March 2017

Trevor Mahlmann SpaceX Launch photo
Student News

Former Cary resident photographs historic SpaceX launch

California-based SpaceX made history in February when it launched the first private rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39A, the same pad that launched Purdue alumnus Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 to the moon nearly 50 years ago.

Former Cary Quad resident Trevor Mahlmann, who lived across the street from Purdue’s Armstrong Hall and studied in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, witnessed the Florida launch firsthand as a photographer for technology website Ars Technica.

Mahlmann initially came to Purdue wanting to be an astronaut, but found a love of photography on campus almost by chance. His freshman year, he decided to borrow a friend’s camera to shoot a lunar eclipse from his favorite place on campus, the Engineering Fountain. Entirely self-taught and without ever taking a photography class, he’s pursuing photography full-time and has shot numerous space launches, as well as Purdue sporting events and the 2017 Rose Bowl.

“I like to shoot a lot of things. Sports, wildlife, rockets…lots of people pick one thing and continue down that one path forever, but it sounds more fun to shoot many different things,” Mahlmann said.

His viewpoint for the SpaceX launch included four cameras on the launch pad and two on his person atop NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Buildling (VAB), which is one of the largest buildings in the world. Mahlmann describes the scope of the spectacle not just by the sight, but by the sound.

“As the sound hits you, 10 seconds after the rocket launches, it starts shaking the VAB, which is like the sixth-largest building in the world by volume. The sound of a launch shaking the VAB shows you how powerful it is,” Mahlmann said.

Visit Mahlmann’s entire gallery from the SpaceX launch on his website at

Writer: Matt Watson

Lisa and Bernie Paul with James Foster Bernie Paul (left) James Foster (center) Lisa Paul (right)

Alumni Profile

Match made in March Madness

Boilermaker basketball is near and dear to the hearts of generations of Purdue graduates, but watching the boys in black and gold suit up for an NCAA Tournament game is even more heartwarming for Bernie and Lisa Paul than most alumni.

Bernie and Lisa, who met as counselors in McCutcheon Hall, went on their first date in March 1983. They saw a movie at Stewart Center and then walked over to the Union to watch the Boilermakers in postseason basketball action.

“In the Union, they used to show Purdue basketball games on big screen TVs, and Purdue was playing Robert Morris in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It was a Thursday night, so we watched the game,” Bernie said. He remembers the date, March 17, and that Purdue won and subsequently lost to Arkansas in the second round.

There’s some confusion as to what happened earlier in the date, however.

“Only guys remember sports details like that. We went to see a movie, but we don’t agree which movie it was,” Lisa says, 34 years later. “But every time the NCAA tournament comes around, and Purdue plays on that first round Thursday night, we think about that first date.”

That spring was a whirlwind for the pair, as both were seniors getting ready to graduate while working as counselors. While Lisa, who studied interior design, and Bernie, an environmental engineer, are inarguably the closest staff members from that 1983-84 McCutcheon staff, the whole group still remains close to this day.

“The 16 of us have gotten together every five years over the last 15-20 years. We just sent out an email to our group recently, because this coming fall will mark our 35th anniversary of working together at McCutcheon,” Lisa said. They’re planning a weekend get-together around a Purdue football game for the staff, including their former boss, James Foster, who worked for University Residences for 35 years and still contributes part-time to the UR Peer Mentor Program.

The Pauls have made many trips to Purdue in the years since graduating, with Lisa speaking at the Women’s Leadership Series this year and previously as a visiting lecturer in her academic program. Bernie serves on an advisory committee for the Environmental and Ecological Engineering program at Purdue, and the couple have a daughter on campus who is a sophomore studying genetics.

And of course, Bernie and Lisa Paul are frequent and fond spectators of Purdue sporting events, especially Boilermaker basketball, which played a small part in their courtship but a big reminder over the years of the good things that happen when the ball bounces your way.

Writer:  Matt Watson

Vanida Chanthaphone
Vanida Chanthaphone (pictured far right)

Student Spotlight

Hillenbrand club president hopes to teach others using her experience - Q & A

Vanida Chanthaphone is a junior from East Lyme, Connecticut, currently serving as the president of Hillenbrand’s Phoenix Club.

Why did you originally choose Purdue?

I first came across Purdue when I started using the Online Writing Lab (OWL) in my high school English classes. I always knew I wanted to teach, but I didn’t know what specifically. After an experience where I worked with international students and my own experience learning English as a second language, I decided Purdue would be a good fit for me. Purdue is one of the most diverse campuses I came across when applying to college. I have been pushed academically to achieve great things, and I have had opportunities to experience new things every time I spark a conversation with someone I first meet. My English and education courses are rigorous, but all for good reason. Graduating from Purdue will open numerous doors for me, and I know that with a Purdue degree, one of those will allow for me to help others and provide ways for others to gain an ounce of the opportunities I have been given. 

What are you studying, and what do you hope to do after college?

I am majoring in English Education with a minor in Spanish. English is a difficult language to grasp when you are first learning it. I would know, since I did not fully develop full sentences in English until I was placed in an English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom. I am majoring in English Education not only to become an educator, but to become an individual who can help those who are struggling like I once was. I want to teach ESL and provide students with the opportunity to not only learn the material, but learn how to voice their ideas, complaints, and feelings through the power of the English language in speech and writing.

After college, I hope to go abroad to teach English in underserved communities. I currently am in the process of looking into a Fulbright Program, as well as am in the Peace Corps Prep Program through Purdue. I want to work with students of all ages to help them gain opportunities they never knew they could achieve. Not only do I want to teach, but I also want to travel to learn new cultures. I want to expand on the empathy and intercultural communication skills I have acquired since being at Purdue.

What organizations have you been involved with on campus?

Within the College of Liberal Arts, I am on the Liberal Arts Student Council and serve as a college ambassador. Outside of classes, I take part in the Purdue Student Education Association, which has membership ties to the National Education Association (NEA). In addition, I am the co-director for the Emily Mauzy Vogel (EMV) 2017 Student Leadership Retreat, a leader in the Multinational Intercultural Xchange Program within the International Programs Office, and a student receptionist at the Black Cultural Center.

Within University Residences, I currently serve as the president of Hillenbrand Hall Phoenix Club, one of the students on the Women’s Leadership Series committee, the education and inclusion chair for the National Association of University Residence Halls (NACURH) 2017 Annual Conference being held at Purdue in May, a tour guide at the UR Alumni and Guest Center, a representative on behalf of UR on the Student Life Student Advisory Council, and a student ambassador for the Executive-in-Residence program. I love to stay active on campus. I love that I am able to stay active within my own college and within the community in which I reside, while also expanding on my interests, which is developing cultural connections while I am here at Purdue. Being on campus at all times allows me to use my time effectively. I am able to get the work I need to get done, while also meeting people of all walks of life in one building.

What has your experience been like as Hillenbrand’s Phoenix Club president?

This has been one of the most memorable opportunities I have received at Purdue. I love working with a team of hardworking student leaders who have all the same goal: to make our residence hall the best place it can be for our residents. We are solely volunteers, but we do so much, and I have never felt so much of a passion or drive to give it my all until stepping into my role.

As President, there is a lot of responsibility to making sure everything runs smoothly. There have been times where the team slips and we make mistakes, but the goals have always been clear to us. We, as an executive board, have never strived for less than our best. This year, Hillenbrand Phoenix Club has exceeded any expectations we have set programming-wise. We had over 20 programs fall semester alone, with even bigger ones planned for the spring semester. As we reflect as a hall club, we have done things such as attend home football games, go to the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon, held a Halloween and Holiday Party in-hall, went to premieres of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Lego Movie, and a pre-release of Get Out. We have also held the first annual resident pageant known as “Hillenbae.” In addition, we collaborated with the International Programs Office to go to Elite Air and a Pacers game with international students. Our biggest events for spring semester were the Etiquette Dinner with International Campus Ministry and the second annual Singles Mixer, to name a few.

How did you get involved in the Women’s Leadership Series?

I attended the Women’s Leadership Series (WLS) my sophomore year. I was able to hear from incredible speakers about their ties to Purdue and their successes. It was truly inspiring to me to hear how successful these individuals are and how I can achieve just as much greatness one day. As the series was coming to a close, I decided to apply for the WLS Award. As the recipient of the award in 2016, I was asked by Elizabeth Hartley to be one of the students on the committee. I had such an amazing time the first time at the series, that I could not pass up this opportunity to be one of the women helping plan such an awe-inspiring and worthwhile series. I want to make a difference, and as a committee, we are making a difference in the lives of women attending this series just by planning it. I have had the opportunity to help brainstorm ideas for the series, as well as execute some of the planning being done behind the scenes. One of the highlights of being on the committee is getting to personally talk to the guest speakers that we have at dinner. One in particular is Emily Liggett. She and her husband, Dave, are incredible people and I had the chance to talk to them after they spoke at the last WLS dinner. Having such a powerful talk by Emily and then getting to personally talk to her – it was an experience that not a lot of students get to have, and I was very fortunate to be able to do that.

What does your role on the NACURH annual conference staff entail?

As the inclusion and education chair for the NACURH 2017 annual conference, I am in charge of setting up an Executive-in-Residence program for the conference. We are bringing six executives to campus, four in housing and Residential Life and two who are Purdue alumni. In addition, I am also working with the cultural centers and campus partners to create roundtable discussions for the students to voice opinions and thoughts on tough matters concerning student life on campus. Lastly, I also help plan the Social Justice and Diversity Social for the conference, as well as work alongside other chairs to make sure our conference can be the most inclusive as possible with gender neutral housing options, gender neutral bathrooms, and a diverse array of programs and education opportunities.

How has living on campus enhanced your Purdue experience?

Living within University Residences has helped shape my leadership skills in more ways than I can count. From the moment I joined a Learning Community my freshman year to now, I have fallen more in love with living with University Residences. I am able to meet new people every day by just seeing someone new on the elevators. By being involved in hall club and other facets of University Residences, I have been able to expand my leadership skills through delegating tasks, learning to listen before speaking, as well as voicing my opinion when I know I have a passion or drive to want to make something happen.

University Residences has become my home away from home. The people I work with everyday are not only my friends, but are my family. We have family dinners every week and see each other on a regular basis. They understand the rough days when there’s not enough time in the day to get things done, but also rejoice with me on the amazing days when a program goes off without a hitch or I achieve a personal goal of mine. Without my Res Life family, I don’t think my Purdue experience would be half of what it is today. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by so many people, administrators, faculty, staff and students, who care about my passions, my life as a student, and me as person. They not only appreciate all that I do, but also get to know me on a personal level, which being at such a large school like Purdue, is invaluable.

Editor: Matt Watson

Purdue Day of Giving is April 26 

Purdue Day of Giving April 26, 2017 - All Together, We Can Grant Opportunity

Thanks to your incredible generosity, the Purdue community broke records in 2016 — raising $18.3 million from almost 13,000 gifts on Purdue Day of Giving. And that’s just the beginning. This year, let’s show the world what can happen when we come together!

What is Purdue Day of Giving?

A 24-hour event where the Purdue community comes together to support higher education at the highest proven value.

Where Does My Gift Go?

That’s up to you — you can give to your favorite college, school, program, or student organization, and we would love for you to consider giving to University Residences.

Why Give on April 26?

Hourly challenges and bonus funds mean more dollars go to your favorite college, school, program, or student organization.

Visit the Day of Giving website and stay tuned for more information next month!

Writer: Matt Vader | Editors: Tammy Loew, Renee Kashawlic, Danielle Fawbush

Editorial Board: Barb Frazee, Tammy Loew, Renee Kashawlic | Inquiries Contact:

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