Featured Interview: Charles Gullakson

Civil Engineering

Charles Gullakson

Why did you choose to pursue an online education?

Since I live in Florida, and the only institution I would consider to obtain an MS in Civil Engineering from is the University of Illinois, the online education was the obvious choice for me.

Why did you choose Engineering at Illinois?

Illinois’ civil engineering program is consistently ranked at the top of all programs in the US. Having obtained my Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois only reinforced my desire to obtain an advanced degree there.

What were the most important factors you considered when choosing the right school and program?

Reputation and quality of degree were the most important factors.

As an online student, do you feel included as a member of the Engineering at Illinois community? If so, what has made you feel this way?

Yes, I do, feel included. The faculty has very much made me feel that way, through a number of “small” things, such as making reference to online students during class, and being very accessible via email or telephone for questions or comments.

How has (or will) the investment you’ve made in this education benefited or paid-off for you in the advancement of your career?

I am somewhat of an unusual student in that I am 29 years into my career, and will likely retire within the next 10 years. I felt the strong urge to work for an MS to “update” my technical skills and stay current and relevant in the last years of my career. It is my expectation that this will certainly help me as an engineering leader with my employer.

How has your online education affected your earning potential?

This education will help me to further advance my abilities, which I expect will help my earnings potential.

How has your online learning experience helped to develop your skills and prepare you to become a leader in your field?

The learning experience is updating and sharpening my skills, and will provide me with additional knowledge base, to help me as an engineering problem-solving leader.

What is the #1 reason why a prospective student should choose Engineering Online at Illinois?

Because it is the leading engineering program in the nation, and Engineering Online provides that easy access to that top-shelf education.

What could be improved about the delivery or structure of our online programs?

In certain situations, I could see an advantage in having some classroom lectures available “live” to allow online students to have direct interaction with the instructor and classmates.

Do you have any advice for potential students considering an online engineering degree at Illinois?

The program has exceeded my expectations. The faculty and administrative staff supporting the online program have been extremely helpful and responsive. I highly recommend the program.