A Letter to Current and Future Boilermakers from Elizabeth Coats ’20, Past OUR and JPUR Intern

After a long, but at the same time not long enough, four years at Purdue, I can now officially claim the title of Purdue alumna! Looking back on my college years in its entirety, I can genuinely say I thoroughly enjoyed and cherished the time I had and choices I made. And in true alumni fashion, I would love to provide tips to current Purdue students in hopes of extending the joy I experienced here in West Lafayette!

Liz Coats ’20 was the intern with the Purdue University Press for the Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research and the Purdue Office of Undergraduate Research.

Number one, there is a truly long-lasting and beneficial gain from mentorship. One of my first connections at Purdue was with the Business Opportunity Program (BOP) director, Darren Henry. Throughout the duration of my program, Darren and I grew close having chats about diversity and inclusion, professional development, current events, and more. He became an uncle-figure to me, someone I could rely on to provide me honest and true guidance and advice on school, career decisions, and life. The influence he had on myself helped steer my academic and career path to where it is today. In addition to growing your network, mentor relationships provide you candid insight and knowledge not initially gained in a mere professor-student relationship. That said, I encourage all students to find a like-minded mentor. It can begin with an advice seeking email to a professor or faculty member with interests similar to yours. They are out there and are always interested in further guiding students!


Business Opportunity Program (BOP) and Society of Minority Managers (SMM) members gather to remember the late club president and program brother, Dom Vargas.

Number two, find ways to utilize and enhance your passion and skills in ways that benefit you. I have a degree in Management and Marketing, but I have always had a passion for graphic design, photography, videography, and branding. My junior year, I pursued two, separate part-time, promotion positions in Purdue Libraries with the Purdue University Press and the Purdue Office of Undergraduate Research. Though not initially listed in the original job description, my supervisors were encouraging of my passions and interests and suggested that I find a way to implement them into my work. This allowed me to sharpen my creative skills, double my performance results, better my knowledge of programs such as Adobe’s Creative Suites, gain content for my personal portfolio, get paid, and satisfy my desire to create! This is also available to you. Purdue has numerous opportunities to offer. There are opportunities in student employment, research and travel grants through the OUR, teaching assistant positions, clubs and organizations, etc. It is only a matter of thinking deeply and creatively of how you can efficiently contribute to yourself and Purdue.

Elizabeth with fellow BOP and SMM member and best friend, Janelle Davis.

The last and final tip, which I would consider the most important yet most forgotten, remember that you are capable of everything and anything! Looking back, in the midst of the frantic studying for that calculus test, while panicking of all to do during that chemistry lab, right before the big interview, I so often doubted my capabilities and questioned my position at Purdue. This doubt, that typically developed in times of stress, pushed me and my mental back more times than I can mentioned. Further, it countlessly kept me from volunteering myself for opportunities I was fit for. The biggest piece of advice I would want to give to current students is to remember their capabilities and aim for everything and anything! I am tremendously grateful for my four years at Purdue University. I am grateful for the Office of Undergraduate Research and Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research for their combined belief if me and my developing creative skills. I am grateful for Darren Henry and the Society of Minority Managers for giving me a family away from home and for their deep investment in my professional and personal development. Finally, I am grateful for the community around me for their continued encouragement and belief in me even when I didn’t. So, to those still in their college journey, enjoy these years! They fly by tremendously fast. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who encourage your questions and strong interests, yet challenge you to a higher character and skill. Pursue your passions outside your field of study. And remember that you are at Purdue for a reason and are capable to do it all!

BOPs’ 50th Celebration Gala with fellow members and sisters, Isabella and Victoria Coats.

OUR message: Elizabeth graduated in May 2020 from Krannert School of Management with a degree in business management and will start as an analyst with Goldman Sachs this month! Congratulations, Liz!

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