Student Spotlight: Nemanja Kuzmanovic
Ever since middle school, Nemanja Kuzmanovic has loved science and wanted to be an inventor.
“I always idolized Nikola Tesla and all the work he did to better the lives of people around the world,” he said. “My interest in engineering really emerged my junior year in high school when I took my first physics class, Honors Physics with Mr. Zownorega. Within the first month of class, my passion for physics ignited and I couldn’t wait to learn more every day. By the end of the year, I knew that I wanted to be an engineer.”
At College of DuPage, Kuzmanovic found the Pathways to Engineering Program with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It’s a unique program that allows qualifying students to complete their first two years at COD and then transfer seamlessly into UIUC's College of Engineering.
“The opportunity to get a degree from one of the top 10 engineering schools in the nation for a discount price was something I couldn’t pass up,” he said. “What made COD an even clearer choice for me was my selection as a Presidential Scholar, which provides free tuition for two years. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to school for free? If it wasn’t for COD, I would have paid tens of thousands of dollars for my first two years of school.”
Kuzmanovic discovered much more at College of DuPage, which enriched both his academics and his life.
“Just being in college caused me to be more independent and self-sufficient. I had to go to school for myself, because there was no one forcing me to wake up in the morning and go to class. I felt that I was a much more mature person after the first semester,” he said. “The staff and other students at COD were extremely helpful and were part of why I did so well. The professors were very kind and always willing to help a student who needs it.”
In 2016, Kuzmanovic was part of the College of DuPage Engineering and Technology Club team that participated in the 2016 NASA Robotic Mining Competition held at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. COD was one of only two community colleges to participate, and he said the most valuable lessons were gained during the competition at the Kennedy Space Center.
“The importance of repetitive testing was stressed while we were at the competition,” he said. “Every time we tested the robot we found a new issue that we could resolve. Every glitch discovered during testing reduces the potential issues you could have when competing.”
Kuzmanovic transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. In 2017, he is working as an intern at Shure Inc., where he is using the skills gained in the classroom and applying them to a real-world environment.
“The strong fundamental math and science knowledge, as well as the study and work habits I gained at COD, really set me up for success at UIUC,” he said.
After finishing his bachelor’s degree, Kuzmanovic would like to work somewhere that will give him plenty of room to improve and advance within the company. He also wants to earn a master’s degree and someday start his own company that will help better people’s lives.
Kuzmanovic believes everyone should know about College of DuPage.
“If you’re still undecided about what you want to do, COD can help you discover what interests you and save you money while you explore what they have to offer. My chemistry professor was a doctor from Oxford, so most of the faculty is more than qualified to teach in their fields,” he said.
“Contrary to the beliefs of many people in the community, COD has gone a long way and is now a totally different school than it was 10 years ago. COD is going places and I wanted to be a part of it.”
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2018 College of DuPage