About VIP

The VIP Model

In VIP, teams of undergraduate students from various years, disciplines and backgrounds work with faculty and graduate students on their efforts in scholarship and exploration. The teams are: interdisciplinary – drawing students from the disciplines needed by each project; vertically-integrated – maintaining a mix of undergraduate students from different cohorts; large-scale – often with 10 to 20+ undergraduates per team; and long-term – undergraduates can earn academic credit in VIP for up to four years, and the projects last for many years, even decades.

The VIP Consortium

Initiated at Purdue in 2001 by Edward Coyle, Jan Allbach and James Krogmeier, the VIP model has already been adopted at more than 40 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. This includes institutions of varying sizes, settings, and missions: research-focused and teaching-focused, large and small, public and private, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and Hispanic serving institutions. There are more than 4,500 students enrolled in VIP per term across the globe. This expansion is due largely to the VIP Consortium, established in 2014, formalized as a non-profit in 2019, and now encompassing more than 40 institutions.

VIP at Purdue

At Purdue, VIP became a formal program in the College of Engineering in 2019 through the efforts of the Dr. Jan Allebach, Dr. Yung-Hsiang Lu, and Dr. Carla Zoltowski. Dr. Zoltowski was named the inaugural director. Since Fall 2019, student enrollment has grown by nearly 300%. The program has permanent VIP course numbers and is an option for ECE Capstone Design and the Entrepreneurship Certificate program. During the 2019-2020 academic year, VIP expanded to include first-year students through pilots of the First-Year Engineering and Data Science-focused VIP Learning Communities. 

VIP Leadership Team

(L to R) Dr. Carla Zoltowski, Dr. Jan Allebach, Dr. Yung-Hsiang Lu


VIP Purdue Leadership Team:

  • Dr. Carla Zoltowski (cbz@purdue.edu)
    • Associate Professor of Engineering Practice, Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
    • Director, VIP
  • Dr. Nichole Ramirez (nramire@purdue.edu)
    • Assistant Director, VIP
  • Cyndi Lynch (clynch@purdue.edu)
    • Senior Program Manager, VIP
  • Rick Womack (rwomack@purdue.edu)
    • Lab Manager, VIP and Honors
  • Dr. Curtis Marshall - joining Spring 2024
    • Lecturer, VIP/EPICS



Dr. Nichole Ramirez 


Cyndi Lynch 

Rick Womack