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Meet Betty Mirembe

Student Leader and President Machine Learning Club at Makerere University

One of the key things every University student must learn is attaching value to opportunities and seeking knowledge beyond the classroom. Many of the opportunities don't come well-formed but it is always about the inquisitive student to unmask them. Today we feature Betty Mirembe who saw the opportunity in Machine Learning and has since pursued it even when it is not part of her University Program. This is what we asked

Tell us about yourself

I attended The Bright Day and boarding primary school for both my pre-primary and primary. I then went to St Joseph's SSS Naggalama for O'level and later St Peters SSS Nsambya for A'level. Currently, I study Telecommunications Engineering at Makerere University. I am very passionate about leadership and I believe life is about being real and that is exactly what leadership has made me become.

In a nutshell, what is Telecommunications Engineering?

Telecommunications Engineering is a major field under Electrical and electronics engineering and because of this, one gets the basics of those disciplines for the first two academic years.

However, telecommunications Engineering as it mainly entails networking in terms of wireless and wired networks. More often than not people think Telecoms engineering is to do with selling mobile phones and related accessories as well as mobile money transactions but there is more technicality involved.

A telecommunications Engineer understands the installation of telecommunications equipment and facilities, such as microwave transmission installations, optical fiber cabling, IP networks, and is responsible for ensuring perfect work regards this.

Why did you choose this course? What motivated you to choose this course?

Poor connectivity in several parts of Uganda to-date really pushed me to study Telecommunications Engineering. I surely believe challenges are an open door to innovation so I decided to get more professional knowledge so that I can better be in a position to extend my hand towards innovating around low-cost rural broadband connectivity.

How is this course relevant to your future plans?

I hope to take on a Masters in broadband networks so Telecommunications engineering provides a good foundation and exposure in line with this.

Describe your ordinary day at Campus 

I usually have lecturers till midday most of the days, do personal reading in the afternoon and catch up with friends or attending leadership meetings later in the day depending on what schedule I have for a particular day. Then group discussions in the evening (8pm to 10pm) .

How do you cope up with the pressure to excel at University? 

I set weekly goals for myself and a daily schedule that I closely follow so that I balance up all my activities successfully.

What subjects did you choose in high school and how have they been relevant in your course?

I chose Physics, Economics, and Mathematics. Physics and Mathematics have impacted so much in terms of technical development in my course. On the other hand, economics has been of great help when it comes to selling your innovation idea or product because Engineering in general is all about innovation but there is always a beneficiary or user. This is where Economics really sets in!

How are you using the knowledge you have acquired from University (Any projects or research)?

I have been able to participate in several innovations and exhibited at the 7th and 9th annual CEDAT open day. I am working on a project "A deep learning model based platform for disease identification in plants" as an Undergraduate Researcher.

This exposed me to a new trend in the technology field called "Machine Learning" which is currently not captured in the curriculum of Telecommunications Engineering and The Machine learning club, to which I am the first president was formed to address this in the meantime as well as create a supportive environment for students to express their ideas in line with Machine Learning.

I was also motivated to join Tedi-London (a design led engineering institute) summer school 2020 cohort because of the knowledge I have gained from my course thus far.

Betty presenting at the CEDAT Open Day

What plans do you have after Campus?

I hope to go for Masters in broadband networks and startup maybe an organization that can do problem-based learning. I believe this is a better approach and adds so much value to our society.

Other than attending lectures, what else do you do with your time while at University?

I work on several projects and I am into leadership so other than classwork, I spend a great deal of time fulfilling my duties as a student leader.

What trends are you seeing in your field of study that aspiring students should be mindful of?

Coding and networking are a big thing when it comes to Telecommunications Engineering. I would recommend that one does a short course or certification in at least one of these if they want to study the course.

Betty and her team members during the CEDAT Open Day

What advice would you give someone who dreams of enrolling for your course someday?

It is a good and really diverse course as it incorporates several things so they should be open-minded and practical. That way, they will love and enjoy the course.

Any concluding remarks?

Always work diligently. The sky is the limit.

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