Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, United States, is a public research university and is the main campus of the Purdue University system. It was founded in 1869 after a donation of land and money from Lafayette businessman John Purdue to establish a college of science, technology, and agriculture in his name. The first classes were held on September 16, 1874, with six instructors and 39 students. The main campus in West Lafayette offers more than 200 majors for undergraduates, over 70 master’s and doctoral programs, and professional degrees in pharmacy and veterinary medicine. In addition, Purdue has 18 intercollegiate sports teams and more than 900 student organizations. Purdue is a member of the Big Ten Conference and enrolls the second largest student body of any university in Indiana, as well as the fourth largest international student population of any university in the United States.
Each team is supervised by one or more faculty advisors, typically with the assistance of several graduate student mentors. Although the teams have been heavily ECE-centric (Electrical and Computer Engineering), we do have teams supervised by faculty advisors from the Schools of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Civil Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. Outside of the College of Engineering, we have teams supervised by faculty advisors from Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Library Sciences, and Psychological Sciences. Our teams are closely tied to the research interests of the faculty advisors who lead them. Several of the teams have close engagement with external partners that are companies or government agencies. The accomplishments of one team has very directly resulted in the award of a large National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to the team advisor and the formation of a start-up company that has been awarded an NSF Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant. Our vision is to continue to grow VIP at Purdue, and to further expand it beyond ECE and the College of Engineering. Within ECE, we are working to have VIP included as an option for completion of the Senior Design requirement.