Ok is the NUC tripping while connected to anything? Or even when it is fully isolated? What power supply are you using? The NUC supplied power supply? Does it trip with the NUC provided power supply?
If the answer is that it trips when not connected to anything using the NUC provided power supply, then you have an issue with the NUC and Id send it for RMA to Intel. If however, you are using anything after market when it trips (you have your own power supply for example) and/or you have other things connected to it that could be causing it to trip, then the fault may still be with your setup. Id also google what causes thermal trips in NUCs and see if there is something obvious.
Independent of the NUC, can you communicate with either arduino through ANY computer at UofA? If not, Id google this condition and see what the errors could be. But it may be fastest to buy two new arduinos, and plug them directly into a computer before soldering anything and confirm they work. Then replace the ones you have if they do.
Hope this helps.