Recent grad shares enthusiasm, energy with world

Author: Linda Thomas Terhune
When Alison Jonkman and her roommate planned a summer trip to celebrate graduation, they didn’t focus on traditional rites of passage like backpacking through Europe or taking a cross-country drive. Instead, Jonkman, who graduated in May, looked to Iceland.

Alison JonkmanSurprising? Not for Jonkman, who thrives on intellectual and physical activity. She has cozied up to tigers in Thailand, crawled through a 90-meter tunnel in Vietnam, and loves to talk about the ice climbing and kayaking opportunities in Iceland.

Jonkman, named the School of Industrial Engineering’s outstanding senior this past spring, likes the stimulation that diverse environments offer. She initially enrolled at Purdue thinking she might study chemical engineering, but she says it didn’t take long for her to realize that IE, with its many applications, was a better fit.

“I like that there is a lot of variety in industrial engineering,” she says. “You’re not going to be stuck in a lab or behind a desk, if you don’t want to be. I will have a lot of different options.”

As an undergraduate, Jonkman was active in the Purdue chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineers. Thinking ahead to the future, she also took time to gain professional experience in the manufacturing industry. She was a co-op student for three years at Toyota’s North American headquarters in Erlanger, Kentucky, and did a summer internship at Whirlpool in Michigan. Jonkman’s position as an advisor to first-year engineering students allowed her to share her academic and work experiences with others. She was also able to relate her love of all things international.

Global engagement is, in fact, high on Jonkman’s list of priorities. She caught the bug during spring semester of her junior year, which she spent at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. To her delight, she had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Asia during that time.

Following her post-graduation trip to Iceland, Jonkman will work as a consultant for Accenture. The job appealed to her because it offers travel opportunities, as well as a variety of clients and assignments.

“Accenture is a global company and I will have the opportunity to work with worldwide companies, improve their efficiencies, and make their products better using the tools I learned at Purdue,” she says.

Among those tools is a boundless sense of enthusiasm. “Hopefully,” Jonkman says, “I can bring my energy to other people in the workplace.”