Kirndeep's Success Story

There are a multitude of reasons why a person chooses to attend a particular university. Reasons to attend OU's School of Engineering and Computer Science are as numerous as the students themselves. Each month the SECS will feature a new "Student Success" story on our homepage. Be sure to check back often to see the new featured student or alumni and read why they chose SECS.

Kirndeep's Success Story
Kirndeep S. Bhamra, Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, '01, and Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering, '03.

What is your background?
My name is Kirndeep and I was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario Canada. We moved to Michigan in 1990, where I attended junior high, high school and then Oakland University. I have an older sister and a younger brother (Yes, I am a middle child). My older sister also attended Oakland University where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1998 and her Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2001. This was probably one of the main reason why I chose Oakland University, since I was recommended by a sibling, witnessed her educational and professional progress plus it was local. My younger brother is currently attending Oakland University pursuing his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Oakland University last year. He plans to pursue his PhD following his Masters, also at OU. Yes, we are an OU family. Coming from an Indian background, our career choices are pretty much limited to Medicine or Engineering. I started out in Medicine, but later found out that I wanted to pursue something related to Mathematics instead of Biology. This is where I decided to make the switch to Engineering. I come from a technical family, so this seemed like a natural fit for me. This, coupled with the fact that I saw my older sister flourishing in her career, made my choice very easy.

Did you always think that you had what it takes to go into this line of work?
Yes. Growing up, I was always good in Mathematics and Sciences. One of my favorite classes in High School was Physics and I loved the labs that we would do. I knew that I could get through the Engineering discipline successfully since it was of interest to me. I guess if you are passionate about something, you have a good chance to be successful at it.What is so exciting about your major?

Engineering is very dynamic. It is one of those fields that doesn’t stagnate, as there are always new inventions and technological advancements. This keeps the field (as well as the world) interesting. Although the core principles of Engineering stay the same (i.e. theories, formulas, etc.); how you use and apply them to new technologies is what changes.

What attracted you to Oakland University?
I did consider other schools, but as I mentioned above my older sister attended OU and had good things to say about the school. She was the first child going off to school, so the whole family helped her through the process so, as a result, I was able to get to know the school really well (i.e. buildings, professors, processes, etc.) I also liked the fact that it was local, and that I wouldn’t have to go away to school and have to cook, clean and do my own laundry, etc. Sounds funny, but I really put some thought it this. I also loved the campus, in terms of location, scenery, restaurants and general atmosphere. One of my favorite teachers was Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Ching L. Ko. I liked the way he taught, and really appreciated the effort he put into teaching us complex theories.

Besides textbook information, what else did you learn through your experience at OU?
Culture, food, religion, etc. In attending school, there is a bigger point than just to gain an education. It's all about meeting people, seeing the diversity and discussing current events with your friends in the Kresge library. It is a whole experience, and not just bits and pieces. You have to put the puzzle together, and interacting with different walks of life really helps put the picture together.

Were you involved in any student organizations or extracurricular activities while at OU?
Not consistently, but I did attend a few Indian Students Association events. I did support the Grizzles the best that I could.

What do you do for your job?
I am a Deputy Associate Director or Engineering for the U.S. Army RDECOM-TARDEC (Research, Development & Engineering Command / Tank, Automotive, Research, Development, Engineering Center). Wow, that is a long name. I work for an organization called CGVDI (Center for Ground Vehicle Development & Integration). Our mission is to develop, fabricate and integrate advanced solutions into current and future ground systems. My group (Project Management) serves as a single entry point to RDECOM for ground vehicle system integration projects where we are responsible for managing and communicating status of cost, schedule, performance and risk. We develop project requirements and formalize customer agreements through SOW (Statements of Work), MOA (Memorandums of Agreement) and MOU (Memorandums of Understanding).

How has your education at OU prepared you for your job?
I think having a sound education gives you the confidence to take on challenges that may seem impossible due to age or lack of experience. This, coupled with personal drive and motivation, helps you achieve things at an accelerated pace.

Do you find that only those from the very high profile schools are the ones who excel?
Not really. In the Army, your education is one piece, as there are many other things that are factored in when going for a promotion, etc. I work with some people that went to small schools who are doing really well and with some that went to high profile schools that aren't doing as well. It's all about personal drive and motivation, coupled with a strong education, that helps you achieve bigger and better things.

Would you recommend that prospective students consider OU for a degree in your chosen major?
YES. I can't say this loud enough (I think CAPS did it). I personally believe OU is setup really well in terms of educational programs. I also have personal experience that an education from Oakland can take you a long way, very quickly if you use the tools right. OU offers diversified programs and to me it seems that it is keeping up really well against the bigger colleges in Michigan as well as the rest of the United States.

What advice would you offer prospective students?
Take your education seriously. I know when you are 18 and just entering college the world can seem fuzzy and unfocussed-- there are BIG unknowns in the end. What will I gain after my education? Will I have a job? Even if I do, will I like it? Why am I spending all this money getting an education, whereas I can just work and make money? Why am I doing all of this effort? Why can't I find my classes? I think you need to be optimistic, and not pessimistic. Look at good examples when you're feeling down and low, as there truly is light at the end of the tunnel.

Do you have anything more you would like to add?
Go OU!