sealPurdue Lifestyles, Education Briefs

November 1999

New aviation lab lands at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – United Airlines has donated a second commercial aircraft to Purdue University's aviation technology department.

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The Boeing 737-200, repainted in Boilermaker gold and black, arrived at the Purdue Airport last spring and was dedicated as a life-sized learning lab in a special ceremony in September. It joins the Boeing 727-100 that United gave to the university in 1993.

Like the 727, the aircraft will be used as an on-the-ground laboratory for the 600 students in the three aviation-related majors offered at Purdue; aeronautical technology, aviation administration and flight technology.

"We're delighted with the gift, not only because the 737 has newer technology than the 727, but also because having two large aircraft will allow more students to work simultaneously," said Michael Kroes, head of the aviation technology department. "It will be particularly useful to aeronautical technology students while learning heavy aircraft systems, operations, maintenance and engineering."

The 737 is the most widely used transport aircraft in the world. This particular plane was delivered to United in March 1969 and retired from service last July after completing 57,582 hours of flight time.

Fred Mohr, general manager of United's Indiana Maintenance Center in Indianapolis, said the donation continues the tradition of the airline's commitment to aviation education.

"Purdue's aviation technology department is a primary source of interns and employees for United, so it makes good business sense for the company to contribute to new learning opportunities for students," he said.

Purdue, which in 1930 became the first university to establish an airport and which was the first university to offer a flight training program for college credit, is one of three universities to receive a retired 737 from United this year. In March, the company gave a 737-222 to Southern Illinois University, and on Sept. 3 a similar plane was dedicated at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill.

CONTACT: Kroes, (765) 494-9957;

Purdue expert: Take your calcium throughout the day

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Keeping track of your daily calcium intake may not be enough to ensure that your body absorbs adequate amounts to prevent osteoporosis, says a Purdue University expert.

Connie Weaver, head of Purdue's Department of Foods and Nutrition and an expert in calcium absorption, says women who take calcium supplements after a meal high in calcium-rich foods may not absorb as much as they think.

"The body is quite efficient at absorbing calcium levels up to 500 milligrams but becomes less efficient for amounts above that," Weaver says. "The best advice is to eat a calcium-rich source at every meal, and if you are using supplements, the supplement would serve as the calcium-rich source for that meal."

Intake recommendations for calcium are 1,000 milligrams a day, or about three servings of milk, for adults under 50, and 1,200 milligrams a day for adults over 50 to help counteract bone loss due to aging. For children, the daily intake recommendations are 800 milligrams for ages 6-8 and 1,300 milligrams, or about four servings of milk, for youngsters ages 9-18.

CONTACT: Weaver; (765) 494-8231;

One-stop admissions available at Purdue Web site

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – High school students now can apply at Purdue University without filing a single piece of paper.

Prospective students can fill out an application, pay the application fee and complete a financial aid estimater online.

"Several years ago we refocused our admissions efforts on an integrated application that helps the prospective students access all services they will need to start classes at Purdue," said Douglas Christiansen, director of admissions. "We've continued that effort, only this time on the World Wide Web.

"Many universities have online applications: that's not new anymore. Quite a few allow payment of application fees with MasterCard or Visa. There are only a dozen or so that allow prospective students to save and modify their application information. Even fewer have a financial aid estimater. We're among an elite two or three institutions that have all these services online."

Once a student completes the application, he or she will be sent an e-mail acknowledgment as a reminder to submit the high school transcript and standardized test scores before the application can be evaluated. After all the necessary information is received, a Purdue admissions counselor can approve the application within 48 hours.

Christiansen estimates that about one-third of Purdue's freshman class of 2000 will apply online.

The electronic application guides the prospective student through the process with help files and data entry filters that help ensure accuracy. The Web site also is easily accessible for users with older computers, and the site also is designed for use by people with visual impairments.

The Web-based system is a significant time-saver for prospective students living outside the United States, said Michael Brzezinski, director of International Students and Scholars. "This system can save five weeks for international students or U.S. students living abroad," he said. "Instead of mailing a letter across the oceans to request an application form, a student can now apply for admission online in less than one hour." Brzezinski said he believes that up to 30 percent of the international freshman class of 2000 will use this service.

CONTACTS: Christiansen, (765) 494-1776,; Brzezinski, (765) 494-7084

Program connects Purdue women with mentors

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.— An Internet-based mentoring program for women pursuing careers in engineering and the sciences is making it easier for female students to connect with mentors and learn about opportunities in industry.

Purdue University is participating in the nonprofit program, called MentorNet, a partnership involving universities, corporations and professional societies. MentorNet, with headquarters at San Jose State University, uses cyberspace to link students and mentors, who communicate by e-mail.

The program, founded in 1998, is believed to be the first of its kind offered nationwide.

"It's a nice supplement to the many programs already under way for women in engineering and science Purdue," said Jane Daniels, director of the Purdue Women in Engineering Program. Programs now in place offer activities such as career counseling at the junior high and high school levels, mentoring programs and peer groups for students once they enroll at Purdue, and networking opportunities with alumnae and industry supporters.

Daniels said MentorNet is ideal for students who don't have time to participate in the formal mentoring programs, which often rely on face-to-face contact.

"Because the program relies on the use of e-mail and other electronic technologies, students may find it an easy way to expand their circle of contacts," Daniels said.

MentorNet's founder, Carol Muller, said that although women account for 46 percent of the U.S. work force, they are underrepresented in many scientific areas, particularly engineering. Part of the problem may be traced back to the nation's universities, where women may begin to feel isolated while studying in fields still heavily dominated by men.

She said MentorNet can break through that isolation by connecting female students with mentors who understand the challenges. "Ideally, the mentors serve as role models, provide realistic views of the training and preparation necessary to be successful, and advise students about overcoming obstacles," she said.

To volunteer as a mentor, participants must be a male or female professional with an educational or professional background in engineering, science, technology or math who works in private industry or at a government agency or national laboratory.

More information for potential mentors and students is available at the program's Web site.

CONTACT: Jane Daniels, (765) 494-3889;

Compiled by Frank Koontz, (765) 494-2080,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;


Purdue students line up for a good look at the aviation technology department's newest laboratory, a retired Boeing 737 aircraft donated by United Airlines. The plane arrived in West Lafayette on May 8 and was dedicated today (Friday, Sept. 10) for educational use. (Purdue News Service Photo by David Umberger)

A publication-quality, downloadable photo is available at the News Service Web site at and at the ftp site. Photo ID: Kroes.newplane

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