A Boilermaker at heart

Mechanical Engineering alumna Betsy Huntingdon wants more young women to reap the benefits of a Purdue Engineering education.

From her first visit to Purdue University to attend a high school summer camp, Betsy Huntingdon (BSME '95) knew Purdue was where she wanted to be. However, she lived out of state, and her parents had other opinions about where she should be attending college.

"My father actually tried to bribe me with a new car to attend a cheaper, in-state school," she recollects, "but I just knew that Purdue was the right place for me."

I hope my gift allows someone to attend Purdue who maybe couldn't have otherwise, and that she changes the world."

(BSME '95)

Sacrificing the promise of new wheels, Huntingdon chose Purdue to pursue her education in mechanical engineering.

On campus, Huntingdon was active in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), where she made connections with other women going through the same college experiences. "I didn't come to Purdue with a bunch of high school friends; they were all back in Ohio. I wanted to find like-minded folks that I could be with, study with and learn from," she says.

Through SWE, she learned to network and develop her professional skills. Holding leadership positions and attending conferences helped Huntingdon land her first job - at Hewlett-Packard.

From engineer, to analyst, to product marketer, Huntingdon has worn many hats. She earned an MBA while working as a research-and-development engineer, and she discovered that she really enjoys the business side of engineering. She took on analyst and product management roles before finding her niche in product marketing. She currently works for Teradata Corp. where, with her strong engineering background, she markets highly technical products.

Outside of work, Huntingdon stays active in cycling and triathlons to keep fit, soaks up the San Diego sun, and enjoys meeting new people. She also likes showing her Purdue pride and collects Purdue cycling jerseys for just that purpose. She says, "I've got to wear something on the bike, so I might as well fly my favorite school's colors!"

Huntingdon loves traveling in Europe - where she has made several cycling trips. She also enjoys hiking, cooking and spending time with her friends, husband and mom.

For World-changing Women

"I can honestly say that if not for Purdue, I wouldn't be where I am today. I'm living in San Diego, an amazing city, with wonderful friends and a husband I met out here. And I've had the opportunity to work for some excellent companies," Huntingdon says.

Grateful for all she has achieved thanks to Purdue, she wanted to give back. She decided to make a deferred gift that establishes an endowed scholarship for the School of Mechanical Engineering undergraduates in the Women in Engineering Program. She also designated a portion of the gift for unrestricted support of the Women in Engineering Program.

"I hope my gift allows someone to attend Purdue who maybe couldn't have otherwise, and that she changes the world," Huntingdon says. "I hope the Women in Engineering Program will use the gift creatively to get young girls interested in STEM, to hold camps, to reach out to middle schools and high schools, to bring interesting speakers to campus, to sponsor contests, to take women on field trips to local engineering companies - whatever it takes to get girls exploring engineering."

Other goals for her gift? Huntingdon would like people to understand that engineering can be the foundation for almost any occupation. "Business, law, medicine, sales, teaching ... It's not just for pure engineering jobs," she says. "An undergraduate engineering degree gives students countless skills that will serve them well - in whatever field they choose."

Beth Holloway, assistant dean of engineering for undergraduate education and director of the Women in Engineering Program, says the whole College benefits from Huntingdon's pledge. "These contributions are important for multiple reasons," Holloway explains. "They signal Purdue's commitment to equity in engineering and affirm the strategies and practices of the Women in Engineering Program in pursuit of equity. Alumnae support also provides vital resources for us to meet the changing needs of our students, as well as expand our programs so that all interested students can participate."

To lend your support to the Women in Engineering Program, contact Hilary Butler, director of development, at 765-494-6383 or HAButler@prf.org.