Christopher Luwanga

"NYUAD offered me the big picture point of view; it allowed me to explore what an engineer’s role is in society."

How would you summarize your time at NYUAD?

Time of really amazing friendships. This was because our cohort was so small that you bumped into the same people across a variety of activities. We were not just classmates, but teammates on the pitch, co-organizers for events, and so on. With so many touchpoints we did not have to work mighty hard to connect with the community; we did so organically.

I have come to appreciate this aspect of the NYUAD experience more as I now am part of a much larger community, where I can spend many months without ever running into the same person again. A much greater effort is thus required to sustain connections.

What is your current role?

Space Physics PhD Candidate at Nanyang Technological University.

How did NYUAD influence your career?

The engineering department at NYUAD invited experts from around the world to share practical know-how. In one such event I connected with experts from Japan who presented about building spacecraft. It was a rare opportunity to interact with people who had extensive experience in building spacecraft. Through them I connected with other space organizations and ultimately found my current opportunity to further study space physics. The most exciting thing about this career path is that I am able to study both the science of space as well as actually be involved in hands-on spacecraft engineering work.

So, in general while NYUAD professors are sufficiently knowledgeable, it really is invaluable that NYUAD emphasized connecting students with other researchers around the world — even beyond the NYU network. After all human knowledge is dispersed across the globe!

What aspects of your NYUAD education make you unique in the workforce?

NYUAD offered me the big picture point of view; it allowed me to explore what an engineer’s role is in society. This happened both through the course requirements and the engineering trips that we undertook. The key advantage of the experience is that I now do not think about a product, invention or solution in vacuum but in the context of specific human communities.

How does the alumni network of NYUAD support each other?

A good number of the people with whom I was friends in college remain very close. Maybe the next step is to leverage these friendships to achieve what we implicitly committed to doing in the world. And I think with time, we will!