Student Spotlight: Michael Baumgartner

Michael Baumgartner

Michael Baumgartner
Major: Engineering
Hometown: Aurora

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 is starting 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 the choice easy.

He's also part of the Pathways to Engineering program, a unique opportunity that allows qualifying students to complete their first two years at COD, meeting all program requirements, then transfer seamlessly to the University of Illinois's renowned College of Engineering to earn a bachelor's degree.

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's finding more professors who are providing far more than just facts.

"Unlike most universities, the professors I have at COD actually care to hear our input and make sure we understand the material we are learning," he said. "Due to this fact, I am having 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. Now that I am here, I realized how completely wrong that generalization is. I have opportunities available to me that no other college in the state could offer me. Why go anywhere else?"

More about the Engineering program