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Taking Gratitude into Account

Lukia Chen

Student support takes on new meaning when that support comes from a student. 

Consider the extraordinary example of an international student from China who donated $1,000 won in a business case competition to a Purdue student organization that she helped found.

Lukia Chen — with majors in accounting, finance and supply chain information and analytics — didn’t have a second thought about what to do with her windfall winnings and gave her entire share of the hard-won prize money to the Purdue Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), which she helped establish in 2014. 

“Giving to an organization that I helped start for the benefit of other students was a really meaningful way to use my award winnings,” she says. “I also gave in memory of a good friend and for all the people who have helped and inspired me here at Purdue.”

One of those people is Troy Janes, a Krannert clinical assistant professor, who sparked Lukia's interest in forensic accounting, which helps bring to justice the likes of Bernie Madoff, Enron executives, and other perpetrators of financial fraud.

“Professor Janes has been a big influence from the start, and he inspired me to get involved on campus and to give back,” Lukia says.

Working with Janes, Lukia was recommended for and received the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Ritchie-Jennings Scholarship and the 25th ACFE Global Fraud Conference Scholarship.

Lukia got excited about forensic accounting and then networked with people about starting an ACFE chapter at Purdue,” says Janes, who now serves as the chapter’s advisor.

“She did all the work, sold it like crazy, and got others involved in bringing the new student organization here. She was the driving force. And boy is she good at getting stuff done!”

Janes says behind Lukia's quiet, soft-spoken demeanor is a ferocious competitor and a passionate advocate for the causes and interests she embraces — including case competitions. 

In fact, Lukia’s gift stemmed from a first place, $5,000 victory in the inaugural Kraft Data Dive competitionLukia and four other Krannert undergrad underdogs beat teams of MBA students from other Big Ten and Chicago-area business schools. 

“We trusted our teammates, we believed in teamwork, and we kept persisting and working hard until the last minute of competition,” Lukia says of the victory.

“She’ll be fabulous at whatever she wants to do,” Janes says. “She has the drive and desire to succeed at whatever she sets her mind on.”

By her own account, Lukia says she’s received much more than she’s given.

“Purdue has given me a sense of belonging, and I always want to give something back to Purdue. And I am proud to be a Boilermaker!”