Fortune Favors the Brave: The Tomáš Kadavý Story

Published: February 22, 2022 | Author: Dillon LeBlanc | Read Time: 5 minutes

Tomáš KadavýThe world is a big place, and most people don’t get an opportunity to see it. But every once in a while, some of us are given a chance to discover what the rest of the planet has to offer. Tomáš Kadavý is a Czech Republic-born mechanical engineering student that came to Southern Utah University for an unforgettable experience, and he got one.

“I really liked the atmosphere of a smaller university and also the nature around here,” said Kadavý. “I love hiking and the outdoors, and now I can say that I made a good choice, I love it here!”

When Kadavý first came to SUU, he expected a similar education to his home country. He was shocked to find out how different the examination system and campus were from his home. Back in the Czech Republic, students complete 180 credits in a three-year program with most final exams determining whether you pass or fail. This may seem like a grueling curriculum, but in the Czech Republic, public universities are completely free for up to four years.

“In the Czech Republic, with most of the classes, the final exam is 100 percent of your grade and you have only three tries to pass it,” Kadavý said. “You also have to do assignments and midterms during the semester, but that is only to earn enough points so you are able to go to the final exam. We usually have five to eight bigger exams like that each semester, and it takes a month or two to finish all of them.”

The experience of American college also differs in that the United States has team sports that add a vibrant culture to the communities surrounding the university. In Europe, individual sports like the ones featured in the Olympics are more prominent and well known to the locals. Back home, Kadavý found his love of mountain biking in the misty forests of Sumava National Park. The red rock terrain of Southern Utah offers a plethora of exhilarating mountain biking trails that Kadavý had no trouble introducing himself to.

“I really liked the Iron Hills trails because you can choose from different difficulties,” said Kadavý. “To be honest, I liked them more than the Gooseberry Mesa. Of course, the views are not as stunning as the Gooseberry Mesa, but the trails are more 'enduro’, more downhill; I absolutely loved riding them.”

Not only did Kadavý have the chance to carve the trails himself, but he also got to experience firsthand the Red Bull Rampage Pro Mountain Biking event hosted in nearby Virgin, Utah. This event pits the best names in mountain biking against each other on a death-defying downhill enduro course where the slightest mistake could cost you the entire race! Kadavý had the honor of standing at the starting point and got to introduce himself to a few of the participants.

“He didn't only get to attend the Red Bull Rampage, but he spent time at the take-off point and visited with the competitors. He met one of his close-by countrymen from Poland,” said Dr. Richard Cozzen, associate professor of engineering and technology.

To Kadavý, this competition is a lot like our Super Bowl.

“I´ve been watching this competition since I was fourteen and I have never thought that I would be able to come here,” Kadavý said. “It was so unrealistic that I wasn't even wishing for it. And suddenly, I was standing right next to the starting podium and just casually talked with the pros racing there. Unbelievable!”

When it comes to his studies, Kadavý has high expectations for himself. But the most important thing for him is to maintain a positive attitude no matter what challenges come his way. The mechanical engineering program at SUU is no easy program. The dedication and commitment it takes to get through the intense curriculum requires gusto. Sometimes college itself can get you down when you don’t succeed in the way you want to. Kadavý is an inspiration to us all because of his ability to maintain a sense of calm and happiness amid the stressful environment of university life.

“I would say that I can handle stress pretty well. Education is very important for me. Getting my degree is one of the biggest goals in my life right now,” said Kadavý. “I'm motivated and I work hard, but I understand that there are more important things in this world, like being healthy and happy. I am happy right now and even if I failed some classes, it wouldn't change anything.”

Through all the trials and tribulations, Kadavý found everything he was looking for at Southern Utah University. He credits a lot of his success here to Dr. Richard Cozzens, a professor of engineering and the director of Thunderworks Innovation Center.

“Tomas was a great student. He brought a whole new perspective to the classroom,” said Dr. Richard Cozzens.

Kadavý took his mathematical prowess back to the Czech Republic to continue and finish his degree in mechanical engineering. His plan is to enter the nuclear power industry and learn all there is to know while revolutionizing the industry itself. He wants to continue growing his knowledge in many different fields such as athletic training and physiotherapy and eventually become a coach to help the athletics industry grow in his home country. Through the dedication of the international students and scholars office and the great work of not just Kadavý but everyone that helped him adjust to American life, Kadavý returns home a better student and an inspiration to all SUU students.

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