Section Elevating Student Experience
Mary Slater may not be an engineer herself, but she spends a lot of time with engineers.
Slater, who earned her BS and MBA from Purdue’s Krannert School of Management, in 2003 and 2005, respectively, is program manager for supply chain major projects at Shell Oil. For 11 years, Slater has led Shell’s Purdue campus recruiting team, which leads the company’s hiring at Purdue as well as supports and invests in outreach programs, campus centers and advisory councils.
“We need to make sure that there are going to be enough students, and particularly diverse talent, who naturally gravitate toward engineering,” Slater says.
This is why, Slater says, Shell is involved in introducing students to engineering concepts early in their education.
An educational journey
Christian White, who earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in May 2018, is one example of an engineering student benefiting from Shell’s support.
White’s introduction to engineering came after her junior year of high school, when she attended Purdue’s Multiethnic Introduction to Engineering (MITE) program, of which Shell is a sponsor — though she didn’t realize it then.
“Before MITE, I was interested in math and chemistry but didn’t really know how to make use out of what I was learning,” she says. “Without Shell’s partnership and that program, I never would have been introduced to engineering, let alone to Purdue.”
White began at Purdue the following year and soon sought opportunities to help develop her chemical engineering expertise and offset her out-of-state tuition. It wasn’t until White applied for a Shell internship that she was informed by a mentor that Shell had played a role in the MITE program. White would go on to complete two paid Shell internships during her time at Purdue. She also applied for and received a renewable scholarship from the company.
“My internships at Shell helped me realize that what I was doing on paper in my classes translated to projects that actually impact the world,” White says. And with financial support, “I could also focus on developing my talents instead of worrying about my tuition.”
Guiding young engineers
Over the past decade, Purdue students and graduates have filled approximately 170 positions at Shell, both as interns and full-time employees. Slater says that over the past decade, about 80 Boilermakers have been hired full time by Shell.
“Purdue’s quality of education means students are ready to go as soon as they walk in the door,” Slater says. “Christian’s story is an incredible example of what Shell really wants to do, which is help support individuals who want to work in STEM disciplines.”
In August 2018, White joined Shell full-time as a process engineer in Deer Park, Texas. “There are a lot of cool companies to work for, but not many people have the story I have,” White says. “Shell has been part of my engineering education, from start to finish.”
Before her career at Shell officially began, White participated in a full-circle moment: assisting with this summer’s MITE program.
“Purdue Engineering has really prepared me for the challenges I’ll face as an employee,” she says. “This was an amazing opportunity to give back and tell my story to students who are about to embark on their journeys.”
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Investments in Infrastructure
Expansions and improvements to teaching and learning spaces, laboratories, offices
Elevating Student Experience
Scholarships, student opportunities, diversity programs, student clubs
Dedicated to the Cause
Fundraising, event hosting, activity planning, advisory boards, networking with alumni
Laboratory infrastructure and equipment, project startup funds, graduate student support
Administrative funds, student travel and networking, unexpected opportunities
Rewarding, retaining, recruiting faculty and promoting diversity in engineering