Student Spotlight: Zachary Slezak
Zachary Slezak has always taken a great interest in mathematics.
“In high school, I took a physics class, and it blew my mind that I could model natural phenomena with a series of mathematical equations,” he said. “Everything just clicked together and made sense.”
His original intention was to enroll at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after high school. But the cost, distance and large class sizes convinced him to look elsewhere. The he applied to College of DuPage and received a Presidential Scholarship, which provides full tuition for high-achieving students.
Once here, he discovered a strong learning environment that fostered his love of math and science.
“I was able to learn from instructors whose first priorities were to educate their students, rather than focus on their own research,” he said. “I met groups of students and professors who challenged me to do my best and reminded me of the passion I have that made me enter the engineering program. I’ve been in many classes with the same groups of students through both the honors college and the engineering department, and the ability to have the same professors and the same classmates allowed me to really focus on the material instead of worrying about meeting new people constantly.
“Additionally, through Professor Scott Banjavcic, I was able to find an internship after my first year of study. That set me very far ahead of other students in terms of receiving future internships and eventually becoming employed.”
Slezak earned his Associate in Engineering Science degree and transferred to the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and graduated summa cum laude. He currently is a project engineer at Schulze & Burch Biscuit Co. and eventually would like to pursue a master’s degree in either engineering or business administration.
He’s glad he selected College of DuPage and encourages other students to do the same thing. He is particularly proud of his time in the Honors program.
“Being a part of the Honors program was a phenomenal experience. After the first semester of classes, it was nice to see familiar faces and be able to discuss material from different courses with the same core group of students,” he said. “I also recommend that you get to know your professors. That’s the easiest way to stay interested in your courses, as well as to see what lies ahead in your field or other fields.”
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