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Student Profile: Moving From Patrol to Purdue

Civil Air Patrol. Rolls-Royce. AAE. Sarah Burmesch (BS ’19) has a busy schedule, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to make a difference in the lives of younger students.
photo of William Gerstenmaier
Sarah Burmesch (BS ’19)

Civil Air Patrol. Rolls-Royce. AAE. Sarah Burmesch (BS '19) has a busy schedule, but that doesn't stop her from trying to make a difference in the lives of younger students.

Burmesch joined the Civil Air Patrol in 2011 and ended up reaching the rank of a Cadet Chief Master Sergeant before leaving to attend Purdue. She served as a ground member of the squadron search and rescue team and earned a variety of awards during her three years as a member of the Patrol.

She originally chose Purdue because it was the highest-ranked school with an AAE program that also had an NROTC program. In the summer before coming to Purdue, she decided to drop the NROTC program.

“I was a bit hesitant about Purdue at first because I had just changed the course of my life a couple of months before, but by the end of my freshman year, Purdue felt like home,” she says.

One of her favorite experiences so far has been a summer internship with Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis, where she served with design engineers.

“Sometimes I feel a bit spoiled that my first internship gave me so many great opportunities,” Burmesch says. “The company culture at Rolls-Royce was so inclusive and they really put a lot of effort into giving their interns the best experience.”

In addition to her schoolwork and internship, Burmesch serves as a peer mentor for honors engineers and a RA.

“I have had a lot of unique opportunities and struggles in the course of my life,” she says. “If I can make someone else’s life just a little bit easier by sharing my experience, then I want to do that.”