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Student Spotlight

Ashley Bagadiong

Ashley Bagadiong

April 2022

Ashley Bagadiong's Inspiring Take on Grit and Developing Her Leadership Skills

Ashley Bagadiong, a senior in the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, has big aspirations for her future career. The first goals she has set for herself are to work in the consumer-packaged goods industry and run for office someday.

Read More about Ashley here.


Delaney Mortimore

Delaney Mortimore

March 2022

Delaney Mortimore Incorporates Impact into Action

Delaney Mortimore, a senior majoring in human services within the College of Health and Human Sciences, works hard to incorporate the Steps to Leaps pillar of Impact into her actions by focusing all her energy on social work, case management, societal issues and community activism.

Read More about Delaney here.


Tiffany Pai


February 2022

Tiffany Pai is Taking Leaps to Social Change

Tiffany Pai, who is pursuing an economics degree through the three-year program in the College of Liberal Arts, is all about helping others. From the moment that Tiffany stepped on campus, she knew she wanted to create an impact. She discovered a path to impact quickly when, as a first-year student, she discovered Purdue’s Civic Engagement and Leadership Development (CELD) department. At the time, CELD had just launched the Leadership Experience at Purdue (LEAP) program, and Tiffany was selected to be part of the first cohort to participate. 

Read More about Tiffany here.


Sabria Croom


January 2022

Sabria Croom’s Take on Impact, Well-Being and Grit

Sabria Croom, a senior studying accounting, is on the student advisory board and serves as the student director of the ACE Campus Food Pantry at Purdue. When asked what her secret is to stay on top of her school and volunteer “game,” she says it is essential to prioritize oneself to help others.

Read More about Sabria here.


Ali Lash

Ali Lash Photo

November 2021

Ali Lash Knows Her Path

Ali Lash has known where she’s wanted to go in her life and found leadership positions to develop her skills to get there.

Some of us know the general direction we intend our lives to go. Others have a specific path. For Ali Lash, the end goal is to attend veterinary school (she’s already applied) – but she knows that there are many paths to get there. She has already considered and attempted many paths.

Read More about Ali here.



October 2021

Sydney Clifford's Efforts to Develop Grit

Sydney Clifford began developing Grit when she was in high school and it has paid off at Purdue.

Sydney Clifford knows about being overwhelmed and how to work through those feelings. In high school, her cross-country team used the Finnish word “sisu”, roughly translating to grit, determination and resilience, to inspire them to push through pain and focus on what was ahead of them.

Read More about Sydney here.



September 2021

How Noah Frank Found Ways He Can Make an Impact

For many students like Noah Frank, Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life offers the opportunity to make an Impact

You’ve made it to campus and are looking around wondering, “How can I have an impact?” You may have gone to the B-Involved Fair or found a club or organization on BoilerLink.

Noah Frank found his answer in Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life.

Read More about Noah here.



August 2021

How Elizabeth Parmenter Builds a Network

To Elizabeth Parmenter, Networks are built through intentionality.

It’s August and students are arriving on campus. While classes may top the list of worries for many students, their connection with others is generally a close second. Whether you are a first-year student or are returning to Purdue, building and maintaining a network of friendships and support is imperative to thriving. Elizabeth Parmenter has found that her network was impacted primarily by her intentionality.

Read More about Elizabeth here.



July 2021

Reflections on Leadership from Shamari Walker

For Shamari Walker, leadership comes naturally. He shares some reflections that may help those for whom leadership doesn’t come as easily.

Sometimes, you just know that you need to take the lead. For Shamari Walker, this has happened often. The first time was when he was 15. Nobody wanted to hire such a young person to support the technology for their company but he knew he could do it. So, he started his own technology development company.

Read More about Shamari here.



June 2021

Matt Schlacter Exemplifies Building Networks That Support His Well-Being

Matt Stachler knew in grade school that he had a passion for connecting with people and politics. In the sixth grade, he paged at the Indiana Statehouse for state Sens. Dennis Kruse and David Long. He also connected with his peers through opportunities like Boy Scouts, in which he obtained the rank of Eagle Scout.

These connections continued to grow throughout his high school years during his two terms on the Serve Indiana Commission and the Indiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council along with a plethora of additional experiences. 

Read More about Matt here.



May 2021 - Special Summer Staff Spotlight / Steps to Leaps Showcase Nomination Example!

This month we are doing a special staff spotlight to share how you might submit a faculty or staff member for the Steps to Leaps showcase

Featuring our very own Zenephia Evans!

On and off campus, Zenephia Evans exemplifies Impact and Grit through service and leadership.

After earning her doctorate in biological sciences from Purdue in 1997, Zenephia Evans stayed on as a lecturer in the College of Science. A committed member of the Boilermaker Family, Evans eventually transitioned to a position in the Science Diversity Office, where she served as associate director and then director for more than 15 years.

Read More about Zenephia here



April 2021

Khushboo Jain Exemplifies Networks

When life started to look different during the COVID-19 pandemic, Khushboo Jain saw the chance to pursue smarter solutions.

As a junior finance major, Kushboo Jain planned to find an internship for the summer before her senior year. The already difficult process was made more challenging when the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the way people were working and studying.

Read More about Khushboo here



March 2021

Patrick Murphy Exemplifies Grit

“We can control our process of getting back up when we get knocked down.”

For Patrick Murphy, grit is not a static skill, but a dynamic energy that is both a product and process of consistently evaluating one’s values, strengths and failures. An advanced doctoral candidate who models grit both on and off campus, Patrick exemplifies the ways a growth mindset can lead to lifelong well-being and success.

Read More about Patrick here



February 2021

Jill Reabe Exemplifies Impact

One of the most important lessons Jill Reabe has learned during her time at Purdue is that impact does not have a specific size, shape, or timeline. 

Rather, if students can hone the small-scale impact they make on a daily basis, they will be better prepared to pursue their goals in college and beyond.

Read More about Jill here



December 2020

Jennifer Liu Exemplifies Leadership & Professional Development

For Jennifer Liu, Leadership is Founded in Passion and Confidence

Originally from Crestwood, KY, a small town outside of Louisville, Jennifer Liu is a third-year professional student in the PharmD program. She plans to pursue a career specializing in infectious disease, an interest she’s held since she was young and has been heightened by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Her experiences on campus have also fostered an interest in health policy that will influence her values as a professional and which she hopes to incorporate into her career.

Read More about Jennifer here




October 2020

Mark (Xingyuan) Zhang Exemplifies Well-Being

Mark Zhang is a sophomore in the school of Aeronautics and Astronautics. During this online semester, Mark plans to stay disciplined, improve his physical well-being through workouts and healthy food choices, and participate in club activities.

To promote physical wellness, Mark plays table tennis, jogs, and hikes. He completes the workout rings and monthly challenges on his Apple Watch and finds it rewarding.


Read More about Mark here




June 2020

Jackie Christon Exemplifies Networks

Jacqueline “Jackie” Christon is a natural communicator who relishes getting to know people and learning about their careers and worlds. Her innate sense of curiosity about others has served her well in organizations at Purdue, and as she launches her career as a spring 2020 graduate. Jackie embodies the Steps to Leaps pillar, “networks.”

Originally from Detroit, yet recently living in Indianapolis, Jackie majored in organizational leadership. Beginning in her freshman year, she was involved with Purdue’s Civic Engagement and Leadership Development (CELD), which offers leadership conferences, community service days, and more.

Read More about Jackie here




May 2020

Talia Broekers Exemplifies Impact

Senior Talia Broekers is making an impact in healthcare and education by combining her passions for nursing and the LGBTQ community. “I am heavily involved with the LGBTQ Center,” Talia said. “I started to think about gaps in healthcare and about issues in education.”

From Westfield, Indiana, Talia is majoring in nursing and minoring in LGBT Studies. As a LGBTQ Center intern, she is fulfilling a requirement for her Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies class 492 by conducting research focused on the gaps in accessing healthcare for transgender people.

Read More about Talia here



April 2020

Nathan Rowland Miller Exemplifies Leadership

Nathan Rowland Miller fosters community through several leadership positions he holds on campus. Now, during the coronavirus pandemic, he nurtures those communities virtually.

Nathan is a student leader in the trumpet section of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band, assisting with the yearly band camp to welcome new members and mentoring them throughout the year. A junior from Perrysburg, Ohio, majoring in industrial engineering, Nathan helps to lead 66 trumpet players.

Read More about Nathan here



March 2020

Sharae Hightower Exemplifies Well-Being

Sharae Hightower nurtures and protects her well-being by setting boundaries. “Basically, I let it be known where my headspace is,” Sharae said. “I don’t do things that I feel I can’t accomplish in the best way possible.”

How does Sharae set boundaries when asked to take a position or fulfill a task she feels is not a good fit for her? “I would say, ‘I have a lot on my plate right now. Is there anyone else?’” explained Sharae, a third-year pharmacy student from Gary, Indiana.  

Read More about Sharae here



February 2020 - 2

Katherine Petts Exemplifies Networks

Senior Katherine M. Petts wants to work in the music industry after she graduates, so as marketing co-chair of Purdue Student Concert Committee (SCC) she energetically networks with the performers she meets. A marketing major from Los Angeles County, California, Katherine runs promotional campaigns for the concerts that SCC brings to campus. She also leads a marketing street team that helps with pamphlets and social media promotions.

Read More about Katherine here



February 2020

Marly Beck Exemplifies Grit

When faced with a number of rejections in pursuing scholarships over a three year period, Marly Beck, a Purdue University senior from Indianapolis, took time to reflect and reframe her thinking. In the process, she exemplified grit, one of the 5 pillars in Purdue’s Steps to Leaps program. The definition of grit within the constructs of Steps to Leaps states, “Life is full of ups and downs. Learn strategies to tap into your inner fortitude to overcome challenges and become your best Boilermaker with steps to resolve and character.”

Read More about Marly here



January 2020

Drew Thoennes Exemplifies Grit

Drew Richard Thoennes, a junior from Lafayette majoring in computer science and mathematics, makes an impact through his everyday actions in student organizations. Drew is the director of donations for the ACE Campus Food Pantry. Located in the Baptist Student Foundation, 200 N. Russell Street, ACE provides groceries and more to members of the Purdue community who experience food insecurity. 

Read More about Drew here


Emily Cain Headshot

November 2019

Emily Cain Exemplifies Well-Being

Emily Cain, from South Bend, Indiana, is a junior majoring in English education with a theatre minor. Emily values well-being, but in the transition from high school to college, she experienced a common issue, becoming stressed and overwhelmed.

She began going to a therapist through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

Read More about Emily here



October 2019 

Alexa Binckes Exemplifies Grit

Alexa Binckes is a senior majoring in Health Sciences and will continue her studies in the spring as a graduate student in Public Health with a concentration in Biological Statistics. Alexa exemplifies Grit in her ability to overcome challenges. She recently had a fourth knee surgery and wants to make the most of her last year on the softball team...

Read More about Alexa here



Know a student, faculty or staff member who exemplifies one of the Steps to Leaps learning pillars? Be sure to use the Steps to Leaps Showcase Nomination Form here to have them highlighted!