Cassandra "Cassie" McKee — balancing marching band and civil engineering

Ever since a visit to the Sears Tower as a child, Purdue Civil Engineering undergrad Cassie McKee knew she wanted to be a civil engineer. Cassie is also an accomplished trumpet player and is a member of the world renown Purdue All-American Marching Band.

Hometown: Moline, Illinois

Current year: Senior

Cassie McKee
Cassie McKee

Why I chose Civil Engineering

I remember the exact moment I wanted to be a civil engineer, actually. My family and I went on a trip to visit Chicago and we went up to the sky deck of the Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower). When you get to the top, there’s a place where you can look down on the city and I remember just being in awe of what I saw. This massive cityscape and all this life and activity going on — and I wanted to one day create something like that.

As a civil engineer, you have the opportunity to make an impact unlike any other profession. You create cities and improve the lives of millions of people. Everything you do has a lasting impact that you can see and point to — and you know you’ve made a difference just by seeing how everyone is able to go on with their lives thanks to what you’ve created.

Emphasis area

My emphasis area is in transportation and infrastructure systems engineering. I want to be involved in the design side of transportation engineering and I was lucky enough to get my feet wet this past summer in my internship with Burns & McDonnell. Through the firm, I was able to design my own sidewalk path for a project in New Jersey. I had such an incredible time and it confirmed that this is what I want to do. I love studying road design and how to make them safer through research and analysis.

In 2017, Cassie interned for Norfolk Southern.
Cassie plays the trumpet for the Purdue All-American Marching Band.

Top trumpeter

I am also a trumpet rank leader in the Purdue All-American Marching Band. I have been a member for all four years and it’s resulted in some of the best experiences of my life. I’ve been playing the trumpet for more than a decade, so when I came to Purdue I knew I wanted to audition. Since then, I’ve had so many amazing opportunities and made lifelong friends.

Easily my most memorable experience was being able to travel with the Purdue Football team as they played in the Foster Farms Bowl in California. It was so much fun to travel and attend my very first bowl game. And it was such a great moment when we won!

After I graduate

Once I graduate I plan to begin my career in transportation engineering. Through my classes and internship opportunities, I believe the best next step for me will to begin my career and make my own impact on the world.

Cassie plays the trumpet for the Purdue All-American Marching Band.
In 2017, Cassie interned for Norfolk Southern.