Meet David Derks
Major: Civil Engineering
Year: First-year graduate student
Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas
Why did you choose Purdue?
I chose Purdue because of its reputable engineering program, and I liked the feel of the campus. I felt at home on campus. I like the layout, the architecture, its personality.
Most memorable experience at Purdue?
The summer after my sophomore year. I won the Summer Stay scholarship, so I was taking the nine classes, working at the Bowen Lab as part of the scholarship, and on top of that I worked part-time at Earhart dining hall. I remember my days went from 8 am to midnight, going from class to Bowen, to work, and then to the library study.
If you didn’t major in Engineering, what would you have majored in?
Architecture definitely would have been the second choice.
What's been your biggest challenge in college and how did you overcome it?
Balancing school with my personal life and finding time for everything, while also keeping my grades up. And it just came down to finding the right way for me to study for tests and work on homework — and ultimately that came down to getting to know my professors and TAs and asking questions and going to their office hours. So I wouldn't spend hours at home trying to figure stuff out alone.
Fun fact about you?
Two fun facts. I’m a big Kansas City Chiefs fan, so I’m excited about Superbowl Sunday.
And I own a 1969 Steury, which is an 18 foot runabout boat that I work on when I'm home. I run it in Missouri and Kansas lakes. It’s good for pulling tubers and skiers and fishing and going on boat rides. It’s a good all-around boat.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
My spirit animal according to Google is a grizzly bear. I have no idea why.
Describe your favorite Purdue Professor?
My favorite professor as of recently is Dr. Santiago Pujol. He is very detailed. His class was focused on the details. His motto has always been ‘the devil is in the details.’ He very straight-to-the-point kind of personality, very dry humor, but a very direct teaching approach. I learned a lot from him. My brain clicked with the way he taught. It all made sense to me.
Purdue Pete or Boilermaker Express? Why?
Definitely the Boilermaker Express. The Purdue Pete mascot is just — I don’t like his head. It’s an odd shape. It’s like how some people don’t like clowns. It weirds me out. I can’t figure out where the mascot’s actual eyes are — if they’re in his head or in his neck, where the person underneath’s eyes should be. There are just so many questions I have about it. Something’s wrong. There’s also a whole bunch of Purdue Petes. There’s not just one. There are like six Purdue Petes. There’s only one train.