Nicholas A Carroll
BFA in Fine Arts Studio (Emphasis in Sculpture)
Senior Infrastructure Technology Network Engineer for Presidio Networked Solutions LLC

In a couple sentences, describe what you do for work and how you feel about it.

I am a senior infrastructure technology network engineer for Presidio Networked Solutions LLC, deployed through a staff augmentation contract with Herc Rentals Inc. in Bonita Springs, Florida. I manage and maintain the health, integrity, and security for the clients' physical and cloud-based assets, including all data centers and more than 400 remote regional and international sites. The work that I perform entails design of network architecture, advanced device configuration, project management, and operational coordination. I like this work because it is very fast paced and entails a great deal of detailed troubleshooting across a wide array of network platforms and programming languages.

How did you get your job? 

I got my position through working with a Minnesota company specializing in accelerated network technologies training, accreditation, and recruiting. How I stood out as a candidate was through demonstrating an acute ability to work through a broad spectrum of material in order to quickly assess, address, and distill the information into a set of actionable items that can easily be relayed to individuals of varying degrees of technical capabilities and understanding.

What was your major and how did you choose it? Was it the right choice?

My major was fine arts studio with an emphasis in sculpture. I wanted to work through a medium that I was not familiar nor comfortable with. This was the right choice, because it forced me to work through being okay with producing items that did not always turn out the way I had envisioned. I think that it is very important with being okay making changes and approaching a problem from a different angle in order to modify your understanding of its characteristics.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

That is a very hard choice to make. All of my professors that I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of working with left a different impact on me. I think that is one of the most important qualities that makes MCAD a special experience. All of the professors possess different backgrounds and information sets that allows for a student to broaden their understanding of the presented material and in turn, oneself. 

Tell us about your internship.

I had a few internships during my time at MCAD. I worked as a gallery intern for a few galleries as well as had the pleasure of working one-on-one with a local artist helping her produce a new set of work that she was formalizing at the time.

Best thing you ever got/saw on the free shelf?

I cannot name the amount of things that I found on the free shelf. I would probably say the best, though, was a working PlayStation 1 that I still own today.

Favorite place on campus? Off campus?

My favorite place on campus is the library. There is such an amazing depth of information available in that building. My favorite place off campus is definitely my bed.

Did MCAD prepare you for life after graduation?

I am not sure anything can really prepare you for life after graduation. With that stated, I feel that MCAD provided me with every opportunity and advantage possible when compared with other possible education routes that I had taken or were available.

What was your experience with MCAD's facilities? Did you have a personal studio? How was that? 

MCAD has amazing facilities. They offer a near limitless amount of potential for creating new work. I had a studio in the 3D area so I was fortunate enough to have a fairly large area to store materials and create work. I feel that the tools and space were very important to my time at MCAD. It was important for me to have the ability to understand the tools that I needed to own in order to continue making work after leaving MCAD.

How do you find inspiration when you are feeling stuck?

I make more work or try switching to another piece, though I would say I am generally inspired most of the time. I find I have a more difficult time staying focused narrowly enough to finish all the projects I would like to.

Do the Twin Cities offer many opportunities for creatives?

Yes definitely. I think that there are opportunities across many different disciplines that allow for a broad scope of employment in both professional and creative avenues.

Current obsession?

My cats are always my obsession.

Has your work evolved since leaving MCAD? How so?

It has changed substantially. I always felt uncomfortable with selling artwork and how that would affect what I was doing. In recent years I have moved away from that focus and have attempted to push my art in a different direction. Nowadays, any proceeds that I receive from the sale of my artwork I donate to various charities that benefit personally relevant or globally important causes.

What advice do you have for art and design students?

You do not have to prove anything. Just be yourself and have fun with the experience. I was always trying to focus on the future and where things would be when I graduated. I think it's important to enjoy the time you are in school.

Name your one biggest takeaway from MCAD?

Never be afraid to be yourself. I would never have learned to let go of my fear of being me if I had not attended MCAD. More so than any experience in my life, MCAD gave me the confidence to be myself.