Building His Hilltop Niche

By Matt Hawkins
October 3, 2014

Mechanical engineering major Brock Bursott ’15, of Metamora, Illinois, didn’t need a long search to find the ideal academic environment to mold his skills. He followed family footsteps to the Hilltop, where the challenging environment provided opportunities like a summer internship focused on energy efficiency.

Bursott, son of Eric ‘87 and Becky ‘86 and brother of Brian, who attended three years, inherited his parents’ mathematical mind and leveraged those capabilities to cap his final undergraduate summer interning at Mueller Co. Foundry in Decatur, Illinois. He helped the company look for ways to shrink its energy footprint and reduce carbon emissions.

This gave Bursott a close-up industry perspective of his interest in energy efficiency and the next innovations in clean energy production.

“I went in with an open mind and it ended up being fantastic,” he said. “This was a valuable experience that could make my future.”

Bursott’s experience took him from the boardroom to the industry floor, where he saw how decisions made from computer calculations affected the workforce. He also realized he needed exposure to interrelated engineering fields before graduation.

“The field experience will help me pinpoint what I need to work on in class,” Bursott said. “It also showed I was willing to challenge myself.”

Engineering is not new to the youngest of the Bursott clan; his father is a vice president at East Peoria-based River City Construction, which built Hayden-Clark Alumni Center and renovated Westlake Hall. As a result, Brock can tell stories from behind-the-scenes tours of the construction long before he enrolled.

With strong family ties and fond memories of attending campus events as a child, it’s little surprise the youngest sibling found his niche. The close-knit College of Engineering, fun adventures like the fencing club and fellowship at the Newman Center pushed Bursott to grow as a person and future engineer.

“It’s good to be here. This is home,” he said. “Engineering is a large program, but I’m on a first-name basis with my professors. That gives it a family feeling here.”

In other words, “It’s just what I was looking for.”