Austin Buck

Student Spotlight: Austin Buck

May 16, 2024
By Alba Garcia-Sarabia

Meet Austin Buck, a third-year mechanical engineering student from Canton, Georgia. In this student spotlight, Austin talks about why he chose to study at Georgia Tech, what he likes most about his major, his experience participating in Wreck Racing, and what advice he would give to prospective students.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Austin Buck. I’m a third-year mechanical engineering student from Canton, Georgia.

Why did you choose to study at Georgia Tech?

I chose to study at Georgia Tech for a couple of reasons. First, the Invention Studio. I toured it when I was a junior in high school and I fell in love with it. I knew I needed to be a part of a community of makers, and Georgia Tech was the only college I applied to that had a makerspace like that. Second, the proximity to home was really nice. I have a nine-year-old sister, and I wanted to make sure I picked a college that would keep me close to her.

How did you become interested in mechanical engineering? 

Truth be told, I kind of owe it to my academic advisor for becoming interested in mechanical engineering. When I came to Georgia Tech, I declared electrical engineering as my major. Now, don’t get me wrong, electrical engineering is a fascinating major, and I initially picked it because I was deeply curious about it and wanted to learn more. However, I’ve been playing with Legos and taking stuff apart to figure out how it works my entire life. I needed a degree in gears and beams and things I could see in my mind and touch with my hands. I was about a year into the electrical engineering curriculum before I decided it wasn’t the field I wanted to make a career in. I scheduled a meeting with my academic advisor to discuss a change of major, and after giving her a short overview of my interests and the kinds of jobs I wanted, she recommended I check out the mechanical engineering curriculum. I switched about a week later, and I’m so glad I did.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about your major? 

The variety it comes with in terms of careers. Mechanical engineering is kind of like getting a degree in being a jack of all trades. When I graduate, I can get a job in automotive, aerospace, marine architecture, defense, propulsion, manufacturing, elevators, robotics, the list goes on. The mechanical engineering curriculum has a little bit of everything, and it means you get to hit the ground running with a wide variety of knowledge in a lot of different fields. For me, that’s the best part.

What clubs or after-school activities are you involved in?

Right now, the two major organizations I’m a part of are the Invention Studio and Wreck Racing. The Invention Studio has been my favorite thing about Georgia Tech, hands down. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s the primary reason I applied to come to Tech in the first place. It’s a community I’ve loved getting to plug into and recently become a leader for. I became a provisional PI my sophomore year, and now I’m the shop manager. I’ve also made some amazing friends there and been able to make some incredible projects.

Can you tell us more about your involvement with the Student Competition Center teams?

Wreck Racing is the Student Competition Center (SCC) team I chose to be a part of for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest reasons I chose it was that I love cars, and I love getting my hands dirty. Every SCC team caters to a specific experience, and Wreck Racing’s forte is letting you actually touch the car and do more than just CAD. Plus, you learn a lot. Our lead engineer, Kandhan, loves encouraging people to go beyond their comfort zone and learn a skill for themselves, and it leaves you with a lot of knowledge and a sense of capability when you complete a project you didn’t even know how to do when you started. I rebuilt an engine from the ground up. I’d never done anything like that before. I think the biggest thing I’ve enjoyed about Wreck Racing, though, is the culture of the team. It’s just a bunch of girls and guys that love cars and building stuff, and they’re all very fun to talk and hang out with. We do a lot of social things outside of the SCC just because everyone enjoys each other's company, and I’ve made some really great friends being a part of Wreck Racing too.

Are there any classes you have taken at Georgia Tech that have been memorable?

ME 2110 is a classic answer to this question. It’s your favorite class you hate the whole time you’re taking it. I don’t even think I did that well in the final competition to be honest, but the class itself was super fun in hindsight. All the sprints, the teamwork, and then the excitement of the final competition, it’s a lot of fun! It’s also really stressful while you’re in it, but as soon as the final competition is over, you’re filled with this feeling of “Wow, that was actually kinda fun.”

Austin Buck

What are some of your hobbies? 

I have plenty of hobbies, honestly. I sail; I’m on the Airsoft team; I play piano and guitar; I have a thousand hours on Titanfall 2; I love building Legos; and I make stuff in the Invention Studio.

What’s one fun fact about yourself? 

I speak five languages, three of them fluently, and two of them okay enough to get me around in public.

So far, what has been the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I am definitely most proud of becoming shop manager at the Invention Studio. That’s the thing I wanted to do while I was at Georgia Tech. I wanted to be the guy that runs the place, and now I am! I’ve put in a lot of work to get here, and I’m very proud of myself for achieving this.

What do you look forward to doing in the future? 

In the future, I look forward to getting a job where I can use the knowledge I’ve gained at Georgia Tech to help people and make the world a better place somehow. I think that’s every engineer’s dream, honestly.

What advice do you have for high school students thinking about coming to Georgia Tech? 

My advice is to get out of the classroom! When you come to Georgia Tech, there is so much more to your college experience than just keeping your grades up. There are literally a thousand clubs you can be a part of, from big organizations like Yellow Jacket Space Club, to little organizations like Herpetology Club. This college wants you to have hobbies, not just be a good student. Find something you think is fun and go after it.

Austin Buck
Austin Buck