Nathan Chandran

Class of 2026
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown:  Frisco, Texas
High School:  Liberty High School
male in blue suit with black rimmed glasses looks at the camera
What Made You Decide to Attend UMD?
My decision to attend UMD was based on a multitude of factors. The primary reason was its renowned Mechanical Engineering program. The number of labs available to students to research in was unparalleled. As an entrepreneurial-inclined student, the necessity for support in starting a business was crucial in my decision to attend. UMD fosters this with many invaluable resources on campus, this includes the Startup Shell as well as the Dingman Center. Enthusiastic in motorsport, UMD’s TerpsRacing was a contributor to my decision. The ability to design, construct, and test a race car was a window into a potential career path I would like to pursue. In addition, with its proximity to Washington D.C., UMD offers strong industrial and governmental connections with recruiters visiting campus for career fairs. These are a few of the many reasons why I chose to attend UMD. 

Best Experience with a Class or Project
One of my best projects was in my FIRE class (First Year Research Experience). As part of the Design Engineering stream, we were tasked to create and optimize the largest capsule with a budget of $10 and a choice of materials including 3D printing, plywood, and gorilla glue. The goal was to create an optimization model to output the dimensions of a chosen shape that would hold the most amount of volume, with the least weight. Our team decided to optimize a capsule around the shape of 2 pentahedrons placed back-to-back. This proved especially challenging when we were constructing the shape. With the joints being too weak and breaking under pressure, I decided to plate the joints with the plywood to increase the surface area contact. This was the first time I had used the theory learned in my classes in real-life scenarios.  

Favorite Class In Major
ENES 100: Introduction to Engineering Design

Favorite Class Out of Major

Student Organizations/Extracurricular Activities
TerpsRacing - EV
Flexus and Virtus LLC
FIRE - Design Engineering
Intramural Flag Football

Favorite On-Campus Event
Maryland Day

Favorite Research or Study Abroad Experiences
Continuing in the FIRE program, this semester, I am working on multi-objective optimization in sports. Specifically, I am researching into the race strategy used in Formula 1 teams. This is especially interesting as I am heavily invested in the engineering behind Formula 1 and how teams strategize and battle uncertainty in race conditions. My goal, by the end of the semester, is to hopefully build my own multi-objective model that can be used beyond just Formula 1 strategy, with its underlying fundamental concepts being applied to other strategy-based sports. 

Cool Engineering Experience
The ENES100 Over-Terrain Vehicle project was one of the coolest engineering experiences. Our team was one of the first teams to be a part of the ‘Machine Learning’ missions. Our mission was to use Machine Learning to plant a seed in the correct plant-able substrate. This experience encompassed designing a Chassis to fit all the components, 3D printing, Soldering, and optimizing parts. From this experience, I gained a lot of experience in 3D CAD, manufacturing, and Arduino coding. 
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