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Matthew Vining // Senior, Environmental and Ecological Engineering, Hometown: Boerne, TX

"The Minority Engineering Program has connected me, and continues to connect me to friends and peers who share similar goals of ensuring equal and equitable access to engineering for multiple communities."

Campus Involvement:
Purdue Global Engineering Programs and Partnerships (GEPP) - Office Assistant
Latinos in Science and Engineering (MAES) - President
Purdue Student Government - Executive Director of Governmental Relations
Purdue Student Sustainability Council - Climate Committee
Study and Research Abroad - Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand


How has the Minority Engineering Program affected you as an engineering student? What do you get through MEP that you don't get from other programs on campus? 

I first connected with the Minority Engineering Program before I became a Boilermaker. As a prospective student I was invited to visit Purdue through PREVIEW and Destination Purdue in 2017. In comparison to other schools I was looking at, I liked how I was prioritized as a valuable component of the future engineering student body at Purdue.

Virginia Booth Womack was a valuable part of Purdue and what it meant to be a minority engineering student on campus from that day forward. When I started classes on campus, I knew that I could always reach out to her if I had any questions or needed help with anything. MEP consistently offers myself and others opportunities through professional networking sessions, academic assistance, and related events. 

As a current member and now President of a minority engineering student organization, Latinos in Science and Engineering (MAES), I am grateful for the financial and advisory resources that MEP provides to Purdue's chapter and its members. Without MEP's support, many members might not be able to have the full experience of the organization. 

MEP is more than a department that offers countless resources to underrepresented engineering students, it's a community of caring and passionate staff that improve the experience for all minorities in STEM at Purdue. MEP has connected me, and continues to connect me, to friends and peers who share similar goals of ensuring equal and equitable access to engineering for multiple communities. 

What is your advice for incoming minority engineering students?

The First-Year Engineering (FYE) program at Purdue is a great way to reflect on your academic and professional goals and to find a program that suits these aspirations. As engineering students, we find ourselves in ambitious and anxious states in the steps leading up to our goals. In doing so, we often forget what it means to experience engineering education and focusing on what drives our passion to continue our education. While it is important to study and work hard, it is also okay to experience failures and feelings of uneasiness. 

I highly stress taking advantage of any resources available to prioritize your mental and emotional health, as much as you do with your academic success. There are resources both on and off campus in the Greater Lafayette community. In addition to this, as Boilermakers, we are a community in itself. Connect with those that share your interests and passions, find an activity that you enjoy outside of classes and learn to find the balance between your studies and your health. 

Is there anything else that you want to share about your time at Purdue? 

Although at times you may face challenges, perseverance and utilizing the community of resources at Purdue has truly made my experience something I will never take for granted. I remember at one point I considered transferring to a school back home in Texas, but I knew that it wouldn't be fair to myself to make such a hasty decision. At the time I felt anxious about my place at Purdue and was scared to be truly independent for the first time in my life. I developed feelings of being homesick and was having trouble looking for a community that I could see myself in. After much reflection, I decided to stay for an additional semester because I do not give up so easily. I soon found more and more friends that were supportive of my goals, and I discovered what ignited passion in me in my own engineering field and learned what made Purdue Engineering such a fulfilling experience. Whether it was the extensive opportunities offered through MEP and the College of Engineering, the supportive staff, or the many student organizations (1000+) available to join, I found the right avenues to pursue that improved my experience. If you take advantage of the opportunities that align with your goals, you will see that value of being a Purdue Engineer and the resilience of our community. 

What are your plans after you graduate? 

After I graduate in May, I am looking toward graduate school as the next step in my career. I plan on pursuing a non-traditional engineering degree, specifically an MPA in Environmental Policy and Management. 

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