Mines Staff

Joey Burckel: "During my internship, I was using what I learned in the classroom, in my work."

Colorado Springs, CO
Chemical Engineering Student
Joey Burckel

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

I chose to come to Mines because I enjoyed math and science and I knew it had a really good reputation. All of my older siblings came to Mines which gave me a good idea of what the college was like. I saw how they found really neat people through the classes and organizations they joined. The challenge of the courses and the community of students made it a place I wanted to attend.
What I have enjoyed most about being at Mines is the growth it promotes personally. I have seen myself change a lot throughout the years I have been here. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had, to come to this school without a clear idea of where I was headed or who I wanted to be. I met people who gave me space to grow as a person as I tried to be a lot of different things. Mines has not been easy, but there is something important in having to adapt and find what your values are when things get tough. And Mines has provided that challenge and that opportunity for me.

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

Something I am currently pursuing that is exciting to me is a minor in materials and metallurgical engineering. When I first began taking classes at Mines I began to notice that chemistry really started to stick with me. Chemical engineering gave me a lot of technical engineering skills but I have loved the application of chemistry in materials engineering. Taking those courses has really shaped my idea of where and what I want to work on 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?

Over the summer I was fortunate to work for a company called Materion near Toledo, Ohio. I worked as a process engineering intern at their metal processing unit. It was a really great role because I felt like I had the chance to use what I learned in school for the work I did. The role fit really closely with what I have enjoyed about Mines and I was able to see what day-to-day engineering felt like. It was validating to see that I wasn't entirely lost when I got there!

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

The group I have been involved the most with is Residence Life. I have been an RA for two years now and it's been an awesome experience. Being a part of a large group of like-minded people who enjoy being involved on the campus is really great! It is also fun to put on programs and activities for your residents that you also enjoy. And it is really rewarding to have the opportunity to be a part of the first-year experience for even a couple of students.

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

Plans for the future are to get a full-time position after I take the field session this summer. My ideal roles are dealing with material processing. Like I mentioned before, chemistry really fascinates me but I also want to apply that understanding to engineering problems. After having experience in industry I may look at returning for a graduate degree to put myself further in the direction I want to go. In all of that I will continue to seek meaning in what I do and what it allows me to do for those around me.

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

Mines is not easy. And a lot of people will tell you that but the one thing I have found incredible is the human ability to adapt. Every semester has provided new challenges, different types of work. Each time the semesters got harder it caused me to learn new skills. Whether managing my time, organization or getting determined when grades didn't go my way. Even the students who don't feel like it, have grown immensely in their ability to get work done by the time they leave Mines. So, overall it is not easy, but it is doable and that's a cool challenge to take on.

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

Baking bread has been my favorite hobby I picked up while at Mines. My sophomore year I began getting into it and it has been incredibly rewarding. I end up making a lot of bread and so it has been a lot of fun to share with others. There is something really calming about making something awesome out of only a couple of ingredients.

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

I really enjoy reading fantasy and sci-fi. My family has been passing each other recommendations for a while now and there are some really interesting and inspiring stories out there. I find very neat the art of telling human stories in worlds that are very different. The fight of good against evil is the universal theme across human stories and is a worthy goal to look at in ones own life. Recommendations: Way of Kings, Red Rising, The Name of The Wind.


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.