Born at Fort Hood military base in Killeen, Texas into a Howard family, Civil and Environmental Engineering Rising Sophomore Cameryn Burnette was always inclined to one day attend Howard University, as her mother did. Burnette would have it no other way.
Burnette’s unwavering interest in engineering began in middle school when her parents enrolled her in an engineering summer camp. What piqued her interest was “the opportunity to explore so many different things”. To her benefit, this introduction to engineering completely changed the way she viewed math. She began to view math as “something challenging that could be used to solve real-world problems”.
However, it was not until Burnette attended an all-girls engineering camp in high school that her sense of belonging in the world of engineering was reinforced. In previous co-ed engineering camps, Burnette felt unheard. The boys were given more attention. The all-girls engineering camp provided a relaxing environment where it was easier for her to be “communicative and expressive about all things engineering”. Following the camp, she was better able to draw on her self-confidence and belief that "just because no one is listening doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to say”.
Burnette’s interests branch out to the arts as well. Burnette has academically pursued both the Chinese and Spanish languages and has a great affection for African-American history and culture – an affection shared by many at Howard University.
Burnette’s motivation to excel has always been to make a notable difference in the lives of others and “the opportunity to make palpable change with my skills and degree”.
Burnette is still deciding on her specific research interests. Her goal is to ensure that her research has optimal impact. Burnette’s current academic focus is sustainability, specifically “urban sustainability/planning, water resource management, and material sciences/development”. Burnette is “passionate about building a more sustainable, ethical, and thoughtful world where humans coexist with the environment rather than abuse it.”
Burnette is also a DMV NSBE, Jr. mentor and co-founder and vice president of the Howard University Water and Environment Association (HUWEA). Read about HUWEA’s phenomenal panel of experts on creating a healthy global water environment with leaders in the water industry. Through her work as a NSBE, Jr. Mentor, she worked with two teams of middle school students, preparing them for the “Future City Competition". Both teams were winning teams, coming in second and third place.
What’s next for our Bison STEM Scholar?
“Having an engineering degree is useful and will offer me a variety of career paths. Engineering also allows me to intersect my various interests - math, science, international studies, the environment - into one place," says Burnette. "And, most importantly, with an engineering degree, I can help people: I want to save the world!”
Thinking about going green? Read Burnette’s DC EcoWomen blog post on going green.