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NECC Student Participates in NU Summer Program

Submitted by on August 9, 2016 – 7:57 pm
NECC engineering student Rami Saleh of Methuen spent 10 weeks at Northeastern University's REU #D Summer Research Program.

NECC engineering student Rami Saleh of Methuen spent 10 weeks at Northeastern University’s REU D3 Summer Research Program.

One day, Northern Essex Community College student Rami Saleh would like his own start-up company where he will have the flexibility to be an inventor. For now, the soon to be 21-year-old is honing his computer engineering skills at the “Summer 2016 Research Experience and Mentoring in Date Driven Discovery (REU-D3) Program” hosted by Northeastern University.

The Methuen resident is just one of 10 students selected to participate in the REU-D3 program. The focus of the program is to expose students to unique research experiences that provide hands-on access and processing of Big Data Analytics. The hope is they will pursue careers in Data-driven Discovery and related technology-based domains.

The 10-week program, for which he received a $5,000 stipend and university housing, ran from June 6 through August 12, culminating in a poster session and presentation on the 11th.

“It gave me the opportunity to work with operating systems like Linux and programming languages like Torch, Lua, and Python,” he said.

Saleh worked with a partner under the guidance of a PhD. candidate on computer vision and object classification. Plainly speaking, he wrote code that allows an image to be recognized by a classifier. For example a photo of a tree is processed by the classifier and is recognized for what it is – a tree. This is technology is already being used in self-driving vehicles.

The results of the project will be entered in the ImageNet Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge 2016 in September.

For Saleh, this experience is worlds – or at least continents- apart from his homeland of Lebanon. It has been just two years since Saleh, his brother Nabil Saleh (an NECC alumnus of the engineering science program), and their parents emigrated from the Middle East in search of a better higher education experience.

When Saleh, who speaks Lebanese, French, and English, enrolled at Northern Essex he knew only that he wanted to study engineering. It wasn’t until he began taking classes that he realized he wanted to pursue computer engineering. This fall he will take three classes at NECC and one class at UMass Lowell through NECCUM, a partnership between Northern Essex and UMass where students take a class at UMass and the credit transfers back to Northern Essex.

In addition to taking classes, Saleh is a math tutor in the Haverhill campus tutoring center.

In the spring of 2017, he will be a full-time student at UMass Lowell where he will work toward his bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. Eventually he would like to earn a master’s degree as well.

Northern Essex offers a number of engineering programs including associate degrees in electronic technology, electronic technology: computer systems; engineering science, and engineering science: technology option as well as certificates in automotive technology; computer aided drafting; and electronic equipment technology.

Students can prepare for a career repairing computers, other state-of-the-art electronic devices and laboratory equipment, or automotive technology; or train as a computerized drafter. Engineering candidates in computer/electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical or environmental – can complete the first two years at NECC and be prepared to transfer to a four-year college or university.

For additional information visit the NECC website or contact enrollment services at 978-556-3800.