Saturday, January 30, 2021

From Virginia, USA, an American University of Nigeria Success Story

When Attahir Rabiu graduated this year (2020) from AUN’s Telecommunications & Wireless Technologies department, the journey ahead seemed quite daunting. Especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entrepreneurs were braving the topsy-turvy, roller coaster of an unusual year. The public health emergency was causing a domino effect on the nature of work, study, and indeed all human interactions. In Nigeria, protests, strike actions, and disruptions were the order of the day.

Against the backdrop of uncertainty, unwaveringly, the philosophy at the American University of Nigeria remained focused on entrepreneurship and development. A stallion staunch resolution to see opportunities for new knowledge and solutions in every difficulty. Now more than ever, AUN graduates had a chance to show the stuff they are made of. Following in the steps of many other alumni, Attahir applied and gained admission into the MSc. Electrical & Computer Engineering program at the Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA. “I then applied for assistantship and was hired as an IT Specialist,” said Attahir.  This was not such a difficult feat given his academic precedence. Within a short period in his role as a graduate assistant, something worth writing home about, literally,  happened. He found himself writing an email to thank his favorite professor at AUN, Dr. Abubakar Sadiq Husseini ( fondly called Dr.ASH) in appreciation for all he had taught him.

In Attahir’s department at Old Dominion, a new building complete with an innovation lab with 3D printers, vinyl cutters, and other very expensive equipment costing thousands of dollars was to be set up. The department took a leap of faith on their freshly minted IT Specialist. Attahir was assigned as project manager with the task of setting up the innovation lab. This involved so many actions including the procurement of equipment, installations,  and training students on how to safely use new equipment.

“Sir, if I didn't take your CIE 321 class (IT Project Management) I will be completely lost. Because I took your class, I feel very comfortable and know what to do. The Senior IT Specialists were very impressed with how I was able to manage the project at such a young age. Also, even the way I write emails like how you taught us in SEN 406 (Technical Report Writing) has impressed my colleagues in our department and they're surprised I am just a fresh graduate and have very little professional experience. Sir, I am very grateful for what you have taught us. Thank you. Attahir wrote in an email to Dr. ASH.

Even though the AUN campus stretches across over one thousand hectares, with schools strung across cardinal points, the news, that Attahir Rabiu, a fresh graduate had been appointed Project Manager and he performed spectacularly spread across campus. The close-knit community was elated at the achievement of one of their own. The Dean of AUN’s Graduate School, Professor Chris Mbah was thrilled. “Great student testimony, Dr. ASH! Now, this is what "student-centric U.S-style" means.” Dean Mbah said.

An overjoyed Attahir believes the AUN community is indeed a nesting ground for great talent.

“Over my four years at AUN, Dr. ASH taught me invaluable skills that are both technical and professional in nature. I learned the fundamental engineering concepts of telecommunications through my core courses which of course is very important. However, it is courses like Technical Report Writing, IT Project Management, and Senior Design Project that I believe have given me the professional skills to one day excel in my field.” He said.

Professional skills are critical for career progression but professors at AUN also believe that a multifaceted approach to learning and personal development is the key to greater success and Attahir is all the better for that.

“Apart from providing me with a world-class education, AUN also gave me a chance to develop leadership skills through extracurricular activities such as being a member of the Honor Society, IEEE (Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers) club, and many more. AUN has given me the tools to succeed.”

 Attahir Rabiu is just one of many AUN graduates who have gone on to make their mark and stake a claim in business, the arts, academia, and many other fields of endeavors. The entire AUN community is proud of the soaring accomplishments of one of their own.  Even more so because he has only just left the nest.

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