Master's Profile: Davide Di Nubila

  • Davide Di NubilaCurrent Position: Propulsion Test Engineer, Isar Aerospace (Kiruna, Sweden)
  • Undergraduate: Aerospace Engineering, 2014-2017, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
  • Duke MEMS Path: Master of Engineering, 2020
  • Advisor: Bob Kielb

Why did you choose Duke MEMS and the THRUST program for graduate study?

After completing my bachelor’s degree in my home country, I felt the need for a change. I decided to join the THRUST Master of Engineering program offered by KTH University (Sweden) and Duke. What made me take this choice was the incredible opportunity to live in two completely different countries while studying and becoming an expert in the field of turbomachinery. The whole program challenged me every single day by forcing me to step out of my comfort zone and adapt quickly to the situation. 

What was your thesis project?

My thesis project consisted of an aerodynamics investigation a design for an air intake for the cockpit of a Duke Electric Vehicle (DEV). I chose this topic after joining the DEV team and seeing a lot of potential in the vehicle design. The project was divided into two parts: Computational fluid dynamics simulations and small-scale wind tunnel experiments of the original design, and then a design of the air intake for the thermal comfort of the driver. 

How Duke prepare you for your current job?

Starting from the technical knowledge acquired during the master’s program, I now feel confident in any field of aerospace engineering: from solid mechanics, to fluid dynamics and testing. I will always be thankful to my supervisor Robert Kielb and to the whole Duke Aeroelasticity team for sharing their thoughts and expertise during our weekly meetings. 

But, Duke did not give me only a solid engineering background, it also helped me develop a healthy and passionate work ethic, which pushed me to follow my dreams and start my career in one of the most promising European startups. 

What were some of the highlights of your experience as an Duke master's student?

Thinking back to my arrival at Duke, I will never forget the first day. I was coming from a more than 20-hour trip from Italy and was sleepless. I went to the Master of Engineering (MEng) and Career Service presentation. Their energy behind every single speaker recharged and boosted my energy toward the upcoming semester. 

After that, I would recall all the moments spent with my fellow THRUST students, from the campout for that season’s Duke basketball tickets, to the afternoons and nights in the library and labs. THRUST is tough and demanding, but together we made it through. 

Last, but not least, the Cameron Crazies and all the Duke sporting events, and the faculty, made my stay at Duke fun and rewarding.

What advice would you give to prospective Duke applicants?

Use your time at Duke to find out who you really are. I think most people are too busy trying to figure out what to do after their degree, and lose all the small things that make life at Duke awesome. 

My advice is: Take your time! Enjoy all the possibilities that Duke offers you.