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Alumni and Friends

Spotlight on our Alumni: Chris Tomso ’14

Chris Tomso '14 is an alumnus of the University Scholars Program and currently works as a system engineer at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, where he supports flight operations for the United Arab Emirates Hope Mars Mission.

Chris Tomso in the desert outside of Dubai on a recent trip for Emirates Mars Mission
Chris Tomso in the desert outside of Dubai on a recent trip for Emirates Mars Mission

By Madison Mueller

Recently, the University Honors and Scholars Program interviewed several of its alumni and have been featuring them on the department’s social media accounts. 

Chris Tomso ’14 is a graduate of the University Scholars Program and currently works as a system engineer at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) where he supports flight operations for the United Arab Emirates Hope Mars Mission. When asked why he chose this career path, Tomso responded, “Space is really, really, really cool!” In addition to being fascinated by space, Tomso also loves his current job because he gets to do something different every day and thinks that without the variety and the challenge it provides, he would probably get bored.

Chris Tomso at his computer in the lab at University of Colorado Boulder
Chris Tomso in the lab at University of Colorado Boulder

Tomso was persuaded to join the University Scholars Program because of the focus on a learning format outside of the typical classroom experience and its emphasis on subject matters that engineering students don’t usually encounter in their course load. Tomso’s favorite events sponsored by the program were small group discussions on current events, where he had the opportunity to consider new perspectives on relevant controversial issues. 

“The Scholars Program reinforced in me the importance and value of viewpoints and opinions that aren’t my own — a mindset that has proven hugely beneficial as part of an international team tackling immensely complex technical challenges with more than one right answer,” he said.

Chris Tomso and his classmates in the University Scholars Program during a study abroad trip
Chris Tomso and his classmates during a study abroad trip to Greece

The University Scholars program offers a plethora of amazing opportunities for students to travel abroad, and during his time at NC State Tomso took full advantage, traveling with the University Scholars Program to Greece.

“I went to Greece with the program for a spring break trip my freshman year and it was the first time I ever left the country, which can be a pretty intimidating experience on its own, but was especially so when I realized I didn’t actually know anybody else going on the trip,” Tomso recalled. “I’m really glad I went, because it turned out to be my favorite experience from the program and one of my best memories of undergrad. Specifically, my favorite parts were making new friends in the program, eating what is to date the best gyro I ever had from a literal hole in the wall place called Snack Bar in Mykonos, and hiking to the Monastery of the Apocalypse in Patmos.”

Chris Tomso as a student in Greece
Chris Tomso as a student in Greece