Scott Pabian is a civil engineering graduate student with a focus in structural engineering. Pabian hopes to graduate in 2011, just two short years after receiving his Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the same university.
Lexington, KY has been home to Pabian for some time, so it was no surprise that he wanted to pursue his engineering education at the flagship institution for the commonwealth. It was on this diverse campus with an amazing faculty and staff that Pabian wanted to call home.
“UK is a well-rounded university in that there are a variety of programs and degrees available. Even though I am an engineering major, I can still take elective classes in topics that interest me in other areas such as economics. I think that the best part of the engineering program is the design experience of the faculty. Many of them have industry experience, which gives them a perspective of what is truly useful to a career-oriented professional,” says Pabian.
One of these faculty members that made a deep impact on Pabian was Dr. Harik. According to Pabian, “Dr. Issam Harik was my most influential professor. I began working with him while I was still in high school. He has given advice and mentored me for about seven years now, in addition to teaching several classes I have taken.”
The University of Kentucky has stimulated Pabian to grow both personally and academically. He says, “I have seen myself gain knowledge and understanding, as well as become more willing to try new opportunities. I’ve taken trips I would have never taken, applied for jobs I never would have considered, and worked in places that I didn’t know existed.”
This is partially how he came to apply for a co-op experience that was out of this world. “In the fall of 2006 I had a co-op experience at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. I applied on a whim, thinking it would be fun. I wouldn’t trade the experience and maturity I gained for anything,” Pabian says.
Another phenomenal experience that Pabian gained through the engineering program occurred during his final semester as an undergraduate. “I also participated in the Dean’s Leadership course, EGR 599, in spring 2009. This course gave me the chance to really ponder my possibilities as an engineer,” he says. “It was fun and exciting, as well as informative and interesting. This course was probably the highlight of my undergraduate classes.”
Each spring this EGR 599 course is taught by Dean Thomas Lester to develop personal leadership philosophy of engineering students through a series of strategies that include learning the concept of leadership and differentiating it from management. Students were also given the opportunity to meet with leaders in the field of engineering, and participate in a capstone trip where they traveled to Washington, D.C. where they met with members of Congress, key staff members, leaders of national engineering societies and high ranking officials of federal agencies focused on engineering related research and development.
It is through this course that students are asked to consider which of these leadership strategies works best for them in their own student organizations, honor societies, or other avenues of community involvement.
“My leadership style was created from my time in the Boy Scouts,” Pabian says. “I try to lead by example, and not ask others to do things I wouldn’t or couldn’t do. I apply it outside of class by working in groups where I am able to share the load, and make a fair work distribution. In graduate school, I didn’t have any teaching or TA experience, so I had few leadership capacities outside of my work on the UK Steel Bridge Team.”
As spring looms closer and closer Pabian considers his future plans. “This spring I am working at Palmer Engineering in Winchester Kentucky as a Structural Engineer In Training,” he says. “I have also registered for the CoE/MBA joint degree program and will be starting that in the summer.”
So for now, as graduation will close one chapter of his life here at UK, another will open.