HookedIn Spotlight Series: Kareem Mohamed

Karemeldin “Kareem” Mohamed
Rising junior electrical and computer engineering major
Texas Exes Opportunity Scholar

It’s time for another edition of our HookedIn Spotlight Series! The Texas Exes is proud to support the excellent work being done by Longhorns on and off campus, and Kareem is one example of a student who is already changing the world. The Alcalde asked him about his current internship, his future entrepreneurial ambitions, and his connection with the Exes.

Where are you working this summer? How did you find out about the opportunity? 

I’m a sensor engineering intern for Silicon Audio, and the way it came about is interesting actually. This semester, I had a class that I enjoyed, and I was always at the professor’s office hours, and we ended up getting close. As the semester came to an end, he sent me an offer to come work for him over the summer at his company, which is Silicon Audio. I’ve been there ever since, and I’m loving it. I’m much hands-on experience into things. I really do feel like I’m learning a lot on both the professional and academic side. 

What does your day-to-day look like? 

My first project when I started was to make a solar monitor. Essentially, these sensors are supposed to run their own out in the middle of nowhere. So there’s a solar panel connected to them, always charging them, and my task was to make a monitor to see how well the solar panel is charging the sensor. 

Day to day, I’ve been writing and testing code, or hooking things up to the solar monitor to see how it would charge, or simulating different situations—for example, in case a critter chewed through the wire and we don’t even have a functioning solar panel anymore—just trying to cover all our bases and making sure we know as much as possible. 

You participated in the Longhorn 100 gala. How did your interest in entrepreneurship begin?  

One of my friends, Corey’L [Sams], who is a Forty Acres Scholar, originally came to me with this idea of starting a business [which would become CRE82INSPIRE, an entertainment and entrepreneurial collective] promoting impact-driven products.  

The first one we’re working on now is the BRRR Box. It’s a cooler that’s supposed to be replacement for your traditional Styrofoam cooler, made completely out of cardboard. It has an inside lining that keeps it waterproof, so you can throw all your ice and drinks in there, and you’ll have nothing to worry about. 

We believe in this product. We think it would do well in the Austin market, especially with so many people valuing the outdoors and a green environment. And we were fortunate enough to have the BRRR Box featured at TEDxUTAustin. We were one of seven showcases, and we got to show all the attendees our product—what it does, how it works. It was a good way to get [the product] in front of people. 

The BRRR Box team at TEDxUTAustin.

What do you think is the value of combining your experiences in engineering and business? 

Being able to adapt and find solutions to problems. Because at the end of the day, whether I’m trying to figure out how to get BRRR Box to market or how to get this solar monitor working, the problem has to be dissected into its simplest parts. And then those small parts get solved, and the big picture comes together once all the little work is done. I feel like that’s what I’ve learned in my time here at UT through different labs and projects: You can’t rush into anything headfirst. I’ve learned how to plan out problems and break them down—to make them not easy, but simple. 

What is your involvement with the Texas Exes besides the Longhorn Business Network?  

Being a Texas Exes Scholar, first of all, gave me an opportunity to come to UT. I’m originally from Sudan, and I moved here when I was 10 years old. And then, just as much as bringing me to UT, the support system I mentioned earlier is another thing I appreciate from the Texas Exes. Whenever I hear about an event from our Scholarship Coordinator, I know I’m going to have a good time if I go, and I’m going to meet some cool people.

Where do you see yourself in five years?  

By the time I graduate, ideally [Corey’L and I] would have CRE82INSPIRE and BRRR Box already out there. We have visions of working with the Texas Exes and within UT and around Austin, and maybe even other colleges, too. And then hopefully also pursuing my electrical and computer engineering goals. I’m not exactly sure what field I want to go into right now, but I’ve been enjoying my internship a lot so far.   

Was there anything that surprised you when you got to campus? 

I think the biggest surprise would be meeting so many like-minded people and at such a high caliber. I knew I had close friends and good people back home, but I when I came here, I met people who have my same goals, values, and points of view. 

It was a little bit of a jarring experience at first, but eventually I built close relationships with these people, and having a support system like that leaves me reassured that I have people to back me. 

What do you like to do on campus or around Austin when you’re not running a company and studying engineering?  

Austin has a lot to offer. I didn’t see that at first. I thought this place was a little bit lame! But, like everything else, you have to experience it yourself. You can’t knock it ’til you try it. Austin just seems like the full package. I enjoy going kayaking, and there are some nice jazz clubs around the city, too. And the food here is also really good, so I’m always trying new restaurants and things like that. 

Has being around others with interdisciplinary interests changed your plans for your future? 

Definitely. Here at UT and especially within the Texas Exes, there’s a good culture. It seems like everyone wants to help you. Everyone’s rooting for you, and everyone’s supporting each other, too, so it’s easy to go out there and experience new things. 

What motivates you—personally, professionally, and academically?  

I’d say that the motivation behind everything I’m doing right now is wanting to experience everything I can and take advantage of my time at UT, where everyone is so open and friendly. Having the privilege of being somewhere like UT makes it a lot easier to experience everything … especially most of the stuff I’ve seen since I came here is completely new. Back then, I was like, What’s this over here? What do they have over there? What’s going on over there? Since I was 10 years old, and it hasn’t stopped since then. 

It’s been my goal to just experience all of it, and opportunities come as a byproduct of staying true to that. 

This interview has been edited and condensed.


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