Research Foundation News

July 5, 2017

Purdue graduate uses entrepreneurship certificate for seamless move to industrial engineering position

Roark-innovation Lauren Rourk, a recent graduate of Purdue’s School of Industrial Engineering, will soon begin an engineering position at Northrop Grumman Aerospace thanks, in part, to her participation in Purdue’s Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program. Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A recent Purdue graduate will seamlessly transition into an industrial engineer position at the world’s fifth-largest aerospace and defense technology company, thanks in part to her participation in Purdue’s Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program.

Lauren Rourk, a graduate from Purdue’s School of Industrial Engineering, will begin an industrial engineering position at Northrop Grumman Aerospace on July 5.

Rourk said completing the certificate program already has proven beneficial in her new position.

“Completing the certificate program allowed me to adapt more readily to the company’s culture,” Rourk said. “At the first event I attended at Northrop Grumman, I spoke with the aerospace innovation director. Through a shared vocabulary, I was able to get far more insight into the company’s direction than I would have without the background the certificate gave me. By taking such leadership in an entrepreneurial role, I have the ability to make an impact not just on my career, but Northrop Grumman as well.”

The Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation is designed to complement student’s primary degree by giving them the experience of working with other students from different academic disciplines and backgrounds to develop new venture concepts. This program is administered by the Office of the Provost and housed in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

Nathalie Duval-Couetil, director of the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, said the program serves several purposes.

“The certificate program teaches students the process of turning ideas and innovations into new products and ventures through a startup or an established company. It also emphasizes leadership and communication skills necessary for students to advocate their ideas,” she said. “Organizations of all types and sizes want employees knowledgeable in generating economic or social value. Lauren was an outstanding student who made the most of what Purdue had to offer both within her engineering program and the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program.”

Beyond the improvement of her business skills, Rourk said, the program also helped her develop interpersonal skills including leadership, perseverance and dedication.

“Whether starting a business or starting a new project, there will always need to be a champion on the project that is willing to commit the time, effort and energy to ensure its success,” Rourk said. “As I begin my career, there will be initiatives that will need strong and determined individuals to run with the idea and make the execution of that idea financially and commercially beneficial. I’m ready to be that champion thanks to this certificate.”

Rourk said the program offered a reality check about the true nature of entrepreneurship.

“Many other millennials see entrepreneurship as simply a methodical process that results in a multibillion-dollar business in the course of three years,” Rourk said. “However, I've learned that creating a business is a holistic practice, where everything from culture to profit and loss statements come into play. While entrepreneurship may seem to be the focus of the certificate, the experiences and insights I've gained about innovation is that the act of bringing an idea to life is equally as important as the idea itself. These skills can be used in any area of life.”

Visit for more information on the program.

Writer: Kelsey Henry,

Purdue Research Foundation Contact: Hillary Henry, 765-588-3586,

Sources: Lauren Rourk,

Nathalie Duval-Couetil,

Research Foundation News

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

© 2015-22 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Office of Strategic Communications

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact News Service at