U of A Student Taking Steps to Preserve the Planet

Student Profile: Edward J. Machek Jr., The University of Akron
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

As the cliché goes, if you look up “star student” in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Eddie Machek. The University of Akron student excels both inside and outside the classroom, as he looks to further his education to the highest level while making an impact along the way. 

After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from U of A, Machek chose to continue on to earn a master’s degree in the same field, which he will complete later this year. His ultimate dream job is professor at a high-end research institution, where he can work on several projects that he said will prove challenging and beneficial to preserving the environment.

The research in which Machek currently is involved would do just that. He is part of a collaborative team that includes colleagues from the University of Illinois as well as the University of Koblenz, Germany, who are researching pharmaceuticals not removed through common water treatment processes. The group is hoping to influence both the community and medical researchers to take a hard look at what compounds threaten the world’s watersheds and should be avoided.

Machek didn’t always want to be a professor at a research institution; at one time, he thought he may want to pursue hands-on engineering. In order to determine his career pathway, he participated in several internships with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) as an undergraduate. The experience, while beneficial to his learning, helped him to realize he wanted to pursue a more research-oriented path, and to “help educate the next generation of engineers.” Machek’s involvement with the American Society of Civil Engineers student group was also a huge influence and provided him with great networking opportunities.

Giving back to the University of Akron has also influenced Machek’s decision to follow his desire to teach. Over the last few years, he has been involved with U of A’s tutoring services. The tutoring program helped Machek learn effective communication and teaching skills, enabling him to achieve his main tutoring goal of helping students realize that success comes from perseverance, rather than simply being smart. 

“People who never quit, rarely fail,” Machek said, adding that if his students were unfamiliar with the subject matter, he helped them to understand the material and to stop doubting themselves.

Next fall, Machek plans to seek a Ph.D. in environmental engineering, yet another step along his pathway to protecting the environment and teaching young minds to value themselves and the world around them.