Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Student spotlight: Joshua Deans has big dreams as an engineer

UIC provides a variety of opportunities for its students to succeed, and Joshua Deans knows it. The CME junior is an Honors College fellow, he completed a summer internship, he participates in several student organizations, and he is working in one of the department’s laboratories.

While he was in high school and researching colleges to attend, Deans learned about two scholarships offered by UIC’s Honors College. He applied for them and received the top award.

“I received the President’s Award Program Honor Scholarship, which is a four-year scholarship.” said Deans, of Matteson, Ill. “My full tuition and boarding is paid, and all I have to cover is the fees.”

A stipulation in the scholarship requires the student to be involved with campus activities. As an outgoing student, this isn’t an issue for Deans. He is part of an organization that promotes athletics to students, and a ski and snowboard organization, which hosts a trip to Colorado every year.

While Deans likes catching some air while skating across campus and shredding down a mountain, he gets more stimulation when he’s using his mind with the physical challenges offered by the engineering organizations.

“I’m part of ASCE, where I was on a mystery design team at the [Great Lakes Student] Competition,” he said. “During the year, I helped with some of the welding for the bridge used at the competition. This year, I plan to play a bigger part and commit more time to the team.”

Apart from the student organizations, Deans is gaining a mountain of knowledge through opportunities offered to engineering students. After his freshmen year, his high grades helped him qualify for an internship with Rosemont-based Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd.

My main role was to be a daily scribe of all the materials that were being put in the ground and used,” said Deans. “I worked onsite, and we did storm water projects, water main projects, and road pavement. I learned a lot at the internship. Things we are not taught in class. It was a really good experience to let me know what civil engineers do with municipal work.”

This school year, Deans has seized the chance to work under the direction of Professor Sybil Derrible in the “Complex and Sustainable Urban Networks (CSUN) Laboratory.”

“I was looking for two super talented undergrads to work on my NSF CAREER award, and Josh was one of them,” said Derrible.

“The goal of our research is to create a smartphone app that monitors your daily carbon footprint. My role is to do a full inventory and comparison of all of the carbon calculators online,” said Deans

While Deans is having a busy semester, he also has his sights set on the future.

“I plan to go to graduate school to get a masters in structural engineering,” he said. “My goal/dream is to build a skyscraper in Chicago.”

More student, faculty and department news can be found at