Electrical Engineering

“Coming from California, I really focused on the academics to make it worth going out of state. I chose Purdue Engineering because the Industrial Engineering curriculum was broad enough to let me find what I liked most in engineering but also specializes to gain depth. I liked that I would have the option to do undergraduate research because it was a large, research school while also have small classes with personalized attention in my major specific courses.” – Karen Rockwell, Senior in Indistrial Engineering

“I chose Purdue engineering because of its excellent history of preparing students for the workforce.” – Connor Stehr, Senior in Mechanical Engineering

“I chose Purdue engineering because of its reputable standing and because of the inspiration demonstrated by the professors and students. While on the east coast, people ask me about “Perdue Chicken,” I look back proudly on my decision to pursue higher education here in West Lafayette, Indiana.” – Penelope Seagrave, Senior in Industrial Engineering


Office of Future Engineers Blog