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Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

New student finds home at IUPUI

July 22, 2015

Incoming freshman Gillian Bundles is getting a head start on her IUPUI career, working with Engineering and Technology faculty member Andres Tovar in this summer’s Diversity Research Scholars Program.

Incoming freshman Gillian Bundles is getting a head start on her IUPUI career, working with Engineering and Technology faculty member Andres Tovar in this summer’s Diversity Research Scholars Program.

Gillian Bundles is used to dealing with obstacles. The incoming freshman in the School of Engineering and Technology overcame major challenges to become the 2015 valedictorian of Broad Ripple High School, an achievement that merited financial support from the School of Engineering and Technology and the IUPUI Senior Academy.

Bundles also earned a spot in this summer’s Diversity Scholars Research Program as a member of mechanical engineering faculty member Andres Tovar’s research team, exploring vehicle safety.

But her biggest accomplishment was overcoming homelessness after her mother departed, leaving Bundles with her aunt, and relying on the support of family and friends that provided places to eat, sleep and study.

“Gillian has an amazing story,” said Terri Talbert Hatch, the School of Engineering and Technology’s assistant dean of student services. “She obviously is an excellent student, but to overcome the things she has faced in her life is truly compelling. She doesn’t let it define her.”

Despite her status as a 21st Century Scholar, her college plans were up in the air throughout much of her high school career.

“I knew I wanted to stay in state. Plus, I’ve been in Indianapolis my whole life, and I love the feel of being in a city,” Bundles said. The Indianapolis location, plus the School of Engineering and Technology’s reputation in mechanical engineering, put IUPUI high up on her radar screen.

“I love physics, math and science. I wanted to pursue a career that involves circuitry and electronics,” she said. “IUPUI offered me all of that.”

A visit to the campus -- and a trip to the Campus Center -- sealed the deal. “It is such a great place,” she said. “I felt at home right away.”

Talbert Hatch arranged for Bundles to move into the Purdue House, one of the school’s residential buildings in Riverwalk Apartments, for the Diversity Scholars Research Program. When the Summer Bridge program begins in August, she’ll move into University Tower with other freshmen, and live on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics floor in The Tower.

Diversity Scholars Research Program, supervised by the Center for Research and Learning, teamed her with Tovar, and the work is both challenging and intriguing to her.

“It gives me so much to do, and allows me to be responsible for getting things done,” she said. “It’s been great to spend this summer living in the same place with students who are just like me, passionate about math and science and STEM programs. It will be fun this fall, too.”