It Doesn’t Take a Rocket Scientist to Give a Great Speech, or Does It?

With about 2 million views this past week, you just have to watch the video below before reading the rest of the interview.

Over the centuries there have been many impressive inspirational speeches and quotes by men and women who have shaped history.  “I have a dream today!” by Martin Luther King Jr.  “All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”~ Walt Disney. Last weeks Georgia Tech freshman convocation speech has people wondering if  “If you want to play theme music during your convocation speech like a bad ass, we’re at Georgia Tech! We can do that. I am doing that!” by Nick Selby destined to join that illustrious list? Only time will tell.

Hi Nick, and welcome to The Phil Factor. Typically when I feature an interview here it’s an author or other writing industry professional, but when I saw your video I knew I had to make an exception. I found your video both hilariously awesome and inspiring. For my readers, Nick is more than just a great public speaker. Nick is a sophomore Mechanical Engineering major at Georgia Tech. He co-leads the Mechanical Sub  team in Solar Jackets, which is Georgia Tech’s team that built and raced a solar-powered car in the Formula Sun Grand Prix. Nick is also a president’s scholar, representing the top 2% of enrolled students at the university. Needless to say, after the afterglow of The Best Speech Ever wears off Nick should be just fine.

TPF: Nick, how and why were you chosen to give the convocation speech?

Nick: I applied in May by submitting a written abstract online along with several other students. Mine and a few others were selected to also submit audition tapes of the full speech. I did so, and was chosen as the speaker.

 TPF: How did you come up with the idea to use the music from 2001: A Space Odyssey?

Nick: Back in my hometown in Phoenix, I learned how to public speak with Desert Vista High School’s speech and debate team. One of my coaches there, Andy Stone, had performed a speech in college about sci-fi literature that used the idea of the finale theme music. When I saw that speech, I thought it was the most amazing thing ever, so I asked him for his permission to use the idea in my own conclusion. He very graciously agreed, and everyone loved it.

 TPF: Do you have a background in drama or theater?

Nick: I competed with my high school’s Speech and Debate team.

 TPF: How has your daily life on campus changed since your speech?

Nick: A few people have stopped me to ask for pictures or to compliment the speech. I’m really honored that people have enjoyed it this much.

 TPF: If you were offered your own sit-com would you drop out of college to pursue that?

Nick: Haha! No; engineering is my passion. I love speaking, and there are plenty of opportunities within this amazing field to utilize good public speaking skills.

TPF: Has there been any negative reactions or consequences related to your speech? (aside from dopes like me taking up your time with interviews)

Nick: There were a few news organizations who pursued the story that I had plagiarized the speech from my coach. To be honest, I’m a little disappointed—a simple phone call or checking of my Facebook could have cleared that up quickly. That being said, those accusations started because my coach is a really amazing man with a lot of friends who really care about him. How were they supposed to know that I had asked for his permission beforehand?

 TPF: If you could really do something outlandishly awesome with the technology you’re learning in pursuit of your degree, what would it be? The Iron Man suit or something else?

Nick: I understand that the science behind the Iron Man suit hasn’t quite caught up to the artistic vision, but science has a way of progressing society quicker than we might expect. Right now, I’m focusing on using the technology we’re learning to build a solar-powered race car with Solar Jackets and put a satellite in space with the PROX-1 research team.

 TPF: What is your ultimate, long term career goal?

Nick: I want my inventions to continue helping people long after I’m gone. While I don’t know what path I will end up in right now, my dream job is to work for a program like SpaceX or another company that pursues the impossible.

Nick, thank you again for visiting #ThePhilFactor. I appreciate you taking a few minutes for my questions during what must be one of the busiest weeks of your life. For my readers, as always, if you like what you read here please hit the Facebook, Twitter or other share buttons below.

Nick: You’re welcome. I’m honored to be here!



4 responses to “It Doesn’t Take a Rocket Scientist to Give a Great Speech, or Does It?

  1. Fabulous speech and great interview! Really enjoyed both!

  2. Love this kid’s energy… bad ass!

  3. Great speech! 🙂

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