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)?
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!
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!
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.
I love it when a plan comes together. After 2 years of planning we held our first webinar last night taking online chats to the next level. Wow what a night!
The two hour webinar featured fellow bloggers David Bowker and Kyle Loux on camera and Dennis Chu working with me off camera on the production side of things. Also joining us on camera were PSEF members Parul Schroff, and Josh Folk and guests from around the world. The great thing about the webinar is that it helps our guests know that when we say we have current students answering questions, we really do. I’ve always thought that, when it comes to the online chats, someone out there might picture David Bowker and I sitting in a room pretending to be current students. Kind of like the tv commercial where they past the phone around the room of four people all pretending to be customer service. The webinars we hope will give future engineering students a better sense of their future student peers at Purdue.
My name is Molly Chamberlin and I am a First Year Engineer looking to go into Biological Engineering. I didn’t always know I wanted to come to Purdue. After my junior year in high school I visited many schools, none of which were Purdue. I’m from South Bend Indiana (around Notre Dame) and the one thing I “knew” for sure was that I wanted to go out of state for college. Every school I visited had something about it that I liked, and as application time rolled around, I was still completely undecided about where I wanted to end up. This was very frustrating for me, because I had been planning college since sixth grade when I picked up my first “college guide.” So I decided to think about where I wanted to end up, then how I wanted to get there.
I’ve always been drawn to math and science, so in high school I took a lot of those classes. I knew I wanted to work with cells and genetics in my future so I tried to find majors that could help me do that. I realized that I had been overlooking Purdue’s engineering program, and not giving it a chance, just because it was close to my hometown. I never visited Purdue; I applied, got in, and signed up for STAR (the freshman scheduling day over the summer). I was so sure that Purdue’s engineering program was exactly what I needed and wanted to succeed that I didn’t hesitate to come here. I wanted an environment that would push my abilities to their full potential and to be around students who felt the same.
Since I’ve been here I have not regretted my decision. There is always something to do; whether it is homework or a student organization. At the beginning of the year I wanted to join the sailing team, Adopt-a-Grandparent, Circle-K, Timmy Health Foundation, Run Club and many other organizations. There is just so much to choose from. In the end I chose to joined PSEF (Purdue’s Student Engineering Foundation) and APO (Alpha Phi Omega), which is a service fraternity. Both of these organizations are like family. Between gaining a mentor in PSEF, go Dennis, and “parents” in APO, there are always upper classmen I can talk to if I need help.
I look forward to sharing more about my experiences here at Purdue later, but until then, Boiler Up!