My Story: Nick McCole, MTUengineer

Nick McCole ’23, Systems Engineering

Nick McCole landed an electrical/systems engineer internship with Milwaukee Tool over the summer. But first, the BSE/systems engineering major traveled to Houston with his fellow students and faculty advisors, to meet with members of the Johnson Space Center systems engineering and project management group.

Last year Nick led a senior design team of seven students who worked on a 5-month project given to them by JSC/NASA, part of its massive effort to envision and facilitate the next phase of continuous human presence on the moon. 

The Michigan Tech team was given a mission:  figure out how to deal with moon dust. Everything NASA would like to accomplish on the lunar surface requires a solution to this very dusty and sharp regolith.  

After one semester—about 5 months—of hard work, the Michigan Tech team successfully developed a systems engineering framework, analysis techniques, and verification methods, all derived from mission requirements. Then the team presented their project and results to NASA engineers.

“As systems engineering team leader, I enjoy making sure others around me succeed. I try to create value for my team members.” 

Nick McCole

How did you come to choose your major?

Not long after I arrived at Michigan Tech, I went to an evening event about systems engineering. I heard Professor Jon Sticklen speak and met some systems engineering students. I knew it was a group of people I wanted to be associated with. This choice has opened many doors for me. Systems Engineering is a field I plan on staying in for the foreseeable future. The people in Michigan Tech’s Department of Engineering Fundamentals are great role models and have been nothing but helpful to me in my career.

I grew up in Kingsford, Michigan (yes, I am a Yooper). I actually failed my first chemistry exam. That was kind of the turning point for me. I knew I needed to change the way I handled my career for the better. From that point, I have excelled academically. I’m now on track to graduate Summa Cum Laude from Michigan Tech in December 2023. 

This summer I worked as an electrical/systems engineer intern at Milwaukee Tool. In addition to Milwaukee Tool, I’ve been fortunate to have internships at Ford, Mercury Marine and Boss Snowplow.

I don’t know yet where I will start my full time job. My only goal is to be working on something that is fulfilling and provides value back to society in one way or another. Technology will only advance as time goes by. I want to be a part of making the world a better place.

One particularly nice aspect of the NASA project was watching others on my team come up with great ideas and seeing the excitement in their eyes, especially towards the end. It was a time-consuming project but the investment of time and energy was far worth it for the results.

What is Systems Engineering?

Systems engineers seek to understand, design, and manage complex systems over their life cycles They cross disciplinary boundaries, learn new topics quickly, and manage complex, engineered networks that are embedded in social and natural systems.

At Michigan Tech, students can earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering (a BSE) with a systems engineering pathway, or add a minor in systems engineering to any engineering degree. Learn about the Michigan Tech BSE program.