A Bachelor’s degree in Business leads alum to career in community and economic development
As a student, Stephen Eastridge knew that an internship would allow him to explore his interest in the field of economics, so he sought advice from one of his professors at the Purdue University Northwest campus in Westville.
Eastridge explained, “I knew I needed to get a better idea of my career possibilities in the field of economics, so I approached Derek Bjonback (associate professor of Business and Finance) about my options. He asked me to work on some local and regional economic research with him and from there my interest in economic development grew.”
Together they did a cluster analysis for the Economic Development Corporation Michigan City (EDCMC) and Eastridge continued digging into research in an independent study class to do an economic base analysis and a shift-share analysis on La Porte County.
This led to an internship with the EDCMC, which soon led to a salaried position.
Eastridge, formerly of Valparaiso, graduated in December, 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business with concentrations in Accounting and Economics. Soon after, he accepted a position as a development analyst with the Cincinnati, Ohio Department of Community and Economic Development Major Projects Team.
An active career in community and economic development
His department provides and leverages funding and resources to support quality housing, neighborhood revitalization and human services throughout the city’s 52 neighborhoods. Eastridge focuses on three vial neighborhoods, working on housing projects that equal more than $5 million in investment and economic development projects that represent more than $5 million in investment and the creation of 100 jobs.
Giving credit to his professors
Each day on the job, Eastridge uses knowledge and abilities that he learned in his Purdue classes. He is quick to thank his professors for all they did for him.
“There were times when I was struggling to find something I was interested in, trying to adjust to the rigor of the coursework and I found my professors were willing to help me. That made a huge difference for me and my eventual success,” he said. “Bjonback and Tony Sindone (clinical assistant professor of Finance and Economic Development) were the two most influential people for me. I keep in contact with both of them.”
“I would advise all students to connect with their professors. Being engaged made a world of a difference.”
Eastridge is settled in and getting to know Cincinnati. “I enjoy being active in the community. The city has a lot of volunteer opportunities, it is a great way to be engaged.”