Operating the RB5 robot arm, his arm shakes as he nervously goes to press the start button. His face lights up with joy as the arm moves swiftly in the correct direction. 

After having an interest in computers since his childhood, senior Samer Youssouf always saw technology and engineering as the perfect area of study. “When I was younger, I loved to go on my computer to play games and I also really liked to go online to see new technology updates on Apple products,” Youssouf said. “It was more of a slow progression into my interest in engineering as I looked into many new inventions such as Face ID, hacking tools and even VR and AR.”

In middle school, he decided to further his knowledge in engineering by applying to the Engineering program ran by teacher Rizalito Nicolas at Southwest Career and Technical Academy. This past summer, Youssouf was recommended by a teacher to the professor in charge of the Robotics Laboratory at UNLV

“Samer is enthusiastic about many of the projects we do and very inquisitive in the Engineering class,” Nicolas said. “He also implements the design process and utilizes great teamwork with his peers.”

During his internship, he got the opportunity to work with UNLV students on a RB5 robot arm for a Korean Company called RainbowRobotics. Throughout the three week internship, he learned how to operate the robot, as well as film and edit different tutorials. 

“I was able to take my 3D modeling skills and communication skills into the internship which helped me show my creativity and get to know the students and professors,” Youssouf sad. “I learned how important communication and dedication is not only toward yourself but toward your peers, teachers and professors.”

Although his internship did open his eyes to the opportunities available at UNLV, he has chosen to apply to UC Berkeley and MIT to further his education. 

“The experience of the internship allowed me to experience a day in the life of a college student,” Yousseouf said. “I helped me learn what to expect if I decide to conduct research while in college. Also, you are able to create your own schedule plan when doing research as you do have deadlines that are more strict than highschool.”

In the future, Youssouf hopes to gain more knowledge on Cybersecurity and protect others in the digital world.

“Engineering is not easy,” Youssuf said. “Yes, there is a lot of math and it can become frustrating. But if you are a person who has a true passion for wanting to innovate and get creative in changing the world without giving up, then this is the major for you.”

Yousseouf would tell other students looking to reach their goals to take every opportunity and challenge themselves. 

“It can be exciting to learn about new things and meet new people but honestly, no one knows what the future will bring,” Yousseouf said “The only way to find out is to go forth and seize every opportunity you can. Also, technology is fascinating.”