June, 2020

Gilmore’s career defined by leadership, life lessons

Photo of two female Purdue students. Photo of Assata Gilmore and Hannah Walter.

No fewer than five of Assata Gilmore’s family members attended Purdue University before her, so there were certainly big footprints to be filled. Needless to say, Gilmore filled them — and more.

A senior studying finance and minoring in French, Gilmore has made the most of her time at Purdue by amassing a laundry list of accomplishments: student body president, student body vice president, member of the Purdue Foundation Student Board and the Mortar Board national honors society.

Somehow, Gilmore also finds the time to be a member of the Black Voices of Inspiration choir at Purdue’s Black Cultural Center and remain active in other campus activities.

“The education I have received at Purdue has allowed me to do so much — intern at some of the best companies in the country, successfully run and win two student government campaigns, open the doors for experiences I never would have imagined,” Gilmore says. “It has challenged me and impacted my way of thinking. It has also strengthened my values and reinforced the idea that I can do anything I put my mind to.”

Even though Gilmore was encouraged to attend Purdue by those of her relatives who are graduates, she ultimately decided to become a Boilermaker for her own, very specific reasons.

“I chose to attend Purdue for three reasons — the name and prestige associated with a Purdue degree, the quality of education at the Krannert School of Management and, biggest of all, the Business Opportunity Program,” says Gilmore, of Chicago. “When I joined that program, I immediately felt connected to the community. I knew that I would have a home away from home throughout my collegiate career.”

The Cornell A. Bell Business Opportunity Program, established more than 50 years ago, is a nationally recognized Purdue organization that recruits, educates and provides support for promising Krannert undergraduate and graduate students pursuing management careers.

Gilmore currently serves as Purdue’s student body president, having also served as vice president in 2019-20. This, plus her experiences through the Purdue Foundation Student Board and as the Purdue liaison at the Association of Big Ten Students, have provided her with lifelong lessons on leadership.

“There is so much that I have learned through student leadership, but I think the biggest thing is that I learned how to uplift my strengths and the strengths of those around me,” she says. “There is something about the college experience that conditions students to believe that they have to be good at everything and push through challenges all on their own. But through student leadership, I learned that it’s not just about being a well-rounded person. It’s about being able to work hard and be part of a well-rounded team.”

After graduating, Gilmore will return to Chicago to work for the financial services firm KPMG as a financial consultant.

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