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On The Move

Spring 2011 | By Mackenzie Greenwell. Photo by Mark Simons.

moveLiberal arts majors, extracurricular activities, athleticism, and a love of travel are not the only things that Pauline Laorden and Michael Burbano have in common.

Both first-year students are among 30 recipients of Purdue’s first Emerging Urban Leaders Scholarships, which focus on students from Indianapolis Public Schools; public schools in Hammond, Gary, and East Chicago; and the Chicago Public Schools Corporation.

In high school Laorden, of Merrilville, Indiana, was involved in sports, student government, and civic organizations. During her junior year, Laorden served as president of STAND (Socially Together And Naturally Diverse), a club that promotes diversity within school and community through service and volunteer work.

“My involvement with STAND helped me focus on issues of culture and diversity in my community,” Laorden says. “It helped me realize that I want to be a leader and an example.” Laorden, who is majoring in communication and photography, has joined the Purdue Filipino Association and the Photography Club.

Burbano, of Chicago, also was involved in high school activities. He participated in soccer, wrestling, and cross-country; mentored freshman students; served as second vice president of the school’s Ecuadorian club; and ran for president of his senior class.

“Even though I didn’t win, the experience of running for class president made me realize I want to be a leader,” says Burbano, who is studying law and society. “The process let me know I can go the distance even if what I’m working toward is difficult.”

Burbano, who is now a member of Purdue’s Salsa Club, a Latino Cultural Center ambassador, and an international conversation partner, says leadership comes naturally, as his younger brother often looks to him for guidance.

“I’m really honored to be part of the first year of this scholarship,” Burbano says. “I’m just trying to return the favor by giving back as much as I can on campus.”

Adds Laorden, “I’m proud to represent Northwest Indiana and all its diversity. I want to take what I’ve learned about leadership and apply it to my time in college and beyond.”

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