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This summer, three students and alumni from Wright College’s Engineering program gained real-world skills and valuable experience in one of the country’s most cutting-edge industries: quantum.

Shlesha Patel, Selvin Tobar, and Perla Bran recently completed undergraduate fellowships with the Open Quantum Initiative, a program supported by Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE) member and partner institutions. On July 31, the students presented their research at Chicago Quantum Exchange’s 2023 Open Quantum Initiative Research Symposium.

Shlesha, Selvin, and Perla were part of a summer cohort of 20 students from colleges and universities across the country, including Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, MIT, and more. They were the only community college students in the group, showcasing the high-quality programming and preparation provided by Wright’s program.

Group of students pose in front of a mountain range in Malibu, California.
The 2023 Open Quantum Initiative fellows pose in front of the Malibu coastline and mountains at HRL Laboratories. (Image Courtesy of HRL Laboratories.)

The entire experience was eye-opening, according to Shlesha.

“This summer, I’m doing hands-on work, networking, and gaining experience in the lab. This fellowship is helping expand my knowledge of quantum and realize how amazing this field is. It’s making me excited for my future,” she said.

Shlesha’s Wright College peers were in agreement. Referring to his experience, Selvin said, “…I had the opportunity to work in the Materials Research Laboratory at UIUC and utilize their instruments and software. It gave me an insight into the amazing work that is being done in the quantum field and also a glimpse at what graduate studies will be like. I’m extremely grateful for the all connections I made with my mentors at UIUC, as well as fellow peers in the Open Quantum Initiative.”

Shlesha and Selvin earned Associate in Engineering Science degrees from Wright College this spring and will soon continue their academic journeys at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Grainger College of Engineering. Selvin served as Wright College’s 2023 valedictorian and was awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, while Shlesha was selected as the Fall 2022 TCP-CTA Transfer Scholarship winner, which is administered by the City Colleges of Chicago Foundation. Perla will begin her second year at Wright College this fall.

To see how other City Colleges students are recent graduates are gaining real-world experience this summer, visit https://success1.ccc.edu/category/workbasedlearning/swbl/.