John Tolley, December 25, 2016

What comes to mind when you think of Purdue? Is it the fact that the university is often called the ?Cradle of Astronauts?? Who could blame you when 23 NASA-selected elites call Purdue Alma mater?

Yet, as proud as Purdue is of its astronaut alums, the dynamic university has always been more than a one-trick pony. Since its founding in 1869 as a land-grant college, Purdue has dedicated itself to advancing research in and understanding of the STEM fields. Today the university boasts a top-flight aeronautics program and one of the nation?s premier engineering schools.

Our 2016 Purdue University LiveBIG vignettes, collected below, stand as a testament to the Boilermakers? relentless pursuit of innovative ideas that contribute to the common good.


Boiler up, up and away at the Hangar of the Future: BTN LiveBIG

For most people, having airplanes constantly taking off and landing close by wouldn?t make for ideal learning conditions. But for Purdue University grad student Amadou Anne, it?s heaven.

?It?s just great to just be in this environment, especially if you like planes, like I do,? said Anne, who?s studying aerospace and aviation management at Purdue?s Hangar of the Future. ?I mean, not many universities have their own airports and operate them on this scale like we do, so it?s just awesome.?


At Purdue, a big goal leads to a 'tiny' home: BTN LiveBIG

It was a simple question, but by no means an easy one to answer: How do you want to change the world?

Kirk Alter, an associate professor at Purdue University, put that query before the students in his Monday night class in sustainable construction. And putting their heads together, those students came up with a plan.

?This year they decided they wanted to look at the community, and they wanted to address the issue of housing,? Alter said. ?Specifically, housing for people in three demographics: the homeless, people re-entering [society] from prison and battered women.?

To help address those issues, the students wanted to build a tiny home, a showcase for the growing movement that says ?build better, not bigger.?


Purdue students develop a potentially 'world-changing' device: BTN LiveBIG

Frangos and three other teammates designed and built the Wheelchair Access Assistant, a two-in-one invention that grants previously wheelchair-bound individuals a greater sense of mobility, stability and independence.

The design not only integrates an easy-to-assemble walker into the structure of a common wheelchair, but also incorporates a motorized seat lift to allow for seamless transition between the two.


Pilots with disabilities soar via Able Flight program at Purdue: BTN LiveBIG

Since 2006, the Able Flight program has been providing scholarships and training that allow people with a range of disabilities to fulfill their dreams of flying. And, every year, from May through July, Purdue plays host to the program, welcoming another class of aviators, some deaf, some missing limbs, others who require the use a wheelchair, but who all share a passion for planes and the open sky.