Student Stories: Neil Pagdin

Neil Pagdin


Major: Engineering

Neil Pagdin is inquisitive by nature.

“I enjoy coming up with solutions to physical problems and working with my hands, and I have always been reasonably good with numbers,” he said. “This, along with the economic opportunities in the engineering field, contributed to my decision to pursue a career in engineering.”

Pagdin chose College of DuPage because of its affordability, location close to home, transfer opportunities and the respect that large universities around the state show COD. His experience has surpassed his expectations, and he cannot praise the Engineering faculty enough.

“They teach the engineering class curriculum at a high level but in a way that makes complicated material accessible to anyone willing to put in the work,” he said. “Along with the high academic level, Dave Smith and Scott Banjavcic have professional connections in Chicago’s engineering field which they make readily available to students seeking opportunities. Having only taken STEM classes at COD, I can only attest to those subjects’ instruction, and STEM instruction at COD is outstanding.”

While on campus. Pagdin frequented the Learning Commons, where he spent up to 15 hours per week tackling homework assignments.

“The tutors and staff in the Learning Commons are extremely helpful and have added immense value to my time at COD. When I needed a break from studying, I spent time in the College’s fitness center, which has plenty of equipment to allow anyone to get a good workout.”

In 2020, the Engineering faculty recognized Pagdin for excellence during the annual Celebration of Academic Excellence. Having earned his Associate in Engineering Science, he is transferring to the University of Illinois at Chicago to complete a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. His goal is to work in construction/project management or structural fields.

As for COD, Pagdin said students willing to apply themselves will be happy with their educational results.

“I would encourage any student considering COD to understand that wherever they go to study engineering, it will be difficult and they will have to work hard. This is no different at COD, where they will receive a first-rate beginning to their engineering education.”

On a personal note, his time at COD coincided with his marriage and the birth of his first child.

“These personal life developments meant that time management was both a challenge and a priority,” Pagdin said. “I received a lot of help from friends and family to make it this far and, with a strong support group, I believe it is possible for anyone to start on the right path to achieve their educational and career goals at COD. I feel well-equipped to take on higher-level classes at UIC.”

More about the Engineering program