Circuits and music: engineering student creates energy in and out of the classroom

What happens when you combine a love for a physics course assignment and the musical talent required to play the piccolo in college? Well at Western Michigan University, you get junior Jillian Bright, who came to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences to study mechanical engineering.

During her first physics course, what resonated most was the circuits section; and her path to becoming an electrical engineer began.

“I love the electrical engineering major because it allows me to learn about the world in a way I didn’t understand before. This major is my path to improving efficiency and accessibility of renewable energy,”says Bright, who envisions herself working at an energy company after she graduates. “I’m so glad I picked WMU—mostly for the insane number of experiences available that provide hands-on opportunities around every corner in labs, student organizations, research opportunities, internships and co-ops, and in unexpected places, such as (residence) life.”

Access to endless activities allows Bright to not only pursue her dream career but to participate in a much-loved talent as part of the Bronco Marching Band. The piccolo player and section leader says she was hooked on music since choosing to play the flute in sixth grade.

“I've been so lucky to be a part of Bronco Marching Band,” Bright says, adding that it is a big time commitment and requires her to be organized to get everything done and done well. “To balance this, I find it important to have a few people or friends on each side—music and academics—to help stay on track of any assignments and commitments.”

Those commitments include her work with Engineers Without Borders. Bright is part of a local team that works with businesses in and around Kalamazoo to raise awareness about how engineering can be beneficial to all types of organizations. For more information, subscribe to the group's podcast "Untitled Engineering Project" or listen now.

“I am drawn to this organization because of its ties throughout communities near and far, all through using engineering to help others,” she says.

Bright admits that as busy as she is, it is part of what she loves most about being a Bronco.

“WMU is a place you can make your own. Embracing opportunities is what WMU is all about.” 

Video of Bronco Marching Band Intro Video 2017

Western Michigan University's Bronco Marching Band, consisting of just under 300 members under the direction of Dr. Trey Harris, is recognized for its excellence in musical performance, fast-paced drill movements, and high energy entertainment. Comprised of students from virtually every academic discipline at the University, the band continues to build upon its strong tradition of musical excellence and first-class entertainment. In addition to the halftime shows for the Bronco football fans at home, the Bronco Marching Band supports our football team on select road trips, regularly performs in exhibition at area high schools and presents its annual “Season in Review” concert at Miller Auditorium on the campus of WMU. The band's performances are met with great acclaim.

Learn more about becoming a member of the Bronco Marching Band