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Prestigious Molex internship the latest chapter in eventful life of UEL student Omar Rodriguez

ACE Computing

Venezuelan student will undertake a three-month internship with Molex Corporation in the US

The escalating financial and social crisis in Venezuela forced Omar Rodriguez to quit his university studies and eventually leave his native country in 2013.

Now he is studying for a degree at the University of East London (UEL) and getting ready to begin a prestigious three-month internship in the United States with a global technical components company.

The exciting new opportunity arose after Martin Slark, CEO of Molex Corporation and UEL alumnus, gave a guest lecture at UEL in December in which he offered students in the audience the chance to apply for an internship.

 “CEOs are usually very busy, so getting to hear someone very senior speak was good, and I enjoyed it,” said Omar.

“When he announced that Molex offer internships, I applied straight away – just 15 minutes after the talk. I really wanted it.”

Omar, who is coming to the end of his BEng (Hons) degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, went through a rigorous application process which included a series of interviews with different specialist teams at Molex. 
A few weeks later he was told he had been successful. 

“I was really pleased, and I’m the only UEL student to get a place, so I feel very fortunate,” he said. “Doing industry placements like this certainly helps when it comes to having a plan after graduation. It will give me options.” 

Commenting on the offer, Erica Gilligan, College Recruiting Lead at Molex, said, “Omar Rodriguez is a stand-out candidate that Molex is excited to welcome on board this summer for our 2017 internship programme.  

“His character, education and experience will provide much value to Molex and we hope his experience this summer will help expand his knowledge and interests as well as align his experience and skill sets with his career goals. 

“At Molex, we seek out top candidates with high humility, integrity and entrepreneurship skills, making Omar a fantastic fit for our company culture. We are eager to work together later this year!” 

Professor Nora Ann Colton, UEL’s Deputy-Vice Chancellor, said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for Omar and a great example of the powerful industry partnerships UEL is cultivating in the UK and internationally to give our students the best chance to succeed in the jobs market. 

“I would like to thank Molex for providing this exciting opportunity and wish Omar every success for his internship and his future career.”

For Omar, it is all a far cry from his life prior to joining UEL. In 2006 he began a degree in engineering but had to quit due to the serious problems Venezuela is experiencing with hyper-inflation, low economic growth, chronic shortages of food and medicines, problems with exporting oil and widespread corruption. 

“I was forced to quit university and work for an engineering firm for four years doing admin, and the situation kept getting worse,” said Omar. “I decided I needed to save up and get out, come to England, learn English and have a fresh start.

“I visited my parents in Venezuela last Christmas and the situation is bad. There are problems with kidnapping. People don’t feel safe. My brother and sister are now planning to join me here.” 

Omar spent a year and a half and learning English in Bournemouth, but the dream of studying engineering never left him.

“I did some online research and decided to apply to UEL, and I got a place with the School of Architecture, Computing, and Engineering, on the course I wanted. I’m happy and have had lots of good opportunities, including the employment module as part of my degree, which was useful.” 

Professor Hassan Abdalla, Dean of the School of Architecture, Computing, and Engineering (ACE) at UEL said, “I’m really pleased for Omar. He is a worthy recipient and will represent UEL well at Molex.

“Providing students with industry insight and work placements is very important to their future success, so I hope many more UEL students will follow in Omar’s footsteps in the future.”  

Omar will head to Molex’s offices in Chicago this summer for three months and is looking forward to what the future holds.