College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Kimbra Bader: Finding the right fit with industrial engineering

Classes, internships, music and many other activities make for a busy schedule, but this senior says it has paid off to manage it all.

When Kimbra Bader came to Iowa State, she knew she was going to study engineering. What she didn’t know was whether she’d be able to continue her talent for music while also pursuing internships and other leadership opportunities. Now well into her senior year, she says balancing extracurricular activities led to some of her favorite memories as a college student.

As a member of the Iowa State University Cyclone Football ‘Varsity’ Marching Band, Bader got to attend two bowl game trips, and she also participates in Kappa Kappa Psi, a music service fraternity.

“I’m really proud of being involved in both engineering and music,” she said. “Starting at Iowa State, I was unsure if I could balance all the demands of being an engineering student with staying involved in music. I am so happy I chose to participate in the marching band right away and continue to get involved with the band program here at Iowa State, all while continuing my engineering education. I have met some of my best friends in the bands, and I believe my experiences have made me a better engineer.”

Bader also gained leadership experience in The Engineering Ambassador and Mentor Program (TEAM), where she has served as president for two years.

The program’s impact on her career started her freshman year. Originally selecting the same discipline as her brother, who is an aerospace engineer, Bader says giving prospective student tours for TEAM helped her learn about other options. “During the tours, I talked about the majors in the College of Engineering, and that’s when I learned about industrial engineering. The discipline focuses on the process side of engineering, where you can work and communicate with a variety of people. It seemed like a better fit for me.”

After switching to industrial engineering, Bader was selected for a manufacturing engineering internship with Caterpillar. It was an opportunity she was a little unsure of until she started working on the production and factory floors. “I loved seeing the machines being built as well as working and talking with the operators and engineers. Something was always happening, every day was different.”

Bader interned at Caterpillar for two more years in various departments. During her last internship, she was given a project to build a virtual model of a wheel-loader that will be built across the world in the future. Her project outlined every step of the build process to make the build transition process easier. To conclude the internship, she traveled with her team to China to share the models.

She will continue working with Caterpillar after graduation in an operations leadership and manufacturing engineering role, which is a three-year rotational program. She looks forward to trying out three diverse jobs to figure out where she would like to end up in her career.

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