Nicholas Hayko’s decision to attend SUNY Broome could be considered common sense. After all, the Vestal High School graduate is a recipient of the Presidential Honors Scholarship, which provides a free ride at his local community college – and a pathway to a great education. Plus, his father is an alumnus, making SUNY Broome a family tradition of sorts.
You can view his decision to enter the Honors Program in a similar light. Challenging courses, smaller class sizes, the opportunity to add to his resume – what’s not to like?
“I wanted to challenge myself and I heard the class sizes were smaller,” explained Hayko, a dual major in Engineering Science and Mathematics. “I learn in an environment better when there are fewer students and I can ask questions.”
The class sizes are indeed smaller in Honors courses. He was among 15 students in Calculus 1 and less than a half dozen in Calculus 2, giving the students the opportunity to connect with their professor and master difficult concepts.
The Honors Program also requires students to work on a capstone project, which taps into students’ research interests and allows them to work closely with professors. Hayko is working with fellow student Tyler Mucci and Engineering Science Professor Robert Lofthouse to test the strength of different materials used in 3-D printing.
“Last semester was the research semester. This semester, we’re doing experiments,” Hayko explained. “Next spring, we’re doing the undergraduate research conference in April. It will be good practice for when I have to present here.”
This isn’t a school science fair project; Nick and Tyler plan to present the project at a research conference, as well as write a paper that could potentially be published in a national academic journal. That’s not a pipe dream, either. Two SUNY Broome Engineering Science alumni — Chelsie Souto and Curtis Carll — had their student research published in the Journal of Electrostatics this year, under the guidance of instructor Jian-Qing (Jay) Wang.
“We hope this can be the second one,” Hayko said.
Nick plans to transfer to Clarkson University next fall and earn a bachelor’s degree in Engineering & Management, followed by an MBA.
He comes from a family of business professionals, and wants to combine both the business and engineering sides of innovation. That’s not unusual for many modern CEOs, such as Elon Musk, he explained.
“My dream career is to be an automotive designer at Tesla,” he said.
At SUNY Broome, he also leads tours as a student ambassador, tutors his fellow students and heads the Engineering Club. He tries to get involved in campus as much as possible, which not only deepens his college experience, but helps build his resume.
Overall, his SUNY Broome experience has been positive. “Every professor I’ve had has been really good about making themselves available and caring about your learning,” he said.
Nick also encourages other students who thrive on challenge to consider the Honors Program. You might just surprise yourself with what you learn.
“I think a lot of people hear ‘Honors Program’ and think it will be more difficult than they can handle. With smaller class sizes, you actually learn more,” he said. “It’s also cool to put on your resume.”