SMITHVILLE – By the time Mitch Carroll, who will begin a graduate program overseas this fall, turned 10 or 11, his future career dreams shifted from being a pilot to an engineer.
“When you hear they design airplanes or tanks, okay that sounds pretty cool,” he said.
His interest remained with engineering through the years as he grasped more of an understanding of the field and knowledge in advanced science and math classes at the Advanced Learning Center.
The 2014 Smithville High School graduate ended his undergraduate career in mechanical engineering at Mississippi State University this spring, graduating summa cum laude. The next step in his education begins in October as he begins an industrial systems, manufacture and management graduate program at the University of Cambridge, located in the United Kingdom.
“This program has a lot of hands-on areas. Cambridge is a highly ranked school, but the program is what drew me in,” he said. “I’ve always tried to do the best wherever I’m at and I’m going to try to continue this at Cambridge and set up myself well as I go into industry.”
The highly competitive program has a 30 percent acceptance rate. The other schools he applied to and was accepted to for graduate school were Michigan, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Auburn.
“I really didn’t expect to be accepted. It was a little bit of a, ‘Wow,’” he said of Cambridge. “The last few months have been getting the red tape cut through my visa and getting my transcript there from Mississippi State and now I’ve gotten used to the idea.”
Cambridge is comprised of 31 colleges, and Carroll will attend Queen’s College. The one-year program includes a ‘learn it,’ ‘see it, ‘do it’ approach at manufacturers.
“In the past, the program has done work with Land Rover and Jaguar. The program states we can visit 40 different businesses, including hospitals,” Carroll said.
While at Mississippi State, Carroll went through a similar hands-on experience through the co-op program, working at Thyssenkrupp Elevator in Middleton, Tennessee and Toyota’s Blue Springs plant.
“I’d have to say when I first started in the co-op, I saw how different industry is versus the classroom, and getting that real-world exposure helped me learn about how a manufacturing facility operates,” he said.
He said taking physics and A.P. calculus at the ALC in high school helped him transition into his freshman engineering classes at MSU, along with some of his sophomore classes.
“I’d tell any high schooler to take as much math and science as they can,” he said.
In addition to being onsite, the graduate program offers components including understanding markets, designing products, managing supply chains and distribution networks.
The program will end Aug. 31, 2020, and even though he prefers to work in the automotive industry somewhere in the southeast, Carroll is keeping his career options open.
“I’m going to be adaptive to whatever options are available. I don’t know specifically what all doors this will open so I want to be as open to all the options I have,” he said. “I know I can do this with the qualifications I have now. Having this masters from Cambridge may open more doors than I’m aware of.”