By Kat J. McAlpine
At Ponaganset High School in North Scituate, Rhode Island, David Sidoti’s 10th grade geometry teacher took notice of his exceptional skill in mathematics. His teacher, Mary Keable, suggested that David ought to consider a career in electrical engineering. Equipped with his natural affinity and obvious skill in math, David decided to do just that. He applied to many universities, including UConn, where his high school credentials qualified him easily for acceptance by the School of Engineering. By the time he received his high school diploma and was honored as class valedictorian, David had decided to accept the prestigious Presidential Scholarship to attend UConn.
Even during his first year at UConn, David’s motivation and abilities became readily apparent. He actively sought out challenges above and beyond the normal, rigorous course load; as a freshman he participated in senior design projects at his advisor’s suggestion. After strong-arming his way through his first semester of coursework, he refined his study skills and learned to make use of his professors’ office hours. Early in his second semester, David was earning top grades.
As an out-of state student, David found that unlike many of his peers from Connecticut – who entered UConn along with high school friends – he would have to establish new friendships as a college student. Within the small, closely-knit group of electrical engineering majors, he met the people he now considers his best friends. Looking back, he remarked that the students’ reliance on each other through even the toughest of coursework fostered a strong sense of camaraderie.
Over the years, David’s UConn experience has been anything but ordinary. In addition to managing the demanding course load, he has taken the initiative to involve himself in the university community. David is captain of an intramural volleyball team and a member of the UConn Math Club, the Residence Hall Association, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He is also an officer of the UConn chapter of Eta Kappa Nu, the international honor society for computer and electrical engineers. And thanks to his Presidential Scholarship, he was able to spend two months studying abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. The experience had such a profound impact on him that he is working hard to become fluent in the Korean language in hopes of someday returning to South Korea to collaborate with an industry giant such as Samsung, LG or Hyundai.
Now entering the final semester of his senior year, David still seeks out avenues to expand his learning experiences and challenge himself. He is one of two undergraduate students in a graduate course on linear programming and network flows. In addition, he has delivered two conference presentations on the research of one of his professors, Dr. John Ayers, and contributes toward research conducted by Drs. Ayers and Krishna Pattipati. Based on his research involvement, he has published three scholarly papers; two appeared in the Journal of Applied Physics and one in the Journal of Electronic Materials.
Unsurprisingly, David expects to proceed to graduate school after earning his B.S. degree. With such an impressive resume at this early juncture in his career, it’s safe to say David will continue to inspire peers and professors alike with his go-getter attitude and impressive accomplishments.