Area Youth Participate in STEAM Summer Camp @ PNC, 2015

eric edson and students

Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City K-1st grade group leader Eric Edson in the front assisting Marshaun Thompson with measuring as he works on a project during the “Art and Math” STEAM Camp activities. Working in the far background is second grade leader Samantha Fanson and with Josh Silakowski and Glen Richards. Seated at the middle table is Walter Mayhams and standing is Octovio Perez.

Purdue University North Central is hosting a six-week STEAM Summer Camp @ PNC, 2015 for area young people at its Westville campus. The camp is in progress and will run through July 24. It emphasizes activities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) disciplines and introduces students to the university campus as they take part in age-appropriate learning with PNC faculty, staff and local professionals as their instructors.

The young people, ages six to 12, are enrolled in one of the La Porte County Coalition of Youth Serving Agencies (YSA) of Michigan City including Imagination Station, Barker Woods, Boys and Girls Club, Michigan City Parks and Recreation, Safe Harbor and North Central Community Action Agencies (NCCAA). The camp sponsors are the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant and NIPSCO.

Indoor and outdoor activities keep these youth mentally and physically engaged for their time on campus with about 40 students coming to camp each day and up to 200 children spending one morning a week at PNC for six weeks. During the remaining hours, they will participate in activities offered by their youth programs.

The camp learning activities include:

“The Concept of Matter” led by Debra Pratt, PNC continuing lecturer of education. Campers will learn about the properties of objects. All objects have properties of color, size and shape and can be identified by their properties. Using different types of balls, students will be asked to describe, record and measure the different physical properties of balls to determine their differences and similarities. Students will learn how these observations can be applied and used every day.

“Art and Math” with noted artist Michelle Wiser, who will explain how mathematical ideas influence art through a hands-on learning experience. Students will make a tessellation, or tiling. Tessellations are created using the shape of an equilateral triangle, square or regular hexagon, over and over again to cover a space without any gaps or overlaps. Making tessellations combines the creativity of art with the challenge of solving a puzzle. Campers will make cat head tessellations.

“Pollination and Pollinators” presented by the Potawatomi Audubon Society. The program will teach students about the plant pollination process. They will become familiar with different kinds of pollinators: native bees, non-native honeybees, beetles, flies, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and bats. They will learn that about 75 percent of flowering plants rely on animals for pollination. The students will learn that a variety of native plants and pollinators is necessary to provide the things people need to live. Each student will take home a copy of the Audubon Adventures magazine, “Zip! Hover! Zoom!”

“Science is Everywhere!” with Dr. Aaron Warren, PNC associate professor of Physics, who will lead the exploration of some of the ideas and patterns that predict the behavior of skateboarders, rocket ships, electric circuits and beyond. A series of exciting demonstrations will illustrate how surprising and how understandable the universe can be. Students will use computer simulators to work with ideas such as energy, momentum and electromagnetic forces in these various settings and discuss how these concepts shape their everyday world.

“Geology Rocks: Dig into our ever-changing Earth!” presented by Stephanie Irk, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Purdue University and teaches at Westville elementary School. Students will become geologists as they learn the basics of geology through hands-on experiments and activities, exploring the three different rock groups through some edible activities as well as some actual experiments on rocks. Campers were asked to bring in an interesting rock that they’ve discovered and use their new geology research skills on it.

“Who Done It? A Crime Lab with Charles A. Steele, PNC and Purdue Calumet Limited Term Lecturer in Physics and president of Aneval Inc. After hearing the story of a break-in, the youngsters will collect and analyze evidence to determine which of three suspects (if any) the thief is. To solve the crime, the campers will evaluate the crime scene, record it and decide what to collect and process. They will look at tools which may have been used, evaluate them and make clay impressions to see which could have made a mark left at the scene. They will study and examine fingerprints, glass and bite mark evidence. Based on what they gather, each group will present a theory of the case.

Enrollment for this camp session is closed. Only children enrolled in one of the youth-serving agencies camps may participate in STEAM Summer Camp @ PNC 2015. Further information can be obtained by contacting Liz Bernel, PNC coordinator of Special Events and Marketing at (219) 785-5719 or Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Bernel.

PNC Women in Engineering and Technology Scholarships

melissa cowan, thomas brady, martha garcia-saenz

Scholarship winner Melissa Cowan; Dr. Thomas Brady, dean of the PNC College of Engineering & Technology and Martha Garcia-Saenz, PNC associate professor of Construction Engineering and Management Technology and the Women in Engineering and Technology faculty advisor.

The Purdue University North Central Women in Engineering and Technology organization recently awarded scholarships to Natasha Daugherty, LaPorte and formerly of Star City, and to Melissa Cowan, of Wanatah, both students in the PNC College of Engineering and Technology.

“Both students are very worthy recipients of this scholarship,” said Martha Garcia-Saenz, PNC associate professor of Construction Engineering and Management Technology. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to award these scholarships so that Natasha and Melissa may continue to work toward earning their degrees.”

Garcia-Saenz was instrumental to bringing the Women in Engineering and Technology program to the PNC campus. She knew the importance of having a mentor, someone to talk to and friends who share similar interests, and brought the organization to Purdue North Central during the 2002 spring semester to provide that opportunity to female students. Male students and faculty members are welcome to join and they regularly attend meetings and events.

The program encourages female students to succeed not only academically, but personally and professionally through seminars, talks, and discussion with guest speakers from alumni, industry and academia.

For more information about Women in Engineering and Technology, contact Martha Garcia-Saenz at 219-785-5522, or at

Transit Triangle Offers Convenient LaPorte County Travel

The Transit Triangle commuter bus service that connects LaPorte, Michigan City and Purdue University North Central offers convenient, affordable transportation to anyone who wants to travel between these locations for work, school, leisure or personal business.

transit triangle busTwo newly built buses will be put into service this month. They each seat 26 passengers and are equipped with an ADA wheelchair lift and two wheelchair positions. Seats include seat belts and USB ports are available. Riders will benefit from climate-control heating and air conditioning. There are on-board security cameras. The buses replace two leased buses which have been in service for the first 5 months of the Transit Triangle.

The two buses operate weekdays on fixed routes between LaPorte and PNC, Michigan City and PNC and Michigan City and LaPorte. Each route offers three morning runs and three afternoon runs between 6 a.m. and 5:57 p.m. During the LaPorte County Fair, July 13 through 17, a stop will be added at the fairgrounds.

Transit Triangle riders are able to travel to PNC to enroll at the university or take advantage of the many activities and conveniences offered on campus. The public campus welcomes visitors. Summer guests may come out to enjoy the large-scale outdoor sculptures on campus and view the many art exhibits found in each of the three current campus buildings. Conveniently located picnic tables provide a scenic spot to relax for a meal. Guests are welcome to bring a picnic basket or purchase food and drink in the PNC cafeteria in the Library-Student-Faculty Building. Building hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Bards’ Pond and Shakespeare’s Garden provide a peaceful, park-like setting where guests can relax.

Families with young children may enjoy the learning activities offered by the Nancy Dworkin Born Learning Trail and the disc golf course offers fun for all ages. The public library, also located in the Library-Student-Faculty Building, is open to everyone for reading and research and books may be borrowed.

In Michigan City, the Transit Triangle stops at Marquette Mall. A number of shopping and dining opportunities are within walking distance. For anyone who wants to venture to the Social Security Administration office, the South Shore Line, Washington Park and Zoo, the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlet Mall, the Uptown Art District, Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Blue Chip Casino, it is easy to catch the Michigan City Transit bus for a quick ride to the next destination and back to the mall.

The Transit Triangle gives area residents the opportunity to commute to jobs at a very reasonable price.

In addition, Baron’s Bus, an inter-city bus network from of Ohio, makes daily stops at Marquette Mall, connecting with Greyhound and other major carriers both to the east and west. Coach USA stops at Marquette Mall and provides service to both airports in Chicago.

In LaPorte, stops include the La Porte County Courthouse, 809 State St., Dunham’s at LaPorte Town Square and the Thomas Rose Industrial Park, 1540 Genesis Drive. These stops provide convenient access to the LaPorte County Courthouse, IU Health LaPorte Hospital and the city’s many shopping and dining opportunities. It also provides access to jobs, including Thomas Rose Industrial Park and the New Porte Landing redevelopment area.

Once in LaPorte, further transportation is available through TransPorte, a demand-response system – a “shared-ride taxi” service. For one low rate a person can call and a vehicle is dispatched to take them from any location in the city to any location in the city for one price. Riders may travel to destinations of their choice, for example, someone can travel to work at Alcoa Howmet or visit the County Museum

For the LaPorte County Fair week from July 13 through 17 riders will also find a temporary stop at the fairgrounds gate on Zigler Road. The stop will be part of the LaPorte to PNC loop at the LaPorte County Fairgrounds. Riders from Michigan City will be able to connect in either direction around the loop, either through PNC or through downtown LaPorte, to transfer and get to the fair. Fair goers are welcome to enjoy a day at the fair, spending only $3 for the round trip.

The schedule can be found on the Transit Triangle website,

The Transit Triangle fares are:

  • One-way single: $1.50 (exact change is required)
  • One-way single fare with MC Transit Pass or LaPorte TransPorte Pass: $1 (exact change is required)
  • 10-Ride pass: $12.50
  • Children five and under ride for free
  • Monthly Commuter pass: $30 (Based on the calendar month. The pass is non-transferable.)

Passengers may transfer for free between buses within the Transit Triangle route.

Several options are available to purchase a pass. To pay by credit card, call the Michigan City Controller’s Office at 219-873-1404 and passes will be sent via the U.S. Postal Service or passes can be picked up at the Controller’s Office at Michigan City City Hall, 100 East Michigan Boulevard, the TransPorte Office, 102 L St., LaPorte or at the PNC Bursar’s Office in Schwarz Hall Room 127. Non-credit card passes can be purchased in person at any one of these locations by cash or check.

Passengers may transfer for free between buses within the Transit Triangle route.

The Transit Triangle has been made possible using Federal Transportation funding, with local matching funds provided by Michigan City, City of LaPorte, LaPorte County, and Purdue University’s North Central Campus. It is operated by Michigan City Transit as administrative grantee and lead agency, with one of the routes being served by TransPorte of the City of LaPorte.

Further information, including the schedule, can be found on the Transit Triangle website, The website can also be accessed through the MC Transit website at and the LaPorte TransPorte website at

Rick Costello named Athletic Director of Purdue University Northwest

rick costello

Rick Costello

After three years of impactful leadership of Purdue University Calumet athletics, Rick Costello has been named Director of Athletics of the emerging Purdue University Northwest, effective immediately.

“Since he arrived in 2012, Rick has inspired academic and athletic success and ignited a new spirit surrounding Purdue Calumet athletics,” Purdue Calumet Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said. “He has been an effective, tireless leader of our 12-sport, 200-student-athlete program, and he has positioned PNW for movement to NCAA Division II. He has brought new life, energy and interest to Purdue Calumet athletics on and off our campus.”

Costello’s appointment launches the athletic unification of Purdue Calumet and Purdue University North Central into a single Purdue University Northwest program, which begins competing during 2016-17, pending Higher Learning Commission approval. Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central will continue to compete separately during 2015-16.

Associate A.D. of Compliance

Additionally, Purdue North Central Director of Athletics Tom Albano joins the Purdue Northwest athletics leadership team as Associate Athletic Director for Compliance.

tom albano

Tom Albano

“These appointments represent a tremendous step forward for Purdue University Northwest,” Purdue North Central Chancellor James B. Dworkin said. “Tom was a talented athlete and campus leader as a PNC student. He has a firm commitment to the success of our student athletes and athletic programs that will benefit Purdue Northwest. Together, Rick and Tom will lay the foundation for a successful future. Students, alumni and community members look forward to watching the program develop.”

As one emerging university of two inclusive campuses comprised of some 15,500 students, Purdue University Northwest is positioning to become an extraordinary Purdue presence in Northwest Indiana committed to student success, academic and faculty excellence and economic development.

“I am honored to lead Purdue University Northwest intercollegiate athletics and build on the rich tradition of Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central,” Costello said. “I sincerely appreciate the confidence Chancellors Keon and Dworkin have shown in me. I am excited to work with students, coaches, faculty, alumni and community to create a program that develops academic and athletic champions and creates campus and community spirit and pride.”

Costello background

Costello is a veteran collegiate athletic administrator with previous stops at Rutgers (NJ) University, Delaware State University, University of South Florida, San Jose State (Calif.) University and, most recently, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

During his Purdue Calumet tenure the women’s basketball team has achieved national recognition, student-athletes regularly have achieved a collective semester grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale), two student-athletes earned Academic All-American honors for the first time in university history and all 12 sports teams engage in community service endeavors.

Costello also has helped cultivate corporate and private support to enable development of an outdoor sports complex at nearby Dowling Park for baseball, softball, soccer and tennis competition; the Paul K. and Barbara Graegin Academic Excellence Center study facility for student-athletes; and the Community Hospital Athletic Training and Physical Therapy Center.

Albano background

While assuming his new responsibilities, Albano will continue to lead the six-sport, 130-student-athlete Purdue North Central athletics program during its final upcoming year of competition.

As PNC Athletics Director the past two years, Albano was instrumental establishing a women’s cross country team and reintroducing an Athletics Advisory Board for input on fundraising and other strategic initiatives. He also has served on the planning and development committee of the PNC Student Services and Activities Complex, scheduled to open in 2016.

Additionally, he developed a multi-media campus news network featuring live video and web-streaming of PNC home athletic contests.

The former PNC baseball pitcher, Panther Athlete of the Year, All-American Honorable Mention selection (2007) and member of the PNC Athletics Hall of Fame set university season records for most mound appearances (27), saves (9) and lowest earned run average (1.66).

PNC Panther Cubs Child Care Receives Grant

The Purdue University North Central Panther Cubs child care program has been awarded one of 15 grants from United for Children to set up a Minds-in-Motion Maze to be used by children who take part in the on-campus childcare program.

Minds-in-Motion was founded by Candace Meyer, who was the keynote speaker at the 2015 PC Early Childhood Conference. The Minds-in-Motion Maze addresses the physiological needs of today’s 21st Century learners and spurs physiological development in children, leading to measurable gains academically, socially, behaviorally and athletically.

The maze will be inside the PNC childcare facility, said Molly Campbell, Panther Cubs Childcare director. “The children will go through the ‘stations’ in a path just as they would in a maze going from one activity to the next,” she explained. “This will benefit the children of Panther Cubs in many ways. Not only will our children be active, but they will be developing the different cognitive skills they need to succeed.”

Planning is in progress for the James B. Dworkin Minds-in-Motion Maze to be part of the PNC Student Services and Activities Complex currently under construction on the PNC campus. This made will serve as a demonstration site for area educators to familiarize them with the maze and its many benefits.

The PNC Panther Cubs child care serves children of PNC students, staff and faculty during the fall and spring semesters while classes are in session. A professional director and staff provide planned activities and supervised play for ages two through seven.

PNC Spring 2015 Honors List

PNC Spring 2015 Honors List

PNC Alum Erin Foust Earns 2015 Hoosier Educator Award

Erin Foust

PNC Alumna Erin Foust

Purdue University North Central alumna Erin Foust recently earned the 2015 Hoosier Educator Award, presented by the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children.

The distinction recognizes an educator whose exemplary practices embody the practical application of Indiana AEYC standards and who shares those methods with others through workshops, publications or other means.

Foust earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education in 2012. She was one of the first students to enroll in the program and was a member of the Early Childhood Education program’s first graduating class.

Today Foust is lead teacher at the Westville Little School, a preschool for three and four year olds. The Little School is an innovative professional development partnership between the Westville-New Durham School Corporation, Dunebrook child abuse prevention agency and the Purdue University North Central Early Childhood Education program.

The Little School opened in 2013 and Foust was hired in 2014.

Earning the Hoosier Educator Award is an indescribable honor for Foust. “I am still wrapping my mind around it,” she said. “I am so thankful for it. This has been an incredible year. I am thrilled to be a part of the Westville Little School.”

The Little School is located adjacent to the Westville schools complex. It provides a bright, cheery setting for youngsters to learn, play and socialize. She is assisted by PNC students in the Early Childhood Education program as part of their student teaching experience. Foust is happy to help guide the PNC students as she knows how important this experience is to their professional development. While a PNC student, Foust was an Early Childhood Service Learning Mentor for her fellow students, helping them connect with their service sites, answering questions, assisting in grant review and providing support to students who needed it.

The PNC students plan some of the curriculum content areas, work with the youngsters and help ensure that everything functions smoothly.

“Erin is the maestro at the Westville Little School and brings into harmony all aspects of a developmentally appropriate learning environment,” said Dr. Mary Jane Eisenhauer, PNC associate professor of Early Childhood Education. “Under Erin’s direction, the Little School offers preschool classes, purposefully planned transitions to kindergarten, meaningful teacher preparation and family support and engagement.”

While Foust carefully outlines the concepts that the children will need to master while at the Little School, the youngsters themselves have a role in how that plays out.

She explained that the youngsters have a project-approached educational experience that keys in on the students’ interests. For example, her students said they wanted to learn more about bugs. They read about them, they did art projects, they discussed bugs and they even watched the daily development of caterpillars as they transformed into butterflies.

“We set up the learning projects, but the kids make them their own,” said Foust.

In addition to her teaching and mentoring responsibilities, Foust works with the youngsters’ families too. She meets with parents before and during the school year to build a rapport, learn more about the child’s capabilities, set learning goals and measure their progress.

For the three year olds, she will introduce the children to academics and aid their emotional and social development. For the four year olds, she will step up their age-appropriate learning and activities to prepare them for kindergarten.

“I want to provide a supportive, safe environment for the youngsters,” said Foust.

At the end of their school year, the four year olds will walk to the Westville Elementary School to visit the kindergarten. Even if a child will not be attending Westville schools, they will see what a school and classroom look like and build some excitement for the coming year. Dunebrook supplies each child with a backpack and several books.

Foust finds herself putting her PNC education to work every day on the job.

“I have my PNC text books; I refer to them often,” she said. “I use a lot of the concepts I learned in class.”

Eisenhauer and Debra Pratt, continuing lecturer of Education, are willing to give an opinion, share an idea or offer guidance when she asks.

“If I have a question or want to bounce some ideas around, they’re there for me,” said Foust.

“This is been an amazing journey. I have so many ideas for next year. I’m looking forward to the fall. It’s going to be an exciting year.”

PNC Offers Tuition Discount Programs

Purdue University North Central students have the opportunity to reduce the cost of earning a bachelor’s degree thanks to two innovative tuition discount plans that are available for qualifying students.

PNC students can take advantage of a 10 percent rate reduction for each credit hour taken beyond 12 hours per semester. The discount plan is designed to provide financial incentives for students to increase the number of credit hours taken each semester and encourage them to graduate in four years. PNC offers its students 24 bachelor degree programs so they may choose a career path that suits their goals.

Students who take advantage of the 10 percent tuition reduction by enrolling in more than 12 hours per semester, not only save money, but they position themselves to graduate sooner. For example, a student who completes 12 credit hours each semester will need 10 semesters, or five years, to complete a typical 120 credit hour bachelor’s degree. In comparison, a student who earns 15 credit hours each semester will complete a degree in four years, save more than $500 under the new discount plan and enter their chosen profession sooner.

And some former students who return to resume their PNC studies, may be eligible to receive a 50 percent Tuition Incentive Program Scholarship (TIPS).

The 50 percent Tuition Incentive Program Scholarship is available to students who meet established requirements. Completing your baccalaureate degree will job candidates a competitive edge.

TIPS Criteria:

Eligible former PNC students must meet all the following requirements:

  • were resident (in state) undergraduate students;
  • left PNC with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher;
  • have completed and earned at least 60 hours, but no more than 119 hours, of college credit;
  • stopped attending PNC between Fall 2010 and Fall 2014;
  • and who are current residents of Indiana

Official confirmation of eligibility will be determined during the re-admittance process.

Continuous progress is defined as being continuously enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program (both fall and spring terms), either full-time or part-time, based on the degree plan under which the student is accepted in the Tuition Incentive Program, and maintaining a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.

The scholarship applies to tuition only, does not include any fees (course material, lab, or online fees), and is only available to invited students who re-enroll in the Fall 2015 term.

Further information about these tuition discount programs can be obtained by contacting 219-785-5505, or visiting

Enrollment for the 2015 fall semester is in progress. Classes begin Aug. 24.

PNC Journal of Undergraduate Social Science Research

The Purdue University North Central Department of Social Sciences has published its 2015 issue of the Journal of Undergraduate Social Science Research. It features research by seven PNC students whose work in a department class was nominated by the course instructor.

The articles in this issue are:

  • Melissa D. Baldwin, Michigan City, “Understanding Post-Colonial Trauma in Native American Culture Today”
  • Ginny Borolov, Michigan City, “The Many Faces of the Holocaust: A Journey into the Lives of the Sienkiewicz/Borolov Family”
  • Catarina Cooper, LaPorte, “Truth and the Path One Takes”
  • Angela Hall, Hebron, “A Righteous Villain or Why John Brown Can Be Both a Hero and a Murderer”
  • Stephanie Hostetler, LaPorte, “Stimulant Use among College Students: A Call to Action”
  • Samantha Riehle, LaPorte, “Fiction from Fact: Comparison of a Novel Portrayal to Reality”
  • Paul Scott, Chesterton “Alternative Media and the Crimean Crisis”

The issue can be found on the Journal website:

PNC Offers Class in “Problem-Solving Skills for Innovation”

The Purdue University North Central Office of Graduate and Extended Learning has partnered with the Michigan City Center for Creative Solutions to offer a non-credit program for anyone who would like to learn how to harness creativity and creative problem-solving skills to become a better leader and innovator in their lives, careers and communities.

The program will meet on Mondays from June 29 through Aug. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. Registration is $199 and includes the assessment and all other materials. Discounted rates are available for PNC and Purdue University Calumet students, alumni and employees. The registration deadline is June 15 by 4 p.m. Seating is limited.

The program will be taught by Cynthia A. Hedge, founder of the Center for Creative Solutions, and her colleague, Keri Marrs Barron. The Center for Creative Solutions is a non-profit organization offering training to businesses and individuals throughout Northwest Indiana.

During this program, participants will learn what creativity actually is, as well as what it is not. They will discuss the general and economic importance of creativity in our lives and the difference between creativity and innovation. They will discover the true and perceived roadblocks and barriers to creativity, practical ways of removing barriers that they are faced with, and how to support a creative environment.

Students will take a self-assessment that will allow them to learn more about their own problem-solving preferences, as well as each preference’s strengths and weaknesses. They will interact with one another and with the trainers, practicing the use of creative tools, techniques and attitudes to generate innovation in everyday circumstances.

Students will learn about the Creative Problem Solving model, why it is effective and through in-class exercises, learn how to use it to facilitate meetings and other events. Finally, they will learn about how they can strengthen their own creative leadership capacity using the concepts, tools and techniques taught in this class.

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