Electrical Engineer’s Path from the Dominican Republic to Northeastern University
Cesar Manuel De Oleo, E’26, electrical engineering, participated in the Undergraduate Program for Leaders In Future Transformation (UPLIFT) program. As a first-year student, he participated in research on parallel computing. He has learned buildup of C programming, algorithms, libraries, and programming in CUDA and help his research.
When Cesar Manuel De Oleo, E’26, electrical engineering, was growing up in the Dominican Republic, he grew interested in electricity due to the daily power outages in his neighborhood. At the same time, his uncle, an information technology professional, fostered a love for computers since early childhood. De Oleo moved to New York when he was eleven. He took a class in computer science in high school there.
At Northeastern University’s College of Engineering, De Oleo enjoyed the Cornerstone of Engineering class in his first year. He found a mentor in Professor David Kaeli as part of the Undergraduate Program for Leaders In Future Transformation (UPLIFT) program. The UPLIFT program is designed to nurture high-potential undergraduate talent through transformative experiential research and learning opportunities. De Oleo says, “I got invited to be a research scholar last year [as part of UPLIFT]. I do research with [Kaeli] on parallel computing.”
Beginning in their first year of study at Northeastern, UPLIFT Scholars are paired with a mentor, who is a member of the department’s faculty. Scholars work in their mentor’s lab starting their first semester, with further opportunities for research during their later years at Northeastern. De Oleo outlines the experience. “Throughout the past year, professor Kaeli taught me a buildup of C programming, algorithms, libraries, and finally teaching me to program in CUDA and help his research. I’m learning on the job.” Scholars also receive programming and community building opportunities through Northeastern’s Center for STEM Education.
De Oleo contrasts his experience at Northeastern with high school, which he says “wasn’t very academically good. I never had the opportunity to take a Calculus or a Chemistry class. All my friends [at Northeastern] had taken at least AP Calculus in high school, mine didn’t have STEM AP classes in general. It wasn’t the most ideal situation. I decided to self-teach and figure it out.” He watched YouTube videos to learn calculus. But with chemistry, he went to office hours every week. “[Chemistry professor] Leonel Murga was very helpful. I went to his office hours almost every Thursday. He helped me with my lack of background in chemistry. I got an A in Calculus 1 and General Chemistry, which is difficult to achieve even with AP Calc and Chemistry knowledge.”
De Oleo is currently applying to his first co-op. “I’m trying to work more for software development for my first co-op, because my strengths right now are on the computer engineering side. I want to see if I like software development.” He is active with the Northeastern University’s chapter of the Society of Hispanic Engineers. “I have made a couple of friends, it’s nice to go to the meetings. Last year they helped me set up my LinkedIn, they helped with resume reviews, and activities in the meetings are fun.”
Although it’s a few years away, De Oleo has plans for a master’s degree at Northeastern. “Electrical and computer engineering with a concentration on computer systems and software, that is my goal.”