Student Spotlight: Jose Gallegos
As a youngster, José Gallegos could figure out how to fix all of his toys, and he liked math in school. But after graduating from West Aurora High School, he joined the Army.
“I just didn’t know where to go, so the Army was a safe starting point,” he said. “I eventually became an electrical technician on Apache helicopters.”
Gallegos was a squad leader and a section sergeant before working in the quality assurance shop for the helicopters, where he would inspect the work of other soldiers before a helicopter would take flight. During his six years in the Army, he traveled around the world, from Ft. Campbell and Ft. Hood in the U.S. to Korea to two tours in Iraq.
In August of 2009, only a few days after leaving the Army, Gallegos began taking classes at College of DuPage.
“The Army was a good experience that I don’t regret,” he said. “I’m in school because of Army benefits. And I chose COD’s Engineering program because it has such a strong reputation.”
physics was his most difficult yet rewarding class. Tom Carter, his COD Physics professor, was impressed with Gallegos’ worth ethic.
“José is a great student,” Carter said. “Along with his excellent academic skills, he has a quiet maturity that really added a lot to the class.”
In 2011, Gallegos received a research internship at Fermilab through the Community College Institute of Science and Technology. After finishing his studies at College of DuPage, Gallegos transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is studying mechanical engineering. In 2013, he completed research with Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems (Nano-CEMMS).
After graduating with a bachelor's degree in December 2014, Gallegos would like to secure a job and later return to school for master's degree.
“I’d like to work with nanotechnology,” he said. “It’s interesting how you take atom-sized gears and molecules and build from the bottom-up.
“I’m really just a regular guy, and school has been challenging yet rewarding in many ways. I never took physics in high school. But when I took it at College of DuPage for the first time, it opened up the world to me. I can see how things work, and I’m now hooked on the subject.”
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