Friday, July 31, 2015

Student Spotlight: Varsha Ganapathy, MSE

 Weathering through those First Internship Jitters

  Coming out of my last final this semester, I felt nothing but relief, excitement, and immense confidence; it was time to take on summer. This summer would be special as I was going to take that leap into adulthood by working at my first internship with a steel manufacturing company. It was going to be that initial taste into what life after college will be like and honestly, after that semester of quantum mechanics and thermodynamics, how hard could this really be?
        As I drove up to the main building on my first day of work, I was pumped. Ecstatic. Meeting the other interns and going through orientation only elevated my anticipation for what was to come.  The completion of our safely training marked the end of orientation and all of the interns were sent to their respective departments; I was stationed to work at the rolling mill where steel slabs and ingots are rolled out into flat plates. I tagged along my mentor as we attended the daily mill meeting, a meeting I would not forget. 
As the meeting commenced, I felt myself teleporting to another planet; abbreviations and numbers were thrown around and the phrases used seemed like a foreign language. My once in-the-clouds confidence began to follow an exponential decay even with all the side explanations from my mentor.  After the meeting, I made my way to my desk and that was when it all hit me. Was I really cut out for all this? I did not understand anything at that meeting even though a lot of it had to do with concepts I learn in my major.  What if I mess up, what will all these experienced engineers think of me?  I could not fathom the thought of becoming fluent in the language that was so casually spoken here. Just minutes after these thoughts I heard crashing against the roof in the form of a torrential downpour; to my mind at the time (which was in slight panic mode), this was a bad sign.
        Fast forward a month and these concerns took a turn for the better. By now I would have attended and spoken at numerous mill meetings, assisted with the completion of an important experiment, and was starting to understand all the abbreviations and common lingo used at the plant. I was given the freedom to go off on my own and figure out how each part of the mill fit in with the other and got to inspect defects on plates firsthand. I befriended the operators, asked them about their responsibilities and how they would go about resolving a certain situation; the operators spend the most time with the machines and plates, making them a wealth of knowledge and information for almost anything that happens at the plant.  Speaking with the engineers at the plant gave me insight into how a lot of the machinery worked and how specific delays or malfunctions can lead to different defects on the plates. 
That first month taught me a lot, but most importantly to ask questions, and a lot of them.Curiosity does not always kill the cat, it makes it more alert and observant of what is going on. I made sure to clear up any doubts I had at the start of my internship and it sure made the transition a lot easier. My curiosity often led to impromptu projects and allowed me to interact with a diverse group of individuals on an everyday basis. My opinions where always heard and sometimes challenged but it all contributed to the learning experience. I no longer doubt whether I can undertake a particular task because there is always a way to the solution and a person to talk to. My confidence level continues to rise a little every week and I am excited to see what the next month will hold and how much I will learn in that time. There may be another horrible thunderstorm again, but it will not bother me because I know I can get through it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Student Spotlight: Kitara Crain, EE

*This post was originally featured at:

Society of Women Engineers

My name is Kitara, and I am the current Secretary of the Purdue Society of Women Engineers (SWE) section, a widely decorated chapter of a worldwide organization that supports women in engineering. At Purdue, we are one of the largest organizations, comprised of 400+ general members and 40+ board members. On campus, SWE has a hand in many events from Industrial Roundtable (the fall job fair), minority inclusion events, outreach programs, intramural sports, the Grand Prix race, Homecoming float building, and so much more.
I started with SWE during my sophomore year as a general member and soon fell in love. After attending almost all of the events (and I mean 3 to 4 events per week), I decided to apply to be a board member and help plan the events for an organization that makes my life at Purdue so much fun. I became the Corporate Relations Chair and invited companies to speak to SWE members about developing their professionalism, then took a giant leap and became one of four officers.
With such a large organization that plans and participates in so many events, the four officers are pretty busy all through the summer and continuing into the school year. To begin with, SWE has 8 directorships that oversee different areas of the organization. I am so lucky to be able to work with Competition Teams & Outreach to plan everything from Grand Prix to inviting high school seniors to spend the night with Purdue students to competing in the Homecoming festivities. Within Competition Teams, we are working this summer to complete our Team Tech presentation we will be presenting at the annual SWE conference in October. We have worked the past year with ADM to build a filtration prototype the company can use in their plants and factories. Outreach is just as much fun! We are working to develop new activities to motivate elementary through high school students to pursue engineering.
Working with these directorships is not all the secretary does; I also plan the annual trip to the SWE conference, which will be held in Nashville, TN this year. We are taking 16 Purdue students to meet with other professional and collegiate members from around the world to grow our organization’s network and learn new ways to improve our SWE chapter.
Being secretary has been such an enjoyable role so far, and it’s only just started. I can’t wait for this year to begin! Shout out to the other officers and board members that are putting in so much of their time this summer to help the Purdue Society of Women Engineers be even more AWESOME!

If you want to learn more about what I do or how to get involved with Purdue SWE please email me ( I would love to hear from you!
For further information on Purdue SWE, visit their website:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Student Spotlight: Ashley Devore, EEE

*This post was originally featured at:

Äventyr På Sverige (Adventures in Sweden)

My name is Ashley Devore.  I just finished my sophomore year in Environmental and Ecological Engineering.  In my two years at Purdue, I have joined many clubs and organizations and have been able to participate in many cool and unique experiences.  This summer I got to participate in my most exciting experience yet: studying abroad!
This summer I went on a 10 day Maymester program to Sweden. The focus of this program was on sustainability, and was open to students who had taken CE/EEE 350/355.  There were about 17 of us students who went, and it was the first year of this program; most were either in Environmental and Ecological Engineering or in Civil Engineering.  We went to Sweden because Sweden has implemented many sustainable practices and has gained prominence as being a very sustainable country.  We looked at what Sweden was doing to be sustainable in all of its different sectors, such as energy, food, water, and government.  We also compared what the U.S. does and what Sweden does and looked at why it is possible for Sweden to do certain things but not the U.S. and vice-versa.  I definitely learned a lot about sustainability in Sweden, as well as a lot about Sweden culture. 
While I was in Sweden, my group and I stayed in the capital city of Stockholm.  Stockholm is a very unique city in that it is actually an archipelago of islands all connected together by bridges and public transportation.  Stockholm is definitely a modern city, but it is still rich with history; there are modern parts of the city, and then there are older parts of the city. 
As I said above, we looked at sustainability in Sweden across its different sectors.  The first sector we examined was Sweden’s government.  We went to several of Sweden’s government offices and learned about what they do there and got an overview of Sweden’s government system and what role environmental issues play there.  Sweden has at the moment 8 political parties represented; in fact, the green party in Sweden actually holds a lot of power!  Sweden also has a monarchy, but they are mainly symbolic and do not hold any real power.  While we were looking at Sweden’s government, we went to the Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament), Stockholm City Hall, and the Royal Palace.

Stockholm City Hall
Royal Palace

We then looked at Sweden’s energy. Sweden uses a lot of biogas for their energy so they are very green.  We got to go to a district heating plant and saw how it operated. It was very cool because it brought some of my classes to life and applied things I had learned that year (such as thermodynamics)
We also took a look at Sweden’s transportation.  Sweden uses a lot of public transportation; we didn’t use a car once while we were there!  We mainly used the subway and bus systems, as well as LOTS of walking (no wonder everyone is so fit there!).  We got to opportunity to attend lectures about Sweden’s bus fleet, which is unique because all of the buses run on bio-fuel. We also got a tour of the Arlanda Airport, and got see what sustainable things they do there.

Arlanda airport

In addition, we also took several tours of wastewater treatment plants.  One tour that we saw was of an experimental waste water treatment plant where they are doing labs and experiments.  Another was of a working wastewater treatment plant that cleaned water so it could be returned to the sea. That one was cool because they produced bio-gas from their activities which they then sold to other companies and people to use. 

Wastewater Plant

While in Stockholm we also spent a lot of time at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. We would go to KTH to attend lectures put on by professors and learned about a number of different topics, such Sweden’s bus fleets, robots, and algae farming.  KTH is a beautiful campus and we all had a great time just hanging out on campus as well.  We even got invited to hang out with some of the students there, and we ended up playing soccer with them.  That was a really special experience because afterwards we saw that we were near the 1912 Olympic Soccer Stadium, and we went and checked it out.

KTH Royal Institute of

We also had time for some touristy stuff as well.  While we did have homework assignments while we were there, we quickly learned that if we stayed on top of them we could still have time for lots of fun stuff.  For example, one day we went on a boat tour of the archipelago.  It was a 3 hour boat ride, and we ended up going to a little island and hiked around.  It was very nice because we got to see some beautiful views and it was just fun to be on the water too.
Studying abroad is a great way to spend your summer, and I am so glad that I went on this trip.  I did a lot of new things and was really brought out of my comfort zone.  If you are ever thinking about studying abroad, I highly recommend it.  You will get to experience and learn so many new things, and make many lasting memories.  My study abroad experience will definitely be a highlight of my college career.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Student Spotlight: Stephanie, Mechanical Engineer

Posted on June 10, 2015 by Beata Strubel



Name: Stephanie Weinberg
Year: Senior
Hometown: Fort Myers, FL
Major: Mechanical Engineering

What do you want to do with your engineering degree?
I graduated in May and will be working in the Manufacturing & Engineering Associate (MEA) rotational program with General Mills. I will spend time as a Project Engineer, Systems Engineer, and Supervisor Engineer.

What was the first thing you got involved in at Purdue?
The first organization I got involved in was the Honors Engineering Learning Community. The learning community helped me to get through my first year classes and I made lots of friends and study buddies along the way!

What is your favorite thing about Purdue?
My favorite part about Purdue is that it has both a big and a small school feeling. I love taking advantage of the big school opportunities, like attending Big 10 sporting events. I was also able to create the small school feeling by joining the Purduettes! Another great thing about Purdue is its great first year engineering program, including honors engineering opportunities.

Who has been your greatest influence?
My parents and four older siblings have been the biggest influence on my life. As the youngest of five children, I’ve had lots of people to look up to. I’ve also been able to learn from their mistakes!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Student Spotlight: Sarah, Mechanical Engineer

Posted on May 7, 2015 by Emma Mann

Name: Sarah
Year: Freshman
Hometown: Rochester, MI
Major: First-Year Engineering to Mechanical Engineering

Sarah McBeth is a freshmen majoring in mechanical engineering.  Sarah picked engineering because she loves math and physics and problem solving.  She also loves that with engineering you can see real world results.  With her engineering degree, Sarah wants to make prosthesis because it allows her to help people.  One of Sarah’s favorite things about Purdue is the campus because it is small for the amount of people that go here.  She says that it’s like a 2-in-1 deal because Purdue is a big ten school and you can meet all sorts of people but at the same time get an amazing education.  One of her proudest moments is getting into Purdue.  Her dream job would be to work in Australia or New Zealand as a math professor.  Sarah is involved with many things on campus, and says that being involved with so many groups has allowed her to learn patience.    

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Choose Your Major: Freshman Allie Interviews Nilofer (BME) and Ivan (ME)

Posted on May 7, 2015 by Beata Strubel 

Freshman Alli interviewed two upperclassmen about their choices of major. She shared what she learned with us and you!

Interviewed: Nilofer (sophomore in BME) and Ivan (senior in ME)

What did you learn from these chats?
Interviewing two upperclassmen who are currently in two of the several engineering programs at Purdue was a great experience for me. Getting background information on what to expect over the next few semesters was very helpful. I learned that the engineering areas are very similar to each other, and there are a few significant differences between them.

How did they choose their majors?
Like myself, Nilofer was interested in medicine starting at a very young age. When she was deciding between biomedical and biological engineering, she chose the field that would require her to take classes she would enjoy as both fields would get her to where she wants to be in the future. Ivan chose mechanical engineering because he likes to take things apart and put them back together. Also, he likes the fact that he has flexibility with his major (he can do a variety of jobs with his degree).

How are these majors similar?
Biomedical engineers take classes in electrical, mechanical, chemical, and biological engineering. They are well-rounded engineers. Similarly, mechanical engineers take classes from various fields of engineering. Mechanical engineers can get jobs in most engineering fields. There are also many options for careers with a degree in biomedical engineering, including manufacturing and research & development.

What other career options can undergrads explore?
Some students may decide to follow the pre-med or pre-law route through biomedical engineering. Furthermore, Nilofer participated in Purdue’s SURF program this past summer. She enjoyed it because it gave her experience in her field, and she was paid for doing the research.Ivan has worked for Marathon Oil Refinery, Sabic Plastics, and Westlake Chemical in the past. He likes working as an intern because he is paid for his work, and it gives him the experience of working in an engineering environment.

What surprised you in these interviews?
There were many things I did not realize were possible in their programs? For example, I did not know that you could go to law school after earning an engineering degree. Also, I like that I could attend medical school after finishing here at Purdue. I wanted to be a doctor when I was younger, so working in the medical field would be amazing. I am very excited about the SURF program that Nilofer participated in this past summer. I didn’t know that you could get paid to do research on campus.

So what major are you considering now?
After learning about these majors, I am definitely still considering biomedical engineering as my major of choice. I really like medicine and helping others, and earning a degree in BME would allow me to do that.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Student Spotlight: Abby, Industrial Engineering

Posted on April 30, 2015 by Emma Mann

Name: Abby
Year: Freshman
Hometown:Noblesville, IN
Major: First-Year Engineering to Industrial Engineering

Meet Abby, a freshman who is majoring in industrial engineering.  Abby decided to do industrial engineering after going to the Purdue Engineering Camp and because she likes math.  Abby also really likes that industrial engineering is more people oriented. In addition, she is also considering a minor in management.  Her dream job would be to work at Disney World as an industrial engineer.  One of Abby’s favorite things about coming to Purdue was how different everything was from high school.  At Purdue, Abby is involved with Greek Life.  She says that she loves being in a sorority because it is such a passionate group of people.  One of Abby’s dreams is to travel the world after college on a 6 month backpacking trip!