Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

May 16, 2014

Purdue College of Technology leaves graduates equipped for workforce

Twenty-five students graduated Wednesday evening

The day after walking across the stage to accept her degree, Purdue University College of Technology graduate Erica Norris already is putting to use her bachelor in science in computer and information technology.

Norris was part of a small but proud group that earned their degrees from the Purdue College of Technology in Kokomo Wednesday evening. Fourteen students in the 25-person graduating class accepted bachelor’s degrees or certificates in five technology-related areas at the Indiana University Kokomo campus.

Since last October, Norris has worked at Chrysler’s plant in Tipton as an IT Manufacturing support specialist, and she will have even more opportunities there with her new degree.

“I started as a contract [employee] because they don’t hire full-time workers without a degree,” said Norris, 26, who started the “long haul” of earning a college degree in 2006. “A lot of the stuff we did [in class], I’ve actually done [on the job]. Sometimes you take classes and think ‘I’ll never use this again,’ but it was actually really aligned so that was nice.”

After working and attending classes part-time, Norris finally finished her bachelor’s degree requirements in December while earning an associate degree in graphics at Purdue along the way. Wednesday’s graduation ceremony was meaningful to her because of the people who came to show their support, her father, step-father, brothers and childhood friend.

“A lot of people supported me,” Norris said. “They were there and were proud of me.”

Andrew Schaffer, associate dean of Purdue’s statewide College of Technology, and Jeffrey Griffin, director of the College of Technology in Kokomo, handed graduates their diplomas. Jason Murray, A&I site manager for Chrysler Group LLC, who also is an alumnus of Purdue’s Kokomo campus, welcomed the former students as alumni.

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