Student Spotlight: Michael Baumgartner
Michael Baumgartner wants to get as much out of his education as possible.
“Getting an education is the most important investment people can make in their lives,” he said. “An education not only opens up great opportunities to get your dream job, but it is something that cannot be taken away from you. Everything that you experience during your education will shape you into a person capable of doing anything you set your mind to.”
Baumgartner started that journey at College of DuPage. Being named a Presidential Scholar – an impressive award that includes a full-tuition scholarship and enrollment in COD’s Honors program and the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society – certainly made the choice easy.
Baumgartner is currently studying civil engineering at UIUC and plans to continue onto his master’s in structural engineering after finishing his bachelor’s this December. He also is co-captain of the steel bridge team, on which he was a member last year. The team placed third at the Great Lakes Regional and 24th out of 48 at the national competition.
His interest in engineering was first sparked as a child when he watched “MythBusters” on the Discovery Channel.
“I also had great science teachers throughout my schools,” he said. “My seventh-grade science grade teacher, Mr. Lange, was my favorite teacher and the first one to push me to achieve something greater. He didn’t just want us to repeat everything he taught us like a parrot, but instead he wanted us to gain a deep interest in what we were learning. From that point I knew I wanted to become an engineer.”
At College of DuPage, he found professors who provided far more than just facts.
“Unlike most universities, the professors I had at COD actually cared to hear our input and made sure we understood the material we were learning,” he said. “Due to this fact, I had much more academic success than my friends who chose to go to a four-year university.
“When I was in high school, people sometimes referred to COD as the ‘College of Dreams’ in a negative sense. I know how completely wrong that generalization is. I had opportunities available to me that no other college in the state could offer me. Why go anywhere else?”
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