Engineering student designs her future at WMU

Contact: Lindsey Haehnel

Lily Kieliszewski

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—During a visit to Western Michigan University's campus during high school, Lily Kieliszewski discovered her passion for engineering design technology. Now with experiences as a student ambassador and two internships combined with a love for learning, Kieliszewski is preparing to enter this vast industry.  

Initially inspired to pursue mechanical engineering, Kieliszewski discovered the engineering design technology major during a panel discussion with College of Engineering and Applied Sciences alumni held during her WMU campus tour.  

“I had never heard of this degree before, but the more I heard from the speakers, I slowly realized that they were describing exactly what I was interested in,” says Kieliszewski. “Once that panel was over, I knew that I wanted to study engineering design technology at WMU.” 

Coming from the small town of Ubly in Michigan's "thumb," Kieliszewski was uncertain about enrolling in a larger university but was looking forward to discovering the wide variety of opportunities available at Western.   

“It was terrifying seeing how large the school was and it was tough to imagine making friends,” explains Kieliszewski. “However, everyone at WMU was incredibly welcoming, and I was able to make friends very quickly, especially at the engineering campus.” 

Now a junior, Kieliszewski is embracing all that Western has to offer including hands-on learning opportunities. One of her favorite courses was Machining Processing and Plastics Processing. This course gave her firsthand experience with machines in a lab that she learned about in lectures. “With classes like that, I don’t just feel like a student going through the motions. I feel like a student who loves learning,” says Kieliszewski. 

Along with experience-driven learning, one of the elements Kieliszewski likes best about the engineering design technology program is how it heavily integrates computer-aided design (CAD).  

“I truly love working with different CAD programs and learning about machining and manufacturing processes,” says Kieliszewski. “To me this is neat because as technology grows, we can grow with it.” 

Kieliszewski has completed an design engineering internship at Magna Exteriors. At Magna Exteriors, she learned about the design and manufacturing process of a vehicle and even about the car she drives to class. 

“I was able to go into the older files and find the design for my car that I drive. It was kind of a full circle moment,” says Kieliszewski. 

Through this opportunity, Kieliszewski learned how to apply the knowledge she gained in the classroom to professional projects. She enjoys understanding more about the design industry and getting to know more about herself and how she learns. Kieliszewski found her internship at Magna Exteriors through the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Engineering Expo where over 100 recruiters come to the Parkview campus seeking WMU students to fill internship, co-op and full-time positions. 

“My biggest recommendation for any engineer is go to the Fall Engineering Expo and get an internship,” says Kieliszewski. “They truly are a game changer.” 

Also serving as a student ambassador for the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Kieliszewski takes every opportunity to talk about her time at WMU. Through leading guided tours and running social media accounts, she enjoys promoting the various programs and experiences Western has to offer. 

“This has been an amazing opportunity to try to spread more information about our amazing environment here at Western,” explains Kieliszewski.  

After graduating, Kieliszewski plans to pursue a master’s in manufacturing engineering then become a design engineer. Although she learned a lot from her internships in the automotive industry, she is interested in expanding her knowledge in various fields of design.  

“I am currently trying to investigate the possible fields I can work in,” says Kieliszewski. “Long term, I see myself working with teams to fabricate goods that enhance life through increased efficiency or safety.” 

Kieliszewski is excited about the endless possibilities of engineering design technology, a degree she was happy to find at Western.  

“I also learned that life is too short to do something you’re not interested in,” says Kieliszewski. “After going to my internships and doing what I will be doing in my career, I am so thankful that I toured WMU and discovered the engineering design technology major.” 

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.