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About Us - Brooke Buikema '09

Brooke Buikema

WISE Intern

Brooke Buikema hoped to get some good recommendations when she applied to the prestigious Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) program. She never counted on getting the nod from the highest official at NASA, administrator Michael Griffin.

'I wouldn’t think of asking someone like him,” Buikema said. “I was thinking of having my professor write one.”

Buikema met Griffin when he spoke at the 2008 January Series, an award-winning Calvin lecture program. The senior from Zeeland, Michigan, was among a group of engineering students who met with Griffin during the time he was on campus. He was impressed enough, after talking with the aspiring chemical engineer, to recommend her for the WISE program when engineering professor Randy Brouwer suggested it.

“Just having him there talking with the students was great,” said Brouwer, “and it turned out to be pretty significant for Brooke.”

The WISE opportunity took Buikema to Washington D.C., where she joined 11 other students from around the nation in attending seminars and touring government departments — the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the National Academy of Engineering among them — related to science and engineering.

Buikema is the second Calvin student to participate in the WISE program. “I loved the high energy, and I loved being close to the action,” she said, “and then watching CNN to see events that were unfolding right down the street.”