Student Stories: Thomas “T.J.” Krause

Thomas “T.J.” Krause

Major: Automotive Technology

When Thomas “T.J.” Krause was young, his bedroom walls were covered with pictures of automobiles.

“I had always liked automobiles, and I got the pictures from magazines, auto show literature and posters I purchased,” he said. “After working in the construction industry while I was taking classes at College of DuPage, I realized that additional education could only improve my situation. When I decided I wanted to be an educator, knowledge of automobiles, manufacturing and technical drawing would only set me up for teaching technology at the secondary-school level.” 

Krause initially began taking classes at COD right out of high school, unsure of what career path to take.

“I tried taking a variety of electives in high school and I had just not found a subject that interested me enough to base a post-secondary decision on a four-year university path,” he said. “I decided that I would attend COD, work on my gen eds and take some electives I did not have the opportunity to easily take in high school to help me decide what path my future would take.”

After transferring to Illinois State University, Krause earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Technology Education. He would return to COD for classes during this time, something that continued after his teaching career began.

“During the summers, I would take automotive courses at COD in order to meet the requirement to have hours of education in various courses, which would allow me to obtain an endorsement in specific content areas,” he said. “Once I was teaching and being asked to teach automotive courses at the high school level, I took more automotive classes at COD along with some introductory welding courses to better educate myself for my job.”

Twenty years after starting at COD, Krause completed enough credits to earn his Associate in Applied Science degree in Automotive Service Technology. Today he continues to apply what he learned in order to provide his students with the best education possible—which is exactly what his COD instructors did for him.

“The instructors at COD are there for the students and have heaps of knowledge to share,” he said. “Squeeze them like a sponge to get as much knowledge as you can handle. No one knows where their path in life will take them. Develop relationships and skills at COD with the instructors and your classmates that will build a network of support as you start down your new path in life.

“The education you will receive at COD is just the first step. Technology continues to evolve and if you want to stay current, the skills and habits you form while attending COD will carry you well as you and the world around you evolves. Education does not stop once you earn a certificate or degree. I learn something new at least weekly and the need to read and continue to learn only increases along with your knowledge.”

More about the Automotive Technology program