Nick Schwartz is a current student on the MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering.
Why did you choose the AME course and what was your background before it?
My dad and his dad before him were both mechanical engineers, but I never really had any interest in this field until I got to MIT, where I did my undergraduate degree. I had thought I would always want to study something more theoretical, like physics or maths. But I had the opportunity to take some classes in Mechanical Engineering, and was able to get my hands dirty in a couple of projects. As soon as I began to build things, I was enamored with the idea of starting with a goal, designing something to accomplish it, and then actually building the design.
During my time at MIT, I worked on several projects that really shaped my skills and interests as a mechanical engineer. The first was designing the levitation system for the MIT Hyperloop Team. This project was really interesting, but didn't quite help people in the way that I wanted. Then, I began working on projects in nuclear fusion energy. These projects were both technically difficult and had the capacity to change the world and the energy crisis.
For my Master's, I wanted to go to a place that had a focus on improving the health of the world, and where I could improve my technical skills. Imperial College strikes the perfect balance between technically challenging coursework and real applications for the improvement of society. Thus, Imperial was a clear choice for me. Additionally, the MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering offers a huge range of flexibility, so that I can focus on the technical aspects that I'm most interested in.
How are you finding your time on the course, and what do you most enjoy about it?
I'm very happy with my time on the course, and I'm sure it will continue to get better. So far, it's been a good balance of hard work, friends, and free time. I've been able to work hard enough such that I feel confident in all my classes. At the same time, I've had enough free time for sports, hanging out with friends, and traveling on the weekends. It's been an incredible experience getting to know people from all around the world, and how they look at problems. In fact, I've learned just as much about other cultures as I have about fracture mechanics or tribology!
What are your plans for your future career path?
After my time in the UK, I plan to return to the US to work for a few years, and then go back to school to obtain a PhD in engineering, focused on fusion energy. My long term goals are to become a leader in the fusion energy field. I hope to do so by either working my way up in a current private company, or by starting a company of my own. I hope that one day, we can all rely on clean, limitless fusion to power our world.
"It's been an incredible experience getting to know people from all around the world, and how they look at problems. "