ECE students named Knights of St Patrick

5/20/2024 Eleanor Wyllie

Written by Eleanor Wyllie

Electrical and computer engineering students Cain Gonzalez and Cornell Horne, Jr. have been named 2024 Knights of St. Patrick. The Grainger College of Engineering awards this honor to 10-15 outstanding students every year who exhibit leadership, excellence in character and exceptional contribution to Grainger Engineering.


Cornell Horne Jr
Cornell Horne, Jr.

Electrical engineering major Cornell Horne, Jr. graduates this year – though he won’t be gone for long. He’s returning to Illinois to pursue a master’s degree in electrical engineering focused on semiconductors, coupled with an internship with IBM. 

During his time at ECE, Cornell has been involved in student organizations including iRobotics, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Tech Team, the Morrill Engineering Program (MEP) and Amateur Artists RSO. He’s been a Center for Academic Resources in Engineering (CARE) tutor, participated in an engineering sustainability study abroad in Guatemala and conducted undergraduate research in Soft Robotics. In 2023 he was selected as a member of the Homecoming Court. 

Currently, Cornell focuses on the campus organization Acts Campus Ministry, where he leads multiple Bible study groups. He spends his free time reading his Bible, working out, playing basketball and drawing.

Cornell originally became interested in electrical engineering through a project-based class (Engineering 177) where he tried out 3D printing, wiring and programming, and he really enjoyed the wiring. His attitude toward studies is, “If it’s going to be hard, I might as well have fun with it.” His advice for future Grainger Engineers is similar: “It’s going to be hard, but as long as you like it, that’s all that matters. And figuring out what you don’t like is just as important as what you do like.”

Cain Gonzalez
Cain Gonzalez

Cain Gonzalez, a junior studying Computer Engineering, is involved in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and MEP. He also started his own group, Student Alliance for Increasing Representation in STEM (SAIRS). In his free time, he enjoys movies, longboarding, painting and music.

Serving as the 2023 high school outreach chair for SHPE, is important for Cain.  “I want to be able to bring more underrepresented students into the college and share my experiences with them.”

Cain originally got into computer engineering through his love of videogames and an interest in virtual reality. He was a member of VR club when he first started his undergraduate degree. He’s recently become more interested in cybersecurity explaining, “I really like helping people, and I think computer engineering is a good field to do that. I like the technical side, but also talking to people, figuring things out and thinking like the bad guy for cybersecurity.”

For future Grainger Engineers, Cain emphasizes finding your community. “Make sure that when you get to school, you find your support systems, you talk to a bunch of people and make sure you're not going through it alone, because that's probably the thing that’s hardest for most people. Joining clubs is really helpful for that.”

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This story was published May 20, 2024.