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Nick Stamatakis: Engineer and Musician Extraordinaire

In the words of his friend who nominated him, “Nick Stamatakis is one of Pitt’s most well rounded students. He devotes the majority of his time to his engineering and music double major. He takes the maximum credits allowed each semester, but still finds time for hobbies like cooking lavish Greek meals. He is a highly talented musician who plays for the Pitt Symphony Orchestra, and he also is highly involved in the Pitt Musical Theater club. Nick also works as the Assistant Opinions Editor at The Pitt News, a testament to his superb qualities and creativity. His favorite food is a Fig Newton on the walk home from work or class. Nick is a solid candidate for Campus Celebrity.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, but to elaborate on his accomplishments and fill in the blanks of exactly how he gets all this done, we’ll leave it up to Nick himself.


HC: What is your hometown and year in school?

NS: Senior from Robinson.

HC: Is there a way you incorporate the fields of engineering and music, as your double major, together and what do you hope to do as a career?

NS: I spend most of my day wildly running between Benedum, the Music Building and the Union. I don’t know how I will combine industrial engineering and music; I guess the dream combination would be to run a piano factory. Or to write a musical about math. Anywhere in between I’ll be happy I suppose. In all likelihood though, I’ll probably go to a traditional engineering/statistics route. There is so much happening right now with big data—it’s going to change the world. But I’ll find a way to keep music in my life.

HC: What specifically do you do with Pitt Musical Theater and Symphony Orchestra?

NS: I’ve directed music for several student-run musicals. Right now, I’m working on Company by Stephen Sondheim—rewriting parts, teaching music, fostering an artistic vision, and the like. I don’t play in the orchestra right now, but I have in the past. Hopefully I’ll be playing a concerto with them again in the fall.

HC: What instruments do you play?

NS: Piano, sax, accordion, and uke.

HC: What other student organizations are you involved in?

NS: I’m also a writer and editor at the Pitt News, which sometimes also entails hosting the Pitt News’s radio show on WPTS. It takes up a lot of my day, but writing isn’t really that bad of a way to spend your time. It’s really exciting and rewarding when everything comes together. Plus, since I am in the Opinions section, I pretty much just get to yell about whatever I feel like yelling about.

Other than that, I’m also normally working on at least one smaller thing. This semester, for instance, I was also lucky enough to be asked by my friend and “Vagina Monologues” director Julie Ann Evans to do music for one of the monologues in the CWO’s annual production. I worked with the actress Theresa Qiu and several musicians to come up with a beat-poetry underscore. It was a fun project.

These kinds of opportunities really show just how amazing Pitt is. I’ve had so many professional, musical and personal experiences that have come out of nowhere all because this campus has such a diverse set of students and professors. I’ve worked in hospitals, researched composting, asked strangers about sex, followed people with an accordion, and so much more. Who knows what will come up next week?

HC: What hobbies do you like to do when you’re not working on all these projects?

NS: What do you mean, “when you’re not working on all these projects?” Luckily, I enjoy most of the things I’m involved with, so I tend to take a lot of things on at once. During the week, my only other hobby would be sleep, I guess.

HC: What time management techniques do you use to balance all your schoolwork and extracurricular activities?

NS: I have found that the secret to time management is to not have cable. Or a TV. And to refuel with blocks of ramen. I tend to prioritize based on an activity’s commitment to other people. This can be a problem, because if it comes down to doing the last problem on a homework assignment well vs. me editing a column for production, I typically choose the latter. After all, when it comes down to it, the people in your life are what matters most. Plus, I figure I have a whole lifetime to do math problems; I don’t have a whole lifetime of reading columns about craft beer or Beyoncé or conducting an interview about rave culture.

HC: Out of all the fields you are a part of, what’s your favorite thing to do?

NS: I don’t really have an overall favorite thing to do. At various times I can be equally intense about music, writing, or engineering. But I do know that the best way to unwind is a late night trip to the Music Building for a couple of minutes at the piano. After that, I’m ready to do it all again.



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