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Jennifer Lancaster Q&A

Purdue people/classes
I didn’t really hit my stride at Purdue until I switched over to Political Science. Those classes were a lot smaller than any I’d had to that point and professors like Melson, Beres, Weinstein, and Hayes expected full participation, and for the first time, I truly engaged. Each professor in their own way pushed me into discovering abilities I never knew I had in both writing and processing information.

Professional/personal accomplishments
Since 2005, I’ve written five memoirs and one yet-to-be released novel. My last three books have debuted on the New York Times best sellers list.

Importance of a liberal arts education
The College of Liberal Arts taught me how to be a critical thinker which, having since managed a staff of business professionals has proven far more valuable. The ability to quickly process information and make sound business decisions has transcended any specific job title and has been the key to my success.

What Purdue means to you
I like when an interviewer asks where I went to college. They nod with appreciation when I say Purdue. There’s almost a sense of, “Well, no wonder you’ve been successful,” when I answer.

Tidbit of wisdom for students
The best advice I can give is to work hard, but to not forget to cultivate a social life. In my experience, those who understand how to effectively communicate with others have the best track record making sales, negotiating mutually beneficial contracts, managing others, etc. In short, people do business with people they like, and if you learn how to navigate the social landscape in college, you’ll be way ahead of the game come graduation.

What this recognition means
I’m very proud to have been selected as a distinguished alumna, particularly as I didn’t exactly win any awards as an undergrad.

Other thoughts
I may not have had the most distinguished career as an undergrad, but my days at Purdue absolutely gave me the tools I would need to distinguish myself as a graduate, and that has made all the difference.

BA 1996, Political Science, Purdue University

Professional History
Author,Bitter is the New Black,Bright Lights Big Ass,Such a Pretty Fat,Pretty in Plaid,My Fair Lazy
Syndicated Humor Columnist,Tribune Media Services

(Jennifer Lancaster's photo courtesy of Jeremy Lawson)