Student Spotlight: Johnny Zayed
As a kid, Johnny Zayed read math books.
“I never really played with Legos or took apart everything, so initially my dream job was a math professor,” he said. “In high school, I became interested in physics and electronics – and money, so I came up with this: math + physics + electronics + money = electrical engineering. And I stuck with it.”
However, after taking classes at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Zayed was dropped for bad grades. He needed to spend at least one productive year away from UIUC to demonstrate improvement before petitioning to re-enter. So he turned to College of DuPage.
“COD offers so many classes relevant to my interests, enough for me to retake classes I did poorly in at UIUC and even take the next consecutive courses and have them transfer to UIUC for new credit,” he said. “I feel very lucky to have a community college that allows me to demonstrate improvement to my department back at UIUC. I actually made progress in my degree at COD and not just repeating what I took. And surprisingly for me, the difficulty of some of the classes I took at COD was extremely comparable to those classes at UIUC.”
After Zayed transferred back to UIUC, his grades were far better than they were before, and he plans to earn a bachelor’s in electrical engineering and a minor in math. He is interested in research or design careers and hopes before finishing school to gain experience in different fields so he can best decide on his first engineering job.
He praises COD for helping him get back on track and is appreciative of the small class sizes.
“These are great at COD, allowing students to actually talk to their instructors and get more time to dismantle the material in class,” he said. “At some of the big engineering universities, these aspects don’t exist. Having large class sizes, huge student populations and less time in class makes it a little harder to keep up with all the material.”
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