LDP Member Spotlight – Robert Lozar-McDonald

     I am from the east-central section of the state not far from Champaign-Urbana and the University of Illinois. I lived most of my life in the country; a spot I jokingly used to refer to as “30 miles just south of nowhere”. I originally went to college at the University of Illinois and I studied Aerospace Engineering. Unfortunately, I had to drop out during the recession to get a job and help take care of my family. While working in the retail industry, I went to the local community college and earned my associates degree in Engineering Sciences.

    In the Fall of 2016 I applied to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale to get my bachelor degree in Industrial Management and Applied Engineering (IMAE). I hope to continue my education to get a Masters in the same program after I graduate. When I initially left my job to continue my education, I knew that I wanted to stay in-state to take advantage of the lower tuition. I also wanted to avoid any universities in or near Chicago. I saw that SIU was a good engineering school, that it was smaller, and a more rural university. All of these things combined convinced me that SIU was the right way to go to help me towards my goals. I want to be able use the tools that I am learning in the IMAE program to drastically reduce the costs and improve the reliability of space systems.

    The LDP is pushing me harder than I have ever been pushed before. It has surrounded me with people who are smart and determined. It is teaching me slowly and painfully what it takes to succeed at whatever I do. I don’t spend a great deal of time thinking as to what I want to do, because in a way the LDP is showing me that it doesn’t matter. I am going to enjoy whatever I end up doing and I couldn’t be happier.