A Summer for the Books

Hello, my name is Rachael Wetli and this summer has been one for the books. I worked as a Pool Manager at the Moses Fowler Pool, in my home town. I have learned so much on how to communicate with employees, and skills that I will be able to use for the rest of my life. Working my way up the ladder from lifeguard to assistant to manager is a great step that I have truly enjoyed. It has been such a rewarding opportunity for me.

One bittersweet moment this summer was when I had to pass on my crown to the next Miss Benton County. I said my farewell speech and made it through with just a few tears escaping from my eyes. I loved every moment of being 2013 Miss Benton County and representing my little county at the Indiana State Fair last summer, but it was time to pass the title over and give another young lady the memories of a lifetime.

To top off my summer, in the end of June, my little brother and I started to mark off things on our bucket list we made a few years ago. We decided to go skydiving! It was one of best experiences I have ever done and even though my mother was a nervous wreck until she learned we were safely back on solid ground, I can’t wait to go here again soon!

Summer is coming to an end and I am so excited to be back at school, start another year, continue being President for one more semester at Ann Tweedale, and to begin my journey as an HHS Ambassador.

– Rachael Wetli, Junior, Human Services

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Abroad, Abroad, and Away

Study Abroad 1Eleven months and a week, that’s how long I was abroad my sophomore year of college. Study abroad is a concept that I have always thought of, but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would be spending six-months in the south of China and then an additional 5 months in the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. The way this ended up to be is rather a long and complex story, for now let’s just say that everything started by defying, uniting, fighting, defeat and ultimately reassembling. A stressful process indeed, and after living for almost a full year in two continents, I can’t say that there has been a day where I regret the chain of events that led me to embarking in this wild adventure. After all, everything from my first dinner at Hotpot, to the feelings of bewilderment with the European transportation system, and to breaking the language barrier with my coworkers was an experience that in some way or another has helped me grow both personally and professionally.

TStudy Abroad 2wenty-three, that’s how many cities I visited during my abroad sophomore year of college. Twenty three amazing adventures that became cherish memories, from running along the great wall to attending Sunday Easter mass at the Vatican, and from sailing in the crystal-clear Mediterranean Sea to taking pictures with Mickey Mouse in Disney Land Hong-Kong. Each city was a journey on the big voyage that was this past year, and as such they all had a lesson to teach to this somewhat new sailor. I cannot fathom what my life would have been at this moment if I hadn’t explored as much as I did. Studying abroad is an opportunity that I’m truly thankful for, and it is something that I wouldn’t have changed for the world.

– Christian Bencid, Junior, Hospitality and Tourism Management

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Work & Play

I can’t believe the summer is coming to an end. Usually at the end of each summer, I look back and regret that I didn’t do more with my summer. With that in mind, I forced myself to stay busy this summer and it was so much fun! Since I had my apartment, I decided to stay at Purdue for the first half of the summer and work at the local daycare. Since I worked 40 hours a week, I was able to really connect with the children and teachers. During the school year, I worked as much as my schedule allowed but it wasn’t always consistent. Being there all summer allowed me to really know each of the kids personally. It was so fun to see the kids grow in just two months and witness their “firsts” like learning how to ride a bike or count to 100 and even become potty trained (which is actually pretty darn exciting!). They are at the age where they are so curious and excited to learn new things. I typically work with the 2-4 year old kids and they are at the stage where they want an explanation for EVVegas 1ERYTHING! I can’t even count the number of “why” questions I got asked. :)  I’m always surprised by how smart they are. I was working with a group of four year olds and I wrote the letter “d” on a piece of paper and asked what words started with the letter “d.” They began saying typical words like “dog” and “dad” and then they started coming up with words like “dehydrated” and “deconstruction.” I mean I don’t know about you, but I barely even knew my letters at age four! Maybe I am just having a proud “mom” moment. ; ) I’m sad to not be with my little kiddos anymore but it makes me so excited to go back in the fall and continue working.

Around mid-July I came back home to South Bend to celebrate mine and my mom’s birthday. Our birthdays are only three days apart so we usually celebrate our birthdays together which is always so much fun. For my birthday this year, my sister and I decided to make a trip to Vegas with a couple close friends. I’ve always seen Vegas in movies but I didn’t really know what to expect. Surprisingly, it is just as pretty in person than in the movies! We stayed at the Bellagio so we had an amazing view Vegan 2of the fountain show. I tried testing my luck with gambling but after losing 20 dollars, I got too scared and stopped. Even though gambling didn’t work out, the food there was AMAZING. Growing up, I was obsessed with the Food Network Channel (weird obsession, I know). A lot of the chefs have their own restaurants on the strip so I HAD to try them out. I went to Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant and had one of the best burgers I have ever had in my life. We also went to Guy Fierri’s restaurant and his food fits his personality–so much FLAVOR! I definitely burned a hole in my wallet from all the food, but it was so worth it. All in all, it was such a fun trip and I’m so grateful to have such an amazing sister to plan something like this for me.

I’m really happy with how this summer worked out. With my last two weeks, I am planning on shadowing the same speech pathologist I shadowed last summer and continue studying for the GRE. Even though this summer has been really fun, I am so excited to be back at Purdue and enjoying my LAST semester of college!

BOILER UP!!

– Serina Thottichira, Senior, Speech, Language and Hearing Science

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Summer Vacation

This summer my family went on a little road trip. We traveled from Indiana to Canada to the Niagara Falls, down into Rochester New York to visit our cousins, and then in through Pennsylvania on our way home to do a little bit of hiking. We diVacation 1d this alVacation 3l in four days! It was a lot of driving and a lot of family time packed into a short few days. Im excited to get back onto campus this fall and reunite with my friends who live on opposite sides of the country.

– Kayla L. Sandt, Sophomore, Apparel Design and Technology

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Bigger Isn’t Always Better

After working downtown Indianapolis for a summer, the city has really grown on me. Growing up in a suburb outside of Chicago and having a sister who lives there now, really made me think I wanted to be there after graduation. However, I have come to realize that bigger isn’t nRestaurant 1ecessarily better. I love the fact that in Indianapolis I can get to work in about 20 minutes without having any traffic. If I were to drive in Chicago at 8am for about 20 minutes, I might make it down the street a few blocks. The beauty of Indianapolis stems from the fact that it has a big city feel but it is actually a very manageable city to live in. Nearly every day there is an activity of some sort happening downtown on Monument Circle or somewhere on Meridian Street, yet those areas are not overcrowded with people. It is much more pleasant to be able to enjoy these various activities without having to compete with thouRestaurant 2sands of people for a spot to stand. Simply put, Indianapolis has a lot to offer. As most people already know, we have the Indianapolis Colts, Pacers, Indians, and Eleven. These professional teams already put us above 24 other U.S. states that do not have any major sports teams to offer. One of the perks of having huge sports teams in smaller cities is the potential to see someone famous while you’re out and about. Well, that exact thing happened to me on my Birthday. Although I was only able to capture the back of him, the below picture shows Indianapolis Pacer, Roy Hibbert at Ruth’s Chris steakhouse downtown. I was able find out through twitter that he was also in his private room with two NBA legends, Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

– Nick Warden, Senior, Selling and Sales Management

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My Summer Vacation

UniversalI am new to the whole blogging game but as a new member of the College of Health and Human Sciences, I, Jordan Raver, will make it my duty to create blogs that are fun, lively, and entertaining so that you, the reader, will want to read my blogs. Let me introduce myself. My name is Jordan Raver. I am from Carmel, Indiana, am a Carmel High School Class of 2013 graduate, and I am a Hospitality  and Tourism Management major here at wonderful Purdue University.  I have many hobbies and interests. One of those is traveling and will be the focus of my very first blog.

Being a Hospitality and Tourism Management major, I always love when my mom picks the next destination our family trip will feature. As soon as I find out where we will be traveling, I go online to look at the hotel my mom has booked and the reviews that accompany it. This last trip I especially enjoyed helping to plan with my mom. We went to every child’s dream vacation spot…Orlando, the home of Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and Disney.

Tree 2My family likes to think that we are road warriors. If we are given the option of flying or driving, we will always pick to drive. For example we made the long drive from Carmel, Indiana all the way to Key West, Florida three Christmases ago and boy was that a long drive. So after our two days drive we finally reached our condo in Kissimmee, FL. We ended up staying in Wyndham’s Cypress Palms. Let me take a moment to review. Being in the HTM industry I always like to think back and analyze what made a restaurant or hotel such a great experience for me. As a member of a family of five, this condo was very spacious. Both kids and parents had their own area for the week. The location of the Wyndham property was perfect in terms of travel time to all three of the parks that we visited for the week as well. The property was also set back from the main road and bonus…there were restaurants within walking distance of the condo.

So after settling in we started our week off on a Monday spending three days at Universal BuildingStudios. If given the choice between going to Disney and Universal, I’ll pick Universal every time. To me, I enjoy this amusement park more because it has attractions featuring the Harry Potter series and Marvel. The whole summer I had seen commercials and read up on the new Diagon Alley of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that was going to be opening. At the point in time when we were planning our trip, it was uncertain if it would open in time or not for our trip. We were three weeks too early. ): I could see Kreacher peeking out from a window of Grimmauld Place, the Hogwarts Express making its practice runs from King’s Cross Station to the Hogsmeade Station, the Knight Bus, and employees in uniform practicing taking tickets from the station in Hogsmeade. I was so close to the new attraction but couldn’t experience it. Even though my sisters and I were bummed about Diagon Alley not being open we still got to ride some of our favorite rides like the Hulk, Men in Black, the Amazing Spiderman, the Simpsons Ride, the Mummy, and others. Besides, we now have a reason to go back to Universal Studios to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter once again. You can really spend a whole day just in that part of the park experiencing butter beer, Olivander’s wand shop, the Forbidden Journey ride, and just soaking in all the magic that comes with Harry Potter. Since this was our second time going to Universal Studios, we wanted to experience some new fun things. This time we saw a show on the waterfront featuring 100 Years of Universal and the Blue Man Group. The Blue Man Group show had a really fun, crazy atmosphere. My mom and I enjoyed the show but my dad and sisters not so much.

After we spent our three days in Universal, that Thursday, we headed to Aquatica, SeaWorld’s water park. This is a relatively smaller water park so you can do everything you want in half a day. The one ride I want to talk about that my youngest sister, dad, and I experienced is called Ihu’s Breakaway Falls. This water slide, once you have climbed the many many stairs to get to the top, starts you off in a drop box and drops you straight down. For those not wanting to experience the drop box, you can sit down and push off on your own. I opted to do the slide where you push off. In hindsight, it might have been easier just to do the drop box. As I pushed off my heart was pounding and my breath was taken away from me as my crossed legs flailed and water went rushing by me. At the end of the slide, nearly everyone stood up disoriented as they processed the eighty-foot drop they had just made. Both my mom and soon to be high school senior sister, laughed as they stood at the bottom (they are terrified of heights) watching both my dad and soon to be high school sophomore sister stumble out of the slide and have the same disoriented reaction as everyone else. We left the park happy, a little sunburnt, and ready to relax the rest of the day. Which is exactly what we did spending it at an outlet mall and eating at Planet Hollywood in downtown Disney?

Our final two days were spent in Disney. It just so happened that our last two days it rained. But there were Disney ponchos to purchase. Disney really raked in the money those days. In preparation for the trip, I spent a lot of time planning our time spent in Disney. It had been several years since the last time we had been to Disney. I’m talking matching outfits, autograph books, and character meals long time ago. What makes planning a Disney vacation fun now is that when you purchase your tickets early, you can link three fast passes for attractions to each ticket per day. So it took both some thinking and a lot of organization to figure out what rides everyone would ride to maximize our fast passes and rides that would potentially have long wait times. Let me say, I did a pretty good job at picking those fast passes. But I won’t go into too much detail on that. Our first day in Disney was spent in Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Experiencing Magic Kingdom as a 19-year-old adult was completely different than when I was of an elementary age. Instead of caring about how full I could make my autograph book I was focused on how many rides we could fit in before the park closed. I by no means am saying the Disney magic was gone; we just had so much to do and could only fit everything we wanted to do in two days. Even though Magic Kingdom was not my favorite out of the Disney parks, I will say that experiencing the new Fantasy Land and parade was pretty cool. We got to see Ariel’s Grotto, the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, and Storybrooke Circus. As a child I loved watching the movie Dumbo, so seeing Storybrooke Circus was definitely a highlight of the trip for me. The Seven Dwarves Mine Train was surprisingly not my favorite ride in Disney. All of the hype that was created about this new ride didn’t live up to its expectations for me. I thought the coolest thing about the ride was all of the fun interactive games you could play before you boarded the ride. Later in the day we headed on over to Epcot which thus ended our first day in Disney. Our second day in Disney was much more relaxed. We spent our day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. I have got to say that our last day was by far my favorite. In Hollywood Studios it was a Star Wars Weekend, which was awesome! Characters from the series walked around the park and there were tons of Star Wars themed items to purchase. We even found amazing cupcakes that had Yoda and Darth Vadar on them! I loved getting to experience the new Star Tours ride and Toy Story Midway Mania. The second half of the day was spent in Animal Kingdom. We had purchased tickets for Lion King’s Harambe Nights. This was a celebration for the 20th anniversary of the Lion King. I absolutely loved the show and the night in general. With being a baby that was born in 1994, the Lion King and its 20th anniversary this year coincide with my 20th birthday. Super cool! The show featured favorite scenes from the movie that were narrated and danced to by performers. After the show was finished there was a ton of ethnic cuisine to eat for dinner and of course more special limited edition Lion King Anniversary items.

So there you have it…my Orlando trip wrapped up in a nutshell. I literally could spend hours explaining this trip, but that would take way too long. I hope you enjoyed reading this first post and will continue to follow me throughout my sophomore year at Purdue through these blogs.

– Jordan Raver, Sophomore, Hospitality and Tourism Management

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PALS Camp at Purdue

PALS  pic 1I had an awesome summer. It was the second summer in a row that I have worked with the PALS camp. P-A-L-S stands for Purdue Athletes Life Success. It is an exciting camp that helps keep the local Lafayette and West Lafayette kids, aged 8-14, inspired, active, and healthy over the summer. Different types of activities are incorporated into the program. These activities range from sporting activities like basketball, ‘sharbade’ and soccer to team-building activities like ‘team-time’. Throughout the length of the program (5 weeks), different instructors lead different activity stations. My favorite activities were soccer and sharbade because I got to develop my skills in these sports by learning from people who knew more about them.

PALS pic 3The camp focuses on teaching the kids how to become better members of the society by teaching them ‘character pillars’ such as honesty, respect, and dependability which they can use in their daily lives. Some kids come back to tell how they have been using these pillars at home. To aid with character-building, some staff members act as team leaders to a group of kids while others act as instructors. In this way, both are able to bond with the kids and impact their lives positively. I had the opportunity to be a team leader and an instructor on different occasions during camp.

PALS pic 4The PALS camp has become an important part of my summers because I get to mentor kids and become a big sister to them. The camp not only improves the welfare of the kids participating in the program, but also improves one’s physical and emotional well-being. In addition to this, being surrounded by amazing staff ties the whole experience together. I can say without a doubt, I had an amazing time at camp this summer!

BOILER UP!

– Rita Ifenso-Okpala, Senior, Health Sciences Pre Professional

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Summer Fun!

After a whirlwind sophomore year I was extremely fortunate to spend my summer relaxing at home with friends and family! I got to explore my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA and take in the culture my beautiful city has to offer with various shows, baseball games, and city outlooks! Additionally, this summer I got to nanny 3 amazing boys and spend my summer days playing soccer, doing science experiments, looking for bugs (my boys would definitely love the Purdue bug bowl in April, they love to learn new things!) However my favorite part of the summer was definitely getting to perform in the Indianapolis 500 Parade and festival in May.

I am a meMarchingmber of the Purdue Golduster Dance Team and we perform year-round with the Purdue All-American Marching Band, or the AAMB as we are affectionately known! The AAMB has been performing at the Indy 500 since 1919 and it is a tradition very near and dear to our hearts. This year was my first year performing as well as experiencing an Indy 500 race and I have to say it was an amazing experience!! Not only was it incredibly cool to march on the track and perform by the winner’s circle, but it was also amazing to see aMotor Speedway 2nd interact with all of the Purdue alumni Motor Speedwayin the area. There is no better feeling than marching through downtown Indianapolis and hearing “Boiler Up!” from every direction! The tradition and school pride of Purdue is definitely one of my favorite parts of being a boilermaker.

Although I’m sad to see the summer end, words cannot describe how excited I am to start my junior year! I can’t wait to start classes and of course can’t wait to cheer on our Boilers every Saturday this fall!

Hail Purdue!

– Rachel Baur, Junior, Human Services

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Orange Diversity

Diversity in the work-place is becoming increasingly important and remains extremely valuable. Many companies strive to develop a diverse culture of people to better position themselves in today’s global market. ExactTarget is taking that one step further. As I looked around my “Slingshot” internship group I was not surprised to meet students from Jamaica, China, and Ecuador. Furthermore, upon arriving to the team I will be working with this summer, I was greeted by Carlos Aguilera. Carlos is originally from Bolivia but earned his degree from the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI. I found it very intriguing that so many people were from completely different cultural backgrounds, yet they still fit ExactTarget’s “orange” mold.

If you are reading this and you are unfamiliar with the term “orange,” it identifies the culture of ExactTarget as a company. So what is “orange?” Well, the definition of “orange” changes from person to person. Again, because we are so diverse. However, to put a general definition of it in my own words, “orange” is putting others before yourself and being respectful.

Simply put, it is very powerful to see a company define their culture and put a brand on it. In doing so, people from all different walks of life can join together to create something unique and inspiring. It doesn’t matter what your native language is, what color your skin is, or what your sexual preference is. The million dollar questions is, are you a good person? What matters the most in developing a diverse culture is getting people with a similar mind set. Problems are easily mitigated when people have common morals and values.

Now, the billion dollar question. How does ExactTarget hire the best and the brightest and still maintain their “orange” culture and diversity? Well, that my friend, is a secret.

– Nick Warden, Senior, Selling and Sales Management

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Fun at the Fair!

TFair 3his summer has been a whirlwind of surprises for me! My county fair was June 23rd-27th and I am honored to be reigning as the Miss Miami County and Miss Congeniality 2014! After the pageant on Monday night, I was spotted by several of my family friends adorning my crown and sash, the crown was lopsided may I add, and eating a jumbo corn dog in the most polite way I knew to be possible, whFair 4ich was not dainty at all! Other than eating all the fair food I could manage, I still had many responsibilities throughout the week. I participated in activities such as the greased watermelon contest, the hog mud wrestling contest, rode in the demolition derby, emceed the 4-H ten year ceremony and the Little Miss and Little Mister, and many other fun activities, but above all the most important to me was passing out ribbons at each of the livestock judging. The 4-Hers hard work, dedication, and relief showed on their face every time I got the chance to hand out that trophy or ribbon and it was so unbelievably rewardingFair 2! Now that the fair is Fair 1over, I have still been in a couple of parades and made appearances around the county. I am currently preparing for the 2015 Miss Indiana State Fair Pageant which will be in January, so I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers! As August 25th is drawing closer I am finding myself to be so excited to return to Purdue! I can’t wait for the first day of classes, bring it on semester of 2014! Boiler up!

– Stacia Braden, Sophomore, Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

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