Student Spotlight: Colum Wilson
Major: Engineering, Physics
Hometown: Downers Grove
Colum Wilson, who has always been good with numbers, was in eighth grade when he found a diagram detailing how an engine works at a power plant.
“That one picture told me so much, and from there I wanted to learn how things work,” he said.
After high school, Wilson enrolled at College of DuPage and found professors who were interested in being resources for their students. He singled out four professors – James Africh and Anthony Lenard in mathematics, David Smith in engineering and Tom Carter in physics – for their support and encouragement. While at COD, Wilson also worked part-time as a tutor, helping other students in math, engineering and physics.
Wilson spent the summer of 2012 immersed in science and mathematics at Fermilab. He was selected for an internship that included intensive, hands-on training during two months at the national accelerator laboratory in Batavia. He was excited about the opportunity to gain experience working alongside researchers at the world-renowned facility.
“I’ve toured Fermilab twice, and I am amazed at the sheer complexity of what’s going on there,” he said. “The amount of research is very cool, and I just kept thinking to myself, ‘I’m going to Fermilab!’”
After his internship, Wilson transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study mechanical engineering. He eventually would like to work at a highly acclaimed research institution like Fermilab or Argonne.
“It’s really not which degree you earn but what you do with it and where you go, because there are so many opportunities to explore,” he said. “College of DuPage has been an amazing place to start. The professors helped me succeed, and working at Fermilab will only enhance what I’ve learned so far.”
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