Persistence Key to Achieving Success

October 9, 2019


Sayde King

Not giving up and persevering in solving a problem or overcoming obstacles is a trait that can sometimes make the difference in achieving engineering success, whether it is called upon in the workplace or classroom.

For Sayde King, who is following up on the BSCS she received with a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering, that concept became real during her freshman year when the challenging nature of the coursework had her questioning her future as an engineer.

Those concerns diminished greatly when King undertook an internship at Northrop Grumman Corporation in California that summer and had a chance to contribute to the important work the company performs.

“I feel like that was a transformational experience,” she said. “It really motivated me and made me feel like I was in the right field.”

With a renewed sense of purpose, King put greater emphasis on her studies and called upon a variety of resources to support her effort, such as peer study groups and the College of Engineering faculty.

“I have always had really positive experiences with our faculty, many of them, like Dr. Hendrix and Dr. Zhang were always willing to assist and go above and beyond to help their students with material and even provide mentorship in times of need.”

Involvement in student organizations and on-campus activities helped King create opportunities to support her hard work. She credits her experience on the executive board of the USF chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers for finding her internship with Northrop Grumman and also supporting her sense of identity as an engineer.

“NSBE hosts a lot of great events to help young black engineers prepare for the workforce,” she said.

“There’s something powerful about walking into a room and seeing people that look like you in the same field, wanting the same things you want.”

Representing the University of South Florida as a USF Ambassador at special events was also part of King’s undergraduate experience.

“You learn all about the university and gain a deeper appreciation for what USF is,” she said, adding that the alumni, sponsors and donors she would meet at high-profile events appreciated the chance to interact with students.

“They want to know what’s going on at the university, she said. “They’re just excited to hear about your life.”

Currently King is a graduate teaching assistant and is conducting research as a member of the Computer Science and Engineering Department’s Cyber Identity Behavior and Research Lab. Her research interests include cybersecurity and ubiquitous sensing.