Next Gen Leaders


Profiles of the Industry’s New Generation

Nicola Altomare

Current Employer: aRoboticsCompany—Ossining, NY

Job Title: Mechatronics Engineer

Age: 23

Accomplishments: Awarded five annual CAI Scholarships —2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022

University Attended & Major: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering, 2022; Master’s Degree, Electrical Engineering, 2023

Favorite Course or Subject: “Embedded Control, a course in which one learns how to program and interact with the real world. Building a robotic car, or RC, it learns to interact with physical objects and obstacles in a laboratory. I took the course as an undergraduate and advanced in graduate school as a Teaching Assistant to undergraduates.”

Why this professional choice? “I attended Saunders Trades and Technical High School in Yonkers where I was drawn to robotics and eventually joined the school’s robotics team. I can’t say there was a eureka moment when I knew robotics was for me. It was more a culmination of little moments; I always enjoyed electronics, creating, and trying out different electronic systems.”

First Influence: “When I was a kid I was given an Erector Set. It had lots of little metal construction toy pieces, electronics and motors. I put stuff together and built whatever I wanted to.”

Biggest challenges in your work: It is overwhelming to be so young and inexperienced in such a complicated job. The other members of the team in the office were so smart and accomplished, it made me doubt my abilities. I tried to remind myself that this was all a learning experience and that I could only grow as a worker through the experience I acquired.

Most Memorable Quote or Thought: “I use the acronym “FOCUS” as my North Star. It means ‘Follow One Course Until Success.’ In other words, stay with the course instead of bailing ship, and keep on it until it works. I would offer this as the advice to a young person entering the field.”

Biggest challenges now: “Adjusting to the new discipline of staying on one topic for months at a time. It’s a new challenge to learn something thoroughly instead of exploring lots of different subjects at the same time as a college student does.”

Greatest Accomplishment to Date: “Earning a Master’s Degree. It was no joke, the undergraduate is more of a marathon; the graduate degree is a short intense sprint.”

Favorite interests or hobbies: “I love indoor rock climbing. With a backyard metal forge I built, I make kitchen and pocketknives.”

Family relationship to CIC and Nappi Scholarship: “My late grandfather, Mario Altomare, came from Calabria, Italy in 1970 and joined the Bricklayers Union in Newburgh, Local 5 at the time. It’s now Local 1.”

—Alan Kennedy, Researcher and Writer

In some classes in the education process, students are given the tools to create something that the future will embrace as a breakthrough and advancement in science. Here are two robotic cars (RC) Nicola created that combine his skills to wire, code, program and tackle an engineering challenge that might find everyday application in tomorrow and beyond.

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