Meet Our Students

Taylor ZikeTaylor Zike

Major: Movement and Sports Sciences

If you've picked up a can or bottle of Dr Pepper in the past few months, chances are good that Taylor Zike's face was on the product. He won a nationwide contest to earn money for school. What impressed the judges most was Taylor's relationship with his brother — and how that relationship changed the course of Taylor's life.

Growing up, Taylor and his older brother, Derek, were the biggest rivals. Not only did they challenge each other when it came to hockey, but the rivalry extended to their choice of schools as well.

"Purdue was highly recommended by my best friends and I knew it would be challenging," Taylor says. "But I also knew my brother was an IU fan, so that made Purdue an obvious choice." Read More...

Eli MansfieldEli Mansfield

Major: Athletic Training

From athlete to athletic trainer, Eli Mansfield has turned a love of sports into the beginnings of a career in sports medicine. He's off to a stellar start. The senior in health and kinesiology is a vital part of the Purdue men's basketball team. Working alongside head trainer Chad Young, he's learned to turn hotel rooms into training rooms, taping players and offering pre-game treatments on the road. And he's excited about the road ahead of him, which could lead to a job as head trainer at another Division I university, a professional sports franchise or even the rodeo circuit.

For Eli, discretion is the better part of valor during timeouts at Purdue basketball games. That's when the athletic trainer scans all five faces in the huddle to see if the players need anything.

"There's always a camera on you," Eli says, "so I may check for blood on uniforms and spray them off with peroxide real quick. I've also got contact lenses, mouth guards and inhalers on hand."

He might also subtly run interference with a referee who could be trying to hurry the team out of the timeout. It results in lot of whistles blown in his ear, he says with a laugh. Read More...

Alberto OsegueraAlberto Oseguera

Major: Athletic Training

Even in the cold days of an Indiana February, it warms Alberto Oseguera's heart to know that major league pitchers and catchers soon will be reporting for spring training throughout Florida and Arizona. If the game plan for his career works out, he'll be working in the majors someday as an orthopedic consultant. For now, Alberto, a senior in health and kinesiology, is helping the Purdue Boilermaker baseball team tune up for its defense of the Big Ten championship. And the ball diamond is perfect training ground as he learns in one of the best sports medicine programs in the country.

Finding a spot as an athletic trainer at Purdue can make for fierce competition itself. After spending countless hours in the evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of various student-athletes, Alberto will spend his senior season working with the baseball team, which begins defense of its Big Ten championship season this spring.

"For the most part, I'm working with pitchers to make sure their range of motion is good," Alberto says. "The guys are great and they really make you feel like a part of the team. I'll go out there and shag balls in the outfield with them." Read More...

Melissa VargasMelissa Vargas

Major: Public Health Promotion

Melissa never wondered about what she wanted to do.

"I've always been health oriented, always wanted to care for people, always liked other cultures and international experiences. I always enjoyed volunteer work. A career in public health gives me a way to do all that."

After starting out in pre-med at another institution, her biology and sociology/anthropology courses at Purdue laid the foundation for Melissa's major. Read More...

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