Photo of Bolaji Makinde-Odusola

Engineering Senior Reflects on his Educational Journey at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo & Provides Senior Wisdom to New Engineering Students



Photo of Bolaji Makinde-Odusola

Bolaji Makinde-Odusola, Electrical Engineering senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo



Bolaji Makinde-Odusola is a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and minoring in Computer Science. His parents, Babs Makinde and Uju Makinde, are from Nigeria and he is the eldest in his family with two younger siblings named Bankole and Biola Makinde.  His family is excited to see him graduate in 2021 and they know he has a very bright future ahead of him.

As a senior, he reflects on his educational journey. He grew up exposed to engineering because of his father, Babs Makinde who received a Civil Engineering Degree from UC Davis. Through this exposure he knew early on in his life he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. Thus, when he graduated from Stockdale High School in 2017 and received the Elijah McCoy Scholarship (which awarded $20,000 a year for up to 5 years) to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, he already knew he would be majoring in the engineering field. 

Babs recollects doing some research, seeking out campus resources, and networking to help him make his decision in what he wanted to major in. He wanted to ensure the time he spent at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo would be learning something interesting to him personally, a subject he could not learn on his own, and that would meet his professional goals. He found all this within the Electrical Engineering degree and has been very happy since choosing this degree path.  

The Electrical Engineering degree was a perfect choice for him beca​use he loves to problem solve, do research and create things. His Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student experience has been great. He currently works at Boeing as an Electronic Products Intern. His experience there has been valuable. He has learned how to diagnose, analyze and solve design flaws in electronic equipment. He has also learned how to work in a team by collaborating with multiple departments in developing plans for aircraft electronic system modifications. He is grateful that he can have these professional experiences as a student, and he knows they will help him transition into the working world upon graduation.

His educational experience at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has also been very fulfilling for him because he has been able to interact and connect with likeminded students like him who enjoy similar things. He has created a community of friends at the school through the various student and community organizations/events he has participated in.

He is currently involved in the Cal Poly Chess and the Color-coded student organization clubs. Chess has always been a huge part of his life. He enjoys the game and hopes to be able to compete in a professional competition in the future and put his chess skills to the test. He also enjoys learning how to code in his spare time which is why he also decided to minor in Computer Science. In addition, he competes in many Cal Poly hackathons in which he teams up with other students to build, develop and design projects and present them at the Hack events.  He has placed and won several of the competitions he and his teammates have participated in.​

Bolaji Makinde-Odusola  and Christian Aboud presenting their research. 

Bolaji Makinde-Odusola (on the right) and his teammate Christian Aboud (on the left). Presenting their research project SPEAKUp at camp Cal Poly Hack on November 16, 2019. 

One of the proudest and most important things he has been able to do during his time at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is get involved in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). He is passionate about ensuring that all Black students have the opportunity to follow their engineering dreams in higher education and their professional paths. He has been involved with the NSBE Cal Poly San Luis Obispo chapter for a year and a half and has risen to be the Regional Executive Board, Vice Chairperson for the National Society of Black Engineers. Within NSBE, his most important initiative is to graduate 10,000 black engineers per year starting in the year 2025. His experience in this field has been positive, impactful and challenging in a purposeful manner and he would like to have other black students experience the same thing he has in the field.

He admits that participating in these clubs has allowed his educational journey to be more than just attending class and obtaining his degree. He has been able to build a community that shares and supports the same STEM learning passion and professional goals he has.  

As he reminisces about his time at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Bolaji concentrates on his last year as a senior. He thinks about his future after he graduates and knows he will eventually apply to graduate school. He has not yet decided if he will obtain a graduate degree in STEM or a business discipline. He would love to continue in the STEM field, but he also likes the notion of combining his Electrical Engineering degree with a business degree so he can become an entrepreneur, solve problems and build electronics.  

For now, he has a very important message for incoming freshman who want to study Electrical Engineering. He wants them to make use of their instructor's office hours. He knows that the introductory concepts for Electrical Engineering can be difficult to understand at first; but the earlier a student reaches out for help, the better the student will be able to understand future material. Visiting the professor's office frequently, especially in introductory classes, will ensure that they have the right thought process and a satisfactory understanding when solving problems.​