Graduation Feature: Marisa Henderson

Marisa Henderson

Marisa Henderson

For Valparaiso resident, Purdue Calumet showed her ‘how to do it’

HAMMOND, Ind. – Coming home. The feeling is important to those who leave, then return to the place they feel forms their base. For Valparaiso resident Marisa Henderson, “coming home” is not just northwest Indiana, but also Purdue University Calumet.

“Every time you travel somewhere, you need a place to feel safe, a place you call home,” Henderson, who is graduating Saturday (5/10) from the university she calls “home,” said.

The 22-year-old graduation candidate of Purdue Calumet’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, with baccalaureate degrees in Political Science and Spanish, often has thought of “home” during her travels to Washington, D.C. as past president of the university’s Student Government Association and to Guatemala for a research presentation.

Through her experiences and travel, Henderson has been considering career opportunities with the United Nations. “I learned from student government how complicated democracy can be, but how important it is to hear everyone’s voice,” she said.

She also plans to pursue a master’s degree in international affairs and continue to travel.

On campus, Henderson has worked as a mentor to international students, a job she credits with helping her make lifelong friends. In addition, she has been an enrollee of the Honors Program, for which she has participated in such volunteer outreach projects as raising funds and goods for homeless women and children.

“Marisa always had new ideas both on campus and beyond campus,” said Purdue Calumet Honors Program Director and Professor of Philosophy John Rowan.

Describing Henderson as having a global perspective, Rowan added, “Hopefully Purdue University Calumet has contributed, but she gets the credit for that.” She has a strong desire to understand people and has an empathetic nature, one that comes across as truly trying to help people.”

Henderson’s advice to current and future students is relatively simple. “If you stretch your limits, you will truly give yourself a competitive edge. You form a family, a support system while you are (at college).”

As for her lofty career aspirations with the United Nations, she said, ““I knew the kind of work I wanted to do in middle school. I had a driving force back then to have these goals and get good grades. But Purdue University Calumet showed me how to do it.”