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Like many Temple students, Yao Sedzro followed a winding path to college: born in Togo, Sedzro came to the United States in 2007 and became a citizen 11 years later. This semester, his internship with the Air Force Research Lab was disrupted by the pandemic—but he still found a way to complete the experience virtually. The experience was piqued, at least in part, by my family.

"My father has a master's in agricultural engineering and a PhD in agricultural economics, and my mother worked as a kindergarten teacher," Sedzro said. "What got me interested in engineering was working alongside my father and being curious about the physical structure of things."

While Yao's internship was virtual, he was still able to work on modeling and simulations with lab technicians.

"I supported the Investigating and Overcoming Optical Nonlinearities in High Power Fiber Amplifiers. My main project was creating a thermal model of heat dissipation into a fiber spool. It was a great learning about different military equipment and interacting with so many people," Sedzro said. "I missed being in-person doing hands-on work and interacting with others, but we got to see a lot virtually."

As he looks toward his plans after Temple, Sedzro hopes to pursue a career in fiber optics and energy systems, as a way to follow-up this experience. As he describes it, his plans fall into a few scenarios: continuing in the Air Force, starting a business, or setting his sights on a single employer: Google.

"There's just a team atmosphere (like in ROTC) but it's also a body of people who are disciplined, high-achievers," Sedzro said. "You have to be on your toes."