Randy Dziak doesn’t settle for mediocrity.
As an Irish dancer, he competed at the World Championships of Irish Dancing in Glasgow, Scotland. He received the rank of Eagle Scout in 2013. And ever since taking physics during his junior year in high school, he dreamed of majoring in engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
However, that last dream came with a pricetag, and Dziak was worried about funding his education. So he applied for – and was selected to receive – a Presidential Scholarship, a prestigious honor that provides full tuition for high-achieving students to College of DuPage. It also meant he could apply for the 2+2 Pathways to Engineering program that allows qualifying students to complete their first two years at COD and then transfer seamlessly into UIUC’s College of Engineering.
“The fact that College of DuPage has a direct transfer program into U of I engineering is a testimony to the quality of the Engineering program at COD,” he said. “The Engineering program at COD is just as good as, if not better than, most four-year institutions. The access to office hours and the professors’ attention toward students at COD is incredible. COD is also a great place to improve your grades and GPA in order to get accepted into some of the best engineering programs in the country.”
While at College of DuPage, Dziak played soccer for two years. He also volunteered for the Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center and the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association. In 2015, he was named one of the College’s Outstanding Graduate finalists.
After completing a summer internship for Vertex Engineering, he transferred to UIUC and completed his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, with a primary focus on construction management and a secondary focus on structural engineering. He currently works at Lendlease and was part of a 26-story, residential high-rise project in Chicago’s south loop.
He is now an assistant project manager and living in Hawaii, where he is working with the U.S. Department of Defense building military housing for the Army.
Dziak knows he would not have been able to afford UIUC without College of DuPage.
“COD gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of attending U of I for engineering at half the cost,” he said. “If a student is looking for an incredible engineering education at an affordable cost, COD is the place to go.
“I would really like to thank Dave Smith, one of my engineering professors at COD. He goes above and beyond the minimum teaching requirements and really desires to see all of his students succeed. Dave Smith is one of the most helpful and talented teachers I have ever had and I would like to thank him for his dedication to the Engineering program at COD.”