Student Spotlight: Bert Novak
At first, Bert Novak was not motivated by schoolwork.
He dropped out of high school at 16, but, at a counselor’s suggestion, enrolled in an adult education night school program at East Aurora High School. He found that taking courses at night suited him better and he earned his diploma within the year while he was still 16.
He started taking classes at COD in 2001 and at the same time founded his own business, Novak Custom Homes, and successfully completed the construction of two new homes. The heavy workload that came with running a business caused his academic career to suffer.
Realizing he lacked the formal education necessary to take his company to higher levels, he enrolled full-time at COD. Novak maintained a 3.83 GPA and completed the Honors Scholars program. In addition to being an officer of Phi Theta Kappa and a Student Ambassador, he was also an active member of the International Student Organization.
For his part, Novak also found his extracurricular activities to be growing experiences.
“It was very important for me to work outside of the classes and join in extracurricular activities to meet other people who were highly motivated like me and who inspired me further,” he said.
Novak credits much of his success at College of DuPage to his involvement in these organizations, which helped him remain focused while simultaneously giving back to the college community.
He concedes that some people take a longer path than others when entering higher education. However, he also said, “I always knew I wanted to return to school and earn a college degree.”
When he graduated from College of DuPage, Novak had goals that included attending law school or earning an MBA, after which he wanted to start a family and possibly restart his construction company.
After five years, Novak is well on his way to achieving his goals. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he recently completed his Juris Doctor degree at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He is working as a lawyer in the Chicago area and recently married.
“I met Denise at College of DuPage, and I credit her for many of my academic achievements because of her unfailing support and inspiration,” he said.
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