Student Spotlight: Paul Butkovich
Hometown: Oakbrook Terrace
When Paul Butkovich was five years old, his parents took him to an open house at Fermilab.
"I was amazed at how much science was going on," he said. "I was asking questions like, 'Why do they make those things go really fast?' I wanted to come back some day but didn't think I'd work here. I didn't dream that high."
During the summer of 2010, Butkovich got his chance to work at Fermilab during a summer internship. He was one of two College of DuPage students who were the first from the school to participate in a Fermilab internship.
"I was nervous on my first day," Butkovich added. "You're surrounded by physicists and scientists who have large reputations. I didn't understand half of what they were talking about at first, but I picked it up on the fly and learned to speak their language."
Butkovich's project at Fermilab involved setting up and commissioning an electron gun and the beam line for it, as well as the vacuum to run the beam line.
"There's a lot less mystique about it than people may assume," he said. "It's not all that different from putting together an engine. The people at Fermilab were extremely friendly and modest. They didn't talk down to me and were very understanding."
Butkovich chose College of DuPage for its quality, cost and close proximity to his home. After earning his Associate in Science degree in 2011, he transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is studying chemistry. Upon earning his bachelor's in 2013, he would like to pursue both master's and doctorate degrees in Chemistry and then go into materials research.
"The quality of education at COD was great," he said. "There was a lot of support for students who want to succeed and loads of workshops on transferring and career options."
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL
60137 (630) 942-2800
2012 College of DuPage