February 9, 2022

My Story, My Voice: Keith Dawkins, Design Release Engineer

Black History Month

Keith Dawkins, Design Release Engineer and Alumni

Keith Dawkins is a Design Release Engineer for General Motors. He has experience in embedded controls, calibration, and managing programs from design to launch. His hobbies include golf, traveling and exercise. He hopes one day to complete a half-marathon.

To help celebrate Black History Month, we’re pleased to share “My Story, My Voice,” a series of essays written by Schoolcraft College students, faculty, staff and alumni. Please go to schoolcraft.edu/BHM to read the complete collection.

Keith Dawkins

By Keith Dawkins, Design Release Engineer and Alumni

My time at Schoolcraft College ended on a high note. I graduated with a great GPA, won several awards and recognitions, was the Graduation Marshall for my class, and was accepted to U of M’s Electrical Engineering program. My family was proud of me. This was the second chapter of my life after a long battle with cancer, and things were looking up. Graduating from community college was a rare time in my life that I had finished something I had started. It felt good. I was looking optimistically at the future.

My first semester at U of M was challenging. I was enrolled in two of the program’s “weed out” classes: EECS 280 (C++) and EECS 215 (circuits). It was a challenge learning to study differently, not to mention the volume of work, but my classmates and I pushed through. I think we all experienced a paradigm shift in this manner. I began to feel optimistic about the semester when a remnant from the past crept up. I was admitted to the hospital with complications from my previous cancer battle. I was only gone a week, but that’s a lifetime in college studies. I struggled to catch up with my classes and was successful in all but one – EECS 280. I never could regain my footing and subsequently failed the class.

The rest of my time at U of M was met with successes. I earned excellent grades in my classes – even when I retook EECS 280. I was on a roll. Then one day I received the call that we all dread. My mother had passed. The grief was enormous, and I left school to be with my family. After the initial shock of grief, I was comforted by the fact that my mom was so proud to see me finally excelling in life. I was determined to push through and graduate in her honor – which I did in 2015 at the young age of 45.

These days I use what I learned in my schoolwork to develop technologies for electric vehicles. I have had several engineering jobs at General Motors since I graduated, and now I design and launch computer modules for EV SUVs. I am married with three children, and I reside in Farmington Hills. The second chance at life has been both challenging and fulfilling. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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