CLASS OF 2024: Great attitude and engineering skills help M. Aziz Medhioub with his American dream

Hear Aziz talk about his experiences by clicking through this Instagram scroller.

Mohammad Aziz Medhioub, Class of 2024 (John Russell/Vanderbilt)

by Amy Wolf
Mohamed Aziz Medhioub was just 16 years old the first time he left his North African home of Tunis, Tunisia. He packed an optimistic attitude and a dream to turn his and his parent’s sacrifices into success.

Now the mechanical engineering major is part of Vanderbilt’s award-winning Aerospace Design Lab. And after two successful internships with Tesla, he’s secured a position as a test engineer for the Tesla Bot.

“I’m really grateful that my parents said yes for that first experience—and every other experience that opened doors all the way to this,” he said.

Medhioub first came to the U.S. through an exchange program, immersing himself in American culture at a Wisconsin high school. He then moved more than 4,000 miles from his home to the African Leadership Academy in South Africa. He received support to fulfill his dream of attending a top college in the U.S.

Aziz grew up in Tunis, Tunisa.

“I had awesome teachers in Tunisia and South Africa who cared deeply about my success, not just as a student, but they felt like mentors and friends,” he said.

Medhioub’s joyful attitude is layered with deep appreciation as the only child talks about the team effort to help him fulfill his goals.

“It’s bittersweet because you realize, okay, Tunisia, my home country, is great. But for me to accelerate my growth, I had to take that jump,” he said. “It takes a lot of emotional sacrifice. But I can do things in parallel to give back to my country, which might not have been possible if I stayed home.”


Medhioub quickly found support among the international student community at Vanderbilt.

“It’s really nice because we tend to bond about our shared experience and the changes and struggles being so far away from home,” he said.

The residential colleges and the School of Engineering helped him expand and balance his friend group. He said Vanderbilt created an atmosphere for connection and healthy debate.

“I personally love talking with my friends about the world and politics and our differences in culture,” he said “Some of my friends and people in my classes have different perspectives on things because of their cultural backgrounds and upbringing. The people I’m around now are people I can have conversations with where we can disagree in very important ways, but still see that we both are humans.”


The students he spends a lot of time with are those in the engineering school’s senior rocket design team. Medhioub said he dreamed of space-related engineering since his freshman year after seeing NASA’s launch of the Mars rover in 2020 and SpaceX’s first mission that brought astronauts to the International Space Station.

Now he and his teammates are working on their own NASA design challenge.

“This year, the challenge is to have a payload that separates from a rocket and then lands safely without a parachute or streamer. So, you have to find another way to slow down the descent of the lander and it needs to be safe for human survival,” he said. “It’s very exciting to be working on this.”

Members of the Vanderbilt rocket team, September 2023 (Submitted photo)

The team relies on 3-D printers to do scale modeling and testing of their ideas. Medhioub believes collaboration is key.

“We partner on projects with mechanical engineers and electrical engineers. And so you get to leverage each other’s strengths,” he said. “I don’t think I would have wanted to do anything else for my senior design project other than being in this lab.

“It’s such a good feeling, like I set my mind to being on this team as a freshman, and I was able to get here. And so, hopefully, I can carry that momentum forward in my life in general,” he said.



I do think college gave me a lot of good experiences and a lot of hard experiences. And I learned to grow from all of them. I definitely know myself better, and the sentence I keep coming back to is, if they didn’t happen, my personality wouldn’t be what it is today and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ll have to take time to process all of it, but I’m definitely better than the person I was when I first came here.

Aziz Medhioub in Tunis, Tunisia (Submitted photo)


I guess the biggest thing was outdoor stuff. Growing up, my family was not very keen on the outdoors. We lived in the capital, and it’s very busy. Then I came here, and a lot of my friends are into camping and going on hikes and stuff like that. So I got to hike a lot more than I ever did.


For me it means that active pursuit of opportunities where you get to learn more, grow more, listen to people who can help you in your career. But also, it means challenging yourself with your friends. I personally love having honest discussions and being able to sit in the same table with someone who might disagree with you and be able to have a normal, healthy conversation and debate.

Hear more from Aziz in our Four with a ‘Dore TikTok series below!

Learn more about VU2024’s Aziz Medhioub on our Instagram (Link in bio). #fyp #Vanderbilt #SEC #Tunisia

♬ original sound – VanderbiltU