Purdue University North Central student Alonzo McRae
will earn his bachelor’s degree in Electrical
and Computer Engineering Technology in December. He
looks forward to pursuing a career with an engineering
company in electrical and automation research and development.
McRae is the first person in my family to go to a university
and attain a degree.
His life took an interesting and somewhat unconventional
path to get to this point in his life.
He is originally from New Mexico. He joined the U.S.
Army and served overseas for several years, spending
time in Kosovo and Hungary. He was in Iraq during the
overthrow of Saddam Hussein. A highlight of his service
came when he met the woman who would become his wife
When his military service ended, he came to the Midwest
with his wife and two children so that he could take
a job in Chicago. Unfortunately, the company went out
of business, leaving McRae and his young family in an
unknown part of the country, without a job or support
“We had to start a new life from scratch,”
“We migrated east,” is how he describes
how he ended up in Northwest Indiana.
McRae attended college in New Mexico and picked up
additional credits through a University of Maryland
program while he was in Germany, so he was ready to
get a degree. He was pleased to find himself so close
to Purdue North Central.
“The reputation of the Purdue University engineering
degree motivated me to attend PNC,” is how he
described it. “I had an interest in electronics
ever since I was young and the electrical theory was
a concept that always fascinated me.”
He started classes in 2005. In the meantime, his children
started school, and the family grew to include three
sons and a daughter. His wife is involved with school
functions and activities and McRae coaches with the
Michigan City Soccer Club.
That’s in addition to working full time and attending
class full time while pulling down a solid grade-point
average that’s included a 4.0 last spring.
“I have responsibilities, working full time and
attending PNC as a full time student was difficult,
but as you can see with my accomplishments, it is not
impossible,” he said. “The Engineering and
Technology faculty at PNC offered an opportunity for
me to excel, attain and achieve my goals in engineering.”
He is also quick to credit his wife and children with
their continuing support. “They were there when
I needed them. My lovely wife and children have stuck
with me to the end and I couldn't succeed without them,”
said McRae, noting that one of his sons shares his interest
in engineering and robotics and was at his side when
he worked on his projects.
As his final semester winds down, McRae has some words
of wisdom and advice to share with others interested
in pursing a degree, “Be prepared to open your
minds to concepts that you have only imagined. Don't
limit yourself to believe what you are trained to believe,
you are only limited in the scope of your imagination.
Follow your dreams, and you will achieve your goals
with hard work and perseverance. “
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