Leading NYIT’s Engineers to Success
“Engineering was a natural path to follow,” says Kayla Ho (B.S. ’17). “I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands, trying to figure out how things work, taking things apart, and putting them back together.” Her greatest interests lie in the areas of electricity and energy because, she explains, that’s how the modern-day world functions. “Without electricity, for the most part, nothing would work the way we want it to.”
After graduating from NYIT in 2017 with a B.S. in electrical and computer engineering and minors in mathematics and energy science, technology, and policy, Ho chose to pursue a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering at NYIT, which she expects to complete in 2019. When she isn’t busy in class, she can be found at meetings with NYIT’s student branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
As co-chair, she liaises with regional IEEE officials and organizes training sessions, technical workshops, and professional development opportunities for other engineering students. “I’m naturally a very shy person, so taking on this role definitely helped me step out of my comfort zone and learn how to interact with professors, the dean, and different members of the administration, and more importantly, how to work with different students, how to adapt to their needs and help them grow as individuals,” she explains. “That, I think, is the most rewarding experience—being able to help my peers become as great as they can be.”
Under Ho’s leadership, NYIT’s IEEE chapter has won a number of awards. In 2017 and 2018 they were presented with the Velio Marsocci Outstanding Student Branch Award for best student branch in Long Island. They also won the bid to host the 2018 IEEE Northeastern U.S. Student Conference, which will take place at the end of March.
Ho has been working closely with the NYIT administration and the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences to organize the three-day conference. More than 200 students along with IEEE professionals and delegates will attend the event, which consists of three competitions, technical workshops, and a hackathon.
Ho and a team made up largely of IEEE members have also achieved success at the VEX U Robotics Competition, a yearlong competition that includes more than 350 universities from around the world culminating in the VEX Worlds. The NYIT team won the VEX U Robot Skills Challenge World Championship in 2016 and the Community Award at the VEX U World Championship in 2017. Recently, for the first time ever, NYIT has qualified three teams for the 2018 VEX U World Championship, which will take place in April.
In addition to finding success in competitions, the IEEE NYIT student branch also finds the time to do community outreach. At least once a month, members visit schools around New York to teach elementary and high school students about STEM and robotics. They also mentor other robotics teams. “We’re very big on giving back to our community,” says Ho. “This is where we want to help develop the next generation of engineers—help them grow and develop programs so that they can, in turn, pass on the torch for future generations.”
Post-graduation, Ho has her sights on a Ph.D. in robotics engineering. “I want to help develop the latest technology that can help society progress and advance,” she says.