Though Chukwura Okoli is 5,500 miles from his home in Nigeria doesn’t mean his family—and particularly his father—haven’t been an inspiration behind his entrepreneurial mindset.
“My father is a CEO. His education was in medicine, but he has that entrepreneurial brain that you need for engineering,” Okoli said.
One of the products his father’s company produces is a hand-controlled vehicle, geared toward helping someone in a wheelchair (like his father) drive a car. Everyone in the family learned how to drive it, including Chukwura.
That background propelled him to Turkey, where the towering 6’6 Okoli chose engineering over basketball. He then came to Temple to complete his education, quickly growing alongside classmates, becoming more outgoing and gaining a network and support system.
“Starting in Turkey, I thought I was going to hate it. But after a half a semester, I got to understand it. You need people around you to help. Without that, I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am right now.”
He’s taken an interest in SolidWorks, and his Senior Design team is developing a robotic arm. Both stem from his interest in mechanical, giving him a broad set of options.
“Eventually, I want to own my own business,” he said, before correcting course.
“Right now, I’m just trying to finish strong, then focus on applying for jobs,” he said.
He mused about a potential Masters or MBA program down the road, but kept the immediate focus on tying up his undergraduate career. Though, a quick smile flashed on his face when he thought about a relaxing few weeks at home after graduation.
“My father said I can come back home but I will have work to do,” he laughed.
Follow our full Next Stop series to see where some of this semester’s graduating seniors are headed.