Friday, August 27th, 2010 - 11:19 am

News & Notes

Experiential learning project contributes to flood prevention

To help Northwest Indiana avoid a repeat of the flooding devastation of September, 2008, six Purdue University Calumet civil engineering students developed a hydrological watershed rainfall runoff model as part of a successful experiential learning project last spring. Led by Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Chandramouli Viswanathan and in collaboration with the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission and Garcia Consulting Engineers of Hammond, the students monitored water flow of the Hart Ditch into the Little Calumet River during periods of rainfall as a means for planning flood management and mitigation activities.

In addition to its value to the region, the experience benefitted the students by enabling them to better understand the intricacies of a real-world problem while working as part of a team, Viswanathan said. Contributing were James Kaiser of Crown Point, Emily Larson of St. John, Daniel Granholm of Oak Lawn, Ill., Mohamed Thowfeek of Chicago, Vujadin Petrovic of Lansing, Ill. and Lisander Vainiko of Palos Hills, Ill.

Embracing principles advanced by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE), Purdue Calumet is believed to be the nation’s only college or university to require all baccalaureate degree-seeking students to complete at least two experiential learning courses.


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Students qualify for national advertising competition

Matt Hansen (School of Management Instructor) with 17 Purdue Calumet advertising students

Led by School of Management Instructor Matt Hanson, a team of 17 Purdue Calumet students earned a berth in the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition in June. The PUC group finished 12th. As part of a senior level “Advertising Campaigns” experiential learning course, the students qualified for the national competition by placing first out of 150 schools in district competition last spring, for which they developed an integrated marketing campaign for State Farm Insurance targeting the 18 to 25-year-old market.

Their success, Hanson said, can be attributed to their embracing a strategy that attempted to stay true to the State Farm Brand while reshaping pre-existing State Farm ideas and concepts in ways that would endear their targeted audience. The students’ preparation for the competition included developing a 32-page book of industry, competitor and corporate analysis; generating five months of research findings; creative strategies and media buys; and producing a professional presentation.


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Mechanical engineering student bikes across America

Ben Moul
During 3,075 biking miles, 413 hitchhiking miles and 40 miles of pushing his bike, Moul came to realize how dependent he was on others.

Mechanical engineering student Ben Moul wanted to challenge himself and test his willpower and strength while he pursued God and gained a new appreciation for life.

That’s what prompted his decision to set out May 17 on a coast-to-coast, 3,529-mile bicycle trek from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to New York City’s Pen Station. For such an ambitious venture, the 20-year-old, Hart, Mich. Resident set, arguably, an even more ambitious completion goal of 80 days.

But 35 days into his trip—on June 22—mission accomplished! He was successful despite experiencing flat tires, a broken bike chain and a bent derailleur (his bike’s gear system) and while carrying a backpack of some 40 to 50 pounds of gear.


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Engineering professor honored at international conference

Chenn Zhou, Professor of Mechanical EngineeringChenn Zhou, professor of mechanical engineering, head of Purdue Calumet’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and director of the university’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation, presented the keynote address at the international Association for Iron and Steel Technology Conference and Exposition in May. Zhou, recognized for her achievements in process metallurgy and dedication to the steel industry over the course of her 27+ year career, spoke to more than 1,000 attendees on the topic of “Visualizing the Future in Steel Manufacturing.”


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Dean of School of Education appointed

Alice G. Anderson, Dean of School of EducationTo lead the School of Education in meeting the challenges facing higher education in the 21st Century, Alice G. Anderson has been appointed dean. She assumed her new responsibilities July 1 after serving as dean of the University of Findlay’s (Ohio) College of Education. Previously, Anderson served as Interim Associate Dean at Radford (Va.) University, where she also was founding director of the School of Teacher Education and Leadership.


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Academics, Awards, and Scholarships

$613,000+ grant supports mechatronics engineering technology

Purdue Calumet’s innovative mechatronics engineering technology program, which prepares students for high-demand jobs in the packaging machinery industry, received a $613,862 grant from the National Science Foundation.

“The project the grant supports will address workforce needs of the packaging machinery industry and other industries that require mechatronics knowledge and skill of its workforce,” Purdue Calumet School of Technology Dean and Grant Principal Investigator Niaz Latif said.

Prompted by an industrial need for trained technologists to design, build and service the type of complex, high-speed machinery used in the package industry, Purdue Calumet introduced its mechatronics engineering technology baccalaureate degree program two years ago. The program combines instruction in electrical control and mechanical design.


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$575,000 NSF award funds STEM scholarships

A $575,000 award from the National Science Foundation Directorate for Education and Human Resources is funding up to 28 scholarships, valued at $4,450 each, for Purdue Calumet students majoring in engineering, engineering technology, computer science or mathematics.

The award supports the Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Program (S-STEM) for academically talented and financially challenged students. The award also supports academic mentoring for the scholars.


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Harrah’s Foundation makes $100,000 gift to hospitality program

Harrah’s Foundation has awarded $100,000 to Purdue Calumet to develop a beverage and wine laboratory as part of a university project to enhance and expand its hospitality and tourism management academic program.

The laboratory will become part of the new Purdue University Calumet White Lodging Services Center for Hospitality and Tourism Management, and will be used in course instruction and generating product knowledge about wines, spirits and coffees, according to university program Executive Director and Professor Michael Flannery.

Development of the new center is underway at the south end of campus as part of a renovation of what has been The Calumet Conference Center. Completion is anticipated in time for the start of the 2011-12 academic year.

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PUC’s student military program awarded grant

Purdue University Calumet’s From Boots to Books program, which supports academic success and degree persistence by military service members and veterans, received a $100,000 grant, the largest awarded this year by Purdue University’s Military Family Research Institute. The grant, funded by the Lilly Endowment’s “Operation Diploma” initiative, will be used to develop individualized service plans for qualified students, including provision of tutoring and counseling services, orientations and workshops. Additionally, it will support such key personnel as a full-time veterans’ specialist and a veterans’ ombudsman.


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Academic engineering partnership introduced

Seton Academy students with Professor Constantin Apostoaia
Seton (Ill.) Academy students show Purdue Calumet Professor Constantin Apostoaia one of their recent technology projects. As part of a Purdue Calumet Seton partnership, Apostoaia is teaching an engineering course to Seton students this fall at the high school academy.


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Accelerated biological sciences B.S.-M.S. combined program introduced

An accelerated biological sciences program that seamlessly combines the pursuit of baccalaureate and master’s degrees so that both can be completed within a five-year period has been introduced this fall.

Traditionally, full time students can earn an undergraduate degree in four years, with at least another two years required to complete a master’s degree in biological sciences.

The new accelerated combined program requires 145 credit hours, including nine that apply to both degrees. Purdue Calumet is the first higher educational institution in Northwest Indiana to implement an accelerated master’s program and the first in the Purdue system to offer such a program in the life sciences.


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11 receive White Lodging Future Leaders scholarships

Eleven upper class Purdue Calumet students are the first recipients of the university’s new White Lodging Hospitality & Tourism (HTM) Management Future Leaders scholarships.

The Dean & Barbara White and Bruce & Beth White Family Foundations are supporting the $1,500-per-semester awards in part via a $5 million gift awarded late last year to Purdue Calumet to advance the hospitality and tourism management industry through education.

“The generosity of the White family is providing our best hospitality and tourism management students with the necessary funding to complete their undergraduate education,” Michael Flannery, head of Purdue Calumet’s Dept. of Behavioral Sciences, in which the university’s HTM program is housed, said. “This gift will enable many talented students to achieve their educational goals in a timely manner and strengthen our Northwest Indiana hospitality industry.”

White Lodging Scholars
Scholarship recipients, from left, are: Yvonne Bisbee of Griffith, Martin Butcher of Gary, Christin Spoolstra of Lansing, IL, Jamie Calhoun of Schererville, Kimberly Spoolstra of Lansing, IL, Katelyn Detmar of St. John, Crystal Altieri of Munster, Brian Gerlach of Lowell and Samantha Mahns of Hammond. Other recipients not pictured: Heather Banks and Caralyn Salczynski of Griffith.


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Professor E. James Jennings

Professor E. James JenningsE. James Jennings, a 32-year Purdue University Calumet professor and Valparaiso resident, who was respected for his regional economic perspectives and teaching manner and appreciated for his dry sense of humor, died suddenly June 5 at the age of 62. A professor of economics, he also taught courses in statistics and business forecasting, and was selected by students to receive the Outstanding Professor Award in 2007.


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