Bronco Spotlight: Kayla Burch
TRACK Engineer at General Motors
I am currently on the quality team as a metallurgist for GM. I analyze camshafts, connecting rods, and oil pumps for rust and other defects. I then cut camshafts and measure them under a microscope and check their microstructure to make sure that our parts will be and are in spec. I also help with any projects that arise within the plant.
If you had a campus job or internship, how did that impact your career development?
I worked as a student secretary in the industrial engineering department office. In this role, I was able to interact with several different professors and other faculty members. This allowed me to grow and become more comfortable with public speaking and talking to others about engineering. Networking with the faculty was very important because that was how I landed my first internship with General Motors. General Motors ended up giving me a job offer for after graduation before my internship was even completed.
What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
I was a board member for Society of Women Engineers. Being heavily involved in SWE helped me network with faculty, staff, students, and other professionals within Michigan. The faculty at WMU, especially Dr. Butt and Dr. Ramrattan, were very helpful in giving me letters of recommendations and giving out my resume to companies looking to hire. Being a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Tau Beta Pi also helped in preparing me for my career. I am very grateful for all of the opportunities I received because of these organizations and individuals.
Which of your skills had the biggest impact on your success?
I think my determination and stubbornness had the biggest impact on my success. I refused to give up and I was determined to figure out how to complete every last problem on homework and to understand the how and why of every example in class.
What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours?
First, never give up. It is a very challenging major and some days are worse than others, but there are many people at WMU that are willing to help when you need it. Second, get involved with any and all RSO’s that you can. You will find study buddies and great friends within them. The organizations were also a great way to learn things hands on in a way that the classroom could not. Third, do not freak out if you do not get an internship right away. This degree requires you to learn difficult topics and that takes some time.