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Student Spotlight: Stewart Reed

Stewart Reed

Stewart Reed
Major: Engineering
Hometown: Lombard

Stewart Reed loves airplanes, and it doesn't matter whether he's flying or building them.

"Mechanically, I love the physics of flying and the complexity of all the parts working together," said Reed, who is taking flying lessons. "Emotionally, I love the responsibility of flying."

College of DuPage is providing him with the educational foundation that will help his career as an aeronautical engineer take flight. As a Presidential Scholar, Stewart received a full-tuition scholarship and enrollment in COD's Honors program and the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society that will leave him debt-free when he transfers to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"It was a simple choice," he said. "I'm taking all the classes I need to get my associate's degree and move on to get my bachelor's degree. And it's close to home."

Reed's love of flying began at a young age, when he would accompany his grandfather to radio-controlled model airplane shows. It wasn't long before he started building and flying his own model airplanes.

"The joy is seeing all of your work become a success," he said. "Flying model airplanes is also fun because you can do things full-size airplanes can't do, such as rolling turns, which is a continuous barrel roll while turning in a circle or doing a loop, and backwards flying with a reversible propeller."

Reed's love for model airplanes led him toward full-size planes, and he likes being a pilot. 

"In high school, I was in a rock-climbing class. My favorite thing to do was to be the belayer, the guy holding the rope, because I always knew the person climbing would be safe with me," he said. "In flying, I am also the 'guy holding the rope,' keeping everyone safe. It's a great feeling knowing that the only difference between a very dangerous activity and a very safe one is you." 

Although he's navigating toward a career that involves aeronautics, Reed plans to join the Navy and may turn that into a career.

"Serving in the Navy has been a tradition in my family for generations," he said. "I feel it is every citizen's duty to serve in the armed forces, and I think serving in the Navy will be the best experience of my life. It will be an adventure, an I love adventure."

More about the Engineering program