ECE alum Yemaya Bordain urges new students to be curious


Julia Sullivan, ECE ILLINOIS

Who is better to give advice to freshmen and incoming transfer students than a recent graduate? Yemaya Bordain (PhD '15) spoke at ECE Ignition and encouraged attendees to get involved, especially with research.

Bordain is an Internet of Things (IoT) engineer for Intel. She explained how research opportunities not only helped her grow and learn, but also helped forge her career path. In turn, she has created opportunities for current ECE students.

She emphasized the incredible research happening and Illinois and how undergraduate students can play an important part. "You can knock on any of their doors and ask what they're working on," she said.

She is also passionate about encouraging diversity in engineering. While at Illinois, she co-founded the Graduate Engineers Diversifying Illinois (GEDI) student organization.

ECE ILLINOIS Department Head William H Sanders concurred. In his opening remarks at Ignition, he emphasized the importance of diversity among students and professors. He explained that while the incoming class had many commonalities, including being about the same age and academically successful, their differences create unique opportunities for collaboration and learning.

Mosab Elagha, ECE senior, speaks to incoming students at ECE Ignition.
Mosab Elagha, ECE senior, speaks to incoming students at ECE Ignition.
Current students also had advice to share. Two ECE seniors, Mosab Elagha and Tyler Hansen, detailed ten things they wish they knew as incoming freshmen. Their list included survival skills, like taking the bus around campus (to stay dry) and doing your laundry regularly (to attract better lab partners). "As ECEs, we tend to stay in our own bubble," they said. So they encouraged new students to "go south of Green Street" and explore non-engineering classes and organizations.