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MassBay Community College mechanical engineering graduate Jesse Okoche of Weymouth, MA, has been accepted to Yale University. He plans to double major in mechanical engineering and political science when he begins classes there this fall. Jesse, who was born and raised in the Southern African country of Botswana, came to the United States in 2022, with hopes of earning his associate degree and then continuing his studies at an Ivy League school.


“Going to an Ivy League university was always my goal. It’s the American dream I grew up watching in the movies, and that is where I wanted to go to earn my degree,” said Jesse. “My dad always gave me and my siblings the belief that we could go to any college if we worked hard enough and prayed that God would bless the work of our hands. In 2021, I was living in Botswana and applying to colleges in the U.S. but getting all these rejection letters. I tried to stay focused and positive, telling myself it was a delay in God’s will, not an ultimate denial. Then, I learned about community colleges as an affordable way to begin the pursuit of my higher educational goals. I knew if I wanted to go to an Ivy League school like Yale, I would need to not only be the best in my class, but among the best in the world. MassBay was critical to me becoming one such student, attaining the spot I now have at Yale.”


Jesse continued, “When I received my acceptance letter from Yale University, there were a lot of different emotions. I was excited, happy, in disbelief, and shocked, it was overwhelming and stressful waiting to hear about the decision, but it worked out. It has been a dream to go to one of the top universities in the world, and now that dream is a reality. I can’t wait to enjoy everything Yale has to offer. I haven’t visited Yale in person yet. I have looked at the photos online, and I’m looking forward to walking around the campus to revel in the greenery and soak in the beauty of New Haven. It will be exciting to get involved with the research opportunities afforded to the students at Yale, and I want to give back through the National Society of Black Engineers to help the next generation of minority STEM students.”


While at MassBay, Jesse was very involved in campus life, serving as the vice president of academic affairs for the Student Government Association (SGA), a member of The Kingdom Bible study group, the international club, peer tutor, peer mentor, a mentee in the STEM Mentor Program, a member of the Students of Color program, center back for the Men’s soccer team, and a career services early college and career technical specialist. Jesse earned a spot on the Dean’s List every semester with a perfect 4.0 GPA. He was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society, where he was selected as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa All-Massachusetts academic team for 2023, and with the highest score on the All-Massachusetts team, he was awarded the state’s Phi Theta Kappa New Century Transfer Pathway scholarship. Jesse was also part of the MassBay three-student Math Challenge Team that received Meritorious recognition in the international competition SIMIODE Challenge Using Differential Equations Modeling (SCUDEM) VII 2022.


Jesse’s future goals include earning his bachelor’s degree at Yale University before going on to complete his master’s, learning as much as possible about solar power to bring his knowledge back to his home country of Botswana. “There is a lot of solar power potential in Botswana, but the government currently imports its energy from other countries, which is expensive. I want to bring my expertise as well as propose and help construct a national-scale solar power plant that is clean and sustainable, allowing the money that is used for importing energy to be redirected to education and other needs of the residents. I believe solar power will help promote Botswana’s development and sustain today’s energy sources for my children and my children’s children. Malcolm X once said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” The education I received from attending MassBay and will receive from attending Yale will not only change my future, but someday change the future of an entire community.”


Jesse will graduate from MassBay this May with his Associate of Science degree in mechanical engineering and begin classes at Yale University in August 2023.