Okwubido-Williams, a biomedical engineering student set to graduate in 2021, chose his career path with an eye toward helping others and making an impact with science.
Although he initially considered studying neuroscience as an undergraduate and then attending medical school, when he visited UC he chose to go into biomedical engineering because of the built-in cooperative education program which offers real-world work experience.
“As an international student, that was a big opportunity to me because most programs don’t have any kind of role to work in industry,” he said.
Okwubido-Williams, who is from Nigeria, said he is glad he pursued that track and now counts his co-op experiences as a valuable part of his education.
Okwubido-Williams took a nontraditional path to UC. He graduated high school in 2011 in Nigeria. He was determined to go to a top medical school in the United States. In 2015, he came to Indiana to live with extended family and earned an associate’s degree in science at a community college. He chose UC, in part, because the main campus is adjacent to the medical campus and multiple hospitals.
His first co-op job was in the molecular developmental biology department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Additional co-ops included working as a quality engineer in the medical device industry at Zimmer Biomet and as a process development engineer at Boston Scientific helping to shorten the time it takes to produce a new medical device. He is currently a program manager co-op intern at Microsoft.
Okwubido-Williams' co-ops have helped him to recognize areas where he excels beyond his technical skills, including a knack for project management and mapping out a path to reach long-range goals.
“My co-ops have shown me my skills and strengths … and have given me a solid foundation and good platform to understand what it means to be an engineer and apply those skills going forward.”
Angela Boronyak, assistant professor educator and biomedical engineering undergraduate program director, said Okwubido-Williams has mastered the material in her classes quickly and he frequently asks questions and seeks to gather knowledge beyond the scope of the course.
“When given the freedom to develop his own designs and projects, FearGod truly excels with creative results above and beyond the academic requirements every time,” Boronyak said.
She noted in her letter of recommendation for the Engineer of the Month award that Okwubido-Williams is always quick to help others in the lab or during group assignments and he does so with patience and a smile.
“FearGod is truly gifted at working with and helping others,” Boronyak said.