About Us


STEM education in the United States is lagging far behind. Purdue Bound provides a creative solution to this urgent national dilemma. The Purdue Bound solution strengthens the educational pipeline for minorities and low income students in STEM disciplines. It is a comprehensive approach to address systemic socioeconomic inequality, under-qualified teachers, being under-resourced and historical achievement gap challenges. Purdue Bound brings together critical elements of the educational process: students, parents, teachers, private industry partners, university faculty and staff to provide a pathway to success. This successful model addresses this national concern by impacting the local community. Purdue University partnered with local corporations and Indianapolis Public Schools to create a program that better prepares students for STEM careers. At Purdue, we include Agriculture and other science-based fields of study. Through Purdue Bound, many minorities and first-generation students are prepared for college and gain exposure to STEM career opportunities.

Its comprehensive program design addresses the needs of STEM education at both public school and college levels. Grade point standards, SAT preparation and more rigorous coursework better equips students for college level coursework. Summer camp workshops, research, shadowing and mentoring cultivate and provide enriching experiences for participants. This holistic model serves to promote career refinement, character and leadership development. Corporate involvement adds value to the participant experience. Students are mentored by professionals, and receive valuable hands-on experiences that teach them the practical relevance of math and science as tools to solve real world problems.

The Purdue Bound solution strengthens the educational pipeline for minorities and low income students in STEM disciplines. It is a comprehensive approach designed to address systemic challenges faced by these populations (socioeconomic inequality, under-qualified teachers, being under-resourced, historical achievement gaps, etc.).


Early college preparation is vital to student success. The Purdue Bound program begins working with students in the 8th grade.

There are 4 major components of this program (descriptions of each component follow):

  1. After School Workshops and Activities
  2. Summer Camps, Internships, and Other Events
  3. Parent Program
  4. College Program

After School Workshops and Experiential Activities

After School Workshops and Experiential Learning Activities are held twice a month and are hosted at individual schools. They are designed to expose students to the STEM fields early on. Mentor-Teachers (called Mentors) from IPS schools serve as key points of contact for Purdue Bound students. After school activities include career interest, resume writing, mock interviews, STEM career exploration, guest speakers from Purdue University and local industry, tutoring, SAT preparation, and campus visits to the university. An important emphasis is placed on forensic exercises, chemistry and physics labs, robotics, and other projects which provide the student with hands-on experiences and experiential learning.

Summer Camps, Internships and Other Events

Purdue Bound provides numerous summer camp and internship opportunities to participants who qualify (maintain a 3.0 GPA, and a “B” average in Science and Math courses). These opportunities are hosted on the Purdue campus or the corporate sponsor’s place of business. On average, 80 students or more participate in Purdue Bound summer camps, math workshops, internships or research opportunities. They include:

  1. Explorer Camp (rising 7th and 8th graders)
  2. Biology, Veterinary, MITE/PreFACE Engineering (9th, 10th and 11th graders)
  3. Corporate and Departmental Research Internships (rising 12th graders)
    1. Corporate Internships: Interns interview for corporate partner internship opportunities and valuable work the corporate world during 4-8 week long
    2. Research Internships: Interns interview with Purdue faculty for departmental research internship opportunities at Purdue University and gain valuable exposure to research methodology during 3 week long internship experience.
  4. Purdue Bound also hosts many other exciting events each year which include:
    1. Annual Celebration/Graduation Reception or Dinner
    2. Purdue Space Day, Spring Fest, Engineering/Chemistry Day, Shadowing and Mentoring Experiences, Minority Engineering and Technology programs.
    3. Company tours and other special projects.

Parent Program

Parents of Purdue Bound students are invited to participate in the Parent Program (Explorer – College Level). Research documents the importance of having parents involved in their child’s educational life, because they serve as a vital link to a child’s maturity and academic success. Parents learn about the Purdue Bound mission, programming activities, student expectations and how they can be better advocates. During monthly meetings, they meet with community leaders, educational and industry professionals to learn about STEM career opportunities. As partners in the Purdue Bound program, parents are challenged to set higher expectations, increase their understanding of college preparation, explore career options and learn to allocate and take advantage of resources (mentoring, tutoring, budgeting, understanding financial aid, etc.). Parents come to better understand and appreciate the student experience and needs. Consequently, the parent is put in a better position to advise, counsel and serve as a mentor and model to their participant.

College Program

Upon successful completion of the high program, gaining admission to Purdue University and enrollment into an approved Purdue Bound major, the Purdue Bound scholar will be offered a 4-year tuition scholarship that fills the financial need for tuition, fees and books.

Building upon our research, best practices and past experiences, we have designed a program that will result in student success in STEM areas. Purdue Bound programming at the college level that includes the following:

  1. Academic Bridge Component
  2. First Year Programming
  3. Academic Success Component
  4. Professional, Leadership and Co-Curricular Development
    • Center for Career Opportunities (CCO) Registration Requirement
    • Resume Building and Interviewing
    • Elevator Speech Development
    • Guest Speakers (Corporate Partners, Purdue Bound Alumni), Panels/Discussion Forums
    • Career Coaching
  5. Community Service

Purdue Bound students participate in activities which cultivate leadership character traits and strengthen them as professionals including developing a professional resume, marketing themselves, effectively communicating their skills and networking with employers. This is accomplished through the following:

Participants learn valuable lessons by giving back to the program and the community. Our students have formed a student organization to provide leadership to other program participants and afford themselves useful mentoring and community service opportunities which include:

  • Purdue Bound Student Success Organization (SBSSO) Community Tutoring
  • Other Community Service
  • Fund Raising Efforts
  • Campus-Wide Leadership Conference 2013

Corporate sponsors play a vital role:

  • They provide valuable hands-on experiences that complement classroom experience and inspire students to learn more about the STEAM disciplines.
  • They contribute financial support and the sponsorship necessary to operate the program.


Purdue Bound has been successful overall. More than 300 public school students each year are benefited. More than 98% of students who complete the Purdue Bound public school program go on to college.. At the college level, where 72% of the participants fall into the underrepresented minority category, students mature academically and professionally. Purdue Bound Scholars are actively involved on campus, conduct research, study abroad and participate in internships. Collegiate Purdue Bound student leaders raised more than $ 13,000.00 during the 2012-2013 academic year, hosting a university-wide “Growing Leaders Conference” that featured a nationally recognized speaker. Since 2011, the program has graduated 53 Purdue alumni who have entered the ranks of the professional world or are pursuing further graduate study.


IPS Mentor teachers, guidance counselors and administrators play an extremely important function in the success of Purdue Bound, so you’ll want to identify members of your staff who will participate as well. Not only are Mentor teachers responsible for identifying participants and facilitating after school sessions, they are strategically positioned as role models, career coaches, who whet the appetite of students for discovery, investigation and research. Once they have been identified, Purdue Bound leadership team work with mentor/teachers to launch the program going and to help involve local industrial partners.


Corporate industry partners have teamed up with Purdue Bound for company-led projects within public schools. Rolls Royce works with Arsenal Tech students to build solar cars. Raytheon partners work closely with Harshman Middle School staff and students to build catapults and provide company tours. Purdue’s School of Veterinary Science collaborated with Crispus Attucks in Indianapolis to establish a Purdue Bound Vet Club.


Contact Us

Purdue Bound Main Office

Materials Science and Electrical Engineering (MSEE), Suite 386
501 Northwestern Avenue
West Lafayette, IN 47907
Main: 765.494.0018
Toll-Free: 1.800.276.1866
Fax: 765.494.3200



Purdue University Staff

Wesley Campbell

Director of Purdue Bound

Derrick Williams

Student Success Coordinator

William VanSchaik


Christopher Wirt



IPS Staff

Ben Palicki

Secondary Science Facilitator
Indianapolis Public Schools


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

© 2016 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Purdue Bound Program

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Purdue Bound Program at natashalharris@purdue.edu.