Engineering Professor Dr. Tony Pan has joined the Northwestern community and brings a wealth of knowledge with him in the area of civil engineering. He spent eight years teaching at the Catholic University of America and the Illinois Institute of Technology. He also spent three years working as a research engineer at the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University and a year as a research scientist at Virginia Tech.
Dr. Pan explains what motivated him to come to Northwestern.
“I was impressed by the great work that has been done by the math and engineering faculty, administration, and the engineering students. The department, college, and university are all clearly dedicated to developing a new engineering program. I am excited about the growing number of engineering students and the opportunity to contribute to the program development,” said Dr. Pan.
He admits that his transition from a Catholic school to a non-denominational Christian school has been promising.
“Nationally, there have been many highly ranked institutions that started as an Evangelical institution. I feel that University of Northwestern is more encouraging in research and technological innovations than denominational ones,” said Dr. Pan.
He explained that the world around him is what inspired him to become an engineer.
“I was amazed by the construction of the dams and reservoirs in my hometown when I was a teenager. I planned to become a civil engineer in the early beginning, but later on found that teaching civil engineering is more meaningful because the market needs a great number of civil engineers every year,” said Dr. Pan.
Teaching other students over the years has helped him define his true calling.
“Essentially, the interactions with students have plotted a clearer picture as to what the job market needs and what I should do to improve the efficiency of training civil engineers,” said Dr. Pan.
He feels that civil engineering is a great career choice due to its impact on society.
“Civil engineering deals with building the physical world we live in, which has been and will continue to be practically useful. The American society of engineering education (ASEE) has listed civil engineering as one of the fundamental engineering disciplines for today’s engineering students,” said Dr. Pan
Dr. Pan believes that it is important to have good Christian engineers and teachers because it develops an engineer’s ethical standards.
“Engineering is the right language to describe God’s created world where we live in. For a Christian engineering teacher, pursuing Christianity is an integral component of teaching and practicing engineering; it helps develop an engineer’s sense of responsibility,” said Dr. Pan.
When he isn’t teaching, he is spending time with his 15 year-old daughter who is a high-school student. He said she plays a number of musical instruments and loves killing time with a computer.