Harley Deka, from Kenya, studied in the Associates of Science University Engineering Transfer Program at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. He then transferred to Georgia Institute of Technology, where he is now pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
The motivating factors were the great education system, consistent innovations and the welcoming culture.
Why did you choose Sinclair Community College?
Sinclair Community College offers the lowest tuition rates in the state of Ohio. Sinclair has GREAT professors, most of who have been in the profession for a while with expertise, they listen and are always willing to assist students so they succeed in their areas of study. Moreover, there are great incentives such as competitive scholarships, great avenues for student development through the honors program, state-of-the-art library services, great tutorial center, modern laboratories for science experiments and the great location: the downtown city of Dayton. Not to mention, Ohio has a great weather with a low cost of living compared to other states.
What do you like best?
I had the freedom to schedule my classes. I liked the academic advising department. Shouts to Karen Blake, the academic advisor, for great shepherding as I was working towards my degree. Her wisdom was instrumental in my success. The course elective options are great!
How did your education at Sinclair help prepare you for future university studies?
My Sinclair education is in part what helped me secure a transfer opportunity to Georgia Tech. Sinclair’s Associates of Science University Engineering Transfer Program has components that prepares the students in critical areas necessary for success in engineering education. For example, an early preparation in computation utilizing the MATLAB software, Programming utilizing C++, design utilizing SolidWorks and AutoCAD, as well as foundational calculus, linear algebra, physics and differential equations and electives feed into the advanced electrical engineering curriculum and engineering education in general.
What do you miss most?
I miss the friends I grew up with, family, and the year round spring weather.
What was your biggest surprise?
Generally, the freezing cold during winter season was my greatest surprise. But now that I have moved to Atlanta, shout out to the Yellow Jackets [Sinclair sports mascot] and the Tartan Pride!
How have you handled:
... language differences?
English was my main language of communication even before coming to the United States. However, it took sometime to grasp the different accent.
Finances are definitely the greatest challenge. While at Sinclair, I had to work hard to maintain high grades so that I could be competitive in the scholarship applicant pool. The support from Sinclair was a great boost towards my academic success as I am self-dependent.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
The education system did not seem to be different from the one in Kenya, therefore this was a great plus.
What are your activities?
I mainly participate in the Sinclair honors program, Phi Theta Kappa, The National Scholars Honor Society and tutoring. Also, I participated in the honors service learning.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
It was hard at the beginning but once I got used to the culture, it became easier to interact and make friends.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I hope to eventually combine the engineering background with business acumen to develop platforms for financial industries, more broadly, work as a quant engineer. The training from the engineering discourse is the core for the kind of skills I need to be successful in my endeavor. Therefore, the U.S. education is the basis for everything that I will be doing in my career.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
Given a chance, students across the world should understand that getting an education from the United States guarantees a breakthrough in their academic and career pursuit.