As a mechanical engineering student, Vassil Kroumov joined engineering competitions, then went on to organize them, to lead them, and finally to win them.
Now in his fifth year at McGill, Kroumov has been particularly interested in rocketry.
He took part in the 2018 Spaceport America Cup’s Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition, when McGill won the Genesis Cup, that competition’s top prize, for sending up a rocket 10,000 feet without a mishap. The annual competition is billed as “an event where academia, industry, and the public may come together to preserve, popularize, and advance the science of rocketry in a collaborative environment.”
Kroumov is one of four McGill students to win a 2021 Quebec Lieutenant Governor Youth medal. The prestigious award recognizes the involvement, determination and constant striving of Quebecers who have or have had a positive influence in their community. The other McGill medalists are Logan Stack, Sophia Roy and Anne Bouthillier.
His nomination for the Quebec Lieutenant Governor medal cited his “involvement, determination, and constant striving… He acts as a student mentor and provides guidance to prospective students through volunteering and outreach. Mr. Kroumov is an exceptional role model and shows great leadership to current and future students.”
A particularly formative experience has been his participation in a student exchange program last year, when he was accepted by University College London, where he studied oceanography and biomechanics.
Sadly, his stint in England starting in January 2020 was cut short in April by COVID-19.
“I needed to come back quickly” as travel restrictions were instituted, Kroumov said, “but I still had an amazing experience, meeting new people and making friends. Even though COVID put a stop to it, I was happy with how it went. I was able to travel in Europe and it gave me a new perspective, I saw a new way of teaching.”
Stages of life
Kroumov (motto: “I don’t stop when I am tired, I stop when I’m done”) is currently doing an eight-month internship at Kruger Energy, the sustainable energy arm of the forestry firm.
“I’m doing a project in solar energy, about battery storage” before returning to McGill for his final semester in the winter of 2022.
As “an engineer at heart,” he expects to pursue a career in the field in aerospace or renewable energy, but probably after obtaining an MBA to complement his BEng.
“That should be really interesting, increasing my knowledge of how management works and adding a lot of versatility, which is of value to a company.”
Kroumov has lived in a francophone environment since arriving in Quebec from his native Bulgaria at the age of six.
“I came to McGill to improve my English, which I didn’t speak very well. It has definitely improved.”
Kroumov added he is “really grateful and happy about my years at McGill. It was three different sets of university learning: in-person, abroad and remote. The fourth will probably be in-person again.”
“It’s a little like the stages of life.”
This article was originally published in the McGill Reporter.