As Americans, we tend to take the luxuries of electricity for granted. We relish in the luxury of guaranteed access to all of our favorite handhelds and refrigeration but never take the time to acknowledge the countries who do not always have electricity readily available.
This is the reality of Freeman Talla, who migrated from Cameroon to the U.S. and is completing his undergraduate degree here at Kennesaw State.
Cameroon currently only supplies electricity to 30 percent of its population of more than 23 million residents. The 21-year-old senior electrical engineer major is looking to change the fate of his country that suffers from power shortages and fairly expensive electricity costs.
Talla associates his academic success with the Modern States Education Alliance, a non-profit organization whose goal is to make college free and available for anyone seeking an education. It allows anyone to earn up to a full year’s worth of college credit online from more than 40 freshman courses just by signing up.
“The best thing about Modern States is the flexibility and it’s free,” Talla said.
The affordability allowed him to be able to transfer his already earned credits to KSU through an agreement with PKFokam Institute of Excellence in Cameroon, a university he attended for three years.
He said not only has his overall experience at KSU been great, but he has also held a 4.0 GPA along the way and is on track to graduate early.
“It gives chances for international students and gives them all the support they need to succeed,” Talla said.
He said his most enjoyable academic experience was a group project in which he and his group built a solar tracker charger. The collaborated effort stores energy in a bank to charge and power electronics.
After attending graduate school, Talla hopes to create his own solar power company for Cameroon to create easy, affordable electricity.
Talla, whose family has fallen victim to rampant power outages and lack of electricity, desires to draw business qualities from his father who owns his own company.
Talla said that his family is proud of him. Whenever he showed them the results of his group projects or his grades at the end of each semester, they would “be smiling and happy.”
“I miss my family — and the food,” Talla said as he spoke about his plans for a vacation to visit his family.
Using his determination and skill, Talla may one day bring light to those who live in the shadows of Cameroon, giving back to the country that he calls home.