As the head drum major of the Marching Chips, Brendan Wilk is pretty well-known on campus.
Walking around CMU, he's often greeted with smiles; waves; and familiar, friendly faces.
"Central is a big enough campus where you can blend in, find your passion, if you want to, but it's also just the right size where you can stand out and make a difference. There's a sense of community here, and that's what I love about it." Brendan said.
Brendan started his journey at CMU as a clarinet player in the Chippewa Marching Band. He later earned his spot as head drum major and even helped develop the 2018 program, where he incorporated his love for Quentin Tarantino movies into the music of the halftime show.
His involvement with the Marching Chips helped him create a strong foundation, make lasting friendships and develop into the person he is today.
While the senior from Livonia, Michigan, initially entered CMU as an engineering student, he struggled to find himself in the coursework and eventually switched to majoring in business. Picking himself up after the switch has been his biggest challenge thus far, but he credits the caring and invested staff of the Honors Program for helping him move forward.
"After I switched my major, I was really struggling. I wasn't doing well with the transition. I studied abroad in New Zealand with the Honors Program, that helped me with every aspect of the trip from signing up to financing." Brendan said. "We focused on experiential learning and leadership. I realized how much more was out there and that really helped me get back on my feet and get started again."
He returned to CMU and dove into his business classes, finding his passion and pursuing it with renewed interest. Brendan studied abroad in Japan, focusing on international business and the similarities and differences between how the Japanese and Americans conduct their business. He later turned his experiences abroad into the focus of his honors capstone project.
He attended a career fair on campus that led to an internship at the Mount Pleasant Target. Brendan loved the emphasis Target put on leadership and working to promote from within. He has already accepted a position with the company that will start after his spring 2019 graduation.
"I came to CMU looking for a place where I could grow and step outside my comfort zone and make a name for myself on campus," Brendan said. "CMU has helped me find myself and solidify who I am. I don't think I would have had that experience had I gone anywhere else other than CMU."