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ABE Graduate Student Association

Professional Development Programs and Activities

The Agricultural and Biological Engineering Graduate Student Association (ABE-GSA) is dedicated to providing our graduate students with opportunities to grow personally and professionally.  An integral objective is to create and foster experiences relevant to developing and refining skills pertinent in the future careers of graduate students.  Given that many of these skills may necessitate knowledge acquired outside of the classroom and lab, we work to encourage and facilitate professional growth in our graduate students. The goals of the professional development committee are to 1) encourage leadership, mentorship, and general collaboration among students in planning, organizing, and executing the events, 2) promoting networking and career opportunities with a diverse group of professionals, 3) allow direct feedback in improving oral communication skills, and 4) enhancing graduate student understanding of professional responsibility and expectations. 

In this regard, the professional development committee works to achieve these goals through seminars featuring distinguished alumni and Purdue faculty alike.  Currently the professional development committee is planning an inaugural ABE graduate student symposium which will partner with industry to provide students an opportunity to present their research while interacting with a diverse group of industry representatives for networking and career opportunity purposes.


  1. Professional Development Seminars

    The association will sponsor different seminars tailored to fit the interests of ABE students and to address professional and technical issues related to the agricultural and biological engineering discipline. An example includes a seminar on proposal writing and opportunities available to the ABE field including specific sources of funding like government grants (NSF, Homeland Security, EPA, DOE, USDA, etc.). Other ideas include seminars on entrepreneurship and consulting for agricultural and biological engineers as well as poster and website design.

  2. Presentation Practice Call

    Many graduate students at ABE would like to improve their presentation skills. The ABE Graduate Student Association will provide opportunities for students to practice their presentations in front of their colleagues before going to major conferences. Experienced graduate students will provide their colleagues with tips and advice that help improve their presentation skills. It is proposed that this activity be held two or three different times during the year, about a week before the date of a major conference like the American Society Agricultural and Biological Engineering Annual Meeting.

  3. E-message board within the department

    One of the most successful activities planned by the leadership team last year was a picnic. The organization would like to make this an annual event. The event will include a meal as well as planned outdoor activities such as volleyball and soccer. Families are also encouraged to attend.

  4. ABE Graduate Student Poster Session

    At the end of the academic year, graduate students will have the opportunity to present their research at a departmental poster session. An invited panel of professionals will judge the posters. This activity has many different advantages: (1) promote academic excellence within the department; (2) provide graduate students with a new networking opportunity; (3) allow graduate students to gather feedback on their work and interact with different professional backgrounds; and (4) provide graduate students with a new opportunity to improve their presentation skills.

  5. Industry Tours

    Various industries, such as Caterpillar and Tate and Lyle, of specific interest to ABE students are located in Indiana. Visits to those industries will introduce graduate students to the new developments and technologies used in their fields as well as create a networking environment that may lead to career opportunities. This activity is proposed to take place in coordination with companies of common interest to ABE graduate students.

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