Hailing from Willowbrook High School, today we hear from Sam Pakeltis about his goals, college experiences, and advice. Sam is a sophomore in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering with a major in Computer Engineering. He decided to attend the Grainger College of Engineering in part because he saw how good the programs were during his experiences at WYSE summer camps, and the decision was all that was left. The available programs were a compelling reason, but there’s also Illinois legacy in his blood. Sam’s older sisters – Abby and Grace – both graduated from the University of Illinois’ engineering program, which allowed Sam to visit a lot and enjoy the university at an early age.
WYSE talked with Sam at the WYSE/GAMES Camp Ice Cream Social + Reunion, where Sam attended not only as previous counselor but also as a previous camper!
“A project I see myself working on is one on active voice noise cancellation. I like to listen to music a lot and I know if we improve noise cancellation, we wouldn’t have to worry about our hearing going away. I am also looking forward to continuing with Illini Echo Vehicle (EV) Concept this semester; we build an electric car to try to get the best efficiency out of our battery system. We meet most, if not every, weekend, and I began my work with this group last year and want to continue. In high school, the activities that probably best prepared me for college were: Science Olympiad, Math team, econ challenge (possibly one of my favorites if not then Science Olympiad), baseball and volunteer programs like National Honors Society and Key Club.”
“In high school, I attended Exploring Your Options (EYO) and I remember what I learned during the electrical engineering portion taught by Professor Goddard, who is now my academic advisor. How WYSE mostly helped me was by helping me to choose my major (I was already set on attending Illinois my sophomore year into junior); the program coached me towards Electrical and Computer Engineering and then I went to Michigan Tech the next summer for an ECE specific camp.”
When Sam was asked, “What would you tell a high school student if they were questioning whether to major in engineering?” he replied, “It depends on what you think you want to do. If you feel like you want to do something then do it.”