Josie Sibley discussing coursework with another student outside Floyd Hall.

In Pursuit of it All

Growing up in Kalamazoo, Josie Sibley learned creativity and hard work from her dad. “I always thought he should have been an engineer because he can build anything.” And, after taking Calculus in high school, she knew the engineering field would be a good fit for her. 

But, with a passion for soccer, she also wanted to pursue her sport. 

Her high school soccer coach knew of a solution where Sibley would thrive in both academics and athletics—a 3/2 program that would allow her to play soccer at Kalamazoo College, then complete her education at WMU. Ultimately, Sibley will earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics and a minor in applied mathematics from Kalamazoo College as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Western.

“At Kalamazoo College I played collegiate soccer for three years. It was a great experience and was one of the main reasons I decided to do the 3/2 program. I met so many amazing people and made memories I will never forget,” says Sibley. “Now I am excited to learn more about the clubs WMU has to offer and make memories here.”

While coming from a small college to a large university during the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging, Sibley is already making friends and memories. Her favorite experience so far was working with other students on a team project. “It was special to me because it was the first time I really connected with others in my program. The thing I enjoyed the most was the fact that both of my partners were women. I was very happy to meet new friends and work virtually with other intelligent women.”

And during that first semester, Sibley also landed an internship with Summit Polymers, a leading automotive supplier, creating tools for interior car parts. “I learn more and more every day. The people I work with are amazing and always willing to teach me new things.”

After graduation, Sibley wants to create or advance technology to benefit the environment. “It excites me to continually strive for my goals and be a part of something that has a greater impact on the world," adding she hopes to eventually pursue a master’s in renewable energy or an MBA that will allow her to launch her own solar energy company.

And while Sibley is excited to continue her journey to becoming an engineer, she knows the challenges of a difficult curriculum is sometimes overwhelming. Her advice to students is to do their best and work hard but keep things in perspective.

“A lot of students in this field get very wrapped up in their work and are too hard on themselves. It’s very important to realize that your mental health is more important than your GPA. It took me a long time to realize that. As long as you keep going you will make it through.”