Graduate Q&A: Nick Richards

'I feel confident to take on my first job, postgraduation, and continue my education as a young professional'
​Jerry Poling | June 19, 2018
A happy Nick Richards, right, leaves Johnson Fieldhouse with his diploma May 5.
A happy Nick Richards, right, leaves Johnson Fieldhouse with his diploma May 5. / UW-Stout photo by Brett Roseman

Following is a Q&A with one of the 1,379 students who received a diploma May 5 at UW-Stout.

Name: Nick Richards
Hometown: Eau Claire
Major: Manufacturing engineering
Awards, honors: Chancellor’s Award 2014-17, Magna Cum Laude, Honors College, Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation Scholarship 2017-2018, UW-Stout American Foundry Society Foundation Scholarship 2016-2017, 2017-2018, Cervenka Scholarship 2017-2018, Co-Op of the Year Award 2016

Why did you choose UW-Stout? Because of the polytechnic piece, which is what attracted me from the beginning. I have always learned best with hands-on experience, and that is what Stout is all about. The programs and classes have been exactly what I was anticipating from Stout.

What are the biggest obstacles you faced in earning your degree? It was learning how to balance school and studying. As a freshman it took me awhile to understand time management, especially with studying. It was difficult for me to adjust to being independent, and the first semester was a struggle. Once I acclimated to dorm life and got into a steady routine, my college lifestyle, while still being very challenging, came naturally to me.

What stands out among your college experiences? It’s the perspective school has given me. Traveling to China with my study abroad program as well as traveling to Moscow to compete in Visionhack (an international hackathon) has allowed me to observe how many different people and cultures exist. It was enlightening for me to travel out of the country as it allowed me to appreciate my education. The many connections, relationships and friendships I have developed over the past few years are because of my college experience. Lastly, my final semester capstone project is an obvious standout for me. It has been the most time-consuming group project of my college career. However, because I am so passionate about the project and my field of study, it hardly feels like work to me. The project involves many parts that my professors have been training me for, and I feel confident to take on my first job, postgraduation, and continue my education as a young professional.

What’s next? In June I will be starting as a mechanical engineer at a small company called Trystar in Faribault, Minn. They are a power distribution manufacturer with emergency response solutions. This includes industrial electrical cable, generator docking stations, emergency backup generators and electrical boxes. I am excited to get experience in the electrical field, with plans to move into electro mechanical/automation engineering in the future.

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