Mines Staff

Brett Shearer: "My internship provided me with excellent mentors and introduced me to real-life electrical engineering..."

Gig Harbor, Washington
Electrical Engineering Student
Brett Shearer

Why did you choose to come to Mines? What have you enjoyed most about being here?

I feel very, very fortunate to be at Mines. I returned to school in my thirties to pursue a career as an engineer. After one year of community college, I looked for a 4-year university in a major metropolitan area with ties to industry and high job placement rates.

By far, my favorite thing about Mines is the quality of the people. We Orediggers have an extraordinary community. That includes students, faculty, administration and almost everyone else on this campus. Mines is a special place full of extraordinary people.

Tell us about something you're working on right now that you find exciting, fulfilling or challenging.

The most fulfilling thing I'm working on right now is pursuing a career as an engineer after I graduate. I have made a conscious effort to "participate" at Mines, and that has led to experiential learning opportunities through clubs, internships and networking. It's very fulfilling and exciting to see beyond graduation now and think more directly about a career as an engineer!

Have you done an internship or co-op or been in a professional job while at Mines? Tell us who you worked for and what you were doing. What stands out?

I have interned with Xcel Energy during my time at Mines. I worked as an engineering intern in field operations and also with the energy efficiency engineering team. Xcel provided me with excellent engineering mentors and introduced me to real-life electrical engineering in action. I was able to analyze projects, improve certain processes and spend time working in the field at power plants and substations.

What communities, groups or organizations—on- and off-campus—are important to you and why?

The most important group has been the community within the electrical engineering department. I see the same faces regularly and have developed strong relationships with faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students. A Mines education is wonderful but difficult, and there is no reason to do it alone. Everybody benefits from working together and helping each other. The EE department is very much a home away from home and I have learned so much and built some wonderful relationships.

What are your plans for the future? What's your dream job?

My plan is to become a helluva electrical engineer! My coursework and experiential learning have shown me I would really like to be in the field. My goal is to pursue those types of opportunities, which mostly occur in large industrial settings such as power plants, shipping ports, energy processing plants or other large infrastructure.

What would you tell someone interested in joining your academic program or Mines in general?

I would tell someone interested in joining Mines or EE that Mines is a wonderful and unique place. It's not for everybody, but if you are genuinely interested in engineering or hard sciences, are academically prepared and enjoy the Front Range, you will not find a better place than Mines. If you are interested in EE, Mines will give you a first-rate EE education and prepare you for anything you could want to do in the field. I would also strongly encourage any student to actively participate in the Mines and EE communities. If you genuinely participate and become part of the community, you will have a list of great experiences, great friends and great mentors on top of a great education!

What's your favorite thing to do outside of class and coursework? How do you unwind, manage stress, find fulfillment, etc.?

I am an older, non-traditional student and I have a family at home. My favorite thing to do is just spend time with them and explore Colorado and the surrounding states. I've gone hiking, biking, ice fishing and snowmobiling since I came to Golden.

Tell us something about you that most people would be surprised to learn.

I am a licensed attorney in the state of Washington, and I can speak French conversationally.


Mines Staff

About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public R1 research university focused on applied science and engineering, producing the talent, knowledge and innovations to serve industry and benefit society – all to create a more prosperous future.