HAMMOND | Within the changing climate of higher education, more at the beginning can turn out to mean less at the end.
Just ask Hannah Nava, who graduated this spring from Purdue University Calumet after just three years of campus study.
When the Schererville resident enrolled at PUC in 2011, she had 18 hours of academic credit thanks to Advanced Placement and dual credit courses at Lake Central High School, as well as having tested out of two semesters of Spanish.
A steady diet of 15- to 18-credit-hour semesters, plus summer session courses, earned her a cap and gown for May 10 commencement ceremonies.
“I think graduating early will give me an advantage over my peers,” said the 21-year-old English writing major, who looks forward to a career in public relations.
The opportunity for her to attend college close to home and minimize expenses made PUC an appealing choice for her, she said, as well as her brother Zach, an engineering major on track to graduate next year.
Also appealing to Nava was PUC’s Honors Program, for which she has served on the Executive Board and has chaired the program’s Community Events outreach initiative.
“The program has enabled me to study different topics and become more well-rounded,” she said. “The experiences have been fantastic, and I’ve made lifelong friends.”
PUC Honors Program Director John Rowan said, “Hannah has in many ways been a model Honors student. Academically, she has excelled.
"However, her success extends well beyond the academic realm. In her role as chair of Community Events, she managed a committee which over the last year has generated a record amount of donations for and awareness of several charitable causes.”
Hannah also has been active as a Supplemental Instructor and campus tour guide. Away from campus, she has held a variety of part-time jobs and has been interning since January with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gary.
“I came here initially to be an English teacher,” she said. “But then I decided to switch to writing — something I’ve always been passionate about — and have had a wonderful experience. I love this campus.”