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 in Germany.
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 system.
“We had to start a new life from scratch,” he said.
“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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