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Student Profile: Kolawole Ladoja

A childhood lesson instilled at his father’s knee led senior computer engineering major (Dec. ’07) Kolawole Ladoja to decide at an early age that he wanted to be an engineer. Returning to the U.S. after many years in Nigeria, Kolawole was convinced by both his impressions of the university and his mother’s urging, to attend UConn. The road from Nigeria to Storrs was anything but straight.

ladoja4 (72K)High School: Sped International Secondary School, Oyo, Oyo state, Nigeria

Reason for Coming to UConn:
“I grew up mostly in Nigeria and returned to the U.S. (I was born here) in 2001. My Dad is a civil engineer, and when I was little, he told me that in resource-rich Nigeria – because we didn’t have manufacturing operations – raw materials are exported and transformed into expensive products that are sold back to Nigerians. I knew then that I wanted to be an engineer, because I felt engineers produced goods. When I returned to the U.S., at first it was not possible to enroll at UConn. I started at Housatonic Community College and later transferred to Norwalk Community College, where I earned an Associate of Science degree in engineering science. I was still intent on going to UConn, so after a few problems with the application process, I spoke with the assistant director of admissions for transfer students, who helped me complete the application process and gain admittance. What attracted me most to UConn is its reputation for strong academics – plus my Mom’s strong urging.”

Impressions:
“I am the kind of person who needs to be challenged to perform. My performance has always been proportional to how much I was pushed. UConn has not disappointed me in this respect; in fact, it has exceeded my expectations. I am continuously challenged by faculty, staff and students. This enables me to realize and acknowledge my weaknesses as well as work on being a more well-rounded individual.”

Beyond Academics:
“I play soccer about once weekly throughout the year. I’m also involved in several clubs and honor societies. I am the outgoing vice president of the UConn chapters of both IEEE and Eta Kappa Nu, the computer and electrical engineering honor society. In addition, I just ended my tenure as webmaster of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society. Our site is still in development, but it should be accessible in the fall.”

Career Plans:
“I want to work in industry and, if possible, take graduate coursework part-time. In Africa, I developed a strong sense of responsibility to my family. I have five sisters, plus my mother, in Bridgeport. My father is often away in Nigeria attending to business. I have worked hard to get good grades and to be a good role model for my sisters. I want them to do well especially in their academics. Working will allow me to help support my family and save money toward the possibility of attending graduate school full time at some point.”