New Jersey Institute of Technology has a reputation for helping students climb the career ladder, which worked out well for recent graduate Rukayat Balogun who earned her industrial engineering degree as an Educational Opportunity Program participant and now helps run a Facebook data center as a site logistics analyst.
Balogun was an accomplished student at Newark’s Science Park High School and continued her success at NJIT. She became president of her freshman class, a chapter officer in the National Society of Black Engineers, social director of the African Student Association and manager of the women’s basketball team.
She also had multiple internships, one of which turned into her first full-time job as a data analyst at the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering before landing at the social media giant.
“NJIT graduates have an average of three jobs in hand at the time of graduation and starting salaries exceeding the national average by almost 20%,” university President Joel S. Bloom said. The offers are based not only on classroom results, but also on student opportunities for hands-on experience such as using Bloomberg stock market terminals, access to a massive makerspace and dozens of scientific and technical laboratories.
Balogun, whose parents emigrated from Nigeria and settled in East Orange, is the youngest of four children. “In my household, my mom was really big on education. It was like come home, do homework and then after your homework do more work,” she recalled. “I wasn’t the biggest fan of reading, so I definitely fell in line with the maths and sciences, the sciences being physics and chemistry, the experimental sciences.”
“Process, efficiency, quality control, I love all of that,” Balogun said. “That’s when I decided, OK, industrial, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Balogun isn’t alone, however, in jumping from NJIT to high-profile technology outfits. Recent graduates made their way to Cisco Systems, Tesla, Apple, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Verizon, among others.
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