THiNK Magazine

Fall 2018

THiNK Magazine features stories that explore contemporary issues through the work of Liberal Arts faculty, students, and alumni. You can read the current issue online or in our e-reader apps.

Online Exclusives

Human rights

Human Rights on the Move:  A group of 14 Purdue students visited Hungary, Slovakia, and Germany on a Maymester trip that allowed them to study and reflect upon global attitudes toward human rights.

FVS alumni

Alumni visit FVS class: Film and video studies program alumni Will Cabral and Denver Bailey shared real-world perspectives with current students who are interested in working in the production field.

Theatre lights

Illuminating Artistic Possibilities Video: Division of Dance performers and choreographers describe the process of incorporating motion sensors into their routines, allowing them to control the stage lights.

In This Issue

We’re highlighting ways the College of Liberal Arts contributes to the Ideas Festival themes covered in Purdue’s Sesquicentennial celebration, 150 Years of Giant Leaps. From historians studying Purdue’s role in the space race, to dance and theatre faculty members designing technology that allows performers to control stage lighting, to sociology professor Kenneth Ferraro’s work studying health over the life course, those in the College of Liberal Arts make their own giant leaps every day.

Armstrong's notebook

Inspiration from the lunar surface: Leaders at Purdue Galleries and the Barron Hilton Flight and Space Exploration Archives invited three artists to campus to view Neil Armstrong’s personal papers. They will use the Purdue astronaut’s collection as inspiration for an art exhibit that will open in March.


Purdue’s key role in the race to space: Michael G. Smith teaches a history course that traces the development of the space race and Purdue’s many connections to the American space program, including its 24 Boilermaker astronauts.

Farmer spraying pesticide.

Pesticides’ effects on sustainability: The story of toxic pesticides in America did not end with the 1972 ban on DDT. Across the U.S. and globe, pesticide use in farming still creates sustainability issues as we wrestle with how to feed a growing populace.


Expanding our environmental vocabulary: Assistant professor of anthropology Zoe Nyssa says that expanding our environmental vocabulary could potentially lead to more innovative responses to climate change.


Illuminating artistic possibilities: Faculty members in theatre and dance are collaborating on a project that allows performers, wearing motion sensors, to control the lights that illuminate the stage.

Artificial intelligence

Seeking an ethical balance in AI: Some believe that rapidly advancing technology will someday be the end of us. Associate professor of philosophy Daniel Kelly believes the opposite – that technology will continue to help humans evolve as a species.

Crash test

Broadening perspectives in STEM fields: In her “STEM and Gender” course, Sharra Vostral teaches students that broader perspectives can produce a superior brand of science.


Healthy decisions improve later life: Professor of Sociology Kenneth Ferraro focuses on the value that healthy decisions early in life can have as we age.


Evaluating connection between health, education: Sociology associate professor Shawn Bauldry studies the impact that children’s educational attainment can have on their parents’ health later in life.

Kid with melon

Design collective aims to do good: Design Good Now is a remote global design workshop that aims to develop solutions that assist the disabled.

Bush daughters

Insights from the White House: Former First Lady Barbara Bush and daughters Barbara and Jenna visited campus in October to discuss life in the White House.


Unique midterms ripe for analysis: With heated midterm elections upon us, this unique moment offers political scientists like Jay McCann an opportunity to engage students on the state of U.S. politics.


C-SPAN Center broadens archives’ scope: The year-old Center for C-SPAN Scholarship & Engagement brings network’s public-affairs mission into the classroom and community.


Global studies program designed to expand perspectives, perceptions: Launched in 2016, Purdue’s global studies major is an interdisciplinary program that teaches students about global issues like the environment, economy, gender, and race.


Reflections on the importance of teaching: Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award winner John Sundquist shares his thoughts on teaching in a THiNK Q&A.


Preserving Neil Armstrong’s legacy: Purdue Research Foundation executive Marcus Knotts, who holds Purdue degrees in English, creative writing, and psychology, is a member of a three-person committee entrusted with protecting late Boilermaker astronaut Neil Armstrong’s likeness.

Missy Lewis

Family’s Boilermaker ties run deep: Purdue Alumni Association board member Missy Lewis is proud to describe herself as a fourth-generation Boilermaker.

Distinguished alumni

Distinguished Alumni: Five distinguished College of Liberal Arts alumni are recognized for their contributions to society.

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