Future engineer with a big impact

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A. Sue Weisler

Rochester City Scholar Tim Reed is on track to graduate in May. He is majoring in civil engineering technology in the College of Applied Science and Technology.

One summer, Tim Reed watched his grandfather build a car in the family’s backyard—from the chrome fenders on the outside to the engine parts on the inside. Admiring his work and trying to emulate him, Reed, then a third-grader, thought he’d like to build things, too.

He had that chance during co-op experiences at RIT. The fourth-year civil engineering technology major worked for local engineering firms LaBella Associates and Pike Construction to renovate Edison Tech and Charlotte high schools in Rochester.

The first in his family to attend college, Reed saw the Rochester City Scholars program as a way to remain close to home. Reed came from a family that stressed education, a mom who read incessantly and a dad who was always good with numbers.

“My mom has always been adamant about my education. One year, she even tried to make me go to summer school—and I didn’t even need it,” he said, laughing. “That lasted for about two days. My mom is a very smart woman. I used to watch her read a lot, and just watching her made me want to educate myself more.”

At first, RIT was a culture shock, but he eventually settled into the demands of college.

“I came from a high school that is predominantly minorities, so coming to RIT is a lot more diverse, that was different for me,” he said. “And I didn’t realize one homework assignment could be six hours long.”

During his four years, Reed earned a reputation as someone who knew how to build friendships, not just buildings. RIT’s Multicultural Center for Academic Success became a second home and he joined its executive board. Reed was named Unsung Hero in 2013 at the center’s annual recognition ceremony.

After graduation, Reed wants to stay in Rochester and possibly attend graduate school for an MBA or master’s degree in project management. Whatever his future, Reed knows RIT has already made a difference in his life and in the lives of others.

Last spring, he was going to his mother’s house on Garson Avenue when he ran into a student coming home from his alma mater, East High. The student told Reed he admired him.

“It feels good to have some kind of positive impact on students,” he said. “It’s a start, and we don’t have much of a start in the inner city. It’s all about getting the message through because you won’t like something until you’ve tried it. When you give up on kids, not a positive thing can come out of it.”