17:02 PM

UHCL alum says research opportunities, mentorship paved the way to her doctorate

Lucy Nwosu said that the opportunities she had to work on multiple research projects and present her work at conferences were key to her seamless admission to a doctoral program.

Ten years ago, Lucy Nwosu came from Nigeria to Houston with her family. She already had a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, but her ultimate goal was to achieve a doctorate, so she started research universities in the area to begin her journey.

“In order to get my doctorate, I had to get my master’s degree first,” Nwosu said. “I was researching other universities and applied somewhere else at first, but while I was waiting for admission there, I saw there was a UHCL Day at University of Houston-Clear Lake and I learned that I could apply and possibly receive on-the-spot admission with the application fee waived,” she said. “I was very focused on getting my master’s degree. I met with (Professor of Computer Engineering) Hakduran Koc and he was very helpful. I made my application right there and was admitted. That was it!”

She said she had been shown the coursework for the Master of Science in Computer Engineering and it helped solidify her decision to enroll at UH-Clear Lake. “There were some courses in both hardware and software, as well as emerging technologies like machine learning and robotics, which were the courses that helped me make my decision,” she said. “The courses are structured so that they cover all aspects of computer engineering, which was important to me because I wasn’t yet decided about which aspect I wanted as my specialization. It let me try my hand at different areas and then make my decision.”

Upon beginning her coursework, Nwosu said (Associate Professor and Program Chair of Computer Engineering) Jiang Lu was among her most supportive professors. “I did research with Dr. Koc and Dr. Lu,” she said. “This was extremely helpful in my application to my Ph.D program at Prairie View A&M University. I heard that they were looking for a prospective doctoral student with the kind of research background in machine learning that I had from UHCL.”

Her research was funded by grants secured by Lu, and her research paper, entitled “Deep Convolutional Neural Network for Facial Recognition Using Facial Parts,” won two awards from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

She said her research had been circulated and all she had to do was take it to her interview at PVAMU. “I walked them through the work we did, and again, I was admitted on the spot because of the work I had already done,” she said. “I was able to join the doctoral program and was put on a research team immediately.”

She received her Master of Science in Computer Engineering from UHCL in 2017 will receive her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from PVAMU this summer.

“UHCL definitely gave me the foundation I needed for my doctorate,” she said. “When I came into the program, it was everything I expected it to be. Soon I’ll have my doctorate and I would love to be in research and academia. Dr. Lu is my role model. I would love to mentor more engineers and scientists and complete groundbreaking technology to help the community.”

To learn more about UHCL’s Computer Engineering program, go online.