Message from the Director

Dear Boilermakers,

It’s been a few short weeks in my new role as Director of the Purdue Office of Professional Practice (OPP) at Purdue University, and I’m even more excited than on day one. The OPP staff and students shepherd an impressive, diversified set of innovative, flexible programs for learning through co-ops and internships, professional development, and technical skills training. Opportunities ranging from startups right here in Indiana, to international learning experiences, make this office a jewel in the Purdue crown. Our awesome team is launching new initiatives to prepare our students uniquely to be leaders in the semiconductor and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries. I look forward to making my own contributions to equipping Boilermakers with the professional skills that they need for success.

It's rewarding to highlight the great accomplishments of this team during the 2022-2023 year. We continue to pursue and achieve record growth in offered programs, student enrollment and employer engagement. This report highlights many achievements that happened over the year, and we invite you to celebrate experiential education on our campus.

As my predecessor, Professor Luna Lu states, “At Purdue, we believe OPP stands for opportunities.” The mission of the OPP office is to facilitate the experiential education and work-integrated learning for Purdue students. Throughout the school year, we engaged with over 15,726 students through co-op fairs, employer information sessions, professional practice courses, workshops, etc. Thank you to our 360+ employer partners for providing these excellent work-integrated learning experiences.

We celebrate 2,500+ academic co-op and internship work sessions this year, with 882 active co-op students and 75 students in our Global Engineering Alliance for Research & Education (GEARE) program who are studying and working abroad in 19 countries around the world.  We also funded 25 student summer internships for Indiana startups and early-stage companies, to help boost economic growth and workforce development in our home state. Our Milestones Technical Skills courses awarded 743 students with hands-on learning opportunities and a micro-certificate/digital badge in engineering and prototyping skills.

OPP’s history of excellent leadership is evident in the dynamic growth that has occurred and continues today. I am blessed to join a team that is already firing on all cylinders. I, therefore, tip my hat to past Directors I’ve known personally during my time at Purdue: Luna LuEric Nauman, and Eckhard A. Groll. It’s my great pleasure to collaborate with our professional staff and highly skilled undergraduate and graduate students.

We are soon to bring in new faces with new talents and ideas to benefit the Purdue Family. We will continue in pursuit of our next giant leap with preparing the future workforce of Boilermakers. Experiential Education is a pivotal piece of student success and we are happy to be on the forefront of this effort. OPP is a star player in Purdue achieving excellence at scale!

Boiler Up!

Dr. Phillip S. Dunston is a professor of Construction Engineering, holding joint appointments in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering and in the Division of Construction Engineering and Management at Purdue.