Strive and GRIND! Put in the work but only for what you absolutely love! Passion gets you soo far!


Who is Dr. Cherise?


Dr. Cherise M. Burton is a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands with Dominican heritage. Her earlier education was received within the Virgin Islands school system. Since then she has gone on to earn a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of the Virgin Islands, M.S. in Industrial Engineering and M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of South Florida, and more recently Doctor Of Philosophy In Industrial Engineering- Systems and Engineering Management from Texas Tech University. Parallel to the pursuit of her Doctoral degree, she has maintained a career at Ford Motor Company for the last 4 years as a Manufacturing Engineer within Powertrain Manufacturing and has recently made a transition to Electric Vehicles.


Educational Background

Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering- Systems and Engineering Management

Special Awards

St. Croix, USVI Top 30 Under 30


How did you choose to pursue this field?

From a very young age, I showed a passion for math and engineering and my mother fueled and supported that passion in every possible way.


Who was your inspiration or role model that guided you to this field?

There was no specific role model, but rather a village. This village consisted of strong women in STEM who have consistently opened their fields of interest up to me as a child to allow me to explore and provide guidance as I navigated this world.

Did you always have the desire to work in this field? If not, what was your intended field? Why did you change careers?

Engineering has always been my passion. As far as the specific type that has been a whirlwind adventure! I started off driven towards material science engineering. As I entered graduate school I was enrolled within the civil engineering program. That was short-lived as I fell in love with Industrial engineering and the management component. As I allowed myself to grow and figure out my likes and dislikes it came with a responsibility to align my career and so that is the main thrust behind the career changes.

What do you love most about your job or career?

Being able to touch the product. It is easy to function in the business realm and see nice pictures but there is something special about being an Industrial engineer and being able to exist in both worlds.


What has been the most rewarding aspect of your job or career?

Interfacing with real people. Lineworkers

What things would you change about your job?

I would increase the presence of female minorities. The underrepresentation is visible and it creates a skewed culture that can be challenging.


What are the most difficult things or disappointing aspect of your job?

The constant fluctuations and turn over of coworkers. It makes aligning difficult and can be challenging if there is a level of friendship formed.

How have you combated the stigma of being a “woman of color” in STEM?

I maintain my skillset at the forefront. I demand respect especially in situations where I may feel overlooked. Most of all I maintain my composure. It is very easy to play in to the stigma but the goal has been and will always be to represent in the most positive light.



What advice would you give your younger self about your career journey as a “woman of color” working in a predominantly white, male-dominated field?

Be patient with yourself. There is an inherent level of pressure to adapt to the overwork culture and “fit in” but that should never be your goal. Enjoy the journey. Only do what feels right.



What tips would you offer for anyone thinking about entering into your profession?

Build your tribe. While there is an obvious lack of women of color there are still some. Learn from those who have come before you. As as many questions as they will allow. Seek mentorship so that you can understand the culture and continue to learn and grow.



Can you provide some words of wisdom to young ladies thinking about entering a STEM field as a career choice?

Strive and GRIND! Put in the work but only for what you absolutely love! Passion gets you soo far!



What is your favorite quote?

I don’t have a quote but more so a bible verse:


Philippians 1:6; “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”


It is a reminder that my goals are good things and I CAN see it through.


How has your family been a great influence or support system?

My family has been my backbone. They are constantly present for the good times and bad. They’ve stayed up with me as I work and even served as my alarm clocks.


What are your future goals related to your career?

I aspire to level up within the next year as I enter the electrification field.


Contact Dr. Cherise for any further questions:






We hope you enjoyed learning about our latest “STEMsation”, please comment about how her experiences have inspired you, how your experiences can inspire others and nominate our next “STEMsation to spotlight their amazing accomplishments.

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