GNA Alumnus working to advance vehicle technology


Patrick Duda studied abroad in South Africa, where he was immersed in a new culture as he studied engineering.



DETROIT- Patrick Duda left Greater Nanticoke Area in 2014 and went on to attend Penn State University. He graduated from Penn State in 2018 with a degree in engineering and moved to Detroit, Michigan to work at General Motors, one of the largest car companies in the world.

While at GNA, Patrick was a member of the soccer, baseball, and swim teams. Patrick was also a member of the National Honor Society, and he participated in competitions such as Science Olympiad and PJAS. During this time, Patrick planned on majoring in business or communications until he took a physics class with Mr. Anthony Fleury that changed his whole career plan. That one class opened Patrick’s eyes to the field of engineering and convinced him that he could make a difference in the world. 

Though he found it difficult to leave his family and friends, Patrick left GNA and moved on to begin his future at Penn State. It wasn’t until he started at Penn State and attended classes with more than 500 students that he realized the benefit of being able to know your teachers as he was able to do at GNA. 

The IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, or THON, at Penn State was a huge commitment that Patrick made and dedicated himself to while in college. THON is a 46 hour dance marathon that raises money for persistent child cancer research at Penn State Hershey. Patrick was also a part of Impact, a special interest organization with the sole goal of supporting a 4 Diamonds family and raising money for THON. Impact is paired with the Jeremy Hawk family, and providing support for others was the reason that Patrick and everyone else was there. During his time with the organization, Patrick was the alternative fundraising chair, President, and senior year he was even given the privilege of dancing for Impact and representing the Hawk family for 46 hours with two of his best friends.

Patrick studied abroad in Germany during the summer between his sophomore and junior year. He was able to do so because of the Engineers Made in Germany program that allowed him to go from Penn State to Pforzheim University. He decided to travel to Germany because his classes were all geared towards the German auto industry that he was interested in. The courses he took there were focused on the manufacturing techniques used in their assembly plants. The coursework was especially interesting and exciting to Patrick because he would have class one day and travel to a plant the next where he would observe what was being taught in the real world. Patrick also took part in other study abroad programs that were in South Africa where he worked on a smart farming application for rural farmers to better utilize their farms. The second trip he took to Africa was to Kenya to deliver a baobab fruit processing machine that turns the hard fruit into usable powder. Patrick also worked with a local entrepreneur who uses the machines developed at Penn State to run her entire business. 

Patrick thoroughly enjoys working at General Motors, for he has an abundance of opportunities available to him there. With GM being such a large corporation, he has the ability to work on the next generation of vehicle technology that is going to alter the way that people today drive. Since starting at GM, Patrick has had the chance to work on making internal combustion vehicles smarter, safer, and more efficient; right now, he is working on the Autonomous Vehicle project to bring self-driving cars to the streets of San Francisco, an endeavor that both challenges and excites him.