Schenectady is more than 5,000 miles from Michael Okwori’s birthplace in Nigeria but, thanks to advances in his field, he can easily connect with friends and family back home.
Okwori joined Union last fall as the Mary H. ’80 and Richard K. Templeton ’80 Assistant Professor in Union’s Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering Department. Okwori and Stephanie Curley are the two inaugural Templeton Assistant Professors.
He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from the Federal University of Technology in Minna, Nigeria, and served as a lecturer at the same school. He came to the U.S. in 2017 and earned his Ph.D. last year from Wichita (Kansas) State University, where he served as a graduate teaching assistant.
His teaching and research focuses on machine learning, particularly in small embedded systems, and the Internet of Things (IoT), a field that focuses on “smart devices” that operate remotely through the internet. He also teaches logic and computer design, and circuits and systems.
He lives in Glenville with his wife and two daughters. The family has enjoyed their explorations in the U.S. including a trip last summer to New York City. More locally, his daughters enjoy the many area playgrounds and parks.
A devoted soccer fan, he hopes to have his daughters one day share his passion for Chelsea FC.
FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING:
No specific app; it varies depending on the notifications received during the night. Common apps are email, google calendar, and WhatsApp to connect with family and friends in Nigeria who are five hours ahead.
ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES:
“The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. When I was younger, I was interested in the purpose of life and what to pursue in life. This particular book was very helpful to me, so it had the very rare privilege of being read multiple times.
BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED:
The best advice I ever received, from a close friend and mentor, was “be gracious and kind to others as life can be hard and challenging, even behind a smile.”
FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS:
Not a spot, but I enjoy taking a walk around campus. After my first winter in Schenectady, I can’t wait for more warm weather.
A cup of hot cocoa and bread omelet sandwich.
Not really a podcast person; so, no favorites. But I watch a lot of YouTube, mostly to catch up with news on English Premier League soccer.
ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD:
I wish I could sing and play an instrument, particularly the piano.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT YOU:
I enjoy hanging out with my spouse, Kate, a friend and classmate from way-back in elementary school; and our two daughters, Grace, 7, and Marvella, 4. I still hope my “ladies” begin to enjoy watching soccer (particularly, Chelsea FC matches) as much as I do.
THREE DINNER PARTY GUESTS (living or deceased):
Mom, Dad, and all my five siblings (who count as one). I have years of catching up to do with each as I have been away for some years. I haven’t seen my family much since I came to the U.S. in 2017, but we talk on the phone a lot.