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Photo of Dom Olesak

Degree or certificate program at CLC: A.S., 2017.

Transfer school and degree: University of Wisconsin-Platteville; majoring in civil engineering.

Hometown: Antioch, Ill.

High school: Antioch Community High School, 2015.

Interests and hobbies: Playing baseball, watching the Cubs, tinkering with 3D printing and designing and flying custom drones.

Dom Olesak

I want to be a civil engineer because I’ve always been fascinated with roads, bridges and construction projects. It’s cool to be able to point to something like a bridge, freeway or skyscraper and say, “I helped design and build that.” And I’m confident there will be a lot of jobs in the field because much of our country’s infrastructure needs to be either repaired or rebuilt.

When I talk to friends who began their pre-engineering majors at large, four-year universities, I see that CLC has given me the same quality of education but with much smaller class sizes. And I like the idea that I’m not drowning in debt. CLC is a great place to get your foundation for a four-year degree because it’s a quality education for an affordable price. 

CLC’s new Baxter Innovation Lab is a great addition to the college and will give the college more visibility as the word spreads to area high schools and the larger community. You can apply in a positive, hands-on environment what you’ve learned in class. The lab has computer design stations, 3D printers, computerized numerical control (CNC) equipment, electric saws, hand saws and much more. In 2016, a group of us students built a drone. Another student used the CNC equipment to design his own circuit board for a video game. 

I was fortunate to work part time in the lab, maintaining the 3D printer, teaching students to run the CNC machine and giving them design tips. It was a great way to meet others with common interests, build communication skills and have that credential on a resume.

Another great opportunity is my summer 2017 internship at a civil engineering firm in Vernon Hills working on transportation-related projects. My duties include field studies and helping out with land surveying. It’s great to be learning things on the fly, in the real world. This will give me an edge when I transfer to upper-level engineering classes at UW-Platteville. I learned about it at an engineering internship fair CLC hosted in January 2017. It was a great way to meet potential employers all in one space. A fair like this promotes the image of CLC, because I emailed my engineering buddies in other states, and some of them drove several hours to attend.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) are exciting fields because they offer one of the most important ways that we improve our society. STEM creates infrastructure and products that improve people’s quality of life. More American men and women need to pursue STEM-related careers because we don’t want to fall behind other countries. We want to compete and, ultimately, bring progress to the human species.

Besides engineering and math, CLC’s liberal arts courses are great, too. I thought an introductory sociology course would be boring, but the professor made it incredibly interesting. We talked about the 20-year nostalgia cycle—how many elements in popular culture come back in roughly 20-year waves. One example is the current boom in Furby® toys that were once popular in the ’90s, when we all were little kids.