Our Stories

Harmonizing His Interests

MMark Helps Musician-Engineer-Techie Pursue His Passions

Thomas Desrosiers
Cloud Technical Resident, Google
Cloud Security Engineer, Google

Vanderbilt Master of Marketing 2021

As an undergraduate with a passion for music, technology, and engineering, Thomas Desrosiers found that Vanderbilt was the kind of place where you could open new doors just by talking to people. “If you ask someone for directions, they’ll drop everything to help you,” he says.

The same was true about career directions. When, as a junior, he emailed the university’s vice chancellor of plant operations hoping to learn more about how campus infrastructure worked, he wound up with a part-time job helping Vanderbilt HVAC technicians troubleshoot electrical problems.

Through his involvement at the Wond’ry—where he spent a lot of time despite his music major—he had conversations with Professor David Owens about how to harmonize his interests in music, engineering, and science. Owens suggested that Thomas consider the Master of Marketing program, where he could pursue a discipline that involves both science and creativity.

As an MMark student, Thomas reiterated his interest in technology, and Professors David Owens, Steve Posavac, and Kelly Haws offered more than encouragement. “Professor Haws let me help with the audio setup for Zoom classes,” he says. “Professor Owens encouraged me to apply to the incubator program at the Wond’ry, where my grid computing project was accepted for continued mentorship and support. Professor Posavac let me focus on the tech industry for my industrial immersion project, and it led to me learning things I otherwise wouldn’t have learned.” He was even able to continue playing clarinet in the Blair wind ensemble at Vanderbilt.

“If you care about something or just want to explore a subject, there is always a way here,” Thomas says. He credits that quality about Vanderbilt with helping him launch his career with Google after graduation. “All it took was me opening up about my passions, and the people at Owen found opportunities for me to pursue.”

Fun Fact: With 20 recycled computers that can cumulatively perform roughly one trillion operations per second, Thomas applies his love for computers to assist with scientific research projects in his free time.

All it took was me opening up about my passions, and the people at Owen found opportunities for me to pursue.