When Evance Abok arrived in New York City from Nairobi, he couldn’t help noticing the “huge difference” between the two cities. Beyond weather (Abok prefers Nairobi’s), he notes that it’s easier to get around in Manhattan. “You can count on the police to show you directions should you have difficulties finding your destination,” he says, and “you can be sure to find streets at specific intervals, making navigation easier.” Even so, Abok confesses that the first time he came to NYIT’s Manhattan campus using his phone’s GPS, he took half an hour to find his way from Columbus Circle to 1855 Broadway. “My phone network was poor and kept losing the GPS signal, so it kept on refreshing and redirecting me. The more it did this, the further I went from NYIT. When I finally located the school, I couldn’t help but laugh,” he says.
Besides a good sense of humor, Abok has a social conscience. He has always been involved in protecting the environment, including volunteering to clean urban areas, plant trees, and champion environmental conservation. His career goal is to work as an environmental consultant, and he has a particular motivation: Kenya is rapidly industrializing, and Abok sees a clear need for technical and policy expertise, “so that Kenya’s development takes into account the need to protect environmental integrity.”
Abok’s research interest is air pollution prevention and remediation. He says, “Air is the only component of the environment that we interact with literally everywhere, at all times. As a native of a ‘third-world’ country currently transitioning to a middle-income economy, with mega-infrastructural projects and industrialization taking place, air quality is likely to be compromised unless sound interventions are adopted.”
A top student at his institution in Kenya, Abok came to NYIT with support from the United States Department of State as part of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. NYIT was appealing to Abok because it helps him prepare comprehensively for his chosen career. “I wanted a university whose program is fine-tuned to meet my specific education needs, and I was convinced that NYIT ranks second to none in offering this opportunity.” In addition to technical expertise, he also enjoys NYIT’s “cultural diversity, cutting edge research, technology, and of course, fun.”
Part of the fun includes student groups. Participating in NYIT’s branch of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) has helped Abok refine his professional goals. “The NSLS reassured me that my aspiration to establish a reputable environmental consultancy is tenable, as long as I truly want to do it.” The campus group’s leadership training, networking sessions, and group-focused discussions keep him focused on his future.
Abok recommends his master’s degree program because it provides “two important things simultaneously: knowledge and professional experience. It mimics exactly what one would find in a typical workplace, from learning to beat deadlines to working in groups.” He would advise students who want to take maximum advantage of higher education to do the following: “plan your time carefully; tune your project presentations to meet professional formats; develop a good rapport with your professors and classmates; and learn from, rather than dismissing, what seem to be dissenting opinions from your colleagues.”