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Student Achievement

ECE Quarterback Sindelar Fuels Boilermaker Victory

Author: Linda Thomas
Magazine Section: Strategic Growth Initiative
College or School: CoE
Article Type: Article
Elijah Sindelar is focused on power systems in his engineering studies and on the football field.
Elijah Sindelar plays quarterback for the Purdue Boilermakers football team.

As quarterback for the Purdue football team, Sindelar, an electrical engineering major, led the Boilermakers against Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl game, Dec. 27, 2017 — their first bowl win over a major conference team since beating Washington in the 2002 Sun Bowl.

In an interview before the game, Venkataramanan (Ragu) Balakrishnan, the Michael and Katherine Birck Head and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said: “Elijah is the rare athlete who has been able to strike a successful balance between the extraordinary demands of ECE’s top-notch curriculum and the grueling regimen of a Big Ten football program. We are proud of all that he has accomplished thus far.”

Sindelar, a red shirt sophomore, took over the Boilermaker quarterback position in November when teammate David Blough was sidelined with an ankle injury.

Admitting that he thrives on pressure, Sindelar was up for the challenge, bringing experience as a four-year QB at Caldwell County High School in Kentucky, where he was named the state’s Mr. Football in 2013. He was also a high school baseball and basketball star. His teammates don’t have to look far to see why their quarterback is owed some respect.

A 4.0 student in high school, he chose Purdue over the many other schools that recruited him because of Purdue’s engineering program and has ably balanced the rigors of studying electrical engineering with the demands of a Big 10 football program. With the bowl game looming in December, the football players practiced through finals week, meeting early in the morning or late at night to accommodate test schedules; Sindelar had five finals. “I had to learn time management at the very beginning, which is the only way I can do both football and engineering and not let one get too big or too overwhelming,” he says.

Elijah Sindelar, Electrical Engineering Sophomore

In addition to time management skills, Sindelar is also known for keeping his ego in check, having earned accolades for his humility as a high school athlete, despite his star performance. He credits his faith and family for keeping him the right size. “The one thing that helps me is my faith in God. It keeps me stable, so I don’t let anything get too big,” he says.

Sindelar hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps. Scott Sindelar is an electrical engineer, who introduced his young son to the subject by enlisting his help rewiring electrical systems as they moved into houses. The interest caught on, as Sindelar says he fell in love with electricity and hopes for a career in energy and power distribution systems. He was an intern this summer with the Purdue power plant high voltage crew and plans to do the same in summer 2018.

The quarterback’s experience as an Engineering student has paid off on the football field, where Sindelar says he puts his studies to use.

“Processing and the way you look at problems or come up with solutions for engineering is the same way I approach problems on the football field,” he says. “I discern what the defense is doing or disguising, so I know how to manipulate the defense to get my guys open. Preparing for a game is the same as preparing for an exam. If I’m prepared for the game, I know what to look for and it’s so much easier to see, just like it is to take an exam when I’m prepared.”