Aaron Carstens developed a mechanical mind at an early age.
“My father owns an auto shop, and I have always enjoyed working on and modifying cars and other mechanical things,” he said. “When I got into high school, I started taking architecture classes and soon became very interested in that. I decided to basically combine those two interests and study civil engineering, specifically structural.”
Carstens selected College of DuPage as a smart financial decision. In addition to finishing his general education requirements, the Engineering program helped to prepare him for future success.
“The program challenged me in my coursework and helped me develop a quality work ethic and study habits which will be key skills in my future,” he said. “Also, Professor Scott Banjavcic gave me advice and shared insight from his time working as a professional engineer, which helped and will continue to help. The facilities at COD were also great and made learning easier.”
While at COD, Carstens served a summer internship at DuPage County’s Division of Transportation. His duties dealt primarily with the county road system, including surveying roads, creating cost estimates for resurfacing, performing traffic counts, adjusting traffic signal timing and performing bridge inspections.
“The internship gave me practical experience to which I can relate many of the topics in my classes, making them easier to understand,” he said. “Not only that, I gained experience with a real job interview and how to work and conduct myself professionally in an office environment.”
After finishing his degree at College of DuPage, Carstens transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He is now working as a project engineer at Walsh Construction, where he enjoyed an internship while at UIUC. His goal is to work in construction management and run his own structural engineering firm.
He also returned to COD and completed his EMT as well as graduating from the Fire Academy. He is now a part-time firefighter and EMT with the Warrenville Fire Protection District.
Carstens encourages any potential engineering student to enter COD’s Engineering program.
“The program is great, the professors are great – especially professors Banjavcic and David Smith. I had a great experience and made some great friends. The work was definitely not easy, but if you put in the time that is required, it pays off.”