Feature Stories

He Interned at Intel: Meet Tola

Motolani Olarinre, a masterís student in computational biology, did a summer internship at Intel Corporation.

Motolani Olarinre, a master’s student in computational biology, did a summer internship at Intel. 

It’s extremely difficult to get an internship at Intel, the world’s largest maker of computer chips. Students deluge the company with resumes and as a result Intel hires only the best students from the top universities.

Tola, as he’s known, interviewed with Intel recruiters during a career fair in Pittsburgh run by the National Society of Black Engineers.The recruiters were impressed with his academic accomplishments and hired him to work as an intern for Intel’s Manufacturing Quality Systems group in Hillsborough, Oregon.

Tola worked with that group all summer. He used data mining techniques to evaluate the quality and reliability of semiconductor chips. Intel runs sophisticated tests on its computer chips and engineers analyze the resulting data. He carried out the data analysis and also helped design predictive computer models that evaluate chip quality.

“It was a great experience and I learned a lot about industry and the corporate world,” says Tola, an international student from Nigeria who came to America to attend the Albert Dorman Honors College at NJIT.  

As an undergraduate, Tola majored in Applied Math with a concentration in Mathematical Biology. He excelled academically, getting mostly A's. He was awarded three named scholarships and inducted into four honor societies. 

He has also excelled as a researcher. As a junior, he was chosen to participate in NJIT’s Undergraduate Biology and Math Training Program, funded by the National Science Foundation. In that program he did ecological research on the spatial distribution of species population.  He worked under the supervision of Gareth Russell, associate professor of biology, and presented his research at the national undergraduate biology and math conference in Colorado.  

Since last summer, he’s worked on a computational neuroscience research project with Jorge Golowasch, a professor and chairman of the biology department, and Horacio G. Rotstein, an associate professor of mathematics. Tola uses computational modeling and dynamical systems tools to investigate the patterns of activity of certain neurons.  He’ll present the results of the research at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

He graduated from the Honors College in May of 2011 and decided to do a master’s degree in computational biology within the Mathematics Department. Now, in his last year of his master’s program, he’s still excelling academically and in research. “The analytical and problem solving skills I obtained from the Mathematics Department have been helpful toward my success” says Tola. “The department’s goal is to encourage students to reach their full potential and I have gained from that.”

He is due to graduate with a master’s degree in May 2013. He hopes to work for a corporation where he can apply his mathematics, computational and problem solving skills to solve challenging problems.

“It was hard to leave Nigeria to come to NJIT, but I’m now glad I came,” says Tola.  “When I interviewed at Intel the recruiters looked at my research experience at NJIT and seemed impressed. And now that I have experience working at Intel I’m confident I’ll get a good job after I graduate.”

By Robert Florida