HAMMOND | Dyer resident Rachel Lewandowski is an example of motivation meeting educational opportunities in anticipation of a successful career.
While finishing her undergraduate studies at Purdue University Calumet before graduating this week, she also has been job interviewing and training the student intern who will succeed her in the university’s Office of Human Resources.
Lewandowski, 28, initially enrolled at PUC in 2003, but after a year took a five-year hiatus. Working in restaurant management, she came to realize her future lay in the human resources field.
“I was doing a lot of the HR tasks – hiring, training, etc.,” she said. “I knew then that this was where I belonged. I came back to Purdue Calumet in 2009 to work on my bachelor’s degree in human resources management.”
She credits two experiential learning classes for preparing her for the work world. An internship in the university’s Human Resources Department has provided insights to her career path, while a management class taught by Assistant Professor of Leadership Rachel Clapp-Smith helped her develop crucial leadership skills.
In the management class, she led a team of peers conducting a toy drive and renewed contacts within the Society of Human Resources Management while making new ones via LinkedIn, which prompted her job interviews.
“Rachel is very positive and enthusiastic about her time at Purdue Calumet, and she has used many of the experiential learning opportunities available here,” PUC Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Beth Pellicciotti said.
Having financed her college education herself, Lewandowski understands the difficulties many students face. But with the right frame of mind, motivation and an eye toward the future, the dream of working in a career one truly loves can be a reality, she said.
“This is what should happen if you excel, do the (experiential learning) classes and study,” Lewandowski, who has achieved Dean’s List academic status and gained selection to Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities, said. “College is not a false promise.”
While job hunting, Lewandowski is also planning a wedding next spring.
“I would like to get into the corporate work world, and I know it takes many steps to get there, but I am definitely on my way,” she said. “Purdue University Calumet has equipped me with all the essential educational tools and real life experience to do so.”