sealPurdue Education and Careers Briefs

March 1998

Cricket-spitting contest to reappear at '98 Bug Bowl

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: For b-roll from the 1997 event, contact Grady Jones (765) 494-2079; e-mail,

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Cockroach racing, a traditional favorite at Purdue University's annual Bug Bowl, will get a run for its money from the latest popular insect activity -- cricket spitting.

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Traditionally, the stars of Purdue's annual Bug Bowl have been the cockroaches in the "Roach Hill Downs" race. But at last year's Bug Bowl, many of the 10,000 visitors were equally interested in crickets -- and the people who spit them.

According to Tom Turpin, professor of entomology and Bug Bowl co-founder, the cricket-spitting contest was so popular in its debut at the '97 Bug Bowl that it will reappear for the 1998 event, April 18-19.

Visitors also will be able to taste foods cooked with insects, visit a honey bee exhibit and taste some honey, stop by an insect petting zoo, and watch the famous cockroach race. This is the eighth year for the Bug Bowl, which has gained national exposure for its combination of entomology, education and entertainment.

People find the idea of spitting dead crickets for distance to be intriguing and fun, Turpin says. "Last year, there were so many who wanted to do it that we had to draw names out of a hat," says Turpin, who ran the event much like an Olympic shot put throw. "People who weren't picked were really distraught."

Even children were able to join in the cricket-spitting contest. Participants were split into four groups: junior and senior categories for both men and women. As competitors, adult women exhibited the most reluctance, but there was no shortage of volunteers, Turpin says.

"Little kids are very interested," he says. "One of the very small ones, she was very brave. She marched up to the front of the circle and just spit it out." Last year's popularity means this year's cricket spitting will be more organized, he says. It will include field judges wearing official uniforms, bleachers for the spectators and medals for those who launch their crickets the farthest.

"This is a formal type of activity. This is very serious business. We like to bill it as the sport of cricket done outside," Turpin quips.

Actually, the only serious goal of Bug Bowl is to give everybody a chance to learn a little bit more about insects.

"While they're here, people can pick up good information on the role of insects in nature and entomology. When we do the cockroach races, we always talk about the roaches' role in nature, roaches as pests, and roaches and allergies," Turpin says. "People will come up to me and say, 'Hey, I didn't know that there were 3,000 species of cockroaches in the world.'"

The event is free and open to the public. It runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 18, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 19, in and around Entomology Hall on the Purdue campus. More information is available on the Web at

CONTACT: Turpin, (765) 494-4568; e-mail,

Separation anxiety No. 1 childhood anxiety, experts say

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Many children fear the boogie man and the monster under the bed, but some children's fears have nothing to do with make-believe creatures. For them, separating from their parents -- even for a short time -- creates great physical or emotional distress.

"More children suffer from anxiety disorders than any other psychological problem," says Wendy Nilsen, graduate therapist in the Purdue University Anxiety Clinic. "The most common type of anxiety in children is fear of being separated from their parents." These children fear that they will become hurt or lost while away from their parents or that their parents will be in danger.

Nilsen says a child's natural temperament can play a part in separation anxiety. Also, many children go through a developmental stage where they fear strangers or separation from their parents -- usually starting at about age 9 months and ending about age 2, says Scott Vrana, associate professor of psychological sciences and director of the Anxiety Clinic. However, for some children the problem persists throughout childhood, even causing problems in adolescence and adulthood.

"Very often, it is not seen until the child starts preschool, or a parent takes a job outside the home for the first time," Vrana says. "Sometimes life stresses, such as a serious illness or changing schools, can trigger separation anxiety."

How do you know if your child needs help dealing with the problem? "If the child doesn't calm down within 10 minutes after you leave, or if the anxiety goes on for weeks -- those are signs that your child may need counseling for the problem," Vrana says. Other signals: A child who worries to the point of becoming sick or who refuses to play or sleep-over away from home.

Although parents generally don't cause the problem, they can contribute to it, Vrana says. "If children say they don't want to go to school or day care, and you let them stay home and play games and watch videos, then you aren't helping the situation," he says.

Vrana and Nilsen offer tips for all parents faced with children upset about being apart from them for a period of time:

CONTACTS: Vrana and Nilsen, (765) 494-6996; e-mail,

Purdue and other schools encourage entrepreneurship

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: B-roll of the 1997 Burton Morgan competition is available. Contact Grady Jones, Purdue News Service, (765) 494-2079; e-mail,

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Business owners of tomorrow are getting their first crack at entrepreneurship through college competitions.

Purdue University's annual Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition is one of several contests around the country that allow students to test the validity of original business plans and earn cash awards for their efforts. Total prize money for the Purdue contest is $8,000, with the winning team receiving $4000.

"The interest in entrepreneurship and this competition in particular is really growing," says Shailendra Mehta, director of the Krannert Entrepreneurship Initiative at the Krannert Graduate School of Management. "We have 50 percent more contest entries this year over last year and they are from all over campus, not just the business school."

For now, the Burton Morgan competition is open only to Purdue students, but Mehta says interuniversity competitions are growing in popularity. In recent years, Purdue students have entered entrepreneurial contests at Indiana University, the University of Nebraska and the University of Texas.

The preliminary round for Purdue's 1998 Burton D. Morgan competition was held in early November. Of the 25 teams entered, 20 qualified for the semifinal round at the end of November, when the field was narrowed to 10 for the final competition on Feb. 28.

Students must develop plans that include everything necessary to start and maintain a small business. Marketing plans and strategies, manufacturing designs and processes, industry analysis, and financial considerations are just a few of the areas judges focus on.

"We have worked extensively with the 20 semifinalist teams to develop their business plans," Mehta says. "The plans start out very rough and about five pages long. By the time the contest finals roll around, the business plans are at least 20 pages long and are polished enough be used to seek funding for the projects."

The yearly competition is sponsored by Purdue alumnus Burton D. Morgan, founder of six corporations and president of Basic Service Co., an idea-development company. The competition is designed to develop student appreciation of the free market system and the role of the entrepreneur in a market economy. The Burton Morgan Web site is at http: //

CONTACTS: Tamyra Gibson, public relations, School of Management, (765) 494-4392; Mehta (765) 494-5703; e-mail,

Opportunity knocking loudly for technology grads

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Technology education is no longer the domain of trade schools and correspondence courses, according to Ronald J. Burkhardt, director of student services for Purdue University's School of Technology.

"A college degree really does make a difference in this field," Burkhardt explains. "And a Purdue degree carries a lot of weight with employers."

The school's placement rate for 1997 was 94 percent, with another 4 percent of graduates electing to continue their studies in a master's or doctoral program.

Recruiters visiting the West Lafayette campus this past year resembled a Who's Who list of Fortune 500 companies. Corporations that hired Purdue Technology graduates in 1997 included the McDonnell Douglas Corp., Boeing Co., General Motors Corp., International Business Machines Corp., Procter & Gamble Co., Kellogg Co., and the Walt Disney Co. Average starting salaries ranged from $30,000 to $60,000, depending on the career field.

Burkhardt credits a dynamic, well-connected faculty for much of the graduates' success.

"Faculty members here have an average of 10 years experience in the field and retain their ties to their former companies," he says. "The needs of industry really drive the curriculum, and it's constantly revised to meet the demands of employers."

This relationship between instructors and high-tech industry has helped establish Purdue as a national leader in technology education. Today, nearly half of all textbooks used in technology education nationwide are written by Purdue faculty.

Students in the School of Technology can choose from 14 academic majors offered by eight departments: aviation technology, building construction management technology, computer technology, electrical engineering technology, industrial technology, mechanical engineering technology, organizational leadership and supervision, and technical graphics.

Because the academic offerings and career possibilities are so varied, many students don't recognize the opportunities associated with technology education until after they've begun their college careers.

"Technology is really the bridge between the idea and the actual delivery of a product or service," Burkhardt explains. "We do the applications end of engineering and small business, making it a very broad yet highly specialized field. Sometimes students don't discover the School of Technology until after they've been on campus for a while."

The word is obviously getting out. Enrollment has grown to 4,100 students this spring, up 151 students from a year ago, making Technology the third largest school at Purdue behind the Schools of Engineering and School of Liberal Arts.

In the fall of 1997, an additional 1,728 students were enrolled in Purdue technology programs located at 11 outreach sites in Anderson, Columbus, Elkhart, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, Muncie, New Albany, Richmond, South Bend and Versailles. The statewide program allows students to earn an associate in applied science or bachelor of science degree from Purdue by attending classes closer to their own communities. It also provides opportunities for people already working in the field to update or enhance their technical skills.

CONTACT: Burkhardt, (765) 494-4935; e-mail,

Compiled by Sharon Bowker, (765) 494-2077; e-mail,
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

David Fisher and Liz Grauerholz of West Lafayette share daughter Lara's amazement at the size of a New Guinea stick insect at Purdue's 1996 Bug Bowl. (Purdue News Service Photo by David Umberger)
Color photo, electronic transmission, and Web and ftp download available. Photo ID: Bug Bowl '96
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