After her plane landed in Costa Rica, Kyla Berry took a small boat five hours down a river until reaching the heart of the rainforest. This was the place that she would call home for the next two years.
Kyla spent some time educating local children which she found to be very challenging, asthe humidity kept them from using books or electronics.
After spending two years in the rainforest, she got a change of scenery and spent a year living on top of a mountain before ultimately deciding to return to the United States.
Before she retired to Costa Rica, Kyla worked as a lead & standards flight crew member for the automotive industry. Her responsibility was to be on board of aircraft owned by automotive companies to ensure that all FAA standards were being satisfied before, during and after flights.
This line of work gave Kyla the opportunity to travel the world and see more places than most people could ever dream of.
But it just wasn’t right for Kyla, and she wanted to do something different. Sensing a decline in automotive industry flight departments around 2010, she decided to jump on the opportunity to retire early, and spent three years living in Costa Rica.
After returning to Ann Arbor in 2013, Kyla focused her energy on continuing her education and has earned a BBA and MBA. She is currently a doctoral fellow at EMU, and will earn her Ph.D after completing the winter 2018 semester.
Her thesis is on unmanned commercial passenger aircraft, which she believes is the next big thing in aviation technology. She is also teaching classes within the Technology Management program.
In order to present on her thesis at events such as the 2018 NAIAS Auto Show, Kyla utilizes drones as a visual aid. Because of this, Kyla has serendipitously become known as Eastern’s unofficial “drone person.”
Since getting involved with drones, she has also become a fully certified drone pilot.
Most recently, Kyla has been working to bring a unique drone product to market.
Set to go on sale summer 2018, there are only a few details that Kyla can share. “Essentially, it’s a drone
product developed with a focus on STEM education,” Kyla said. “It’s the first commercial drone
to be marketed as 100% made in Michigan.”
Looking to the future, Kyla has no limit for what she hopes to achieve. “You have to be fearless,”
Kyla said. “You also have to be flexible with your career path and not be afraid to walk through a
door when it opens, no matter how unlikely the opportunity may seem.”
Armed with that mentality, Kyla hopes to continue her work as an educator as well as consult with companies on technology implementation in the workplace. Finally, she sees a massive opportunity to utilize Detroit as a manufacturing hub for her educational drone company. “Detroit has the infrastructure, the talent and the workforce to be a real competitor,” she said.
After being unsure of her future upon returning from Costa Rica in 2013, Kyla has earned two
degrees, has almost finished her Ph.D, has built a program at EMU from the ground up and is
almost ready to bring a brand new product to market.
Not a bad way to spend five years. Kyla, on behalf of the College of Technology, we can’t wait to see what heights you will reach!
This blog was brought to you by the College of Technology.