Michael Abreu may be only a junior at Northeastern Illinois University, but he has already accomplished a great feat. Abreu, a Computer Science major, was recently awarded the Fifty for the Future Award presented by the Illinois Technology Foundation.
The Fifty for the Future Award recognizes 50 college students statewide who have the determination to achieve greatness in the field of technology. Students, who are nominated by a professor, are evaluated on several key factors, which include their body of work as well as leadership and communication skills. Abreu was nominated by one of his own professors, to whom he gives thanks.
“I was nominated by Dr. Graciela Perera for this award,” Abreu said. “She provides many students, including me, with the opportunity to connect with the professional industry and other universities who are researching in the field of technology.”
Abreu has been working diligently in computer science ever since he took an advanced course at Deerfield High School. This honor has been particularly sentimental for Abreu and equally important for his future profession in this field.
“Receiving this award from a renowned group of professionals in the industry really has shown me that everything I have worked for and continue to work for is obtainable and within reach,” Abreu said. “This has been an enormous push for me to continue working so hard with my studies to pursue my career goals.”
Abreu attributes much of his success to Northeastern, which has given him many life-changing experiences. Through the Student Center for Science Engagement, Abreu worked with Perera during the summer of 2014 on a research project dealing with computer network topologies.
“The experience I gained through this research project was incomparable to the experience I received in the classroom,” Abreu said. “Although my experience in the classroom was valuable, the type of work I was doing throughout this research project helped shape my abilities and career.”
Abreu said he is eternally grateful for Northeastern and the effect it has had on his life.
“Northeastern Illinois University has provided me with numerous opportunities to succeed,” Abreu said. “If I had the opportunity to go back and apply for colleges again knowing everything I do now about NEIU, I would pick NEIU as my college again.”