Industrial Engineering Graduate: “Nowhere else in the country could I have had the extraordinary experience that I have had here in Purdue.”

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana – Julianna Hachenski has excelled in virtually every subject in elementary, middle and high school, from science and math to computer science and Spanish, and has won a slew of awards. The freshman at Saratoga Springs High School in upstate New York was drawn to engineering because of the seemingly limitless possibilities.

But her future didn’t lie in studying at one of the many Ivy League schools within a half-day drive from her hometown — even after she’d been accepted into ten colleges, including Princeton, Cornell, and a number of other big- Ten Universities. Hachenski had to be a boilermaker.

On the eve of early spring 2023 this weekend, which confirmed her giant leap as a graduate of Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, Hachenski would not change her decision four years ago to attend this Big Ten university. And she believes her time here has prepared her well, as she begins her career as an industrial engineer with the Boston Consulting Group in Durham, North Carolina this fall.

Julianna Hachenski, member of the Purdue class of ’23. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood) Download image

“Nowhere else in the country could I have had the extraordinary experience that I have had here in Purdue. And if I were to do it again, I would make the exact same decision. I would do the same,” she says.

Many options = Purdue Engineering

Hachenski, the eldest daughter of two Michigan State University engineering graduates, initially focused on computer science, software engineering and business. To test these interests, she completed a computer science internship as a high school student. Although she enjoyed programming and problem solving, she found that a career in computer science wasn’t in her DNA.

“When I first started researching colleges and figuring out what I wanted to do, I was torn between the idea of ​​having a business background and being able to understand how companies think about issues, how finances come into play and how it comes to bringing things to market “Coming into the game and at the same time having the passion as an engineer to understand exactly how things work and how a system interacts on the technical side,” she says.

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Visiting colleges throughout the East and Midwest, she immersed herself in the campus cultures that gave her challenges during her undergraduate studies, opportunities to connect with potential employers and graduates, and—just as importantly—life to enjoy outside of the classroom. But where should she study? And where would she put her credentials as the year-best in her high school class of 536 students and a multitude of academic and extracurricular achievements?

Enter Purdue.

During her campus visit, she was struck by the many opportunities, especially the enthusiasm for the Industrial Roundtable, the Purdue Student Engineering Council’s annual job fair that attracts over 400 companies and 12,000 students. She learned about internship opportunities, alumni returning to campus to visit students, industry seminars, and other networking activities. Meeting with a sophomore in industrial engineering gave her a more personal look at the broader Purdue experience.

“While I wasn’t technically there yet, I could see that the Purdue students seemed excited to be here. They spoke with great interest about their classes and being able to work on group projects and attend sporting events,” she says. “There was so much more to the Purdue experience. That didn’t appeal to me at other universities.”

She was so confident that Purdue was in her future that she bought a Boilermaker t-shirt and wore it to school the next week. “I showed up to my high school classes in my Purdue t-shirt, and my teachers and friends were shocked and said, ‘You can’t go to Purdue — you got accepted to Princeton and Cornell,'” Hachenski says.

More than just an engineering track

In customizing her Purdue experience, she focused on academics in the rigorous engineering program, but complemented this with social activities outside of the classroom. Her decision to study industrial engineering crystallized. She loved how it brought together the broad business worlds of integrated systems, engineering, information, technology, software, manufacturing and other concepts with that human element. Not to mention the career opportunities.

To validate this path, she landed four internships at three companies – General Mills, Land O’Lakes and The Walt Disney Co. – during her time at Purdue, giving her the value of 14 months of hands-on experience. She gained insights in areas such as strategic sourcing, analysis, industry assessments, budget proposals, software purchasing, supply chain management and more.

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“I just fell in love with the idea of ​​purdue studying industrial engineering. It ticked all the boxes on my list,” she says. “And I discovered that I enjoyed focusing on the supply chain.”

Between her homework and maybe a few hours of sleep a night, Hachenski has lived her quest to be a well-rounded Purdue graduate and has been involved in her extracurricular activities in a variety of roles:

She volunteered for the Women in Engineering program, where she expressed her thoughts on what it’s like for future boilermakers to live on campus. Project manager at PurdueTHINK providing consulting for campus organizations. Member of Paint Crew and Ross-Ade Brigade for student divisions at basketball and football games. Ambassador for Admissions, where she oversaw the Welcome Center and acted as a weekly tour guide.

Alyssa Wilcox, the Purdue President’s senior vice president of partnerships and chief of staff, and her husband, Michael, associate director of Purdue Extension, met Hachenski four years ago when word broke in their hometown that she wanted to be a boilermaker. Michael’s family lives in Saratoga Springs and during a visit he and Alyssa decided to meet her to answer any questions she might have.

“Michael and I reached out to Julianna and were immediately struck by her enthusiasm for Purdue and her drive to succeed. We exchanged contact information and let Julianna know we would be available if she ever needed anything – a home away from home,” says Alyssa. Michael adds, “We haven’t heard from her because it turns out Purdue has become her ‘home’. As a Saratogian and Purdue alumnus, I am extremely pleased and not surprised that everything went so smoothly for Julianna.”

Time management challenges

Still, the transition from the high school bubble to the frenetic academic culture of the college has been a major challenge for Hachenski. She points to the lessons she’s learned in honing her time management skills and balancing competing priorities. “I’ve always had good time management. But in Purdue, it has skyrocketed to this tremendous extent,” she says. “I had to learn to manage with the times. Luckily, I learned that when I was a freshman.”

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She also gained an understanding of the essential role communication plays in STEM programs—and Purdue’s COM 114 requirement for all engineering students. Hachenski can’t think of a week when she didn’t have to give, or at least prepare, a presentation for one of her courses, confirming why all graduates need to be proficient in public speaking. “Communication is the most important skill I’ve seen in the industry and in my experience,” she says, offering advice to other Purdue students.

Successfully complete as Boilermaker

Hachenski doesn’t slow down one bit, running hard until the end of her final hours as a Purdue student. “Yes it’s all good. Everything will be taken care of,” she says. In the weeks leading up to graduation, she gave three presentations, submitted four reports, and had countless final project reviews with classmates.

“All of that combined — the extracurricular activities, the athletics, the community, the collaborative classes, the internships, the networking — is what I think is the most incredible and special thing about Purdue,” she says. “Upcoming graduation is the greatest college experience I can have. And I couldn’t be more grateful for that.”

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a leading public research organization developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked as one of the top 10 most innovative universities in the United States by US News & World Report for the past five years, Purdue offers world-changing research and extraordinary discoveries. Purdue is committed to real-world, hands-on and online learning, providing transformative education for all. Purdue is committed to affordability and accessibility and has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-2013 levels, allowing more students than ever to graduate debt-free. Visit to see how Purdue never stops searching for the next big leap.

Author: Phillip Fiorini, [email protected], 765-430-6189

Media Contacts: Tim Doty, [email protected], Trevor Peters, [email protected]