WPU Alumnus designs flight simulations for Italian company

Feb 22, 2022

Tommaso Villa ’20 spends his days in Italy designing flight simulations for helicopters. 

As a Software Developer at Alten Italia, Villa creates simulations that can save lives. For example, his simulations allow firefighters to enhance their flight skills in a digital environment.

To create these simulations, his team creates digital 3D environments to reconstruct scenarios pilots might encounter, like forest fires. The team also has to create the helicopter with controls that mimic its movements. Villa specifically helps to integrate all of these elements together. 

By creating these simulations, Villa feels he can help save lives.

Villa found his passion in simulation design at William Peace University (WPU). Villa graduated in 2020 with a major in simulation and game development while obtaining a 4.0 grade point average.

“I love gaming and design simulation because it is essentially useful art,” Villa said. “It’s something people can interact with.”

Born in Varese, Italy, Villa moved to North Carolina when his dad received a job in the state. He moved before the start of his senior year of high school and had to adjust to a new school while in an unfamiliar culture and language. 

When Villa graduated high school, he felt unsure of his next steps. He decided to enroll in Wake Technical Community College to explore simulation and gaming design. Villa had an interest in the field as he loved video games — they gave him a way to stay connected with his friends in Italy. 

While at Wake Tech, Villa heard about WPU’s Simulation and Game Design (SGD) program. WPU and Wake Tech partnered for a degree initiative that guaranteed Villa admission to WPU’s SGD program while transferring many of his Wake Tech credits. 

That program and Peace’s campus environment encouraged Villa to transfer his junior year. 

Since Villa was at WPU, the University has expanded its SGD program. In Fall 2021, WPU launched two new bachelor degree programs: Interactive Design and ESports and Gaming Administration, complementing the 30+ other majors offered by WPU. These two new degrees complement the current major of Simulation and Game Design, which WPU has offered for the past eight years.

Students in all of these degree programs experience an immersive approach to learning.

In Fall 2021, WPU also invested and opened a brand new ESports lab in the basement level of Ross Residence Hall.

Villa embraced the small, close-knit community he found at Peace. He remembers he often would grab lunch with professors like Roger Christman, Department Chair of Art, Communication, and Simulation and Gaming Design. He felt like he had a second family on campus.

Along with that, Villa’s classes taught him necessary skills for his career.

In an immersive learning course, Villa gained hands-on experience with Virtual and Augmented Reality. In the semester-long course, students created an interactive demonstration app. The project taught him both technical and team skills.

Villa stretched his critical thinking skills through philosophy and magazine writing courses. In a resume-building course, he found the courage to apply and interview for jobs. “The knowledge I have now is thanks to Peace,” he said. 

While at WPU, Villa also played on the tennis team. He loved his time on the team so much that he recommends everyone try a sport in college. 

“College is not just learning in books but is about learning through experiences and interacting with other people, like in tennis,” he said. “Tennis helped me meet new people and find my confidence to open up.”

After Villa graduated, he started a job at Milestone S.r.l in Italy where he worked as a Software Tester. In his role, he tested the quality of simulations and games for bike racing. “It was a good and very fun first job,” he recalled. 

Now, Villa is passionate about his current job at Alten Italia creating flight simulations for helicopters. 

To him, the simulation industry is fascinating. “Each aspect of it could take a lifetime to learn,” he explained. 

He enjoys working in his home country, as well. Though, Peace helped him to find a second home in the United States.

Give Courageously to Peace

Thanks to the generosity of William Peace University supporters, current and future WPU students have access to the resources needed to learn through immersive experiences, build upon their courage and develop the confidence needed to turn passion into purpose.
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
a student uses a laptop on a green bench at William Peace University

Give Now

Support future Pacer success. 

 

Become a Corporate Partner

Find out how your organization can collaborate with Peace.

Visitors

Whether you’re hoping to attend WPU or hosting an event, you’re welcome to visit WPU! 

Wedding at WPU
Phantom in downtown Raleigh

Conferences and Events

Host your conference, event, or wedding at WPU.

Location and Directions

Get directions, our address, a campus map, and hotel discount information.

Counselors

Learn about WPU and all it has to offer so you can guide your students to the best fit for their next step. 

Admissions Info

Meet and connect with our Admissions team.

Schedule a Visit

Learn about our processes and schedule a visit.

Alumni

Our success as an institution has always been rooted in the strength of our community. As an integral part of that community, we invite alumni to stay informed and connected. 

Alumni outside at WPU
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
Building at WPU

Get Involved

Stay connected to Peace.

Donate

Contribute to the success of future Pacers.

General Info

Read about alumni benefits.

Parents

Families are an integral part of a student’s path to WPU. Find answers to your questions here. 

Commencement
Two WPU students work together on a project during class

Student Success: Why Choose WPU?

Learn about the value of an education at WPU.

Billing and Due Dates

Questions about your student’s enrollment or billing? Start here.

Current Students

Already a Pacer? Here’s your quick path to information, links, and other useful stuff.

Group of students talking
Students high-fiving each other

Current Students

Missing something? Can’t find a link? Start here.

Current Parents and Families

Is your student a Pacer? Here’s where to get information and contacts.

Future Students

Welcome to William Peace University! We offer programs for both traditional undergraduate students and online/hybrid classes through our School of Professional Studies. Find your path to WPU here.

Three WPU students walk through a brick archway on campus.
Three students discuss their work during class.
Older gentleman at a computer

First Time in College

Your WPU education will help you build practical skills for your future.

Transfer Students

Transfer up to 90 credit hours from any institution. 

Working Professionals

Enhance your existing career.

A WPU student works on a video game in the new esports and gaming lab on campus.
Woman in army green typing at computer
Two female international students

Readmission

If you previously attended WPU and are ready to return, start here. 

Veteran/Military

Learn more about how to apply the GI bill.

International Students

Find out how to attend WPU.

About

WPU has a long history as one of the city’s oldest universities. Find out more about our institution in the heart of downtown Raleigh. 

2023 Student Showcase
Staff Pumpkin Painting

History

Through 160 years, William Peace University has evolved to meet the changing needs of the students we serve.

Leadership

William Peace University is a small, private institution located in downtown Raleigh, NC.

Work at WPU

Join our team and see why William Peace University was voted one of the Triangle’s Best Places to Work!

DEI Staff
Design Rendering of WPU

Contact Us

Contact the University

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Learn about DEI at WPU.

Mission, Vision, and Values

Learn about WPU core tenets. 

Student Life

Whether you want to know more about on-campus events or see our residence halls, get a sense of what life is like as a student at WPU.

WPU Student on bouncy slide
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
WPU Safety Officer

Clubs, Activities and Events

Discover what’s fun at WPU.

Housing & Dining

When people say that WPU “feels like home,” we think that’s the ultimate compliment.

Safety & Security

The Office of Public Safety is committed to providing a community-friendly approach to enhancing campus safety for students, faculty and staff.

Dining room at Peace
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
Health and wellness at WPU

Athletics

Cheer on your Pacers at their next home game.

Student Support Services

Find out how the WPU team supports the whole you.

Health and Wellness

Learn about physical and mental health services available to students.

Academics

WPU offers a mix of more than 30 degree programs and additional minors. Our courses are four credit hours each, and every course features immersive learning experiences.

A student in WPU's online School of Professional Studies works on her homework.
2023 Internship Showcase

Immersive Learning

Find out about WPU’s unique approach to learning.

Center for Student Success

Peer tutoring, a first-year success program, and an internship program are just part of why Pacers succeed. 

Admissions

Start here to find out how to apply, visit, and learn more about WPU.

Before you apply:

Admissions team
students walking on campus
A student reviews scholarship and payment information in the financial aid office.

Connect with an Admission Couneslor

They’ll be your guide through the process.

Visit Campus

Get a feel for campus life.

Understand Costs

Find out about Financial aid and other options to pay for college.