Meet International Alum, Thomas Kroll! Tom is originally from Tanzania. He was a Mechanical Engineering student and graduated in 2015 with his Bachelor's degree. While at UNH, Tom was fortunate to share many wonderful experiences with people from all over the world. He spent two years as a Resident Assistant in Fairchild Hall, which houses many international students. Tom shared his favorite memory of a time when one of his residents convinced him to try improv for the first time. The improv show is done yearly as a way to help prepare incoming freshman for college life. Tom soon found himself on the big stage in the Paul Creative Arts Center, acting out a role as an RA giving advice to incoming freshman residents. Tom recalls the nerves he felt as he stood under the spotlight not knowing what to say and having to come up with lines on the spot. But, Tom faced his fears that day, got up there and did it. He even made the whole crowd laugh, especially when he started singing a hit Drake song at the time, "Started from the Bottom" as he exited the stage. It was a great experience for him, pushing himself out of his comfort zone and challenging himself to try something new, as well as having the opportunity to be part of a group who was trying to create a welcoming environment for new students to the UNH community. As an international student, Tom understood the value and importance of that.
Tom is now pursuing his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Minnesota. His research is in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Tom believes the UNH curriculum was essential in helping him get where he is today. In addition, working with professors who do fluid dynamics research at the world class facilities helped him realize that this is an area he could be a part of in the future. Tom also credits the great family-like community he found during his time at UNH, facilitated by OISS and OMSA.
Tom would also like to give a shout out to Professor Martin Wosnik, who he says was essential in broadening his understanding of fluid dynamics and its application to the real world, as well as opening up his mind about CFD as a possible future for Tom.
Along with Professor Wosnik, Tom cites Professor Stephen Hawking as a role model for him. “He was a brilliant researcher and physicist, always pushing the bounds of knowledge, and at the same time overcoming an ALS diagnosis at a young age. I initially heard of him when I read a book called Black Holes and Time Warps in high school, in which [Hawking] wrote the foreword for. As I, myself, was learning more about physics and mathematics in high school, I was inspired to push myself to learn even more, and that the bounds of knowledge are limitless. To this day, I am still pushing myself as I continue my work and research here at the University of Minnesota.”