New Green2Gold initiative offers pathway for Ivy Tech Community College students to Purdue Engineering

Beginning Fall 2024, the Ivy Tech campus in Columbus, Indiana, will be the first cohort in a program that allows students a combined degree with Purdue's College of Engineering.
Two students standing in front of Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering
Anna Leichty and Nathan Pfeffer transferred to Purdue from Ivy Tech Community College. A new agreement, Green2Gold, will offer a pathway for more Ivy Tech students, starting at the Columbus, Indiana, campus, to follow a similar path.  

Recent Purdue University College of Engineering grads Anna Leichty and Nathan Pfeffer began their academic journeys at Ivy Tech Community College. Both encourage other aspiring Purdue engineers to consider their path as a viable option for turning dreams into degrees. Purdue University and Ivy Tech Community College seek to make that option an easier transition with the Green2Gold program announced in January 2024.

The new agreement, signed this month, will offer a pathway to a combined “2+2” degree starting with an Associate of Science in engineering from Ivy Tech and leading to a Bachelor of Science in engineering from Purdue. Students will be able to enroll in the program based on meeting course completion and GPA requirements.

The collaboration between Ivy Tech, the nation’s largest singly Higher Learning Commission accredited statewide community college system, and Purdue University, No. 2 in the nation by the American Society for Engineering Education for awarding the most engineering bachelor’s degrees in 2022, creates a way to grow Indiana’s engineering workforce.

“The Green2Gold program allows talented Ivy Tech students to transfer to Purdue to earn a world-class Purdue engineering degree,” said Arvind Raman, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering. “As a land-grant university, Purdue continues its mission of preparing students to address Indiana’s workforce needs as it has for the past 150 years.”

Beginning Fall 2024, the Ivy Tech campus in Columbus, Indiana, will be the first to offer the Green2Gold program with plans to expand to other select Ivy Tech campuses in subsequent years. Applications are now open for the Green2Gold program at the Ivy Tech Columbus campus.

“The Green2Gold program at Ivy Tech Community College Columbus exemplifies our commitment to providing students with diverse pathways to success,” said Steven Combs, chancellor of Ivy Tech Columbus. “A standout feature is our strong industry partnerships that will offer students invaluable working and learning opportunities, enhancing their practical experience and preparing the for seamless transitions to Purdue University in Indianapolis or Purdue West Lafayette.”

Leichty graduated from Purdue in May 2024 with a bachelor’s in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) and a minor in communications, but her academic story began at the Lafayette campus of Ivy Tech Community College in the fall of 2019. Like her brother, Leichty wanted to graduate with as little debt as possible, so she chose community college for two years. Leichty is proud to have graduated debt free.

In the College of Engineering, Leichty found the passion from Kendra Erk, an associate professor, fueled her own for materials engineering.

“She was so enthusiastic about processing of materials that I started to love it even more,” said Leichty, who became an undergraduate TA for Erk in Spring 2023.

Through the Industrial Roundtable, one of the largest student-run career fairs in the country, Leichty was able to secure an internship at Ecolab where she was a quality assurance intern. The work “helped me understand what day-to-day work is like as an engineer.”

After graduation, Leichty moved to Utah to work at Northrop Grumman as an associate mission assurance supplier engineer.

“The Green2Gold program sounds extremely helpful for prospective students who want to transfer to Purdue Engineering. Having a plan of study and knowing that all credit will transfer is very helpful as a transfer student,” Leichty notes.

Pfeffer is currently pursuing a master’s degree in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, where he received his bachelor’s in 2023.

Pfeffer began his collegiate journey at the Evansville campus of Ivy Tech Community College in 2017. Pfeffer started at Ivy Tech because it was a “great steppingstone for achieving my goals at an affordable rate while also still allowing me to easily work part-time.”

His decision to transfer to Purdue in 2020 was easy knowing that Purdue is consistently ranked in the top 10 engineering schools nationally.

During his time as an undergraduate student at Purdue, Pfeffer became a lead for the hybrid rocket team with the Purdue Space Program. Professors Joseph Jewell and Stephen Heister were some of his favorite teachers and mentors. “They really cared about us and made difficult material understandable.” Pfeffer has wonderful memories of blasting “ridiculous” music and being good during late-night study sessions on the eve of exams. “The collective struggle really helped ease the tension and made for memorable experiences.”

Purdue’s GRIT+ initiative offers experiential learning experience that are a beneficial supplement to students’ traditional coursework. Pfeffer had several internships.

Following his junior year, Pfeffer interned at Sierra Space in Madison, Wisconsin for seven months as a rocket propulsion engineering intern, working on upper stage engine design and testing and on thrusters for the company’s Dream Chaser spaceplane. Last summer, he interned for a second time at Aerojet Rocketdyne in Los Angeles, working as a project and component engineering intern to help speed up valve production for the RS-25 engine, which is being used on NASA’s Artemis missions.

Pfeffer is excited about the Green2Gold program and what that means for students wanting to follow a path like his own.

“I think the Green2Gold program will make the process of transferring from Ivy Tech to Purdue Engineering much easier,” he said. “It will allow students to save a great deal of money while also having an assured path to transfer to Purdue.”

The first Columbus cohort is limited to 20 students and begins in August, according to Ivy Tech’s website. Students remain in the same group throughout the first two years, providing a built-in support network to improve student success.

“Ivy Tech Community College Columbus is an ideal location to begin the new Green2Gold program,” Combs said. “Our unique AirPark campus, with its state-of-the-art facilities like the Advanced Manufacturing Center for Excellence, offers students unparalleled opportunities to learn and grow. By integrating our successful cohort model from nursing, accelerated associate program and our cybersecurity academy at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, we will ensure that engineering students receive robust support and exceptional education tailored to meet the demands of today’s industry.”