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

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Adding to the conversation: Matthew Kroll, a postdoctoral researcher in philosophy, is preparing to launch “The Grindstone” podcast this spring. He hopes the show’s conversations on philosophical topics will be a way to engage with a new audience about the discipline.

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Take me out to the ballgame: 150th Anniversary Professor Randy Roberts is teaming up with a professor from Purdue Global to teach an online course on baseball history exclusively designed for Purdue alumni.

Helping artists CREATE: A grant program will help four composers in the Rueff School collaborate with a local choral group to record their compositions.

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New chair of Theatre department: Ann Shanahan joined the Purdue faculty this year after teaching at Loyola University Chicago for 19 years.

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Meet Robin Stryker: The newest Distinguished Professor of Sociology, now leading the Law and Society graduate program, is carrying on a proud family tradition in her field of study.

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Avoiding risk on Super Sunday: Although themes of social responsibility were common in recent years, associate professor Josh Boyd observed that Super Bowl 53’s advertisements mostly featured lighter fare.

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Contemplating plants’ purpose: In two separate art exhibits at Pao Hall, visiting assistant professor Jennifer Scheuer and her colleagues used archival research to help convey a story.

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Just say no to straws: The first-place team in COM 114’s first-ever public speaking competition won resources to implement their plan to reduce straw usage on campus.

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Five questions with Jill Suitor: Newly appointed Distinguished Professor of Sociology discusses her family research and the graduate students who have been integral to the process.

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History professor, students reflect on Bushes’ visit: Kathryn Brownell’s “American Presidency” class got a unique opportunity to chat with former First Lady Laura Bush and daughters Jenna and Barbara when they visited campus in October 2018. Brownell and students Caroline Shanley and Katelyn Graham share their recollections of the visit.

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Art installation explores the intersection between technology and agriculture: Shannon McMullen and Fabian Winkler, leaders of the Electronic and Time-Based Art program in the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance, told the story of the soybean with their art installation at a documentary film festival in Amsterdam.

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Ringel Gallery exhibit questions technology's growing presence: Artist Björn Schülke presented his tech-centered exhibit, "Sentinel is Watching You," in conjunction with Purdue’s Dawn or Doom conference.

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Q&A with 2004 English graduate Andrea Pender: English graduate: 'Everyone needs someone who knows how to write'.

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Purdue students help Amelia Earhart’s niece with book project: Students Jessica Perkins and Rachel Small participated in an independent study program through Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies where they conducted research in the Amelia Earhart Collection that is housed in the Purdue Archives and Special Collections.

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Emerging Voice Award winner Blair Milo: EVA recipient Milo uses post to help fellow Indianans get to work.

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Emerging Voice Award winner Johnny Smith: EVA recipient Smith explores overlap between sports and culture.

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Emerging Voice Award winner Amy O’Shea: Sharing light with those in need.

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Emerging Voice Award winner Ina Kaur: Nostalgic feelings about Purdue remain for EVA recipient Kaur.

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Five ways to reduce the dangers of fakery during election season: Experts Jennifer Kavanagh, Walter Mebane, and Mikhail Atallah participated in an Advanced Methodologies at Purdue roundtable discussion that offered suggestions to create a fair, transparent voting process.

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.

Fall 2018 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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