Paolo Scardina has been studying or working at Virginia Tech for 30 consecutive years, without a gap. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Practice teaching courses such as Fluid Mechanics for CEE, Water Resources Engineering, Hydrology, Hydraulic Structures, and Water and Wastewater Treatment Design. He has also served as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Virginia Tech chapter advisor since 2011. In honor of Dr. Scardina’s 30 years with Virginia Tech, here are sharing 30 facts about him:

1.      He started as an engineering undergraduate student at Virginia Tech in August 1993.

2.      He completed a B.S. degree in Mining and Mineral Engineering in December 1997.

3.      Upon graduation, he didn’t want to get a job, so he decided to go to graduate school at Virginia Tech.

4.      He applied to other universities but decided to stay at Virginia Tech.

5.      He completed his master’s degree in environmental engineering with Marc Edwards as his advisor.

6.      He then stayed at Virginia Tech to complete his Ph.D.

7.      After completing his doctorate, he had family reasons to stay locally so he continued working as a researcher for Virginia Tech.

8.      In his words, “I eventually learned that I wasn’t good at research and didn’t really enjoy the work.”

9.      This is what prompted him to teach Fluid Mechanics classes rather than do research. This was in 2010 and he continues to regularly teach this course.

10.   He went into engineering because it was the universal advice he received since he was good at math and science.

11.   It was many year as a student until he says he actually understood what an engineer does.

12.   His parents insisted he should attend Virginia Tech.

13.   He doesn’t own any clothing or hats that say Virginia Tech.

14.   The last time he went to a Virginia Tech football game, he had to camp out for tickets.

15.   When he first started teaching full time, he was receiving a lower salary that incoming graduate students.

16.   He learned from his graduate school advisor that sometimes you have to sleep in your office.

17.   He has swam multiple times in the Duck Pond, however, he does not advise this because “you can’t wash the smell of that pond off of you.”

18.   He canoed with his roommate in the Duck Pond. They were “pulled over” by the Virginia Tech police and told to get out of the pond.

19.   He’s been attacked by geese while giving a student tour at the local water treatment plant.

20.   He nearly gave everyone food poisoning on an overnight sampling trip for his Hydraulic Structures class.

21.   He almost got swept under at the Cascades while filming lectures for his Fluids and Water Resources classes.

22.   In graduate school, he got to drive cross country two times to visit multiple sampling sites.

23.   In his free time, he likes to think up new lab activities for Fluids and Water Resources.

24.   He goes to the CEE advising office multiple times each week because he has questions and he thinks that is the best place for answers.

25.   He serves as the Director of the Hydraulics Teaching Laboratory

26.   He has been awarded several Certificates of Teaching Excellence from the Virginia Tech College of Engineering.

27.   He has been awarded the CEE Alumni Teaching Excellence Award many times over the years.

28.   He also received the Panhellenic Council Teaching Recognition Award. 

29.   He got creative during the Covid-19 pandemic and filmed parts of his lectures up to his ankles in creeks and waterways around campus and in nearby areas. Since it wasn’t feasible to take large groups of students on field trips, he felt it was important to bring the field trips to the students virtually.

30.   Every year, he thinks it will be his last year teaching at Virginia Tech.