Selfless senior improves Lafayette Zoo, Industrial Roundtable - Purdue Exponent: Campus

Selfless senior improves Lafayette Zoo, Industrial Roundtable

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Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 10:00 am

One Purdue senior has come a long way from working his first job at Six Flags Great America to impacting the lives of Purdue students.

Trevor Dowd, a senior in the College of Engineering, has played a part in increasing the size of Industrial Roundtable and improving the exhibits offered at the Columbian Park Zoo in Lafayette. He will be graduating in May with a degree in electrical engineering.

Dowd applied to Purdue with little intent on attending, but after touring multiple times, it began to feel like home. Dowd described the atmosphere of Purdue as, “We’re so glad you’re here.”

By holding various leadership roles in Industrial Roundtable and Purdue Engineering Student Council, Dowd’s time at Purdue has made him more confident and less timid.

Karen Rockwell, a junior in the College of Engineering who has worked with Dowd on the Council, described Dowd’s motivation.

“He’s genuinely passionate about other people. In everything he does, he wants to help (others) succeed,” said Rockwell. “When he was the director of (Industrial Roundtable), he wanted to help students so badly to find their dream job.”

Dowd’s participation in Industrial Roundtable stemmed from his involvement in Purdue Engineering Student Council, which he joined as a freshman. He initially worked on the registration team but then worked as director his sophomore year. Dowd described his experience as the equivalent of attending school and having a full time job. Dowd’s passion for job fairs and helping others is a quirky combination.

“I was and still am really passionate about job fairs, which is a weird (interest),” said Dowd, laughing. “It was my life for way longer than it should have been. I loved being in the process.”

Dowd fills most of his time working with clubs and organizations rather than with personal hobbies.

“The things that I like to do most feel like they’re making a difference. When I first got on the team for (Industrial Roundtable) registration, the Industrial Roundtable before was (around) 260 companies, and when I was director we had 375 (companies),” said Dowd.

By adding these companies, Dowd was able to make an impact on students’ lives. Each company added to Industrial Roundtable opened up about a dozen internship and career offers to students − offers students may not have had if not for Dowd and his team.

Dowd’s senior engineering design project also focuses on giving back to the community and another passion of his: working with the Columbian Park Zoo in Lafayette. Dowd and his Engineering Projects in Community Service team are designing a key system that unlocks various interactive components at the zoo. Zoo attendees will be able to purchase or rent the key. The components will have a rolling release; the first will be a birdcall matching game for children.

Dowd has also helped with previous projects that benefited the zoo by working in Engineering Projects in Community Service. He was part of the team that created a primate biscuit feeder, which Dowd described as a Simon Says game for monkeys. As the team leader, he has also run the lab for the Columbian Park Zoo Engineering Projects in Community Service team for the past two years.

Rockwell’s impression of Dowd is applicable to anyone he has made an impact on throughout his time at Purdue.

“If I look back in a couple years at Purdue and think of who helped me the most, who saw the most potential (in me) and helped me grow, it would be Trevor for sure,” said Rockwell.

After graduation, Dowd will be moving to Dallas to begin his career at Texas Instruments working with digital light processing.

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