March 2018

Aimee Cooper

Aimee Cooper (pictured right) with Executive Director Barb Frazee (left), accepting the 2017 Journal and Courier's Readers Choice Award for Best Student Housing 

Student Profile

Dual Summer Internships Create Opportunity for Cooper

Summer on campus typically sees the bustle of the school year replaced by a more idyllic atmosphere. Student organizations wind down their activity as members leave campus to pursue internships, return home, travel or pursue other opportunities during the summer months.

After serving her first term as president of the Residence Hall Association, Aimee Cooper took notice of the lack of summer activity in student organizations and how it can affect a slow start to the school year.

“RHA goes stagnant over the summer because there’s not many residents here,” said Cooper. “None of the hall clubs do anything because we’re all gone as leaders. I thought it would be cool if we had someone here focusing on building us up to start August off on the right foot.”

A conversation with University Residences leadership turned into a summer internship opportunity for Cooper to do just that. Cooper, an environmental and ecological engineering major, was also able to earn an internship with the Campus Master Planning and Sustainability unit of Purdue Physical Facilities. The dual opportunities allowed Cooper to gain both leadership and practical experiences she can apply to her future career.

Cooper’s work with University Residences focused on leadership development with a specific focus on programming for student organizations. The goal of these programs, Cooper says, is to prepare students for leadership roles in their careers. The curriculums teach lifelong workplace skills, such as professional branding, workplace etiquette and conflict resolution.

“When you’re put into a leadership position, no matter what, there’s going to be people watching,” said Cooper. “You have to represent your brand and represent it right.”

Meanwhile, Cooper worked on waste reduction techniques and sustainable landscaping with Campus Master Planning and Sustainability. One of the key projects Cooper worked on was the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification of Purdue’s Honors College and Residences. LEED uses a ranking system to certify buildings based on waste reduction and energy efficiency. Purdue’s Honors College and Residences achieved LEED Gold certification, the second-highest level of recognition available.

“I think working with the sustainability office showed me what big-time consulting is like,” said Cooper. “It gave me an opportunity to work on different things. It all intertwined and it was a really valuable experience.”

The summer internships connect with Cooper’s experiences in campus leadership as well as classwork. In addition to serving in various positions in RHA, she has been involved in the Jay Severson Student Leadership Council and was the chair of entertainment and sustainability for the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH) conference at Purdue in 2017. Cooper’s classwork has included the creation of a bisowale, a landscape system designed to remove pollution out of surface runoff water, to help manage water runoff at a church in the Lafayette community.

Cooper’s summer plans this year include an internship with the Indiana Department of Transportation. 

Writer: Matt Vader

Roberta Ziccarelli

Roberta Ziccarelli (pictured right) attending the Women's Leadership Series

Alumni Profile

Ziccarelli Gives Back Through Mentorship Role 

University Residences’ Women’s Leadership series provides growth and leadership opportunities for female students, faculty and staff at Purdue.

Roberta Ziccarelli, a 1983 graduate of the School of Pharmacy, has participated in the series as a mentor each of the last two years. This past year, she served as a table leader, facilitating group discussions with participating students, faculty and staff. 

“I have always been interested in and involved with women’s leadership,” says Ziccarelli. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for students at Purdue to hear from leaders. It’s great on both sides because as alums, we also get the opportunity to learn from students.”

Career advice is always at the forefront of student’s concerns. Ziccarelli says that one of the things she tries to emphasize is that the development from education to career isn’t always linear. She says students shouldn’t be afraid to take advantage of opportunities that may not necessarily fit with their specific goals.

“One of the things we talk about is believing in, listening to and having faith in yourself,” says Ziccarelli. “It doesn’t have to be a straight line from your major to your career. It’s very important for students to understand those opportunities.”

Ziccarelli says networking, access to mentors and learning how to be a mentor are other positive aspects she sees in her involvement with the program. The spirit of mentorship started for Ziccarelli back when she was a student and served as a resident assistant in Shreve Hall for two years.

“I think being a resident assistant was one of the most important things I did as an undergraduate,” says Ziccarelli. “It led me down this path towards education, leadership and counseling. I would recommend it to anyone who would want to pursue it.”

Ziccarelli also serves as a mentor for Pharmacy Women for Purdue. The organization allows College of Pharmacy alumnae and current students to discuss career paths, professional development, the transition from student to working professional, balancing career and family, networking and career advancement.

Giving back to Purdue through service is also a family affair for Ziccarelli and her husband, Augie, who is a member of the Construction Engineering and Management Industrial Advisory Board. The Ziccarellis are also proud members of the John Purdue Club. Attending football games with the same group of friends the last 20 years, attending men’s basketball games and their mentorship roles can bring the couple to campus as often as once a week.

“Purdue is such an easy place to get ingrained,” says Ziccarelli. “It feels small, even though it isn’t. It’s very easy to get involved and stay involved.”

Writer: Matt Vader

Student Success Profile

Make Your Mark - Purdue Day of Giving is April 25!

RAISE Scholarship Part of Opportunity to Make Your Mark

Get ready to make your mark! Purdue Day of Giving is April 25.

Purdue Day of Giving is an online, university-wide effort to build a better, stronger, more affordable Purdue. For 24 hours, students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents and friends come together to grant opportunities and transform lives.

Your donation to University Residences helps bridge the gap between living and learning. Research shows that over the past 10 years, on-campus students have out-performed off-campus students in GPA for every classification. We are constantly enhancing our students’ opportunities by expanding facilities and further integrating academics into our space.

One of the ways University Residences transforms the lives of students on campus is by recruiting the best and brightest to work as residential assistants. Tuition remission is a key factor in attracting Purdue’s best students to these positions. The RAISE Fund was established to help defray our cost of providing tuition for resident assistants. 

Hear from four RAISE Scholarship recipients below as they discuss what their University Residences experience means to them.  

Andrew Wakefield“My experiences through University Residences have given me lifelong friends, the opportunity to make an impact on others’ lives and has shaped me into the leader I am today. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to serve within any role as an REA [Resident Education Assistant] and am so grateful for the proud Res Life alumni that have made RAISE Scholarships possible to support University Residences members like myself.” – Andrew Wakefield, Doctor of Pharmacy, Class of 2019

Caleb Hettinger“Any time I am asked about being an RA, the first thing I say is that accepting the RA position was the best decision I have ever made. The challenges and successes of this position are unparalleled. I loved being an RA with all my heart. Now, after serving as an RA in Harrison for two years, I am the REA in Tarkington Hall. With this new position comes new challenges and success, but the same fulfillment and happiness as before. The opportunities University Residences have provided are the best I could’ve asked for.” – Caleb Hettinger, Biology Education, Class of 2019

Anushka Madwesh“My role as a campus leader has helped shape me into the young professional I am today. I have gained interpersonal communication and time management skills through this role as well as a strong support system that helps me through the rigors of this job and school work. I am grateful for what University Residences has done for me and the alumni that help fund myself and my co-workers, through the RAISE scholarship, to continue achieving.” – Anushka Madwesh, Electrical Engineering, May 2019

Balazs Bonyhay“I became a resident assistant at Tarkington Hall my sophomore year, which is when I received the 2017 Tarkington Hall RAISE Award. In this position, I look to constantly develop my leadership skills and learn how to connect with the diverse student population on my floor. It is an amazing feeling to see the strong relationships develop on my floor between the residents and me, as well as between the residents themselves. Being a resident assistant has pushed me to manage my time effectively, improve my abilities in planning events and advance my skills in conflict resolution and communication. The position has also opened doors in organizations such as NRHH, which push me to get more involved in the community here at Purdue.” – Balazs Bonyhay, Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2020

Purdue Day of Giving is April 25!

For more information on Day of Giving, please visit  

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

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

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