By Jessica Busch
Who’s Who at SCU: Scott Pakudaitis
Scott Pakudaitis is an Institutional Research Analyst at St. Kate’s. Having been at the University for 17 years, he has gotten involved in many areas at St. Kate’s. Pakudaitis is often seen keeping score or operating the clock at sporting events, befriending the squirrels on campus or snapping pictures of the performances at the O’Shaughnessy. The Wheel interviewed this man of many hobbies to get a glimpse at his daily life.
The Wheel (W): How did your career start at St. Kate’s?
Scott Pakudaitis (P): I graduated with a B.S. degree in Engineering Mechanics and with minors in Philosophy and Music from the University of Illinois. I have always wanted to work in institutional research, and I saw the opening at St. Kate’s. I was so excited to pursue the opportunity, after knowing past St. Kate’s graduates who raved about the place, so I wanted to come. I am so glad I did.
W: What are some of the things you do for St. Kate’s?
P: I am an Institutional Research Analyst, so I keep track of big data at St. Kate’s. For example, student census, demographics and credits are a few of the data pieces I collect. I am a data oracle. In the beginning, I was a first-year advisor, where I got to know students whom I still keep in touch with today. I have taken classes here, and have met many students through that. I am also involved in athletics, where I work the scoreboard or manage the clock.
W: What do you like to do outside of work at St. Kate’s?
P: Many things. I have been volunteering weekly at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for 11 summers now, where I take care of baby urban squirrels. People bring them into the nursery, and I have even brought in several from this campus. When they are mature and ready to live on their own, we release them back into the wild. In addition, I enjoy being involved in theatre as an actor, photographer or director. I love geo-caching, which is an outdoor treasure hunt where I get to bike, hike and climb.
W: What is it about squirrels that you love so much?
P: They are smart, playful and adventurous. In fact, my very first squirrel encounter was here at St. Kate’s. I was sitting on the patio waiting for a friend, when a squirrel came along and put its paws on my book and peeked over. I gave him something to eat, and that’s where it all began. Although they are illegal to keep as pets, I have a Japanese squirrel named Risu. Risu has his own room at home, because a cage is not large enough for them to run around in.
W: I heard you are into fashion design. Can you tell me more about it?
P: Yes! I wanted to learn how to sew because I was utterly inept at it – I used to hem my pants with a stapler. I took Trudy Landgren’s Apparel Construction and Analysis course, and it opened my eyes to the world of clothing design. I see clothing design as the perfect blend of my engineering background (my undergraduate degree) with my artistic inclinations. I no longer have a clothing website, and, instead, do all my clothing design by word-of-mouth referrals. I’ve made dance and theater costumes, wedding and prom dresses and various casual garments. One bit of St. Kate’s history is that I am responsible for restarting the annual St. Kate’s fashion show. Trudy mentioned during one of our classes that the Family Consumer and Nutrition Sciences department once had an annual show but hadn’t held one for several years. With the help of my classmates, I organized the event and held it in one of the larger classrooms in St. Joseph’s Hall. It has grown considerably since then, along with the department itself.
W: What is your favorite aspect of St. Kate’s that makes it unique?
P: I like how cooperative we are among colleagues, staff and faculty. We work together, compared to other places, where there are chasms with that. I like to work with students and see how they grow and develop as they go through St. Kate’s. I strongly believe in our mission for a strong education for women. Every student leadership group on campus is led by women, and our president of the college is a woman. The students have great role models to look up to that a lot of places don’t have.
Pakudaitis plans to stay at St. Kate’s for many more years. He loves to meet and greet students at St. Kate’s. If there are any questions regarding history, classes, student demographic or data about St. Kate’s, Pakudaitis would be happy to chat about the answer.
Jessica Busch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.