2013 – The Year in Review

Purdue University Calumet 2013 year in review

A professor whose research contributed to a Nobel Prize, the awarding of a record number of degrees and growing enrollment of higher achieving new students highlight an eventful 2013 for Purdue University Calumet. 

Contributor to Nobel Prize

Professor of Physics Neeti Parashar participated on the team of worldwide researchers who discovered the Higgs boson subatomic particle. The Higgs boson, also referred to as the “God particle”, is considered a vital building block for shaping understanding about the composition and interaction of all matter in the natural universe.

Its discovery confirmed the theory of the Higgs field, for which theorists Peter Higgs and Francois Englert received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Parashar, a Munster resident formerly of Batavia, Ill. and an eight-year Purdue Calumet faculty member, managed most of her research efforts and those of several assisting Purdue Calumet students at Fermilab, a national high energy physics facility in Batavia, Ill.

Degrees awarded

The awarding of nearly 2,200 degrees during the year increased to more than 49,000 the total number of Purdue degrees that Purdue Calumet graduates have earned. Baccalaureate and master’s graduates earned more than 97 percent of the year’s degrees.

More enrollees better prepared to graduate

University efforts to attract more students better prepared to persist successfully and graduate continued to produce impressive progress. Overall fall enrollment of 9,422 at northwest Indiana’s largest university included an entering freshman class that recorded an average ACT score of 21.8, up from 19.9 in 2009. What’s more, 54 percent of entering freshmen enrolled after compiling a high school grade point average of at least 3.0, compared to just 24 percent of the incoming 2009 class.

Additionally, 96 percent of nearly 800 first time college enrollees are attending full time, suggesting their intention to graduate in a timely manner.

Also during 2013 . . .

Recognition & distinction

Purdue Calumet gained the following recognitions during 2013:

• Indiana’s No. 2-ranked college/university for providing a quality education at an affordable price—by The College Database.

• 1st place in Best College/University category–The Times of NW Indiana readership survey.

• Best University to obtain a Technology Degree—NW Indiana Business Quarterly readership survey.

• Designated a Military Friendly School for efforts demonstrated and services provided recruiting and retaining military and veteran students— by Victory Media.


Two graduate degree programs were introduced on campus:

• A Master of Science in Modeling, Simulation and Visualization, and

• An online Master of Science in Technology that offers a concentration in Technology Leadership and Management.

The Purdue Board of Trustees approved…

• that Purdue Calumet’s honors program be elevated to Honors College status, enabling special classes and degree program study options for qualified freshmen, sophomores and transfers, beginning as soon as fall 2014.

• Purdue Calumet participation in the Purdue West Lafayette Doctor of Nursing Practice curriculum. Through a Purdue system-wide collaboration, plans call for the program to be offered primarily online and taught by nursing faculty at Purdue Calumet and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, subject to Indiana Commission for Higher Education and Higher Learning Commission approval.

Partnerships & outreach

• The December groundbreaking for development of an outdoor athletics complex for soccer, baseball, softball and tennis teams at nearby Dowling Park introduced a wide-ranging partnership between the university and City of Hammond that also is tied to economic development and cultural initiatives. Corporate partners, led by Fifth Third Bank, PepsiCo, Albert’s Jewelers, Community Hospital and The Times Media Company, also are supporting the innovative collaboration.

• Alumnus David A. Roberts, chairman, president and CEO of Carlisle Companies Inc., and his wife, Susan, made a substantial financial gift to advance development of a university manufacturing center. The center is to be housed in Purdue Calumet’s emerging Commercialization Center near campus.

• Hammond radio station WJOB announced its plan to partner with the university in moving its broadcasting operations and streaming media center to the Commercialization Center in spring of 2014.

• The university’s College of Technology received a $2.7 million federal grant to provide advanced manufacturing training to at least 300 Trade Adjustment Assistance-eligible workers and military veterans in preparation for positions as mechatronics technicians and industrial machinery mechanics.

Student achievements

• A television script communication students Vincent Benjamin Lopez of Hammond, Autumn Cueller and Brandon Fles of Crown Point, Ashley Anne Drzal of Hobart and Melissa Falgier of Munster developed for a Script Writing class last fall earned second place in the national Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Student Script Writing Competition.

• A fifth place finish last spring by mechanical engineering students Cody Eitzen of Munster and Maria Frebis of Murfreesboro, Tenn. marked the third consecutive year Purdue Calumet students earned a top five finish at the NASA Great Moonbuggy Race in Huntsville, Ala. The competition challenges student teams to design, build and race over a half-mile, obstacle-laden course a lightweight, human-powered vehicle similar to the Apollo lunar rovers developed by NASA four decades ago for use by U.S. astronauts during moon exploration trips.

• Two other mechanical engineering students, Tianwei Wang of Beijing, China and Dennis Cox of Schererville, designed a refrigeration and heat pump system that earned the top ranking from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers in the Senior Undergraduate Project Grant Program.

• Technology students Armando Cabrera Jr of East Chicago, Florin Mustata and Thaddeus Wleklinski of Hammond and Parvizsho Aminov of Hobart placed second at the annual PACK Solutions Challenge held last fall in Las Vegas. The event challenges college and university student teams to create a solution to a complex packaging problem.

• Marriage and family therapy graduate Francisco Limon of Hammond received the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Completed Thesis Award for an analysis of the Bienvenidos Program for helping immigrant Mexican adolescents adapt to school and connect with their families.

• Graduate student Anike Adekoya of New York, NY received an American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Minority Scholarship, reserved for the top three minority students enrolled in master’s degree marriage and family therapy programs nationwide.

• Education teacher preparation students Mitchell Bidwell of Dyer, Jennifer Ciesielski of Hobart and Krystle Shanks of St. John received Indiana Outstanding Future Educators Awards.

• Computer information systems students Bradley Jordan of Cedar Lake and Benjamin Oprinovich of Munster won the Best Case Solution Award for effectively analyzing, providing a solution and presenting their solution of a case analysis at last spring’s Ball State University Information Systems Project and Case Competition.

• A 24-member team of marketing and communication students placed 14th nationally at the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition at Phoenix, Ari. The competition, which attracted teams from 144 universities, called for the student teams to develop a $10 million integrated marketing campaign to increase customer awareness and drive purchasing behavior of Glidden paint products at Wal-Mart stores nationally. To qualify for the national finals, the Purdue Calumet students placed first in district competition.

Faculty recognitions

• Books about Haiti and Cuba, written by Associate Professor of History Kathleen Tobin of Munster, were published. Brush with Haiti focuses on the history and modern affairs of the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation and the author’s perspective on the world of academia in America and Haiti. Her book, Of God and Cuba, examines Cuban people, culture and the nation’s differences with the United States.

• Dean of the College of Nursing, Professor and Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Peggy Gerard of Plainfield, Ill. received the Indiana Hospital Association’s Award of Merit for significant contributions to hospitals and health care in Indiana.

• Professor of Communication Yahya Kamalipour of Munster received the Information and Telecommunications Education and Research Association Researcher of the Year Award.

• Chenn Zhou, professor of mechanical engineering, director of the university’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation and Munster resident, delivered the keynote address at the Baosteel BAC 2013 academic steel conference in Shanghai, China.

• Professor of International Business Charles Rarick of Crown Point received a Fulbright Specialists Award to serve last summer at Universitas Sebelas Maret, Indonesia. He presented graduate and undergraduate level lectures, conducted workshops and training, assisted in MBA program development and consulted with faculty and administration.

• Professor of Physics Neeti Parashar of Munster and formerly of Batavia, Ill. received the university’s Outstanding Faculty Teacher and Scholar Awards for the 2012-13 academic year. Professor of Nursing Lynn Miskovich of Schererville received the Outstanding Faculty Service Award.


• Purdue Calumet’s intercollegiate athletics program increased to 12 teams with the introduction of baseball and softball squads teams last fall.

• Development of the Purdue University Calumet Athletics Complex began late in the year. The facility at nearby Dowling Park will become the home for Peregrine baseball, softball, men’s and women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s tennis teams. Synthetic soccer, baseball and softball fields are expected to be ready for use next August. Developed in partnership with the City of Hammond, the complex will be accessible to the city when Purdue Calumet teams are not using it.

• The Purdue Calumet 2012-13 women’s basketball team earned a berth in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II national tournament last March. The Peregrines completed the season with a 21-10 record and ranked 13th nationally.

• For the fourth consecutive semester, university student-athletes compiled a collective grade point average that surpassed 3.0 (4.0 scale).