Pursuing an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern’s Roux Institute
Chinemeremma Collins Okara grew up in Owerri, Nigeria. After taking a family friend’s advice, he applied to and attended the All Nations University – an affiliated university of the prestigious Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in nearby Ghana. After graduating at the top of his electronics and communications engineering class, he returned to Nigeria for a mandatory one-year national youth service and worked as an IT support specialist. He says, “Along the way, I grew interested in the internet of things. The idea that devices could be connected to the internet fascinated me. I decided to apply for programs that taught embedded systems. Northeastern University’s graduate engineering program was one of those that aligned with my interests, Okara says”
Okara chose Northeastern’s MS degree in electrical and computer engineering with a concentration in computer networks and security at the Roux Institute campus in Portland, Maine, because of a generous scholarship and the co-op program. “I felt like I needed industry experience before finishing a graduate program,” he explains. Okara is currently doing his co-op class at Northeastern and credits his instructors with helping him develop a good resume and interview skills. He says, “With the training I’m going through, it will put everything I’ve been taught into practice.” He is currently applying to embedded software engineering positions for his first co-op. “The idea behind the establishment of the Roux Institute is very great. The company partnerships Northeastern has provides opportunities for co-op and building the STEM workforce in Maine and beyond,” he says.
Okara appreciates the small class section sizes at the Roux Institute. He has been studying with a particular focus on the internet of things in his classes. In his wireless sensor network and internet of things course, he cites electrical and computer engineering professor Francesco Restuccia as a strong teacher and mentor. He says, “We did two projects on wireless sensor networks using various software tools and libraries skills. I found that Francesco has been a good guide to going beyond the scope of the class, and I would recommend his course to anyone.”
Outside classes and co-op preparation, Okara wants to leave a legacy for future students as part of the first cohort of electrical and computer engineering students at the Roux Institute. “I’m the kind of person who wants to welcome prospective and current students into the Northeastern community.” As a graduate student ambassador, Okara is working with his classmates to develop a project to showcase the Roux Institute. “I have friends from all over the world, and I’ve been able to build good relationships with staff, faculty, and administration. Roux is the place to be for that kind of community,” Okara says.
Okara is excited to continue to pursue his passion for the internet of things. “For devices to be connected to the internet, they need to have a miniature computer called embedded systems, your microwave, your fridge, smart watches…. Developing nanodevices that can communicate with the internet fascinates me.” For those considering a school for engineering, Okara endorses Northeastern and the Roux Institute campus in Portland, Maine. Okara says, “We have one of the best faculty for the internet of things. The Roux campus is springing up. For anyone who wants the requisite skills to make an impact in the world, Northeastern is the place you should consider.”