Thursday, March 26, 2015

3 Ways to Get the Most Out of College - Guest Blogger Hanna Tso

Posted on March 26, 2015 by Beata Strubel

People say college is the best four years of your life. Whether that will be personally true for you or not, there is no doubt that college is four years that you will grow and mature incredibly fast. It is important to stay on track and seek guidance, as needed, during this time. Below are three pieces of advice that can help you get the most out of your college experience.

1. Find good mentors.
Mentors can have a tremendously positive impact on your personal development, and yet their importance is often underrated. A mentor is somebody who you view as a role model and who can offer you guidance in your career or personal life. As you start to think more seriously about your career while you are in college, a mentor who is working in the field that you are interested in can be especially helpful. For example, if you are interested in working in the car industry, then talk to your engineering professors or upperclassmen that have had experience in the car industry through jobs or internships. They can tell you what their jobs were like, what they liked or didn’t like about their experiences, and how you can go about starting a career in that industry, too. If you are interested in graduate school, talk to your professors with PhDs or current graduate students. Ask them how they knew they wanted to go to graduate school, what they did during their undergraduate years to prepare, and what graduate school is actually like. Mentors can save you lots of trouble by helping you navigate obstacles that they have already been through. So find good mentors and take their advice seriously.

2. Stay goal-oriented. Remember your priorities.
College campuses are large places that are constantly bustling with activities every day of the school year. There are plenty of distractions, and if you aren’t careful, you can lose sight of your goals. First, take some time to write down what your college goals are. Examples include “doing well in my major,” “getting very involved in one club,” or even, “figuring out what I want to do for a career.” Once you have identified 2-3 major goals, devote yourself to achieving them. If you want to excel in your major, then don’t overwhelm yourself with too many other activities. People always tell you to “get involved” in college, which is great advice. However, don’t join 10 clubs in your first semester and drop the ball on your GPA either. You only have so much time and energy, so don’t spread yourself thin. Remember your goals and prioritize accordingly.

3. Surround yourself with good people.
When you come to college, you may be initially shocked by how diverse the student population is. There are students from all over the U.S. and the world. Each student brings his or her own set of values and priorities to school. While you should be open to meeting and learning from new people, it is also important to find a tight-knit, supportive group of friends. That group of friends can be from your classes, a club, a fraternity or sorority. The point is that they should be people who lift you up, not bring you down. Find friends who have common goals, are positive, supportive, and sincere. There will be plenty of times when you hit a bump in the road and will need good friends to carry you through. Find these people early on, and you will have a more meaningful, positive college experience.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Meeting Women Engineers from All Over: Society of Women Engineers Conferences

Posted on March 16, 2015 by LilyAnn Peterson Gapinski

An awesome student organization that I have gotten involved with here on campus is the Purdue Society of Women Engineers, commonly known as SWE. Purdue SWE organizes tons of events that have themes such as professional development, outreach, and others, as well as organize social events that just allow you to get to know other women engineers on campus. In addition, Purdue SWE consists of an executive board including chairs, directors, and officers, which each have their own leadership responsibilities within the organization. 

One of the greatest things about SWE is that it not only exists at Purdue, but it is an international organization with members all over the country and all over the world. National and Regional SWE hold conferences every year where students and professionals from all sections come together for leadership development and to meet other SWE members from all over. Purdue sends students to these conferences every single year. Last October I was lucky enough to attend the SWE 2014 Annual Conference in Los Angeles, CA along with 12 other women engineers from Purdue. Also, just over a week ago I attended the 2015 Region H conference held at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN with about 50 other Purdue SWE Members. 

During both the National and Regional conferences I went to many different sessions lead by professional members that gave me great information about how to improve my leadership skills and how to better transition from college to industry. I found these sessions extremely helpful, and I plan to use what I learned in my life at Purdue, and in my future internships and jobs. 

In addition to the sessions, the National conference held a massive career fair with hundreds of companies looking for candidates for internships, co-ops, and full-time jobs. It was a great opportunity to be able to talk with many different companies at the conference, especially those that don’t visit Purdue. The Regional conference had a career fair as well, which was a great resource for people who hadn’t found an internships yet for this upcoming summer. 

 Attending the National and Regional SWE conferences have been a couple of the most beneficial things I have done in my time at Purdue, and they are only just two of awesome things Purdue SWE does. At Purdue, I love all the awesome opportunities there are for Women Engineers to meet each other and grow together. I feel that I would not have had these opportunities at another university. Being involved with Purdue SWE is one of my favorite things about college, and I don’t know what I would do without it!

Check out some of the great memories I made at these conferences!

Purdue SWE out to dinner one night of the National conference in downtown LA

At a collegiate luncheon during the National Conference in LA

After the "Celebrate SWE" dinner the last night of the National conference

Outside the famous chocolate shop in South Bend, IN during the Region H conference

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Break Fun

Posted on March 12, 2015 by Ashley Devore

With the beautiful weather we have been having this week, it’s hard not to constantly think about spring break.  So, I thought it fitting to do a spring break post!  I know for me, and many others, they are going home to spring break.  Going home is always a good option, and if you live far away from Purdue (like me), its plenty of time for traveling and relaxing.  Or another option that many do is go on a fun spring break trip with friends.  But what about if you’re not doing either one of those?  Well never fear, Purdue has many spring break options you can look into. 

1. Go home with a friend for spring break.  Spring break is more fun with friends, and going to your friend’s house for spring break is a fun way to hang out with them in a relatively cheap way.  Plus, you will get to see where your friend grew up and bond with them more!

2. Study abroad.  Purdue offers a number of study abroad programs that are just for the length of spring break.  Many of them will also transfer over to credit as well.  Additionally, Purdue has many study abroad scholarships that you can apply to to help with costs of the trip.  Look online at for all the awesome options!

3. Stay on campus.  While the dining courts may not be open during spring break, campus housing still is.  Staying on break can be a great time to catch up on school work and other things you need to get done.  There’s also a number of activities one can do in the area, and Purdue even provides a handy little list of things to do:

4. Do a service trip.  Giving back to community is a great way to spend your time and is also a good resume builder.  You can find such opportunities through research on your own, or look at Purdue to find some, such Purdue Timmy Global Health which does medical brigades ( 

5.  Purdue Ski Club Ski Trip.  Typically, the Purdue Ski Club does a spring break ski trip.  The cost is relatively cheap, you get the opportunity to meet new people, and you get to go skiing at some wonderful ski resorts.  For more information, check it out at!tripinfo/c21kz. 

What are you doing for spring break? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting us @PurdueWIEP! 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Tips and Tricks for a Great First Semester at Purdue

Posted on March 6, 2015 by LilyAnn Peterson Gapinski

Here are some tips from current students to make your transition to college life the best it can be!

"Purdue has over 900 clubs and organizations! There is bound to be something that interests you; if not make your own club!"

"If there is something you don't understand, chances are other people don't understand it either, so don't be embarrassed to ask!"

"Purdue has so much to offer, so take time to have fun and relax away from class and your busy schedule!"

"The first week of school there is a fair where each club has a table set up. This is a great way to see what clubs are available and what might interest you."

"Make the most of your time at school and enjoy what you spend your time doing."

"Get out there and meet new people, make new friends, and shortly they will feel just like your family!"

"Whether it is a sporting event, Purdue concert, or just a good night with your friends, there is always something fun to do once your work is done!"

"From SI sessions to office hours to organizations that offer tutoring, Purdue provides you with the help you need to succeed academically."

"Branching out will not only help you make friends, but it can really help you with school as well. Knowing people in your classes us extremely helpful when it comes to doing homework/studying."

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

History Maker of Tomorrow: Danielle Render

Posted on February 24, 2015 By: Heather

Danielle Render is an Ohio native majoring in Construction Engineering and Management with minors in Engineering Leadership, Organizational Leadership, and Supervision. She first became interested in engineering in high school when she took a course called Engineering and Design. Her high school Physical Science teacher was a Purdue Grad and inspired her to attend Purdue. Danielle is currently the second Vice President of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and an ambassador for the College of Engineering. She has been an intern for Turner Construction Company, M.A. Mortenson Construction, and has previously been a student manager for the Purdue University Women’s Basketball team. After graduating she plans to obtain a Master’s of Science in Engineering Management and an MBA. Her ultimate goal is to be an executive manager for a company and make a difference in people lives. Danielle mantra is: “Even if you only touch one life, you’ve changed the world forever.” This summer she will be working on the new Atlanta Braves Stadium as an intern for Mortenson Construction.

Monday, February 23, 2015

National Engineers Week

Posted on February 23, 2015 by Emma Mann

This week (February 22-28th) is almost every engineer’s favorite week of the year: Engineers Week!
Engineers Week (EWeek) was started in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) to increase the understanding of and promote interest in engineering.  Some highlights of EWeek include Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day and Discover Engineering Family Day.

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (IGED) is a favorite of ours here in the WIEP.  Purdue is hosting IGED this year on February 28th.  This free, all-day event is targeted at high school freshman and sophomores who are interested in learning more about engineering.  IGED will allow students to learn more about the different engineering disciplines, interact with current engineering students, and learn about life as a Purdue engineering student.  In addition to the programs for high schoolers, Imagination, Innovation, Discovery & Design (I2D2) through WIEP is hosting an open house for K-8 students with fun, hands-on engineering activities.

Purdue celebrates EWeek, but this year the National EWeek and Purdue’s EWeek are different weeks.  Purdue’s EWeek will be hosted in April this year (look out for a post about Purdue’s EWeek in the future).

Click here for more information about National EWeek.

Friday, February 13, 2015

History Maker of Today: Cassandra Alston Posted by: Heather

As we all know, February is Black History Month. Over the course of the month we will spotlight 3 present and future makers/great individuals who have helped, progressed, and are continuing to embody the great legacy of African Americans. Today's feature is a Purdue Alum, Cassandra Alston who received her BSME in 1988.

Cassandra Alston is a native of New Jersey and currently resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she is employed as the Executive Director, Global Workforce Diversity, Johnson Controls Incorporated. Alston received her bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1988, where she was also captain of the women’s basketball team.

In her role as the executive director for global workforce diversity, she develops and manages diversity initiatives across all business units for the Johnson Controls. Her work is focused on initiatives in diversity recruiting, retention, and engagement as well as the development of sustainable infrastructure and processes.

Previous to this role, Alston was vice president of operations for the Johnsons Controls Facility Management business unit where she managed the technical and operational team supporting all facility management accounts in the United States and Latin America. These support services included technical expertise, transition management, supply chain, safety, and call center operations.

Prior to joining Johnson Controls, Alston acquired a strong operations foundation in her roles as a consultant with Booz Allen and Hamilton in Chicago, senior operations director at Enron Energy Services, and as a plant engineer/analyst for Exxon Mobil in Houston.

She also holds an MBA from Northwestern University, where she was an Austin Scholar. Alston was featured in Ebony Magazine’s 50th Anniversary issue article “50 Leader’s of Tomorrow.” She also serves on the board of STEM Forward in Milwaukee and is a guest lecturer at Marquette University.