The Long Journey to Success

Writer Earl Nightingale once said, "People with goals succeed because they knew where they're going." However, if Mr. Nightingale ever met University of Hawaii Mechanical Engineering student Scott Sufak, he would have to rephrase his belief.

Scott Sufak (left), his teammates, and their pendulum design project.

If you track Scott's college career, you will probably think one thing; it must have been great for his frequent flyer miles. After graduating from Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Scott enrolled at nearby Pikes Peak Community College. After a year there, Scott transferred to the University of Massachusetts.

While in Boston, he met his future wife. They moved to Montana and Scott enrolled at Montana State University. Unfortunately, Montana State didn't have an engineering program. So when they had the chance, Scott and his wife moved to Hawaii. Scott enrolled at Honolulu Community College, and later transferred to the University of Hawaii.

Scott's decision to attend community college is a road millions of high school students across the United States take each year. Many decide to enroll at a community college because of the proximity of the college to their homes and the lower cost of tuition. For Scott, there were other reasons, as well; "In high school my grades weren't great, so attending a community college was a great opportunity to improve my grades."

Scott believes community college is a great place for those who are unsure of what to major in. "For some people, I think it's a good opportunity to see what kind of classes they really enjoy and see what classes they don't enjoy and then follow up on the classes they enjoy."

As for Scott, he knew ever since he could remember, he wanted to build robots. He always enjoyed playing with anything and everything he could take apart and put back together, like Lego and Erector Sets or radio-controlled airplane and cars. As a matter of fact, Scott still enjoys playing with his "toys," but unfortunately its been hard since school has taken up a lot of his time and because all his "toys" sit in his workshop at home in Colorado.

Growing up Scott may have known he wanted to build robots, but he didn't know what field it involved. However, as we all know, he discovered what direction to go in. "I found that mechanical engineering was the closest thing to what I was interested in," said Scott. "It seemed to be a well-rounded field which covers a lot of different forms of engineering."

Currently, Scott is working on a robotics project, of course. He is helping to develop a vehicle monitoring system for the Semi-Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for Intervention Missions (SAUVIM) project. The monitoring system consists of circuits which makes sure a variety of variables, like pressure levels, temperature, and humidity are all at optimal levels.

Scott Sufak has done many things in his college career. However, who knew his dream of building robots would take him thousands of miles across the United States. So perhaps Nightingale should rephrase his quote to say, "You never know where the road to success will take you."


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