For Dr. Alain Miatudila, an alumnus and former faculty member of the W.S. Lee College of Engineering, the support, mentoring and encouragement provided by professors, colleagues and friends has made all the difference in his life. Coming to America from the Democratic Republic of the Congo speaking no English, Dr. Miatudila studied, worked and persevered to become an associate dean of engineering himself. As an educator, Dr. Miatudila now does all he can to provide this same assistance and inspiration to his students. For his accomplishments made possible through the involvement and care of others, the National Organization for Student Success (NOSS) has recognized Dr. Miatudila as the 2021 Outstanding National Alumnus of a Student Success program. In 2020, North Carolina Organization for Student Success named Dr. Miatudila as the Outstanding Alumnus from a North Carolina Student Success program.
Dr. Miatudila, earned three degrees from UNC Charlotte, his Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering Technology-Civil Engineering Technology in 2003, Master’s of Science in Civil Engineering in 2012, and Ph.D. in Infrastructure and Environmental Systems-Transportation Engineering in 2016. In 2008, he joined Charlotte as a Faculty Associate in the Department of Engineering Technology and Construction Management (ETCM). He worked in the ETCM Department for 11 years, from 2008 to 2019, before going to Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), where he now serves as the Associate Dean of Engineering.
“I immigrated to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1996, with aspirations of studying civil engineering,” Dr. Miatudila said. “I did not speak any English at the time. When I took my placement test for CPCC, my math scores were through the roof. But my English was not at a level that they would accept me into school. They said, ‘This is the weirdest thing we have seen. Your math is so high that we know you should do well in the program. Let’s put you on a path to get you ready for school.’”
Dr. Miatudila then began the English and Reading Development program at CPCC in 1998. “I was so fortunate these classes were developed for students like me,” he said. “I was especially lucky to have Dr. Patty Hill-Miller of the program take an interest in me. She saw something in me, and then pushed and challenged me every day.”
Dr. Miatudila earned his Associate’s Degree in Applied Science-Civil Engineering Technology from CPCC in 2001. He then went on to Charlotte to complete his undergrad degree. He worked in industry for seven years, then in 2008 became a faculty associate at Charlotte, where he worked until 2019 while also earning his graduate degrees.
“As an instructor and faculty member, I like to pass on my experience to my students,” Dr. Miatudila said. “I tell them if I could succeed with my low level of English, they can do it too. I tell them to ‘keep at it.’ I am so thankful to have the privilege of being able to give back and push my students like those who pushed me.”
The people who supported and pushed Dr. Miatudila that he would like to thank include Dr. Patty Hill-Miller and Tom Page of CPCC. At Charlotte, important individuals to Dr. Miatudila include fellow professors and colleagues Dr. Deborah Sharer, Dr. Wei Fan, Dr. Thomas Nicholas, Dr. Carlos Orozco, Dr. Bruce Gehrig, Cecilia Dontoh, and ETCM and Civil and Environmental Engineering Department faculty and staff members.
“I send my special thanks to ETCM Department Chair Dr. Tony Brizendine for recruiting and hiring me when I was just a former student with a few years of industry experience, ” Dr. Miatudila said. "I send all of my thanks to Dr. Martin Kane, who was my mentor through all of my master’s and Ph.D. studies. I also send my heartfelt thanks to Dr. Srinivas Pulugurtha for his wise counsel and constant support. And I also want to thank Courtney Green. She was my best friend in the Civil ET Department, and was there to support me at all times. She was a wonderful colleague, and I thank her for her encouragement at all times. Finally, I send my sincere thanks to all my former Charlotte students from 2008-2019 and CPCC students from 2019 to now, for their kindness, friendship, but more, for the unforgettable memories. This great story has no meaning without them.”
Dr. Miatudila has written more about of his journey and successes in the African Shapers article “How Education Experience Enriches Lives and Allows Students to Conquer Their Possibilities”.
The National Organization for Student Success is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, whose mission is to assist education professionals in making a positive difference in the lives of students.
Some photos from Dr. Miatudila’s journey and career are below.