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Kayla Hudson Cotterman

Kayla Hudson Cotterman

Research Physical Scientist

Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, United States Army Engineer Research and Development Center

"I was most afraid of making the wrong decision. Was going to graduate school the right decision or should I get a job? Did I pick the right school? The right advisor? Listen to your instincts. Talk to people who have more insight such as current graduate students and students that are working with graduate advisors you have interest in working with. "

What was your major/minor at Purdue and when did you graduate?

B.S. in Atmospheric Science and a Learning Beyond the Classroom Certificate. Graduated in 2013

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on numerous projects such impacts of water anomalies (droughts/floods) on global water security which can impact energy, agriculture, and military logistics

Did you pursue internships/co-ops, research experiences, volunteer, or join student organizations while you attended Purdue?

While I was at Purdue I was involved in numerous student organizations and participated in several research projects. I was a student researcher for the Indiana State Climate Office. I gathered information about weather events across the state every week. Each of these weekly reports were then complied into a monthly summary, which was made available on the Indiana State Climate website. I also took part in two spring break research trips doing field work. We spent the first part of the semester developing a hypothesis and developing a plan for our field work. After we collected the data during spring back, we analyzed it and gave a formal presentation. These research opportunities increased my interest in doing further research and helped me get into graduate school.

Are there any special accomplishments you've achieved after college that you might not have been able to do without your college experiences?

I recently received the Department of the Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service for great technical ability and scientific judgment for a project I worked on for several years. My experiences here taught me how to develop a research plan, adjust as necessary, and communicate results effectively, which helped set me up for success in the workforce.

What advice would you give to prospective or current Purdue students about how to make the best use of what Purdue offers?

You can’t do everything. Pick a few things you really enjoy and excel at and focus on them.

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