CLOSE

NICHOLAS MCMILLAN

M.Arch 2018

“I’m interested in trying to engage the student body and develop a strong studio culture.”


Nicholas McMillan is more than the typical graduate student at USC.


On track to graduate in May, the Melbourne, Australia native traveled the world a bit before landing a spot in the USC School of Architecture’s Master of Architecture program. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Melbourne, where he studied Environments and Architecture. After doing an exchange program in Seattle, McMillan realized he wanted to continue his education abroad. He ultimately ended up at USC after being lured by the warm climate and large university atmosphere.


When we think of the typical architecture coursework, robotics might not come to mind but for McMillan, it's been one of the highlights of his experience here at USC. ‘ARCH 581: Techniques In Digital Fabrication’ teaches students basic controlling and fabrication tasks with the school’s two robotic arms. McMillan took the elective class in his first semester and his preliminary interest in exploring the subject transformed into a full-blown research project through the Graduate Research Scholars program.


 “Through that, I got involved with another faculty (member) for a small research project where we explored robotic welding as a means of doing construction.”

 

In addition to seeking out interesting classes and research opportunities, he is the president of USC’s Graduate Architecture Student Association (GASA); a student-elected organization that aims to represent the graduate student body in the School of Architecture. GASA organizes events that fall within academic, professional and social spheres. Now in his second year of involvement with the organization, he has tried to develop some new initiatives that he’s passionate about. His goal is to find more ways in which students can be vehicles to drive a better education and improve their own experience here.

 “Through that, I got involved with another faculty (member) for a small research project where we explored robotic welding as a means of doing construction.”

 

In addition to seeking out interesting classes and research opportunities, he is the president of USC’s Graduate Architecture Student Association (GASA); a student-elected organization that aims to represent the graduate student body in the School of Architecture. GASA organizes events that fall within academic, professional and social spheres. Now in his second year of involvement with the organization, he has tried to develop some new initiatives that he’s passionate about. His goal is to find more ways in which students can be vehicles to drive a better education and improve their own experience here.

 

“I’m interested in trying to engage the student body and develop a strong studio culture.” McMillan wants to see more critical discussions and students sharing their work with their peers. For those who may be new to the field of study, studio culture, as detailed by the AIAS Studio Culture Task Force Report, is made up of “late nights, exciting projects, extreme dedication, lasting friendships, long hours, punishing critiques, unpredictable events, a sense of community, and personal sacrifice.”

 

All these things have prompted McMillan’s engagement with the graduate student body. “It’s been good to be with a collective cohort of students on this journey the past two-and-a-half years. There’s a lot going on at USC, which is a lot of fun.”

 

Like many other Trojans, McMillan appreciates the strong Trojan Network. “USC does it better than any school in terms of providing a network for its students. The Trojan Network really is a thing.”

 

What’s in store for McMillan after graduation? He’s applying to stay and work in the U.S. for a period of time to explore creative and architectural opportunities here. Thanks to the USC School of Architecture network, the student-leader has been able to connect with a multitude of professionals and get insight into networking opportunities.

 

For prospective Trojans, McMillan says to take advantage of the network here at USC and “all the creative outlets and things happening in LA. There is so much happening creatively here and there are all kinds of professions to learn about.”

 

His final thoughts mimic his journey here at USC, from his robotics experience to his position as president of GASA.

 

“Your experience here will only be better the more effort you put into it. Actively get involved in the school socially, academically and professionally, and work to enrich your peers and philosophy.”