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UIC Intern is making the grade at Johnson & Johnson

“It’s been a pretty good eye-opener,” said Abdul Yakubu (BS ’15) about the internship and co-op experience he began this past summer at Johnson & Johnson in Skillman, New Jersey. An electrical engineering major who maintains a 4.0 GPA, Yakubu has a strong work ethic and the self-confidence to match. But even he has found himself challenged during his time away from campus.

“While I was in Chicago, I thought I was on top of the world, but coming to New Jersey made me realize that I have to work harder still,” he said. Yakubu, Nigerian by birth, attributes his determination to the twenty-one years he was raised in Nigerian culture, where achievement is highly valued.

His cultural background also explains the reason he chose to study electrical engineering. “I remember back home being promised better power supply every year. And when I was back in December, nothing had changed.” Because of the conditions in his home country, Yakubu’s long-term goal is to “understand as much about power as possible” and work toward a solution to the problem of power supply in Africa.

Since such a lofty goal will take much preparation, Yakubu isn’t wasting any time. “My co-op experience has showed me where I should be directing my goal: to improve my management skills.” Yakubu’s managers have encouraged him to build his leadership skills by stretching him with unfamiliar tasks. Taking on these challenges has been his favorite part of the experience. “The skills I have learned here are the ones which ensure that when the future comes, I will not look back and regret.”

In just four months’ time, Yakubu has an expanded vision for his future. “Before, I wanted to be the guy who was putting the wires together and starting the generator. Now, I want to be the guy who knows how to start it, but has a team to help him.” Yakubu credits his experience at Johnson & Johnson for inspiring him.

“Both in a professional sense and a personal sense, I think this is the best decision I could have made. I actually feel I could become a CEO tomorrow.”

What other students have to say about their internship experiences

“My internship has really reinforced what I have learned here at UIC. I get to see first-hand how heat transfer affects the rollers in the laminators as well as the relationship with different variables such as temperature, speed, and time. The best part was putting those theories from the classroom into action.”

--Victor Cueto (BS ’14) – ACCO Brands; Lincolnshire, Illinois

“Establishing relationships with mentors and subcontractors was the most rewarding part of the experience. It was the first time I had to apply everything I have been preparing for in the past couple of years in terms of professional relationships. While it was often uncomfortable for me to speak in front of a large group of men who have been working in construction for a long time, or to start a conversation at social gatherings with engineers whom I had never met, it was not difficult to find something in common with everyone I spoke to and quickly gained comfort and confidence in my belonging. I now feel very accomplished in having learned technical skills, gained meaningful professional relationships, and confirmed my ability to face great challenges.”

--Janis Maldonado (BS ’13) – Turner Construction; Houston, Texas

“I realized during my internship that what I’m learning at UIC can be used anywhere. Working this summer at one of the top video gaming companies in the nation, it was really nice to see some of the techniques I’m learning in my 300 and 400-level classes being applied in the workplace.”

--Jeremy Skaar (BS ’14) – WMS Gaming; Chicago, Illinois

“While at Amazon, my experience was one of self-reliance and independence. They set me up with a mentor, but more or less I was left alone with my project description to figure out on my own what to do. This independence was in contrast with most of the academic experience I previously had; however, it wasn't unwelcome. I enjoyed the freedom that I had there because it introduced challenges that I had not anticipated. One challenge was effectively communicating high-level technical specifications to people in other disciplines, like the marketing team. Because of this challenge, I learned how important it is in this field to be able to clearly articulate what you know.”

--Michael Cueno (BS ’14) – Amazon; Seattle, Washington

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Topic revision: r10 - 2013-09-26 - 19:03:32 - Main.jsuper
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