September 2, 2008

Purdue top pick of aerospace, defense industry recruiters

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University is the top choice of recruiters from the aerospace and defense industries, a new study by Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine finds.

For its 2008 Workforce Study, the magazine asked companies in those industries to list the top five institutions from which they recruit. Of the 64 schools mentioned, Purdue ranked at the top, moving up from No. 4 in the 2007 rankings and bumping last year's No. 1 choice, Pennsylvania State University, to second.

"We've been working very hard to provide our students with real-world, hands-on educational opportunities. I think we've succeeded in getting the word out to industry that we are doing that," said Tom Farris, head of Purdue's School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. "The Neil Armstrong Hall facilities, which opened in the fall of 2007, have also made a good impression."

Leah Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering, said, "Our faculty have maintained a strong commitment to education. This is reflected in the innovative learning experience that our AAE faculty have pioneered. The result is that our undergraduates are highly sought after."

According to Aviation Week, aerospace and defense industry recruiters look at criteria that include:

*Courses and methodologies universities offer; research and development projects under way; diversity.

*The performance of an institution's past graduates at their specific companies; the retention of its past graduates; and the level of acceptance of offers from companies to the graduates. 

Among the projects Purdue Aeronautics and Astronautics students are working on are unmanned vehicles and micro air vehicles and rockets. They also work with Indianapolis 500 race teams.

The top schools in the 2008 Aviation Week ranking are Purdue, No. 1; Penn State, No. 2; University of Illinois, University of Maryland and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and University, tied for No. 3; Georgia Institute of Technology, No. 4; Arizona State University, Ohio State University, University of California Los Angeles, University of California San Diego and University of Washington, tied for No. 5.

The top three graduate schools in the survey are Georgia Tech, Purdue and UCLA.

"We've gotten lots of feedback from friends and alumni about the top ranking, and they are very pleased," Farris said. "Aviation Week is the primary magazine for our discipline."

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, (765) 494-2432,

Sources: Tom Farris, (765) 494-5117,  

Leah Jamieson, (765) 494-5346,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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