Burton enjoyed campus-wide teamwork in engineering, cycling, racing team and research at MSU Texas

Taking It All In

Burton enjoyed campus-wide teamwork in engineering, cycling, racing team and research at MSU Texas

In 2018, Sharome Burton had a promising career as a journalist ahead of him in Dominica. He won the Young Reporters Award and was writing for the International Olympic Committee in his home country.

However, Sharome changed course and decided to pursue engineering, which brought him to Midwestern State University. He completed his academic mission, graduating in May 2024 with a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science.

“It was a big transition,” Burton said. “I had reached the highest of highs as a young journalist, doing travel work with youth Olympics. It was hard to move away from and back into STEM.”

But the payoff was there for Burton as his parents traveled to Wichita Falls to watch him graduate.

“It’s hard to put into words the sacrifice of being away so long, and it’s always a risk, going into the unknown, but it’s definitely been worth it,” Burton said.

Burton embraced every challenge he could find at MSU Texas as he raced for the cycling team, wrote articles for The Wichitan, and was a huge part of the birth of the Formula SAE Racing Team. The experiences with the racing team, where he was chief engineer in 2023-24, were the highlight for Burton. Just days before walking up to accept his diploma, Burton organized a showing of the Formula SR2 car his team had built.

“That was a highlight, and it was the proudest professional achievement of my life,” Burton said. And the team finishing the car just in time for his parents to see the project pleased him, too.

Burton didn’t get to visit home in Dominica during his five-plus years at MSU Texas, but he kept himself motivated. He felt he did his best learning once the classroom work was finished. He enjoyed doing research projects with EURECA, competing with the cycling team, and, of course, the racing team, which started while Sharome was here.

“Coursework is there, and is supposed to be done, but pardon the pun, it’s academic,” Burton said. “My goal was to get coursework out of the way so I could focus on things that give me an edge. I tried to maximize everything in front of me at Midwestern. Not just what the course set in front of me but how could I use my energy to do more. You have to capitalize on your opportunities!”

Burton once crafted stories as a journalist, and that mentality has remained. The headline on his next victory is in his mind while crafting each paragraph of experience daily until it’s a masterpiece. Like a good story, his projects may have drafts and edits. “I took the lessons from my career into my mentality at Midwestern. It was a transition going from broadcasting to STEM, but graduating has justified that decision,” Burton said.

Burton’s dream job is with SpaceX and he believes it was his experience with the Formula SAE Racing Team which has gained him an in-person interview, after three rounds of interviews digitally, with the program.

“Space is my biggest passion,” Burton said. “They highly respect the Formula SAE competition and the people it produces. You show that you can achieve solutions and make something out of nothing. You take a design and make it a reality. You have to be a self-starter and the (companies) see that. I’m proud of what we accomplished.

“The SpaceX launch was one of my biggest motivators. Even working as a broadcaster, I was a big fan of space. I chose mechanical engineering because it was the closest thing, and I was good at math.”

Burton wanted to thank MSU Texas Associate Professor of Engineering Dr. Yu Guo. He said the frequent meetings for research-minded students were always something he looked forward to. “I would say the vast amount of skills which got me internships (Ellucian, Applied Materials) and jobs was because of that research,” Burton said.

And Burton is a living example of the value of in-person education, he said. He experienced the value of teamwork and camaraderie in the research groups Guo facilitated, MSU Cycling, and the racing team.

“Cycling is literally a sport for suffering. It’s suffering on wheels, and that gave me many lessons,” Burton said. “That team environment definitely helped me get through this. EURECA, the teamwork and learning from others’ ideas. It really shows you what is possible and brings out the best in you and your teammates and gets you years ahead of where you would be with just classwork.

“These opportunities are priceless and pretty much free, you just have to apply yourself.”

MSU Texas Graduation Spring 2024

Sharome Burton accepts his diploma

Sharome Burton celebrates his MSU Texas graduation in front of friends and family in May 2024 at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Below, Burton presents his research. He participated in EURECA for five years. (photos by Nizhoni Terronez/MSU Texas)

 

Sharome Burton presenting his research project

 

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