Nick Nagel earned his Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from St. Thomas' School of Engineering at the end of January, but emphasized that he used what he was learning as he went through the program.
"The classes are immediately industry applied," Nagel said. "It's not just rigorous; it's how I can apply this to my job today."
Nagel is a device tester at Medtronic. He creates tests for medical devices and monitors their responses, which results in better understanding the devices and potential to improve them.
Nagel said he always has been interested in work like this. He's particularly proud to be doing it for a large, prestigious company such as Medtronic, because he saw the difference a pacemaker made in his grandfather's life.
"I have him for more time now," Nagel said. "It was always a goal to be a part of the medical and engineering world, as well as helping people."
When it came to honing his skills through a graduate degree, Nagel decided on St. Thomas because his brother had already done a graduate program here. That decision was reaffirmed by other Medtronic employees who recommended the program. Among them is a mentor of Nagel's who studied at the School of Engineering, Jesse Pischlar '15 MS.
"It's pretty well-known that graduate studies at St. Thomas are valuable," Pischlar said. They both praised the program's flexibility in allowing students to gain experience at their jobs while also learning in the classroom.
"It's a new to use immediately in your toolkit," Nagel said. "You can understand your products more. You can understand results better, and you can articulate that to other people. When I learn something, I can directly apply it and see the results."
Nagel said he's pleased with his growth, which is important in his line of work.
"Working in this kind of field takes a lot of passion and it takes a lot of work," Nagel said. "I think working here, I've learned to grow in terms of creativity, flexibility and keeping an open mind."