What does an engineering degree from Purdue mean to you?

Author: Paul Branham, Student, Purdue University, Nuclear Engineering
Event Date: February 7, 2011
Despite growing up a thousand miles from West Lafayette, I was raised a Boilermaker, my father being a Purdue pharmacy alumnus. I always had plans to attend Purdue when the time to attend college finally came. I never bothered to apply or visit anywhere else. I was fortunate in that regard - I always knew exactly where I was going and where I wanted to receive my education. I had no clue what I wanted to study until I was nearly done with high school, but once I made up my mind, I never looked back.

Sometimes I think we students take for granted the fact that our degrees will say “Purdue University” and “Engineering.” When you pause to think about what that means, you find that it really does mean something great. Its pretty easy to get caught up in college without thinking about everything involved - over committing yourself sometimes between several different student organizations, attending all the sporting events you can possibly squeeze into your schedule, and trying to make up the time by burning the midnight oil, scribbling on some engineering paper well into the mornings. Despite the toil and difficulty of the coursework, I wouldn’t trade this time of my life for anything. Being a Purdue engineer is a privilege, earned by successfully navigating a plan of study tailored to the career you want to have. I would argue that bonus points should be awarded to anyone who learns to successfully navigate the EE building!

I never tire from reading about or seeing people who have moved on from Purdue representing their alma mater with pride and sending a message to the world that Boilermakers are world-class talent with a world-class education. While a Purdue education is one of the most valuable things I’ll ever carry with me into the professional world, the experiences I have had outside the classroom will be equally valuable to my personal memories as years pass me by. As a member of the Purdue Reamer Club, I’ve had the great privilege of being one of the caretakers of the Boilermaker Special, accompanying it to many football games and events. As a member of the Board of Directors for the Purdue Alumni Student Experience, I’ve had premier opportunities to network with students and alumni from many different fields and backgrounds. I’ve learned so much from the American Nuclear Society and all they do to raise awareness of nuclear engineering’s possibilities for the future. Nearly 20 times a year, I find myself with 5,000 of my closest friends in Mackey Arena as part of the Paint Crew.

Just one snapshot from my years at Purdue couldn’t possibly define the value of that time here, but the accumulation of each of them form a grandiose mosaic that I will look back on for years to come, reminding me of what that frame on the wall really means. Sure, I got a world-class education that, but I did it with world-class people surrounding me, and that’s what my Purdue degree will mean to me.