Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Student of the Month, Sarah Brondum
My name is Sarah Brondum. I was born in Tacoma, Washington before moving to Vacaville, California. Up until my father's retirement in 2013, he was an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel so we moved from base to base before settling in Monument, Colorado, the place I now call home. Currently, I am a fifth-year mechanical engineering student with a minor in business. I plan to graduate in December 2019.
Throughout my childhood, I was an avid swimmer, competing in both club and high school swim teams. When I started my degree in the fall of 2015, I made the decision to pair athletics with my degree. For the next two years, I competed on the CU club swim and dive team, making it to nationals my first year. Throughout those two years, I navigated the challenges that come with a rigorous academic load, dealing with the loss of a friend, working part-time at Career Services on campus starting my second year, and managing my own mental health.
In the summer of 2017, I was offered an internship in the oil and gas industry with the company, JT Thorpe. For the next 3 months, I lived in Northern California and worked 72 hour weeks on the Tesoro refinery. I was in charge of all timekeeping responsibilities, tracking about $8 million in labor charges, I shadowed a project manager and worked with project engineers on the job. The experience with JT Thorpe and a small engineering team, solving problems and watching those design solutions be implemented almost immediately, gave me a better sense of what I wanted to do with my degree.
While I wasn't jazzed in the oil and gas industry itself, I was drawn towards the small team dynamic and the challenge of holding multiple responsibilities at once. Starting my junior year of college, I continued working part-time with Career Services on top of my full academic load which eventually led to my next internship with CenturyLink.
Working as a planning intern with Centurylink allowed me to combine my engineering education and my minor in business. The job itself was a fantastic opportunity that I enjoyed for the year; however, while I loved the problem solving that comes with optimizing circuit routes, I quickly realized that sitting at a desk isn't my strong suit.
This past spring I continued my passion for art and took a class that paired me with an artist in Denver, Trey Duvall, where I worked as a shop assistant helping him with his numerous projects. That position helped me get back to my love for building and creating and ultimately led me to a manufacturing job. This last summer I worked with Folsom Custom Skis as a production intern. I helped build custom skis including graphic design, core construction, fiber layups, and product finishing. I also had the opportunity to help refurbish a mono ski press to a dual ski press. Currently, I am taking a step back from work to pursue my own art. Upon graduation in December, I am moving to Breckinridge, Colorado to work as a mountain safety attendant for the winter season. Afterward, I plan on either pursuing an MBA or I will join the workforce with a full-time job, hopefully working with start-ups or other entrepreneurs.