Message from the Director

Dear Boilermaker Family,

As the Director of the Office of Professional Practice (OPP) it is with great pride that I share the latest accomplishments that our office achieved in the academic year 2021-2022.  Thanks to our staff members’ tireless efforts the OPP office has hit record growth in its offered programs, student enrollment and employer engagement.

At Purdue, we believe “OPP stands for Opportunity.” The mission of the OPP office is to enable students to reach their full potential by providing work-integrated learning opportunities in experiential education, professional practice and technical skill training. In the Spring of 2022 we engaged 8,500+ students through co-op fairs, program information sessions, professional practice courses, workshops and more. We commensurate the achievements of approximately 1,636 students and celebrate 750+ active co-op students accomplishments with our 250+ active corporate partners. Our Global Engineering Alliance for Research & Education (GEARE) program sent 60 students abroad in 13 countries around the globe.  We also funded 18 student summer internships in 10 Indiana startups, to help boost economic growth and workforce development in our home state through our Interns for Indiana program. Our MILESTONES program provided 185 students with hands-on learning opportunities and a micro-certificate on engineering and prototyping skills.

Our team’s creative mindset enabled us to provide students with more flexible co-op programs and opportunities. Three major achievements I am proud to highlight are summarized below:

  • Launched a novel Co-op program, Learning While Working (LWW), which empowers students to gain 12 months of continuous work experience (also earning a competitive salary) while making substantial academic progress to avoid graduation delays. Compared to traditional programs, LWW offers more flexibility with a holistic learning experience. It is particularly beneficial to those from low-income families and underrepresented groups. Within the past five months, we have built strong corporate partnerships and a clear pathway to equip hundreds of students with work experiences.
  • Developed a streamlined and centralized co-op experience course, which will collect rich data on student work experiences including goal setting, reflection, resources, work experience and employer feedback. This is being accomplished through a collaboration between OPP and Engineering Education, Institutional Data, the office of Experiential Learning and 40 Co-op coordinators across eight colleges on Purdue West Lafayette Campus.
  • Our agile programs emerge stronger than pre-pandemic. Thanks to the creative thinking and execution of our team, we have achieved nearly 15% of growth in student enrollment during the last year. Our global program, GEARE, has provided students with international studies and work opportunities since the beginning of 2022. ENGR 103 professional skills courses, industry knowledge courses and MILESTONES technical skills programs continue to enrich our student’s engagement and experiences with an exciting trajectory for more rapid growth in 2023.

We believe this is only the beginning of our continuous innovation and new developments in experiential learning and professional practice education. We look forward to providing more exciting opportunities to enable the next generation of Boilermakers to become industry and academic leaders, while contributing to the Pinnacle of Excellence at Scale at Purdue University and Beyond!

Boiler Up!

Luna Lu
Director, Office of Professional Practice
Founding Director, Center for Intelligent Infrastructure
ACPA Professor, Lyles School of Civil Engineering