Mechanical Engineering Major Finds Community Through Movement

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NYU Abu Dhabi student Matt Jagdeo is a team player on the pitch and in the classroom

Matt Jagdeo in Times Square.

Finding Your Team

 

For as long as he can remember, Matt Jagdeo has been fascinated by motion. Growing up in Toronto, Canada, the NYU Abu Dhabi Mechanical Engineering major lived under the approach path to Canada’s busiest airport, so gazing at the passing airplanes became a beloved childhood pastime. “Seeing how something so heavy could soar so effortlessly, revolutionizing the way humans travel forever, fascinated me,” he says. “Moving things—airplanes, cars, trains—have always interested me. They defined my childhood, and they’ve played an important role in my life.”

In addition to his passion for the marvels of mechanical engineering, Matt is enthusiastic about another type of movement: sports. “I am a huge sports fan,” he says. “Football [soccer], hockey, basketball, cricket—these are just a few of the sports I play, follow, and go crazy for all the time.” Luckily, these passions have helped Matt find a lifelong community at NYU Abu Dhabi.

A Fresh Start

After attending Candidate Weekend, Matt knew Abu Dhabi was the right place for him. “I met my future best friends and saw the campus where I’d spend the next four years. I was exposed to the University’s great classes, labs, and opportunities,” he says. “On top of that, I realized I could study engineering while living the life of an international studies student. I knew I would have the unparalleled opportunity to have conversations with people from countless countries. NYU Abu Dhabi was the place I had to be.”

Like many students, though, Matt found coming to a new place daunting. After spending his entire life in Toronto, he found it challenging to leave the city behind for a new experience abroad. “In high school I depended on my parents and close friends so much. So the reality of not having that support apparatus with me anymore really hit me when I arrived on campus.” He knew he needed to build a new support system and gain a new sense of community.

Matt playing soccer

Team Player

Joining the team—literally—was part of building this new community. “I really felt like I had found my place during my first season on the men’s football team,” Matt says. He credits his friends on the team with being a huge help in his transition to college life. Training together for an hour every morning sets a rhythm for his life, one backed by trust, commitment, and a love for the game. They are also close with the women’s football team, frequently having joint training sessions and outings together.

For Matt, the team has been a huge support through all the ups and downs of college. “It’s unlike anything else I have experienced in my life. We train and play together, and we never leave anyone behind,” he says. “We’ve had many exciting moments together, but we’ve also shared difficult times. It’s powerful to be surrounded by people who care about me.”

Matt presenting at StartAD
Matt posing for a photo while aboard

A Personal and Professional Passion

Matt has built up a community in the classroom, too. As one of the rare students who’s always known exactly what major and career path he wanted to take, he was able to immediately immerse himself in mechanical engineering. One major project he took on was joining NYU’s team in the Global Hybrid Electric Car Challenge UAE, where teams build a hybrid electric go-kart and try to complete as many laps as possible during a particular time frame. After putting out a school-wide call for people to join the team, Matt found himself among a group of dedicated new friends who were excited to carry out the entire project.

He also found himself connecting deeply with the project’s lead professor, who ultimately became his mentor. “He will help me develop my Capstone Project, which will explore methods of thrust reversal in turbofan engines using fluid injections,” says Matt. After that? There’s no limit to what Matt can accomplish. He hopes to get a job doing what he loves in the aerospace industry, and he says his time in Abu Dhabi makes him feel prepared to live anywhere in the world. No matter where he lands, one thing is certain: he’ll always be in motion.