When Matthew Migliorini thinks about the first time he visited Purdue University North Central, he admits that he had no idea the impact that the university would have on his life.
Migliorini is a member of the Class of 2016, the final graduating class of Purdue University North Central, as the university unifies with Purdue University Calumet to become Purdue University Northwest.
And he participated in the first commencement ceremonies in the new James B. Dworkin Student Services and Activities Complex. The event had special meaning for Migliorini as he was part of in the building’s groundbreaking ceremony in October 2014.
“I feel honored to be part of the graduating class that will forever be known as the first class to graduate in the SSAC and the last graduating class of Purdue University North Central,” he said. “Participating in the groundbreaking ceremony still feels surreal. I look forward to the day when I can bring my children or grandchildren to the SSAC to watch the Pride play basketball or volleyball and to tell them the history of the building, how I was there for the groundbreaking and watched it go up beam by beam.”
Graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Electrical Engineering, Migliorini will soon begin a full-time job as a mechanical design engineer with Flying-S Inc., in Palestine, Ill. The Flying-S team designs and manufactures parts for the aerospace industry where there is no room for error. Some projects include carbon fiber components for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) airframe structures and components for ICON Aircraft.
“I came to PNC knowing practically nobody. I knew my key to not being homesick, was to make PNC feel like home,” he explained. “I got involved with the Dean’s Leadership Group, Rotaract Club, Tennis Club, Circle K International and Student Government Association. For the past four years, I was the campus chairman of the car and bike show every fall semester. The funds we raised were donated to the Warriors First Foundation of Westville.”
These opportunities had a lasting impact.
“Being involved with Student Government changed my life,” he reflected. “It was much more than I expected. One great experience was attending a Board of Trustees meeting in West Lafayette and presenting a report on the behalf of PNC. At the same meeting, the new Student Services and Activities Complex was approved for construction.”
Other campus memories include being part of a campus Circle K team that volunteered with Rebuilding Together La Porte County to help build a handicap ramp for a low-income family.
“What we accomplished was incredible and amazing,” he recalled.
When possible, he would walk the trails in the campus woods or eat lunch by the pond. “This made me feel at home,” he said.
Migliorini wanted to share his positive campus experience with others to show them what they could accomplish. “I became a tour guide to show high school and middle school students how great the North Central campus is, tell them my story and why I chose this university. It was my way of helping the next generation make a critical decision that will change their lives. Purdue North Central changed my life for the better. I have grown as a community member, engineering student, leader and friend.”
In the classroom, the engineering program prepared him for his career.
“The labs and presentations gave me a hands-on experience to help me learn some of the most complex topics,” he said.
For example, his senior design project teamed him with two other engineering students to form a mock engineering company. Mechanical, electrical and civil engineering students were given the same problem--to design a control system to transport fuel used for a radar surveillance system in northern Canada and Alaska with temperatures reaching -70 degrees F.
“Each team created a design proposal and gave a presentation to a panel of judges,” he continued. “This project created engineers ready for real-world problems.”
As a student who thrives on keeping busy, he has no idea how he is able to fit everything in his day, “I remember being asked how I manage my time. I said “that this was a great question. I wish I knew the answer.’ “
But through it all, Migliorini takes pride in “keeping promises and being a reliable person.”
And he is quick to recognize those who helped him along the way, noting, “I would not be where I am today without the support of my family and PNC students, faculty, staff and administration.”
His advice to fellow students is simple, “Never settle for the minimum. Don’t be afraid to aim higher than your expectations. We may do things because they feel comfortable, but when small risks are taken from time to time, the end result may be shocking.”