Great attitude and engineering skills help M. Aziz Medhioub with his American dream

Mohammad Aziz Medhioub

Mohammad 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.”


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.