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Support from Faculty Helps Nathan Ziems ’24 (Mechanical Engineering) Build Strong Foundation for Graduate Pursuits


Leading up to Spring Commencement, we’re asking some of our graduates to tell us about their experience as Greyhounds and what they have planned for the next step in their journey. Meet Nathan Ziems, who will receive his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in mathematics this May! 

Why did you pursue mechanical engineering?

I’ve always loved math and physics. Engineering is a perfect intersection of both, with infinite interesting applications. Mechanical engineering was the most intuitive to me, and had a wide range of subjects.

Why did you choose to study at UIndy?

I transferred from Ivy Tech on recommendation from a professor there who worked with Dr. Suranga Dharmarathne in ASME. 

Are you a part of any extracurriculars (RSOs, societies, student leadership, teams, volunteerism, etc.) on or off campus? If so, what are they and what is your role?

Yes, I am the vice president of ASME!  The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)!

Are there any faculty or staff members who have significantly impacted your time at UIndy? If so, who are they and how did they influence you?

Dr. Paul Talaga is truly a fundamental member of the engineering faculty. He supported me throughout my academic journey, giving both personal and academic advice. The department would not be the same without him, and I am eternally grateful for my time I was able to spend learning from him. 

Dr. Suranga Dharmarathne introduced me to fluid mechanics, a subject I am truly passionate about. He gave me opportunities to research with him, leading to grants, learning opportunities, and presenting at a large conference. These opportunities were integral in my application and acceptance into graduate programs. 

Have you received any honors or awards (from UIndy or from outside organizations)? 

Yes, I received the Shaheen Scholar Grant!

During your time at UIndy, did you have the opportunity to complete an internship or earn part-/full-time employment with an organization in your field? If so, what was it and how did it help you professionally?

Yes, I participated in an undergraduate research where I presented at a large conference, and helped become accepted to a graduate program. l also interned with Roche and gained insight into industry operation and large organizations.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to pursue a PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Notre Dame.

How did your degree program prepare you for your next steps?

My program gave me a strong base in the fundamentals of math, physics, and engineering. Additionally, the design spine curriculum gave me a wide range of experiences working with industry professionals and applying what I learned in the classroom to real world problems.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at UIndy? 

Dr. Talaga hosted an event for freshmen, involving working as a small team to build paper airplanes. The colorful paper, thrill of competition, teamwork, and strategy was an incredibly fun opportunity, and highlighted how fun engineering can actually be.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

College is about learning to ask the right questions. You have a few short years to spend with some of the most intelligent and caring people you will meet in your entire life. Your goal should be to extract the most out of this opportunity. This includes not only learning about theory and application, but about how to be the best person you can be.