Student Stories: Jon Guttello

Jon Guttello

Major: Architecture

Jon Guttello’s interest in architecture began with his drafting courses in high school.

“There was a group design competition where the regional competition was held at College of DuPage,” he said. “The professors critiqued our work and announced that this competition is much like how architecture is in college.”

After graduating from high school, Guttello decided to attend COD because he wasn’t ready to commit to a university or a major.

“I was able to save money and decide whether architecture would be a good fit for me,” he said. “The two-year Architecture program at COD allows students to transfer to other universities as a junior, transferring most or all classes toward their degree program. Professor Jane Ostergaard has worked out transfer programs with many accredited universities, mostly in the Midwest, by proving that students who transfer from COD are stronger than the other students within the university.”

Having determined architecture was the right major for him, Guttello threw himself into his studies at COD and took advantage of the many resources available to him. As a result, he felt prepared when he transferred.

“One of the professors at the university said, ‘The key to success (in studying architecture) is spending two years at COD and transferring to University of Illinois,’” he said. “COD offered 24/7 access to private studios in the Architecture department, which allowed me to work in a safe environment whenever I was available. I also spent many hours in the Math Assistance Area at the Learning Commons, using solutions manuals and meeting with professors to understand topics more clearly. Professors are also required to have office hours and appreciate when students use them. This allows students to make connections with their professors who can guide them toward their goals and interests. Office hours are not required at universities and it is rare that you get a chance to meet with most of the professors.”


Guttello also was a Deans Scholar, which provided $500 per semester for up to four semesters, as well as receiving the Paul W. and Katherine T. Hedburn Textbook and Supplies Scholarship awarded through the COD Foundation.

“These scholarships helped remove the financial burden and allowed me to focus on my classes. They were also something that reminded me that hard work is often rewarded, a mindset I continue to keep throughout my studies.”

Having earned his Pre-Architecture Associate in Applied Science degree, Guttello transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and currently is in the joint master’s degree program in Architecture and Structural Engineering. He will receive an M.Arch and a Master of Science of Civil Engineering, which will allow him to become a licensed structural engineer.

He completed a structural engineering internship at Wight & Co., which solidified his interest in this field, and currently works both as a teaching assistant for structural courses at UIUC’s Illinois School of Architecture and as a research assistant with the College of Civil Engineering. In the latter role, he creates modules to determine the effectiveness of using virtual reality to teach structural fundamentals to architecture and engineering students.

Professor Jane Ostergaard has worked out transfer programs with many accredited universities, mostly in the Midwest, by proving that students who transfer from COD are stronger than the other students within the university.

Jon Guttello

Guttello decided to pursue this degree option—which required one course in differential equations and one course in matrix algebra—because of one of his COD math professors, Erich Hauenstein.

“Professor Hauenstein told me I was one of his better students and urged me to complete the calculus sequence and pursue any degree option that may require it, informing me that many employers seek students who are well-versed in mathematics. I spent the following years working toward the joint degree program, taking architectural studio courses as well as advanced math courses.”

Guttello’s goal is to work at an architecture/engineering firm that is constructing high-rise buildings.

“These firms tend to desire students who study both architecture and structural engineering,” he said. “Having both degrees gives me the choice to work as a structural engineer or an architect, and with either option, I will be able to make informed decisions using the second degree.”

He strongly advises students considering architecture as a major to attend COD.

“Not only are you at a low risk, but you are receiving hands-down the best education you can through Professors Jane Ostergaard and Mark Pearson. Students who transfer to universities from COD are better prepared than if they had studied there from the beginning.”

Learn more about the Architecture program at College of DuPage