Thursday, December 11, 2014

Techniques to Choose Your Major - Guest Blogger Meagan

Posted on December 11, 2014 by Beata Strubel 

Choosing a major is a difficult decision. Continuing our series on major choice and career advice, CCO Ambassador Meagan shares her advice about exploring your strengths and finding an internship.

Meet the Expert

Meagan is a senior in Industrial Engineering. She has three internship experiences and will be working at GE Healthcare after graduation. At Purdue, she works as a CCO Ambassador and led the CCO Greek outreach campaign. She shared her career-related insight with WE Link to help you with your major choice and career development.
How did you choose your major within engineering?
Before coming to Purdue, I had a general idea of what major I wanted within engineering. I learned about my major by researching it online (especially through Purdue's course pages - ie Google search "Purdue ____ Engineering") as well as talking to my older sister who is a Purdue Industrial Engineering graduate.
During the introductory engineering class first semester (ENGR131) I learned about all of the engineering majors and this confirmed that I wanted to do IE. In some sense, I used a process of elimination to decide as well, which I recommend. For example, I am not that passionate about chemistry, so I eliminated Chemical Engineering. Overall, I chose IE because I feel like it fits my future career goals with wanting to interact and lead people in a technical sense (more than management).
I also looked at what my strengths are and what I am naturally good at. For example, I have the urge to do everything the most efficient way in every day life which also coincides with IE. I would advise current high school students to do one or more techniques that I did. If they are struggling with determining their strengths and natural instincts, talk to family and close friends.
How did you find your internship?
I found my three internships (one with General Cable, two with GE Healthcare) through networking and the Industrial Roundtable (IR). IR is a two day event in which I like to describe as a "candy shop for engineers". This college career fair is the largest in the nation! Hundreds of employees set up booths on a large grassy spot on campus known as Memorial Mall. You can simply bring your resume and step in line to talk to employers ranging from Caterpillar to Kraft to John Deere to Whirlpool as well as smaller companies.
Freshman year I would advise as I did and talk to as many companies as possible. I talked to about 20 (which is pretty extreme for the average internship-seeker, but I am happy I did)! Every year, start out by talking to smaller companies or companies you are less passionate about. I call them "warm-up" companies that get you comfortable and extra confident. Have your resume ready and confidently give it to the employer. Usually, they will ask you about yourself. This is your cue for your elevator speech with is about 30 seconds-1 minute where you point out what you are looking for (ie internship or full-time job) and tell them "why you, why them". In other words, explain why with your resume experiences they should want to hire you and then explain why you want to work for them. Typically, they will ask you questions based off what you said or what is on your resume. After talking to companies at IR, you will (hopefully) receive some interview offers (usually interviews are held at Purdue). From there, companies will often have another interview at one of their sites. Every company has their own process though.
Internships are important for receiving full-time job offers and if you perform well, the companies you intern for will offer you a full-time offer (I received a full-time offer with GEHC before school started this year, my senior year).
The CCO offers many free services. These include drop-ins with student ambassadors (undergraduate and graduate) as well as counselors. This service allows you to get your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profiles reviewed as many times as you want. Additionally, you can drop-in for interview advice, career advice, etc. Drop-in services typically last 10-15 minutes. If you want more detailed advice, you can schedule an appointment with a counselor including mock interviews. Additionally, the CCO website ( has what is called "MyCCO". This website allows you to apply for interviews with companies as well as enter your resume into a resume book for employers registered through the CCO have open access to!
What is your role as a CCO ambassador?
As an ambassador, I attended a two-day training session as well as receive weekly training. I help with the drop-in service by reviewing resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and talking through topics including interview skills and career exploration. Also, I am on two project committees. One is Greek Outreach which aims to advertise our services to the Greek and Co-op communities. I led a committee of other ambassadors in the planning a week-long Greek competition to entice Greek members to utilize our services during this week to earn points!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How to Choose Your Engineering Discipline - Part 1

Posted on December 10, 2014 by Emma Mann

How did you choose your discipline within engineering? – One of the most common questions of prospective students and even first-year students

This is the first post of a series of posts on how various Purdue students chose their disciplines. This post is an excerpt from a paper written for ENGR 194 (Women in Engineering Seminar) in which a freshman interviews older students within two disciplines of interest.

Jennie - Junior, Mechanical Engineering (ME)
Jennie originally did not know what engineering major she was interested in. She ultimately decided upon ME because both her parents and her sister had studied ME. With an interest in the mechanics behind medical devices, she leaned between biomedical engineering (BME) and ME. During a presentation in her first-year engineering (FYE) class (ENGR 131), Jennie found that ME has a medical side that she would be able to apply her interests to. Additionally, she became interested in this field because of the vast opportunities that ME provides. Upon graduation, she would be interested in the medical field or manufacturing. In terms of her favorite classes, Jennie enjoys EPICS, which allows her to participate in real life projects, allowing her to actually see how she is making a difference. Though homework is never fun, Jennie feels that completing homework makes her feel successful. Jennie explains that it is okay to switch majors, as she is the only one of her friends that actually continued with the same major the entire time she was as Purdue. Some general advice she has is to keep moving forward and that sometimes things get hard, but don’t get discouraged. Also, getting a good group of academic friends can help, but another group of friends can help relieve stress from engineering.

Elizabeth – Junior, Industrial Engineering (IE)
Both of Elizabeth Boor’s parents were in engineering, so she knew exactly what not to do. She was good with math and science, so she assumed engineering was the best fit. Also, she liked how IE overlaps with psychology and allows interactions with many groups of people. The more she researched IE, the more she became interested with that field. To continue, she notices that industrial engineers can be found in a variety of industries. She enjoys how IE has so many possibilities and different facets to it and that industrial engineers could be leaders in a company. She is also a people person and finds industrial engineering better with connecting with individuals than other engineering divisions. Additionally, Elizabeth believes that she does not have a class that she thoroughly dislikes, as she enjoys going to class and learning new material. More than anything, she dislikes the homework load that all the classes have, but enjoys the overall outcome. However, because she is human factor minded, she does not enjoy circuits and physics based classes. Elizabeth’s biggest advice was to get involved on campus. She also says to persevere through the hard times and exams because the outcome in the long run will pay off. She goes on to explain explains that one of the best ways to study is by doing practice exams.

Shifali – Freshman, First-Year Engineering (FYE)
Overall, I found both individuals to have an impact on me. However, upon talking with Elizabeth, I found that industrial engineering would be a better fit for me. I really enjoyed how she was involved with the human factor side of engineering, which is what I am interested in. Additionally, as someone interested in the human factor aspect of engineering, I found Elizabeth’s interview to be of particular interest. Jennie’s interview was also important, as I learned that participating in EPICS would also be a good fit for me. Overall, both individuals offered important pieces of information that further helped me decide upon which type of engineering that I found of particular interest.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday Feature: 5 Fun Traditions at Purdue this Holiday Season

Posted on December 8, 2014 by Catherine Courchaine 

PMO Christmas Show - Every year, the Purdue Musical Organizations put on an incredible show in Elliott Hall of Music. This year is PMO's 81st show, and students are excited as ever! Alumni, families, and music lovers everywhere come to enjoy this production, and students can order discount tickets! Beautiful sets created in three months of work, skits and dialogues, and of course incredible musical arrangements highlight the performance, which is an annual tradition for Boilermakers of all ages.

Purdue Memorial Union Christmas Tree - Since the 1930s, Purdue has decorated and displayed extraordinary Christmas trees in the Memorial Union.  This year's tree was planted in 1990 and is over 30 feet tall!  While they used to be shipped in from Wisconsin and northern Indiana, in recent years local benefactors have donated the giant trees.  An official tree-lighting ceremony is held annually and led by Purdue's president.

Purdue Gingerbread House - Student and staff bakers cooperate to build and decorate a 12 foot tall gingerbread house.  The huge gingerbread house, currently in the decorating stage, will be on display in the Purdue Memorial Union along with the Christmas tree.

Ice Skating at the Riverside Skating Center - Just a few blocks east of Purdue's campus is Tapawingo Park, near the bank of the Wabash River.  Every year, the park opens its outdoor skating rink, the Riverside Skating Center.  Students and families of all ages can rent skates and enjoy the fun.  Riverside even offers a "Dare to Bear" Polar Bear Skating Night, where you can skate a lap in a swimming suit!  Hot chocolate and pizza wait inside for you to warm up.

Tuba Christmas - Have you ever been to a concert featuring all low brass instruments?  Since 1974, musicians from all over the area have performed on their tubas and other low brass instruments in honor of former teacher William Bell.  This year will feature over 80 musicians!  To top it all off, the event is free! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How to Find Your Engineering Internship - Guest Blogger Taylor Dooner

Posted on November 20, 2014 by Beata Strubel 

Choosing a career is not a one stop shop decided solely by choosing your major when you come to college. Another key piece is your involvement once you come to Purdue! What experiences will you gain inside and outside of class? Will you pursue an internship?
Now that you’ve had some time to think about engineering majors you are considering, we expand on relevant internship advice with CCO Ambassador Taylor Doolen.

Meet the Expert:
Taylor is currently a sophomore in Construction Engineering Management. He interned last summer at DPR Construction in the Bay Area, CA as a Project Engineer intern. Through his internship, he learned more about the commercial construction industry and made valuable connections.

As a CCO Ambassador, he helps review Purdue students' resumes, share CCO career services, and more! Read on to hear his advice and response to our question - How did you find your Engineering internship?
In order to get an internship, I went to several career fairs to talk with companies. Prior to attending any career fairs I always spend several hours researching the companies that will be in attendance to determine which companies fit me best. I then prepare an informational sheet for each company which includes topics I want to discuss, specific questions I have, and some background information on that company. I then review this sheet several times prior to talking with the company. 
An internship connects the “real-world” with the academic world. As an intern I was able to apply what I had learned in school but it was more of a learning experience. Many of the ideas that were introduced in my internship were later covered in coursework. An internship helps to show the application of content covered in coursework. 
The main advice I have for a current high school senior to prepare to find an internship is to figure out what they want to do. If a student goes into a career fair with the notion that they can get an “engineering internship” they are misguided. If students go into career fairs with a clear idea of what type of engineering internship they want to get and who they want to get the internship with, they will convey a sense of confidence that can go a long ways. An internship is not a career choice. If a student gets an internship in one field of engineering and later on decides it is not the right fit, they can change their career path and pursue opportunities in another field. 
Another piece of advice is to get good grades and have relevant involvement and experiences. This advice, however, is more appropriate for a younger audience seeing that there is not much time between senior year and college. Although what’s on your resume is not necessarily the most important aspect of getting an internship, if you have good grades and relevant experiences which you can speak about, an employer will likely take you more seriously. Furthermore, having experiences relevant to the internship you’re pursuing shows an interest beyond the typical verbal statement saying you’re interested. 
The CCO at Purdue has a variety of resources that will help students find an internship. The CCO offers both resume and cover letter reviews as a drop in service. Getting both of these documents reviewed prior to going to a career fair or applying for a job is critical. The resume of a college student is a living document, always changing, and the CCO is a great resource to get professional guidance on writing and maintaining a resume. Additionally, the CCO helps students prepare for attending career fairs and interviews. The CCO also provides the service of myCCO which is a platform that gives students a number of career tools. A major benefit of myCCO is the ability for employers to reach out to Purdue students to fill internship/job positions. Other tools of myCCO which help students to get internships include company research, career fair schedules/attendees, and information session schedules, among other tools.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Life as a Freshmen: featuring Amber Reiff and Annie Gassner

Posted on November 12, 2014 by Ashley Devore

Recently, WE Link held a chat night for our awesome volunteers, where we got to chat with our volunteers and hear about their cool experiences.  We had some awesome girls come out, and I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to two freshmen girls in first year engineering, Amber Reiff and Annie Gassner, about their experiences so far as freshman girls in engineering.  Here are their responses below! J

WE Link: How do you like freshmen year so far?
Amber: So far, freshman year has been really great. There have been so many new experiences that were not what I would have expected but they have turned out to be great learning experiences. I have also made a lot of really good friends with girls on my floor and people in my classes.
Annie: Freshman year has been great, but very challenging. I’ve met so many awesome people that I now call my friends and, as cheesy as it sounds, I can now call Purdue my home because of these people. As for classes, they are definitely challenging, but that’s what makes Purdue an amazing school! In the end, I know I will reap the rewards of these challenges I face.

WE Link: What sort of adjustments have you had to make as a college student?
Amber: I have had to adjust my schedule to figure out at what times I need to be in class or come back to my room to study or time to socialize and also to be involved in fun activities.
Annie: The most significant adjustment I had to make as a college student was organizing my time. In high school, you have a set schedule everyday: go to school, go to extra-curriculars, go home, do your homework, and go to bed. College is a different world and a completely different schedule than I’m used to. Every day has different classes and you have to work your schedule around your course load; you aren’t told what your schedule will be. There are so many opportunities that you can take advantage of, it’s often difficult to choose just a few you want to commit your time to.

WE Link: Please tell us your thoughts on your first year engineering class (engr 131).
Amber: I think this class is much more heavily group oriented than I thought it would be. It has taught me how to work with others under pressure. I was used to taking a leadership role on group projects in high school, but at Purdue I am not necessarily the best person in the group and have to trust group members instead of doing things on my own.
Annie: ENGR 131 gives great insight on the different majors within engineering. Although most people know what they want to go into when they come to Purdue, 131 helps you explore all types of engineering to make sure your choice is the right one. ENGR 131 also helps you work in teams, giving you real-world experience. I have learned that there will always be challenging team situations, but in a professional world, you have to learn how to work with them. The class gives real-world projects and it’s really cool to actually work on a project that has the potential to become a reality.

WE Link: What were some of your worries coming into college? Did you experience any, and if so how did you overcome them?
Amber: I was worried about dorm living and sharing a room with someone I did not know. My roommate was random but it ended up working out really well. We are very different and have grown up in different environments. We still get along and are great supports for each other and encourage each other to try new things. We plan on rooming together next year as well.
Annie: I was most worried about not doing well in my classes. So far, I have definitely been struggling with the material in my math and Chemistry class, but I have so many resources helping me through the struggle. Purdue has an infinite amount of supplemental learning opportunities and because I discovered these, I am improving my grades. Although I failed my first math test, that experience taught me to how to reach out and find resources for help in my classes.

WE Link: What is your favorite memory at Purdue so far?
Amber: My favorite memory is actually really simple. I was just walking to class and listening to music on my headphones while the weather was really nice. It was so nice to just look at the beautiful Purdue campus and let it sink in that I finally made it here and soak in the new freedom of college as well as the new relationships and endless possibilities.
Annie: My favorite memories are when I get to hang out with my floormates on the weekends. Living with people who have become your best friends is like one huge sleepover every night and it’s basically the best thing ever. Girls I didn’t think I would be friends with that first day are now my best friends and my future roommates for sophomore year. No matter what your worries about college may be, finding a place to fit in and making friends shouldn’t be one of them because you’ll find your best friends and make the best memories with them on the weekends and in between classes when you grab lunch at the dining courts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How to Choose Your Engineering Major - Guest Blogger Bidisha Dutta

Posted on November 11, 2014 by Beata Strubel 

How do you choose your Engineering major? Do you need to know your choice before you come to Purdue?

These thoughts may be racing through your mind as you juggle the college application process, senior classes, extracurricular activities, and possibly your final year living in the same town as some of your friends. You have enough on your plate – and now you need to plan the rest of your life?!

The number of choices left me a bit overwhelmed my senior year of high school. I have good news, though. It doesn’t need to be that stressful!

WE Link is here to answer your questions, provide advice, and connect you with all the great resources Purdue has to offer. We reached out to our friends at the Purdue Center for Career Opportunities (CCO) for some expert advice on choosing a major and finding your path.

Meet the Expert:
Bidisha, CCO Ambassador, is currently a junior in Electrical Engineering. She is the president of Purdue Energy Forum and enjoys reading, trying different foods, learning about cars and watching hockey! From Edmonton, Canada, she is a huge Pittsburgh Penguins fan. 
As a CCO Ambassador, she helps review Purdue students’ resumes, share CCO career services, and more! Read on to hear her advice and response to our question – How did you choose your Engineering major?

My name is Bidisha, I am currently a junior in electrical engineering. During my senior year of high school, I realized I had to choose a major soon and begin college applications. I learned that engineering was a great fit for me after thinking what were my likes and dislikes. People say that liking math and physics is mandatory to be an engineer, which might be true in some cases since math and physics play a very important role in engineering.

After doing some research however I realized all engineers have one thing in common, they are problem solvers.

Engineering is a field filled with riddles and problems, every engineer’s goal is to find the solution for a problem or find a more efficient way to go about doing something. I realized I had always had a knack for solving problems or finding an easier way to do things!

I think the next step is much easier, when it comes to deciding what type of engineering is right for you; it’s really all about what interests you the most? What problems do you enjoy solving? From a very early age I knew I loved working with cars, so naturally I thought mechanical engineering was a good fit for me, but I also love technology and the learning about new technology, that’s why I thought electrical engineering was a good fit.

My favorite thing about engineering is  that it is such a broad major, there are tons of options within every major so choosing your specific engineering major shouldn’t be a big hassle just think of it as what interests you the most! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When In Rome - Study Abroad - Guest Blogger Ari Divizio

Posted on October 29, 2014


How did you find the study abroad program?
Being 100% Italian, I had always wanted to go to Italy, and I figured study abroad was the best chance to do it. I knew I didn’t want to miss out on a full semester at Purdue, so I wanted to see my other options. When talking to my advisor, he mentioned a spring break option in Rome. Specifically, Engineering and Public Health in the Service Sector: A Rome Study Abroad Experience. I only knew a few words and phrases of Italian, but I didn’t need to know the language at all in order for me to go. I was concerned that I wouldn’t get a full study abroad experience with a trip of only 10 days, but my advisor convinced me otherwise, and he was right.
During the trip:
While in Italy, I learned about the necessity of engineers collaborating with other disciplines. As an Industrial Engineering student, we went to Rome with Nursing students which did not make sense at first. After going through the program, I now know the importance of keeping in mind public health when solving any problem in engineering, while the nursing students learned that the technical side of engineering is also important in their field. Studying abroad made me see various other perspectives that I would not see without going. We had to complete a project and presentation with a group of students who attend the University of Sapienza in Rome. The language barrier was an obstacle we had to face, but along the way the American students and Italian students learned so much about each other. Thinking globally, each place has different social norms, ways of teaching, and schooling background. While learning more and more about each other, we worked better as a team. It ended up being the perfect program from a technical, teamwork, global, and travel perspective.
If you are interested in studying abroad, follow this link!!

Here are some pictures from my trip!

Making a wish at the Trevi Fountain

Inside St. Peter's Basillica

Me outside St. Peter's in the Vatican. Did you know it is the largest church in the world?

Purdue students strike a pose on the ruins of Pompeii

My new Italian friends who we worked on a project with at the University of Sapienza in Rome

Me jumping on the Pantheon

Gelato twice a day, everyday was our motto

 Just leaning on the Colosseo