Student Spotlight: Kirsten Brutans

Author: Chloee Robison
Meet World Traveler Kirsten Brutans!


Kirsten is a senior in IE from New Jersey who claims she “caught the aviation bug” while working for United Airlines. Two internships later, she’s visited over 30 states and 22 countries! 


You may have seen Kirsten around campus before. She’s a member of Phi Mu, has been an IE 200 mentor for two years, and currently serves as the Vice President of External Relations for Purdue IISE. She has also been a mentor for Purdue’s Academic Success Program, helping undergraduates navigate academic and career concerns. Kirsten says she loves mentoring, and as someone who has found a lot of success during her time at Purdue, she’s a fantastic mentor to have.


Kirsten has known since her junior year of high school that she wants to be an IE. She was initially torn between engineering and nursing, but she soon met a professional working in healthcare as an IE. Kirsten discovered she could blend her two interests together, and her mind was set.


Kirsten Brutans

After being admitted to every college she applied to– unsurprisingly, we might add– Kirsten had a big decision to make. She visited a few colleges to see which felt most at home. When she came to Purdue and visited students in the Office of Future Engineers, she says, “Purdue was the only school that felt like students were really excited to talk to me, as if I was already a part of the family.” She loved the campus, but even better than that: “The starships. Those robots may have been the deciding factor.” Food delivery robots, a great sports atmosphere, and somewhere to pursue her dreams. Purdue had it all! 


Along the way, Kirsten traded her interest in healthcare for a passion for aviation. While attending Purdue, she has interned twice with United, once as an Airport Operations Intern and then as a Global Line Station Business Intern. She’s flown flight simulators, toured airports around the country, and even saw the King of England during a work trip to London this past summer.


Kirsten says that traveling is one of her favorite things in life. She hopes to visit every state by the time she’s 30 and a hundred countries by her 50th birthday. Kirsten plans to continue her career with United following graduation, so she might just achieve those goals sooner than she imagined!


Her success, Kirsten says, is a testament to her family before her. “I’m very grateful for everything my parents and grandparents have done to help get me to a place where I can have these awesome opportunities. When my grandparents fled Latvia and Hungary, they never would have thought their granddaughter would be a Purdue Industrial Engineer and pursue dreams like this. They did it for me, for all of their children and grandchildren.” 


We’re sure Kirsten’s family has loved seeing how she’s grown and flown during her time in Purdue IE, and we know she is off to do big things. Congrats, Kirsten, we are so excited to find out what’s in store for you up ahead!


Written by: Chloee Robison