PNC Offers GRE Prep Program

The Purdue University North Central Office of Graduate and Extended Learning, in partnership with the PNC Mathematics/Statistics/Physics Department and Department of English and Modern Languages, will offer a preparation program for the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), a standardized test that is an admissions requirement for most graduate schools in the United States.

Classes will meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from May 5 through June 5 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at PNC – Porter County, 600 Vale Park Road, Valparaiso.

The course will be taught by Jerry DeGroot, a continuing lecturer of mathematics at PNC for 12 years who has more than 20 years’ experience as a middle and high school mathematics teacher and Dr. Paul Hecht, PNC associate professor of English, who has been with PNC since 2006 and whose training in classical and modern languages enables him to help students with vocabulary and reading skills.

The math portion of the course will include four main areas of concentration: arithmetic and number properties, real world math, geometry and selected math topics that are frequently found on the GRE.

The English portion will help students with vocabulary and reading skills needed for the exam. Students will learn all material through lecture and extensive use of practice problems and practice examinations. Practice exams will look and feel similar to the actual GRE, so that students familiarize themselves with test and question formatting, the pace at which they will need to answer questions and the techniques that they will need to use to earn higher scores on the exam.

The program cost is $399 and includes a textbook and all other materials. There are discounted rates for Purdue University Calumet and PNC alumni, employees and students. The registration deadline is May 4, by 4 p.m.

For more information, to register, or to receive information on other programs and courses, call the Office of Graduate and Extended Learning at (219) 785-5343, or visit

Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Cassandra Boehlke, coordinator of Graduate and Extended Learning, at (219) 785-5748.

PNC Conversational ASL Class for Beginners

The Purdue University North Central Office of Graduate and Extended Learning and Department of English and Modern Languages are partnering to offer a non-credit program in basic American Sign Language (ASL) that can be used in everyday conversation.

“Survival ASL for New Beginners,” will meet on Thursdays from May 14 through June 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. at PNC – Porter County, 600 Vale Park Road, Valparaiso. Registration is $169 and includes a workbook and all other materials. Special discounted rates are available for PNC and PUC students, alumni and employees. The deadline to register is April 30 by 4 p.m. Seating is limited.

Participants will learn to communicate in ASL for basic conversation related to routines, family, the workplace, receiving and asking for directions, making requests and describing others. The class will be taught using a combination of interactive lectures, workbook activities and hands-on practice with signing ASL to other students and the instructor.

Jason Maloney, PNC limited term lecturer in American Sign Language, will teach the class with Karen Donah, PNC continuing lecturer and coordinator of the PNC American Sign Language program.

To register or obtain further information about this program, visit or contact Cassandra Boehlke, coordinator of Graduate and Extended Learning, at (219) 785-5200, ext. 5748, or Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact (219) 785-5748.

Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central conducting survey to select a new nickname

One of the many processes underway as Purdue University Calumet in Hammond and Purdue University North Central in Westville unify into Purdue University Northwest (PNW) is the selection of a nickname by which the new university and its athletic teams will be known.

The campuses invite members of the community to participate in a survey to help select the new nickname. The survey is now available at It will be open until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14.

Pending approval by the Higher Learning Commission, Purdue University Northwest is expected to be the fifth largest public university in the state of Indiana. The survey provides alumni and the community at large an opportunity to participate in this historic event and to support the university’s students and teams.

A nickname is the name by which the athletic teams and the university are known.

It invokes pride. It is not necessarily the character or mascot that appears at athletic and university events. A mascot will be developed at a later time.

More information about the unification of Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central, and the nickname development process, can be found at

PNC Student Honored as a Newman Civic Fellow

Victoria Deman

Victoria DeMan

Purdue University North Central student Victoria DeMan has been selected as a 2014 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. The Newman Civic Fellows Awards honors student leaders committed to creating lasting change in communities throughout the country.

DeMan, of Valparaiso, is an Early Childhood Education major who has immersed herself in activities that will help young children succeed. She is a member of the PNC Teachers Networking Together student organization and has served as the service-learning mentor to students in the Early Childhood Education program where she has helped lead and implement several service-learning and civic leadership projects.

She has presented at two state-wide conferences showcasing these projects. She has earned local and statewide funding to support her efforts.

DeMan has been involved with the Library Sprouts literacy program for young children, she has helped implement two Countdown to a Healthy Start programs helping families prepare children to enter kindergarten and she helped to plan and served as a volunteer at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration educational events for children.

“Through each experience my passion about being involved with my community grows,” she said. “With each project I know I am helping the community around me become stronger and I, in return, have learned a lot about myself and the world around me. Each skill I have learned along my journey I have been able to use in my everyday life.”

DeMan was nominated for the award by PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin. “Her optimistic, proactive approach enhances her advocacy to help ensure that all children have the support necessary to succeed,” he said. “Through her dedication, she inspires her peers to make a commitment to service and she believes that being active in her community and on-campus makes her a better person; and her activities have helped her to be an engaged and supportive campus-community member.

Students from colleges and universities shared the distinction of being named Newman Civic Fellows. “These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can, and does, play in building a better world,” said Richard Guarasci, president of Wagner College of New York, the Campus Compact board chair.

“Dr. Frank Newman, a founder of Campus Compact, had a tremendous impact on American education and its role in the development of citizens who are eager and prepared to make a difference,” explained Andrew J. Seligsohn, Campus Compact president. “He dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform and this new group of Newman Civic Fellows would have inspired him. They are reflections and affirmations of his life’s work.”

The Newman Civic Fellows Awards are made possible through the generous support of the KPMG Foundation.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of almost 1,200 college and university presidents representing some 6 million students who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education, to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. For more information about the organization and the award, visit

A full list of the 2015 Newman Civic Fellows can be found at

PNC Students Design LaPorte County Circuit Court Website

A group of Purdue University North Central students recently completed an assignment that took them out of the classroom and brought them face-to-face with a client who asked them to take on a project that would utilize their current knowledge while they developed skills and abilities they will use well beyond their graduation and in to the working world.

This opportunity was presented to students enrolled in the Systems Analysis and Design Methods class taught by Dr. Carin Chuang, PNC associate professor of Computer & Information Technology. Chuang asked her students to take on a service-learning project to develop a web site for the LaPorte County Circuit Court.

In past semesters Chuang’s classes created web sites for other LaPorte County courts. She finds this to be a tremendous learning experience for students as they hone their computer skills as well as their “soft” skills of team building, communication, working in groups and time management.

To start the project, the students, all Computer & Information Technology majors, met with their clients, Circuit Court Judge Thomas Alevizos and Director of Juvenile Court Services Chip Cotman, a PNC alumnus. This meeting to discuss the scope of the project would be the same type of meeting the students will hold with clients in their professional careers.

During this conversation, the students learned that their clients wanted the web site to include court schedules, directories, contact information and to have an area where information can be uploaded for an annual symposium. The site needed to tie in to existing templates, be simple to update and easily navigated.

“This project helped me realize how client relationships work in the real world,” said student Brad Piper.

Once the students and clients agreed on a deadline date, the students put together a baseline project plan. They divided responsibilities and got to work.

These students are tech-savvy, but working with a group was a new experience for them.

“I cannot stress it enough, but the teamwork was something huge for me. This was the first time I worked in a group for a technical project,” said Sara Medich. “I learned how to work with three very different people with very different personalities. I learned that communication is never easy in a group.”

She found that she enjoyed interacting with her clients. “I learned how to work with a client, a skill that everyone should know. I even learned from watching Chip Cotman interact with Judge Alevizos. My soft skills were improved with this project.”

The students also learned how to adapt when things didn’t go quite as they planned.

“What I found most valuable was all of the setbacks we encountered,” admitted Piper. “Nothing works out perfectly in life. One has to roll with the punches to succeed. I think this project was more valuable to me not because it was perfect but because it was imperfect.”

In the end they saw how what they learned in their PNC classrooms is applied on the job.

“This project was a key to my understanding how a job will work after I graduate,” said Zach Siebert. “In a classroom, you learn all the practical knowledge that you can, but you do not have the experience of working with real clients. This project was invaluable in that regard. No other class gave me this type of experience.”

Tristan Bell explained that he was able to apply the skills and knowledge gained in this experience to every aspect of his life, “What I learned had an almost immediate real-world value. These projects and classes gave me an experience that can’t be taught from a textbook. This class, along with a previous service learning experience, gave me experience communicating with clients, working with teams and presenting projects in front of groups. This helped me retain more information because I can see exactly how it can be used.”

In the end, the students were pleased with their final product.

“This web site is going to be used by many people. It is an impressive display of what each of us can do if given the opportunity,” said Siebert

PNC College of Science Open House for Prospective Students

Chemistry Lab

PNC student Diane Rich in PNC’s chemistry lab.

Prospective students who have been admitted to Purdue University North Central and plan to major in Biology, Nursing or Health Studies during the upcoming fall semester and high school seniors who have taken a PNC concurrent enrollment class in biology or chemistry, are invited to learn more about the many opportunities that PNC has to offer at a College of Science Open House on Tuesday, April 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Library Student Faculty (LSF) Building, Room 144.

The prospective students are asked to bring their parents and together they will get a first-hand look at the PNC College of Science, its exciting academic programs and the career options that are open to students who earn these popular and marketable degrees.

The PNC College of Science areas of study include Biology/Chemistry, Mathematics/Statistics/Physics, Nursing and Health Studies. Its graduates have pursued productive, satisfying careers. Many have continued their studies in pharmacy, medical, dental, veterinary and graduate schools located throughout the country.

The reception will give prospective students and parents the opportunity to meet with PNC faculty and department chairs to learn more about the academic programs, curriculum and careers.

There will be tours so the prospective students will get a close-up look at the chemistry lab, training rooms, Nursing lab and the Nursing “Sim” lab where students have a variety of hands-on skills lab opportunities utilizing mannequins and models.

Prospective students and their parents are encouraged to bring their questions.

The athletic training offices and work area will be open so that students can learn more about careers in athletics and physical therapy.

In addition, there will be informational displays set up for prospective students and their parents so that they can meet representatives from PNC Admissions,  Athletics, Financial Aid, Graduate and Extended Learning, Honors Program, Modern Languages, Police Department and RAD, Student Success Center, Student Support Services and Supplemental Instruction.

Representatives of many campus student clubs will be available to discuss the opportunities their clubs present. They include: Astronomy Club, Circle K, Delta Sigma (science club), Math Club, Physics Club,  Pre-Vet Club, STAND (Nursing) and Tri-Beta (biology honor society). Getting involved early in clubs is encouraged not only for increasing learning opportunities and networking, but also for helping meet lifelong friends.

Every student who completes the event will receive a PNC College of Science lab coat and safety glasses to keep. There will be a “bedazzle” station so that students can decorate their glasses.

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged and can be completed at:

PNC Honors Program Hosts Research Expo

The Purdue University North Central Honors Program is hosting a Research Expo to celebrate and showcase student and faculty research on Wednesday, April 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in Library-Student-Faculty Building, Room 144. The event is free and open to the public.

Students, faculty, staff and the community are invited to stop by the expo to browse displays of books, articles, posters, websites, multimedia projects and more.

“We want to show the community the quality and diversity of research projects pursued by PNC students and faculty,” said Ashley Pezan, president of the PNC Honors Program and a graduating senior. “We hope the Research Expo will spur ideas for future collaborations and new research directions.”

All PNC students and faculty are invited to display their recent research in any form. To participate, registration must be completed at by April 15.

Further info information about the Research Expo or the PNC Honors Program can be obtained by emailing

PNC Offers OSHA Training Courses

The Purdue University North Central Center for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) will offer an OSHA 511: Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry course from April 27 through April 30 at PNC- Porter County, 600 Vale Park Road, Valparaiso.

These courses, which are open to all qualified individuals, will be taught by three qualified instructors who bring more than 86 years of OSHA experience to the classroom.

The class will meet from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on April 27, 28, and 29 and from 8 a.m. until noon on April 30. The cost of the course is $800 per person and includes all books and materials, and lunch on April 27, 28, and 29.

This course has no prerequisites. The registration deadline is Wednesday, April 10.

Instruction will include an overview of OSHA policies, procedures and standards as well as general industry safety and health principles. Using OSHA standards as a guide, topics include scope and application of the OSHA general industry standards with special emphasis placed on the most hazardous areas. Participants will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the course.

For further information about this program or to register, contact the Purdue University North Central Office of Graduate and Extended Learning (GEL) at (219) 785-5343 or Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Cassandra Boehlke, Coordinator of Graduate and Extended Learning, at (219) 785-5748.

PNC Receives Poster Commemorating Sandra Kowalski

Photo of nursing students with Kowalski poster

PNC nursing students MaCahlia Reyes and Trey Padlo with Stanley Kowalksi

The Purdue University North Central Department of Nursing recently received a gift from long-time benefactor Stanley Kowalski that will serve to inspire nursing students as it honors a pioneer in local community health care.

Kowalski presented an original painting by Neil Kienitz in the style of the South Shore Line posters to the PNC Nursing Department that depicts his late wife Professor of Nursing Sandra Calkins Kowalski, Ph.D., and bears the notation, “Community Nursing – A PNC Legacy.”

The image of Sandra Calkins Kowalski was derived from a photo of her that was taken when she was a young nurse working with the Visiting Nurse Association of LaPorte County. The poster shows her tenderly caring for an elderly man and exemplifies the caring relationship and trust that takes places between a nursing professional and patient.

Stanley Kowalski visited the PNC Nursing lab to present his gift in front of a group of students in a Foundation of Nursing Practice class. He took time to visit with each student, talking to them about his wife, her dedication to her profession, how she was part of the PNC Nursing program and her role in helping to establish and grow the practice of community nursing in the area.

Looking at the poster, he noted that the artist accurately captured his wife’s physical appearance and pointed out that her compassion and concern for her patient was obvious.

“She dedicated her life to her profession and her community,” he said. “She would be so proud of all of you and what you are doing to carry on her legacy of nursing.”

PNC student Trey Padlo said that he was moved by Kowalski’s recollections of his wife’s accomplishments and her commitment to nursing and educating future nurses. “It’s impressive to see how she impacted our curriculum today,” he said. “This is a great start for us as we look to the future.”

Student MaCahlia Reyes was happy that Kowalski took time to visit with the Nursing students. “He has an amazing passion for his wife’s work. We’re happy that he shared that to us at PNC.”

Kowalski presented each student in the Foundation of Nursing Practice class with a postcard-sized depiction of the poster he presented to PNC.

Posters made from the original painting will be displayed among the collection of similar works at The Framing Station in Michigan City and will be available for purchase. Proceeds will go to the Sandra Calkins Kowalski Community Nursing Fund to benefit PNC nursing students.

There will be a poster signing event at the Framing Station on April 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. as part of the Michigan City First Friday event.

Sandra Kowalski was born in Pennsylvania and earned her RN in 1960 from the University of Buffalo Edward J. Meyer Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. On Jan. 30, 1960 she married Stanley Kowalski, her high school sweetheart.

After the couple settled in LaPorte County, she dedicated her career to community health. She was the second nurse hired by the Visiting Nurses Association of LaPorte County and she worked to launch Michigan City’s Open Door Health Center.

Always continuing her education, she earned a degree from Purdue University Calumet in 1973 and a master’s degree in nursing from St. Xavier University in Chicago in 1977. She earned her Ph.D. in medical sociology from the University of Notre Dame in 1989.

In 1973, she was hired in as one of the first PNC Nursing faculty members. While still teaching at PNC, she pursued her master’s degree, traveling to Chicago for class. Much of her master’s lab experience was completed at the Mile Square Clinic located at the Cabrini Green and Robert Taylor housing communities. Sandy taught at Valparaiso University for 23 years.

As an educator, she created a number of community nursing courses and involved them in countless community nursing experiences.

Dr. Diane Spoljoric, chair of the PNC Department of Nursing and associate professor of Nursing, said that Sandra Kowalski was one of her professors when she was a nursing student. “I know that community nursing was a passion of hers. She was a remarkable person. I remember one of her catch phrases was ‘it’ll be o.k.’ She left an impression on all of us. This painting will remind us of why we do the work we do.”

Kowalski’s heart always remained with community nursing. She served on the boards of the Visiting Nurses Association, Concerned Citizens for the Homeless, Minority Health Coalition and the Stepping Stone Shelter for Abused Women in Michigan City. She was a member of the Porter County Task Force on HIV/AIDS. She was a key to the development of the Pastoral Care Council of Notre Dame Church in Long Beach.

Her career was honored with the 1992 JC Penney Golden Rule Award in partnership with the United Way; the 1999 Exchange Club of Michigan City’s Book of Golden Deeds Award and was recognized by Valparaiso University, Notre Dame University Alumni and the state of Indiana for her community service and contribution to learning.

While still in her 50s, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. To honor her life’s work, the Sandra Calkins Kowalski Community Nursing Fund was started in 2003 to provide support to PNC students who are pursuing an undergraduate nursing degree with emphasis on community nursing or public health. She passed away in May 2012 at the age of 72.

About a decade ago, Stanley Kowalski established The Sandra Calkins Kowalski Community Nursing Fund with the Unity Foundation of LaPorte County that is awarded to PNC students pursuing an undergraduate degree in Nursing.

“Perhaps Sandy’s ultimate contribution will be to inspire future health care professionals,” said Judy Jacobi, PNC assistant vice chancellor of Marketing and Campus Relations, a long-time friend of Sandra and Stanley Kowalski. “She was the ultimate nurse.”

PNC Delta Sigma Club Science Fair Results

Science Fair Winners

Left to right: Mackenzie Major, Kaleigh Ciesielski, Hannah Rigg

Students in grades 3 through 8 recently gathered at Purdue University North Central to participate in the PNC Delta Sigma science club science fair.

The Science Fair was intended to encourage scientific creativity, to engage young students in enlightening projects and to give them an opportunity to interact with students of similar interests to one another and with faculty from the PNC College of Science.

Many of the PNC students who are Delta Sigma members believe that participating in science fairs was instrumental in fostering an interest in science and ultimately choosing to embark on a path to a science degree.

The Science Fair results are:

Third and fourth grade winners: Lilith Rengstorf, Northview Elementary, Valparaiso; Violet Lukich, Eads Elementary, Munster;  Hannah Rigg, Kaleigh Ciesielski, & Mackenzie Major, Central Elementary, Valparaiso.

Fifth & sixth grade winners: Aidan Kraemer, Westville Elementary, Westville; Mason Kraemer, Westville Elementary, Westville; Hailey Rigg, Ben Franklin Middle School, Valparaiso.

Seventh & eighth grade winners: Mya Methner and classmates from the Renaissance Academy, La Porte.

The event sponsors were: PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin; PNC Department of Biology/Chemistry; PNC Department of Physics/Math/Statistics; PNC College of Science;; Barnes and Noble; Albanese Candy; Sweet Lou, That’s Who, PNC Campus Shop and Horizon Gymnastics and Cheer.